Reconciled diversity

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Epiphany 2 Isaiah 62:1-5; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; John 2:1-11 Sunday's texts continue to talk about covenant restoration. They are saying that this restoration is marked by a diversity of unifying (and edifying) gifts. Jesus frees us to be who God has made us to be. The Spirit unites a godly...

Friends of our souls

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Epiphany 1 Isaiah 43: 1-7; Acts 8:14-17; Luke 3:15-16, 21-22 We all experience great loss in life and, eventually, even the loss of our own lives. This is consistent with man's existence after the fall, when he was deprived of the benefits of living in covenant relationship with God in...

Happy in time

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Christmas 2 Jeremiah 31:7-14; Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-19; Matthew 2:13-23 A horrible thing follows immediately upon the birth of Jesus: the slaughter of an untold number of innocent baby boys. We might be tempted to think, "It were better, for their sakes, if this one baby boy, Jesus, had not...

Lenses of the past

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Advent 3 Zephaniah 3:14-20; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:7-18 The readings for Advent 3 present a fitting way to wrap up Advent. (Next Sunday is Lessons and Carols.) The texts talk of faith, repentance, change of life, and the coming of Christ, themes we have been hearing for a few weeks...

Refining our worship

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Advent 2 Malachi 3:1-4; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6 Advent 2 and 3 speak to the preparation that is required for the Lord's arrival. This week and next we hear from John the Baptist, the herald of the coming Christ. His message is that of repentance, a call to change our ways. The idea...

Year Zero

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Advent 1 Jeremiah 33:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13; Luke 21:25-36 Why do only bad things seem to presage Christ's return? Well, for starters, in order for the new world to begin, the old one must definitively come to an end. Jesus says, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will...

So you are a king?

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Proper 29 Christ the King Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; Revelation 1:4-8; John 18:33-37 Christ the King and the First Sunday of Advent present some of the most vivid and — troubling passages of Scripture — and they can seem quite out of place as the rest of the world gears up for the...

Believers have a future

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Proper 28 Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11-25; Mark 13:1-8 Sunday's readings talk about the future, and the fact that the followers of Christ have a future worth believing in. That hope is rooted in the second coming of Jesus the Messiah. For many, the past is the present feeling of...

God's widows

Posted by Jacob Dell on

Proper 27 1 Kings 17:8-16; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44 People make two common errors in religion. The first is to count religion a trifle that is easily satisfied by ritual, for instance, the "rich people" who "put in large sums" to the treasury in Sunday's gospel. There is nothing...