Summary: Jesus meets a Samaritan woman and tells her that people encounter God, not in specifically designated places, but out there, beyond the walls. If God is not confined to churches, or to gatherings of like-minded individuals, then we may need to reassess who God is and what a life of faith looks like.
Category: ON Scripture–The Bible
Summary: Jesus begins his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel with nine statements that declare categories of people “blessed,” or content. Yet the people he describes are the ones we usually view with pity. In announcing whom he has come to bless, Jesus upends our ordinary values about where and how success and contentment are found.
Summary: Jesus’ parable about a woman who searches diligently for a lost coin illustrates God’s determined commitment to our welfare. It also invites us to imagine God at work in other situations, sometimes very ordinary-looking situations, when people make themselves present to others. Antoinette Tuff, the elementary-school employee who talked a gunman into laying down his weapon, shows us what God is like.
Summary: Jesus’ prayer in John 17 affirms this: “I need other people. I do, if I want the chance to experience union with God and plunge into the heart of what God is about. And I don’t need only other people who are like me; love requires me to attend to a wider group.”
Summary: In the wake of inexplicable, frightening tragedies, Jesus calls people to repent. Repentance involves a new way of seeing the world, God’s presence in it, and our place in God’s intentions. The news always reminds us our existence is a fragile one, but we nevertheless play a part in God’s program for grace, mercy, and justice.
Summary: When Jesus declares his intentions to bring God’s blessings to others beyond his hometown, the people of Nazareth strenuously oppose him. Why are we often angered or scared by the prospect of empowering outsiders.
Summary: Tragedies, like the mass slaughter of schoolchildren in Connecticut, prompt some to offer cringe-worthy declarations about how God might be or not be active in our lives. But the song of Mary, Jesus’ mother, teaches us to speak about God more responsibly.
Summary: Jesus sets his own pattern as a “servant” in contrast to the oppressive, self-serving tendencies of his society’s leaders. Does this passage help us think about government in our time, and about the religious commitments of our candidates?
Summary: “If pondering Jesus’ crucifixion doesn’t make you uncomfortable, you probably aren’t doing it right.”
Summary: What should we take from the biblical passage in which Jesus redefines who qualifies as members of his family? What can this mean for our understanding of what counts as “family” today?