The Other Woman

Text: Genesis 21:1-21 I saw Hagar last week. She was foraging through a church dumpster. She was dodging ICE agents at the airport. She was harvesting crops from dawn to dusk on the Eastern Shore, praying that she would get paid this time. She was standing in line with her baby, hoping to get the last shelter bed for the night. She was weeping openly as she looked upon her dead husband and two-year-old daughter lying face down in the Rio Grande. ( I saw Hagar last week, but she has been around for quite a while. In the Antebellum South, Hagar was the poster girl for the happy slave. She said, “Yes, Massa” with a smile on her face and always look


Text: I Kings 19 (selected verses) Chapter 18 of I Kings is all about the religious superstar Elijah. The prophet stands up to Jezebel, the powerful foreign-born queen of Israel, and he makes a fool of her and her minions. Elijah takes on the mouthy prophets of the wimpy gods of Ba’al and it is no contest. At the close of chapter 18, Elijah is a religious superhero who soars to the greatest heights. I stand in awe of Elijah in Chapter 18, but he is not someone I know. It is the Elijah that we meet in Chapter 19 who is a not too distant cousin. [Read I Kings 19] Throughout history, it has never been a good thing to make a fool of a king or a queen, or a president, for that matter. Jezebel is

Wise Words

Text: Proverbs 8, selected verses The book of Proverbs is tucked away in the middle of the Old Testament. It is an odd book in many ways. There are no stories, no dramatic events recounted, and no clear beginning and end. In some ways, reading the proverbs is like opening a fortune cookie to find the wisdom of the day without the lucky Lotto numbers. A few of my favorite proverbs are: “Better to meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs than to confront a fool immersed in folly” or “Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is trust in a faithless person in times of trouble” or the proverb my grandmother would quote for my teenage edification, “As a door turns on its hinges, so does a lazy person in bed.” M

The Guest Who Won't Go Home

Text: Acts 2:1-21 The Session meeting had gone on for nearly five hours and it was rapidly approaching midnight. Yes, midnight! Many elders had come straight from work in D.C. and had not had supper. Nerves were frayed and patience had left the room a couple of hours earlier. The debate was intense and as the night grew later, the debate grew sharper. I kept looking for a wise move to make as Moderator to bring the issue to resolution and to get this never-ending meeting ended. Just when I thought that we were finally ready for a vote, one of our newest and youngest elders said, “Mr. Moderator, I move that we adjourn this meeting and convene again tomorrow night at 8 p.m. and in the meantime

Rider of the Clouds

Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35 Before Pentecost arrives next Sunday and we say goodbye to the Easter season, we would be wise to celebrate a holiday that most skip on the church calendar – Ascension Day. This holiday is tucked far away from most everyone’s sight. It falls on a Thursday, this past Thursday to be specific. To the best of my knowledge, no one gives Ascension Day presents or has the family over for an Ascension Day meal or belts out Ascension Day songs. This holiday is so obscure that you cannot even shop for it on Amazon Prime. Arriving forty days after Easter Sunday, Ascension Day or the Feast of the Ascension is the church’s annual attempt to celebrate “he ascended into heaven,” to ann

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