Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31, RSV) This week we celebrate the 90th anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr. Of those 90 years, he lived only 39. His
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s co
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isa. 55:7, RSV) Today is Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Judaism; Yom Kippur, a day of fasting and prayer, began at sundown on Tuesday. The name means Day of Atonement. Its central themes are repentance and atonement. In Jewish theology, atonement means that transgression has been forgiv
The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. (Prov. 11:3, RSV) For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? (Matt. 16:26, RSV) At the start of the Korean War, the American commander Gen. William Dean was captured while leading his troops in withdrawal before the initial North Korean onslaught. He spent three years as a prisoner of war. At
It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. And if one falls down, the other helps, but if there’s no one to help, tough! By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. (Eccl. 4:9-10,12, The Message) One of the passions of my life is white water river rafting. Gather half a dozen or a dozen good friends, three to five inflatable rafts, lots of camping gear, and launch down a wild river through a scenic canyon.
And on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all his work which he had done in creation. (Gen. 2:2-3, NRSV) Sometimes it is important to stop. Daniel Schantz writes: “I was approaching a busy intersection, but when I stepped on the brake pedal, it dropped to the floorboards and I rolled onward. ‘Lookout, ever
When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30, NRSV) “It is finished!” are the last words of Jesus from the cross in John’s Gospel. And it surely was. Pilate was satisfied that it was finished. After all, Jesus was not the first purported rebel that Pilate had ordered crucified. And that had settled that. The Jewish religious leaders were relieved that it was finished. They thought that Jesus had th
And they brought the colt to Jesus, and threw their garments on it; and he sat upon it. And many spread their garments on the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:7-10, RSV) On a Sunday morning, a column of Roman soldiers led b
After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. (Mark 9:2-4, NIV) It’s a familiar conversational gambit: if you could have dinner and deep conversation with any historical figure, whom would you choose? Or,
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Gal. 6:9-10, NIV) When our children were small, the answer to the question, “Why haven’t you…
…picked up your toys?
…brushed your teeth?
…fed the cat?” was often either, “I meant to!” or “I was just gonna’.”