Luke 19:1-10 I have sung a charming song about the tree-hugging wee Zacchaeus since childhood. That in itself is somewhat ironic, because Zacchaeus is anything but a charming figure and his story is anything but a children’s tale. For this story hits at the heart of human depravity at the intersection of the truly puzzling grace of God.
Luke tells this story efficiently by using only three characters: Zacchaeus, the hated revenue man, Jesus, the feature attraction in a chaot
Text: Romans 12:1-13 I love to teach. Early on in the pandemic, at my daughter’s urging, I started teaching a midweek online class. In the last course, we explored one of the letters of Paul. On our last evening together, we listened to the last and longest, and arguably, the most important of all Paul’s letters, his letter to the church in Rome. Unlike churches he started in Galatia, Corinth, and Philippi, Paul did not start the church in Rome. He had not visited there, thou
Texts: Proverbs 1:22; Colossians 3:12-17 It was a gorgeous May evening just west of Washington, D.C. A friend and I were sitting on the lawn of Wolf Trap Amphitheatre with a picnic basket full of delights. The night went from wonderful to magical as Judy Collins walked onto stage and in her hauntingly beautiful voice, sang, “Simple Gifts.” Accompanied only by an acoustic guitar, Judy sang with crystal clarity, “Tis a Gift to be Simple, tis a gift to be free, tis a gift to com
Text: Job 38 I ran into Job while I was on leave a year ago. He looked like he had not slept for weeks and his typically well-put-together appearance seemed a bit undone. I asked him why he looked so rough and he explained his son had just been killed in Afghanistan and then a week later he was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. When I was in Wegman’s earlier this week, Job nearly knocked me down with his grocery cart, totally absorbed in thought. He had lost his job
Text: John 13:1-9 From the 16th century Reformation until today, churches have battled over the number of sacraments. In the Catholic tradition, there are seven sacraments while in most of the Protestant tradition, including Presbyterians, there are but two sacraments – baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Is it seven or two? Two or seven? Well, frankly, it is not an argument I have lost a lot sleep over, but if I did, my answer would be: Neither. After reading John’s Gospel for to