This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on February 14, 2016.
In 2008, America’s Olympic dreams were dashed when both the men’s and women’s relay teams dropped their batons. Everyone in the world expected—no, everyone in the world knew both the men’s and women’s relay teams would win. They were winning—and then, they dropped the batons. In the same way, the nation of Israel was coming into the Promised Land. God was keeping His promises to His people to bring them to a home of their own. What a journey it had been! Their very identity had been defined in the trials and triumphs of that journey. Now, how does the nation pass on this faith to a generation that wasn’t part of the journey? How do you pass along the faith to a generation that wasn’t part of the very events that informed and confirmed that faith?
What does one generation have to do to be sure the baton is passed to the next generation?
This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on February 7, 2016.
When my father got excited, he would rub his hands together. If our favorite football team scored, he would rub his hands together. If he got good news in his business, he would rub his hands together. Guess what? When I get really excited, I rub my hands together. Here’s what’s funny—I never set out to learn to rub my hands together like my dad. I never looked at him and said, “That’s cool. I really want to rub my hands together like my dad does.” Without thinking about it, I just started rubbing my hands together like he did. Because I hung around my father so much, I ended up picking up a lot of his habits. I did things the way I saw him do things.
In the day of Jesus, a disciple would choose a rabbi to follow and literally move in with the teacher while studying with him. Not only would the student learn Scriptures and theology, how to pray, and how to live faithfully, the student would learn everything from the rabbi. The student would literally take on the characteristics and mannerisms of the rabbi.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on January 31, 2016
Most congregations will be familiar with this passage in Jeremiah. The description of Jeremiah being knitted together in his mother’s womb under the careful watch of God is a favorite reference of the pro-life movement. Indeed, this is a tender moment for any of us when we think about the imminence of God. A God who, Jesus tells us, knows the number of the hairs on our heads. Yet, in context, the description is even more meaningful to the prophet in the context of his ministry and, of course, richer in meaning for us as well.
Jeremiah was called to confront a corrupt political system and an immoral society that really didn’t want to hear what he had to say. He would pay dearly for his willingness to speak the truth. For bringing God’s word to God’s people he would be beaten, thrown in a well, imprisoned, and hounded. Beside the physical suffering he endured, he would agonize over a nation that wouldn’t respond to the salvation God was offering. He would beg for his eyes to become fountains so he could weep and weep for his people whose choices were taking them further and further away from God.
This text is used for the Lectionary Year C on January 24, 2016.
Most of us live in the world of ordinary miracles. Seasons come and go, children are born and grow up, and planets keep moving along their predestined paths. Rarely does the ground tremble when we pray or lightning flash when we worship. Most days are just normal… and normal is miraculous enough if we are wise enough to see it.
Nehemiah lived in a time of ordinary miracles. In the story of Nehemiah, there are no sea-splitting acts of God like there are in Exodus. The walls of Jericho don’t crumble and fall. Just because fire doesn’t fall from heaven doesn’t mean miracles didn’t happen in Nehemiah.