Our Dresses Are Made from the Whole Fabric of Our Lives
We usually dress nicely and comfortably on Sundays, which may be why we react so strongly to today’s story in the passage about the underdressed guest. What did the king expect in today’s story? No one walks around in wedding robes just in case they happen to be invited to a royal banquet.
September 17, 2023
People Know Us By What Our Lives Say
In today’s passage, we just read the story of the “Yes” and “No” brothers that Jesus gave to the chief priests and elders. Their main concern was Jesus, who was a “no” guy. Instead of answering them, Jesus asked them a question—“What do you think?”—and he told them a story.
September 10, 2023
To Hunger and Thirst for the Good News for the People of God
In Amos’s context, the nation had enjoyed forty years of peace and prosperity, mainly because the empire of Assyria had been busy with troubles of its own. In the meantime, the rich had gotten richer while the poor had become poorer. The worst part was the alienation between the two. They had forgotten they were kin and friends. And the imbalance and chasm between them
had become broader and deeper, preventing them from being one community.
September 3, 2023
Suffering Without Reason VS Without God
In today’s passage, Job’s misfortune came about through no fault of his own. Job was quietly minding his business down on earth one day—praying for each of his children by name and making box lunches for the beggars who showed up at his door—when God and Satan got into a conversation about him in heaven.
August 20, 2023
God Is In Silence and In a Small Voice
In today’s chapter, chapter 19, Queen Jezebel was furious because Elijah killed her 450 prophets. As the queen pronounced his death sentence, his moment of glory ended as abruptly as it began. In response to this situation, Elijah fled, running from Queen Jezebel to the deep inside of the cave in the desert. Yes, disappointment time comes for Elijah, and it turns into his examination time—as to whether, or not, God was really with him at the worship battle.
August 13, 2023
God Still Works For The Impossibilities
Ancient Israel, in today’s passage, they were in trouble and at risk socially, politically, economically, and religiously as they had been taken in by the Babylonian empire. The demanding task for them was about how they should get along with the Babylonians as citizens, believers, or worshippers. They had, at least, to give the appearance of going along with the empire. But the risk was that they would forget too much so easily, just like we do.
August 6, 2023
When We Get Interrupted
Have you ever been interrupted? If you were to sit down and read the book of Isaiah from the beginning, if you are at all like me, by chapter 34, you would be ready to quit or skip the dozens of chapters. Everything has fallen apart; nothing is working. Then, we get interrupted by today’s passage, Isaiah 35. The interruption forces us to observe that God’s story is not yet finished.
July 23, 2023
In today’s passage, the prophet Isaiah uses the word “instead” three times, reminding the Israelites who God is, especially when they are in the times between a life of gloom and a life of joy, just like we often feel the same way, “already, not yet.” We all know that instead is an adverb grammatically, but I want us to think of it as a verb—leading us to see and act differently as those who surely know that there is another, guiding us to take a different course of life as prophetic believers.
June 25, 2023
The Calling to Be Holy
In today’s passage, the single word that sums up what happened to Isaiah is the word “Holy,” which is one of the best words for personhood as children of God, “holy.” He describes the vision in verse 3, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.”
June 18, 2023
The Beauty of the Spirit is Diversity in Unity
In today’s passage, we meet the Holy Spirit, who still energizes creation and the church—breathing in and out, in and out, day and night, summer and winter, from Jesus’s last breath on the cross until today. That same Holy Spirit blowing across oceans and continents brought Jews and Gentiles together, still demanding us to override all kinds of differences. The birth story of the church is the story of insiders finding compelling ways to welcome outsiders and discerning that the Spirit overrides the differences, making outsiders into insiders who are all baptized together in the same name, Jesus Christ.
May 28, 2023
Building a Little Bit Longer and Wider Table
Being interrupted about what we have settled is not fun at all. However, we are told in the Scripture that little Easter always happened when they were interrupted—even by the stranger on the road to Emmaus and on the shore. And we are still interrupted by various new learning, by a fresh reading of a book, by a casual comment of a friend, by the observation of a teacher, by the insight of a therapist, by a dream, by a nightmare, or even by Covid-19.
May 21, 2023
Be Ready To Be Interrupted
Today’s passages offer a clear description of what “God-works-ahead” means. God always goes ahead of us, and God may be with us in a very different way and form than we expect. We are reminded that “ahead” is where Christ is even though we are often daunted by what lies ahead.
May 8, 2023
Lessons From the Lion of Judah
When we imagine Jesus’s 24 hours from today’s passage, Jesus worshipped, taught, exorcised, and healed. More healing. More exorcisms. And prayer. For one thing, his life was a flurry of activity. That’s a lot of action to cram into 18 verses of life! Thus, two of Mark’s favorite words are “and” and “immediately (40 times).” Yes, Mark portrays Jesus as a person of action.
April 30, 2023
The Witness to the Truth of Easter
In today’s gospel reading, right in the middle of it, the disciples and Jesus’s followers meet where the doors were “locked for fear.” Yes, within their context, Easter was not obviously a celebration but a possible threat. What Jesus does first with his new life is to seek out his people who are hiding in order not only to give peace and comfort, but also to command missional duties—coming out of a hiding place; receiving the Holy spirit; and forgiving others as we all are forgiven.
April 23, 2023
The Time For Loving, Weeping, and Staying
From today’s passage, the Gospel of Luke, chapter 13, verses 31, we are reminded that Jesus and his disciples got bad news from the Pharisees—“Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” Yet, Jesus answers them in verses 32-35—“Go and tell that fox, Tell him I have three days’ work to do, casting out demons and performing cures. Tell him I have to do that, even if I have to die.
I will not stop my transformative work, because I care that much about the city and want it to flourish.” Then, Jesus addresses the name of the city, “Jerusalem and Jerusalem.”
April 2, 2023