The Lord Called Me From Birth

The Lord called me from birth, from my mother’s womb he gave me my name. . . . You are my servant, he said to me, Israel, through whom I show my glory. Isaiah 49: 1,3 All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?”  For surely the[read more]

The Light of Goodness

When Barnabas arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart, for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith. Acts 11: 23-24 Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good[read more]

Becoming Responsible

And when the Spirit comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation; sin, because they do not believe in me; righteousness, because I am going to the father and you will no longer see me; condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. John 15: 8-11 Those[read more]

Faith and Honesty

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.  You have faith in God, have faith also in me.  In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.  If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” John 14: 1-2 I can’t recall when or where it[read more]

Faith and Responsibility

After these things he provided judges up to Samuel the prophet.  Then they asked for a king. God gave them Saul, son of Kish, a man from the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.  Then he removed him and raised up David as their king. . . . Acts: 13: 20-22 Today’s story from Acts[read more]

Grace and Responsibility

Some days ago, a friend shared with me a lecture that Jacques Barzun had given in 1969 entitled “Present Day Thoughts on the Quality of Life.” It had just recently been rediscovered and was published this month in “The American Scholar." In it he speaks of, for all their questionable tendencies, the valid critique of western culture that inhered in the revolutionary movements of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Given the secular and rational-functional reductionism of our culture, we have come to identify usefulness with human value. And if this was true in 1969, it is even more true[read more]

Pathos and Responsibility

Both the Lord in Genesis and Jesus in Mark’s gospel are presented in today’s readings as apparently frustrated. In the very anthropomorphic presentation of God in Genesis, the Creator is presented as experiencing regret for having created free human beings. In Mark’s description of Jesus’ attempting to teach his disciples to avoid the hypocrisy and self-alienation of the Pharisees and Herod, we hear of the pain that the disciples’ obduracy evokes in him. It is striking to ponder the fact that Jesus and God might experience the pathos that is so painful an aspect of our own experience. It is[read more]

Unfettered Speech

As a developing child, I was very slow to begin to speak. Although my parents told me about it, we never really spoke about what might have contributed to this, aside from my mother saying the pediatrician would always encourage her by saying that I would begin to speak when it was the right time for me. Now I can well imagine that a part of my hesitancy was the birth defect that would not be repaired until I was five or six. This made it difficult for me to make certain sounds, and it also, I think evoked anxiety[read more]

Responsibility and Judgment

“People will collapse from fear and from dread of the things that are coming upon the inhabited world. For the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. When all these things start to happen, stand up! Life up[read more]

Attention and Responsibility

Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!  The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; he will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love.  He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals. Zephaniah 3:17 In his book Existence and Love, the sociologist William Sadler[read more]