The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. - Galatians 5:22-23a (NRSV)
Try it out this summer if you like – but trust me, you can’t do it. Two watermelons. One hand. There is a reason these things become proverbs. They are true!
The best proverbs are comical. When you try to picture someone carrying two watermelons in one hand, it just makes you laugh. It’s so obviously impossible that it’s sill
esus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” - Mark 14:32 (NRSV)
I’ve spent four years lying awake. I could patent my cure for the insomnia epidemic that health journals keep citing. Forget white noise, singing bowls, and wind chimes. The cure for sleeplessness is the sound of the car door.
They are home. Nothing happened. You can sleep.
But lying awake is something I do for me. No, I don’t like it, but my kids have no idea their late nights, my consumption of a
“How long, O Lord?” - Psalm 13:1 (NRSV)
Every third person asks me when I think we are going back to normal. I quip, “Never.” My neighbor mows his grass, asks me how I am doing, then asks about the return of normal. The UPS man says the same. The mailwoman the same. My daughter and daughters-in-law ask the same.
I don’t mean to be mean. There is so much loss and already lost and not-coming-back stuff – from my regular way of a day, to the subway, to my grocery shopping, t
“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer.” - Revelation 2:10 (NIV)
Everybody’s yearning to hear some positive news today regarding the crises in which we find ourselves. Good news of a speedy vaccine. Good news about declines in Coronavirus fatalities and infections. Good news about our economic recovery.
But quick fixes and rosy predictions are not always the best news we can receive.
One thing worse than suffering is disillusionment about the suffering. Facin
The officials said to the king, “Jeremiah ought to be put to death, because he is discouraging the people who are left in this city.” King Zedekiah said, “Here he is – I won’t stop you.” So they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern. - Jeremiah 38:4-6 (adapted)
King Zedekiah is a politician of convenience, a man who avoids conflict when possible and – when it’s not possible – casts his net wide in hopes of a bailout from any possible source.
Trying to get out from
God was with Ishmael, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. - Genesis 21:20 (NRSV)
Ishmael was a child of the wilderness. Conceived in the wilderness of slavery, he was in utero when his mother Hagar fled to the desert to escape abuse. When his half-brother Isaac was three, Ishmael’s father Abram sent the 16-year-old and his mother into the wilderness of Beer-sheba with only “some bread and a skin of water,” barely enough to last a d
Put no trust in a friend, have no confidence in a loved one … for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. - Micah 7:5-6 (NRSV)
Yikes. Alas for Micah, to be alive at a time when direction has become so unmoored from truth that friends no longer trust each other. When truth has become so unmoored from fact that loved ones rise up against each other.
Alas for us, too.
Not that every c
Jesus said, “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves.” - Matthew 10:16a (NRSV)
When I was a child, I had a persistent daydream of being adopted by a pack of wolves. I loved the idea of romping all day in a forested meadow, and curling up all night in a warm puppy pack.
I never really thought that much about what it would be like to have a sheep family. I had it backwards, as it turns out.
The flocking instinct of sheep is so strong that, if there a
On the first day of the week, Paul was holding a discussion and he continued speaking until midnight. A young man named Eutychus, sitting in the window, began to sink off into a deep sleep while Paul talked still longer. Overcome by sleep, he fell to the ground and was picked up dead. But Paul went down, and took him in his arms, and said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” Then Paul went upstairs, and he continued to converse with them until dawn. - Acts 20:7-11 (N
Abraham rose from beside his dead wife and spoke to the Hittites. “I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.” The Hittites replied to Abraham, “None of us will refuse you his tomb for burying your dead.” Again Abraham said, “I will pay the price of the field.” - Genesis 23:3-13 (NIV, excerpted)
Our nation and our churches are awash in grief. Grief for lost loved ones. Grief for lost traditions. Grief for los