Reformation 4: Sirach 38:1-4, 6-9, 12: Vocation

Sirach 38:1-4, 6-9, 12 Honor the doctor for his services, according to your need of him.  For the Lord established him, and healing comes from God, the Highest, which is why the king rewards him.  The doctor’s knowledge will lift him up, and those in authority will hold him in high regard. The Lord makes […]

Reformation 3: Jeremiah 29:4-7, Romans 13:1-7, Matthew 22:15-22: The Two Kingdoms, Church and State

Human history is full of people not wanting to fund its government or services.  Without both, a nation cannot endure.  So, taxes are the costs a country incurs for its civilization.  Still, most of us want the advantages of taxation but not the expenses. The first Israelite king recognized people’s distaste for taxes.  A Philistine […]

Reformation 2: 2 Kings 5:1-3, 9-14; Romans 6:1-4; John 3:1-6, 16: Baptism

A Syrian commander, a well-respected military leader, who won the respect of his King.  Still, something can come along in your life and undo much of what you built up over the years.  Such is Naaman.  For a fearsome affliction—leprosy—now overshadows his imposing warfighting skills and combat prowess. To protect others from the infectious contagion, […]

Reformation 1: Isaiah 55:10-13, 1 Peter 1:22-25, John 1:1-5, 14: The Word

“Now, if I told you once, I told you a thousand times.”  A dressing-down entwines itself in those words.  Often, we scold children through this warning, with an explanation trailing behind.  “Don’t play in the street.”  “Do your homework before turning on the TV.”  The overstatement of “1,000” clatters out the parent’s frustration. From afar, […]

Matthew 6:24-34: Seek First …

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob rescued His people from Egypt, protected them through the sea, and led them through the wilderness.  On manna formed from the dew and quail, which flew in, the people feasted.  Still, they griped, and their appetites remained unquenched.  Released from slavery and fed on God’s miracle bread, they […]

Luke 17:11-19: The Rituals of Mercy

A standard introductory ritual when you meet someone is to shake his hand.  To greet another, you extend your hand.  “Hello, I’m Rich,” as I grab hold of the other person’s hand and we both move them up and down.  So, we grasp hands and shift their movement in a set pattern. Can we not […]

Mark 7:31-37: Not Only What, but How

The entrance and exit for our words—hearing and speaking.  Into our ears, words enter; out of our mouths, they leave.  For our vocal cords to form coherent sounds, our eardrums need those sounds to vibrate on them.  By listening, we learn to speak. A little child makes many random noises, later mimicking the pitch, timber, […]

Genesis 4:1-15: Sin is Crouching at Your Door

In the store you are picking up a couple of items and close by a child is throwing a tantrum.  Angry words, screaming, the stomping of feet, echoes in every aisle.  Nothing the frustrated parent says calms the raging child.  Of course, he tries to reason, but to no effect.  A few minutes later, an […]

Luke 19:41-48: The Thresher, the Threshing Floor, and the Temple

A threshing floor is a violent place, of division and separation.  A farmer takes the cultivated harvest and casts the grain stalks on to a compacted floor.  Sinewy muscles stretch and strain, beating and separating the seed’s outer bran from the starchy inside.  Now, if wealthier, an ox will trudge through this crushing task, not […]

Luke 16:19-31: The Dishonest Manager–praised for his astuteness, not his dishonesty

“The Parable of the Dishonest Manager” or, with the older title, “The Unjust Steward.”  An owner is wealthy, and others relay rumors to him about his accountant, who is squandering his assets.  This manager is stealing by overcharging on his commissions.  Unlike a wage by the hour or collecting a salary, he earns his income […]