Luke 17:11-19 “Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude”

I sense that in this post-modern world, we need to cultivate this “attitude of gratitude” – not a hokey, Pollyanna approach to life, blind to evil and suffering and too syrupy for anyone with sense to stomach; but an attitude, a perspective, a basic stance concerning life that flows from the experience of God’s presence in our midst – a Presence perhaps standing at a distance to give us the space and freedom to choose – a Presence to be found in the beauty of nature, the compassion of our friend, the joy of a child, the face of one so different from us but who is also a daughter or son of God.  Continue reading

James 2:1-17 “Clubhouse Rules and Counterfeit Faith”

Faith is all about the basic trust of our lives and what we depend on for our identity and security. James says faith that is only objective belief or sentimental emotion is thoroughly counterfeit. If faith were just a matter of proper belief, then the demons who know God is One (the cardinal doctrine of Judaism and Christianity) would be on the front rows in heaven. And if faith were a matter of sentimental emotion, those with an overactive hypothalamus would be singing in the celestial choirs of the angels with big crocodile tears streaming down their faces. Genuine, 24K faith is a trust that takes concrete form in the way we live our lives. Only such faith is saving. Continue reading

Habakkuk 1:1-12 “The Rise and Fall of Empires”

History is littered with failed kingdoms and empires which have brought destruction upon themselves. Every empire has assumed that it is the exception—that it will last forever and is exempt from the consequences of practicing evil. But every one of these empires have brought about their own destruction. Continue reading

Ephesians 1:1-10 “What Do We Mean by Grace?”

Accepting ourselves as loved unconditionally, sacrificially, and eternally by God can be the most difficult step in our Christian pilgrimage. We just can’t believe that such good news is for the likes of us. But it is for us and for everyone else in God’s creation. That is what grace is all about. And it is only as we accept such grace that we will be free to love others, to live victoriously and courageously, and to dance in the light–and even in the darkness. Continue reading

Micah 3:1-12 “On the Menu”

My insightful cousin-in-law and poet Mary Boren shared a quote on Facebook from the late, great Ann Richards (former governor of Texas before Republican lunacy possessed the state). In her down-to-earth way, Richards voiced an unfortunate truth which has plagued humans for thousands of years: “If you are not at… Continue reading

Matthew 7: 1-5; Luke 6: 37-38 “Compassionate Judging”

Read the Scripture Perhaps no verse has been quoted by those outside the church to those inside the church more than our passage today: “Judge not lest you be judged.” Do Jesus’ words mean that we are never to make judgements in this life? Do we have no right or… Continue reading

Matthew 9:35-38 “Compassion, Play and Justice”

Read the Scripture The Italian poet Dante is well known for his descriptions of the afterlife. His writings are of course metaphorical. They were never meant to be taken literally. But through his symbolism Dante often exposed his readers to profound truth. For example, he made ice and not fire… Continue reading

“A New Greatness” Mark 10:32-45; Matthew 18:1-5

Read the Scripture Jesus and his disciples are on the road to Jerusalem. As they make their way to the final showdown with the Jerusalem authorities, Jesus tries to warn his followers three times that  they will face suffering, persecution, and possibly death. But the disciples are confused and probably… Continue reading

Revelation 22: 12-14, 16-17, 20-21 “Morning Star”

Even though our time is not the time of John the Seer, we too need a bright morning star.  In times of such confusion and bewilderment, chaos and upheaval, we need to refocus our eyes on Jesus.  In doing so, we will rediscover the primacy of compassion, rededicate ourselves to the search and affirmation of truth, flesh out our love into action, embrace the necessity of forgiveness, and orient our lives through a primary commitment to God’s justice and righteousness.  In a gray world such as ours as well as in the dark, sinister world of John, Christ can serve as the bright morning star as he enlightens our paths and enables us to see what is in and around us. Continue reading