One of Christian theology’s most prophetic voices offers a challenging biblical analysis of the role of money in our culture. Wealth in America, Brueggemann says, acts as a narcotic, numbing us. “The great contradiction is that we have more and more money and less and less generosity — less and less public money for the needy, less charity for the neighbor.” (Photo: Prisoner 5413, Creative Commons)
Lectionary Reflection, 3rd Sunday after Epiphany, January 27, 2013
This week’s lessons provide many opportunities to feast on the Word of God. One may also reflect on the power of words in our communal life, individual faith development, stewardship, and evangelism. (Photo by Rachel-Esther. Thanks!)
When Zacchaeus encountered Jesus, he did not promise to read scripture more faithfully nor to attend the synagogue more regularly. On this occasion he was not pledging his time or his talent to the programmatic mission of the faith community. Worthy as those are — and necessary for the life of the people of God — this visit was about something else.
Many people throughout the church are concerned about ecological issues. The health and well-being of our planet affects everyone. What does the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the ministry of his church, have to offer a world concerned about its natural environment? (NASA photo taken by astronauts on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.)
You and I learn much about living as faithful stewards from the examples of others. For example, let’s examine the calls of two men, hoping thereby that we can examine, accept, and renew our own calls. (Illustration is Michaelangelo’s depiction of Isaiah at the Sistine Chapel.)
To a present culture of materialism, selfishness, and consumerism, we are called to model in our own lives and teach others Christian financial stewardship. Each of us clergy and lay leaders can be trained in our discipling to not only make good stewards of our people, but also to talk the language of fund raising and do so with the conviction that it is an important part of our Christian ministry. (Photo by Fallonyates, used by Creative Commons license.)
Financial stewardship is not only a matter of faithful giving but of faithful living. In response to the gospel, we submit our lives to the rule of God, to the lordship of Christ, and to the direction of the Holy Spirit, so that we may be the people God wants us to be and have the lives God wants us to have.
In this essay, Douglas John Hall explores stewardship of creation by asking the age-old question, “What are human beings for.” He rejects the pessimism of those who say the crisis is beyond hope, and instead he finds hope in Christ. (Photo by aussiegall, used by Creative Commons license. Thanks!)
By The Rev. Roy Roderick
Although followers of Christ are not to expect thanks for sharing the Good News entrusted to them, this does not mean that no gratitude is necessary in religion. For faith, ingratitude is a tragedy. As King Lear said in the day of his own tragedy, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.” So many never even give to God a grace before a meal, but feel compelled to offer a tip to the server afterwards.
LECTIONARY REFLECTION – April 25
Oh my! How we long for everything in life to be made plain to us. Not very many people I know actually enjoy living in the tension of ambiguity and the unknown or unseen. Most folks prefer a world of clear blacks and whites to mottled grays and muddy waters. Unfortunately, we often like our theology like that, too