By Stephen L. Flowers
The biblical command to “love your neighbor as yourself” comes from the Old Testament law in Leviticus 19:18. The entire chapter deals with being holy. Jewish scholars have noted that for humans, holiness doesn’t “refer to (striving for) superior moral qualities” but “is the state of (showing we belong) to (God)” (endnote 1).
Continue reading “Jesus Did Not Call Us to Love Our Neighbor”
By Stephen L. Flowers
This is the second of two essays that actually began as separate testimonial self-reflections I’ve had over the past year or so. I came to realize that each represents a season of challenge (at times knowingly and other times unknowingly) that covered many years before experiencing some moments of clarity.
Continue reading “Seasons of Challenge, Moments of Clarity: The Last Lee”
By Stephen L. Flowers
This is the first of two essays that actually began as separate testimonial self-reflections I’ve had over the past year or so. I came to realize that each represents a season of challenge (at times knowingly and other times unknowingly) that covered many years before experiencing some moments of clarity. There is also a third season of challenge for me that was previously documented online– the story of how I came to affirm LGBTQ Christians. You can listen to it on Ivy Lamb’s podcast (also available on Apple Podcasts) or read the full story here.
Continue reading “Seasons of Challenge, Moments of Clarity: Visit From A Past Demon”
Fear Not! by Chad Johns
I have often wondered how we got from the angel described in this passage from Matthew to the American understanding of angels as beautiful women in gowns or naked babies, as neither of these appear in the Bible. I have often wondered how, but I think I know why.
Continue reading “Easter Sunday: Lenten Devotional Series 2020”
The Morning After by Pastor John
I am always struck by the contrast between this day, Holy Saturday, and the rest of Holy Week. The crowds and turmoil of Good Friday have given way to silence and stillness. There is no meal or intimacy like on Maundy Thursday. The excitement and hope of Palm Sunday’s triumphal entry have ended with two women seated before a sealed tomb.
Holy Saturday feels lifeless.
Continue reading “Holy Saturday: Lenten Devotional Series 2020”
God’s Plan by Christin Wallace
It’s crazy to think that Jesus knew what was coming and yet he still went through with it even though it was unwarranted and incredibly hard and painful. It’s truly wild to me. There are very few things that I would knowingly go through that are hard and painful.
Continue reading “Good Friday: Lenten Devotional Series 2020”
Serving One Another by Charlie Knerr
When the hour comes to depart this world, Jesus wants his disciples to know that they ought to be servants to each other. The will be blessed if they follow his example.
Continue reading “Holy Thursday: Lenten Devotional Series 2020”
The Paradox of Love by Pastor John
In his last days on earth, Jesus was betrayed by his beloved disciples whom he had walked closely with for the past three years.
Continue reading “Holy Wednesday – Lenten Devotional Series 2020”
Finding Our Strength by Hannah Elhard
Growing up Lutheran, we referred to the Trinity often. The pie chart of God in my childhood mind held three equal parts, each all-knowing and all-powerful.
Continue reading “Holy Tuesday – Lenten Devotional Series 2020”
A Poet’s Look at the Story of Jesus by Heather Monkmeyer
There is so much beautiful humanity in this passage and so much to wonder about. Can you imagine being at a dinner party with someone who had just been brought back from the grave? Perhaps you had attended the burial and now he is right in front of your eyes! What would that be like for you?
Continue reading “Holy Monday – Lenten Devotional Series 2020”
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Peace Prayer of Saint Francis
Transformed Lives by Christin Wallace
This story of Jesus, like so many, is inspiring. His strength and his cool, calm, and collected attitude are clearly shown. That is not me. I am an anxious person who is eager to please, but that is not who Jesus was. He was righteous above all else and yet he did not act that way. He asked questions to try and understand. He was patient and kind and willing to do hard things for the good of the kingdom.
Continue reading “Lenten Devotional Series 2020: Day 37”
The Challenge by Hannah Elhard
“You look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place for you in my word.”
As the audience in this passage does, it is easy for us to disregard this passage. Make ourselves separate, “I would never KILL Jesus. This passage doesn’t apply to me.” But are there other ways to understand the word “kill” here rather than the literal death?
Continue reading “Lenten Devotional Series 2020: Day 36”
Living Light by Eileen Cooper
Reading this text made me instantly link back to the scripture and sermon from February 9, 2020 at Stone Village.
Continue reading “Lenten Devotional Series 2020: Day 35”
Law vs. Justice by Chad Johns
The law is clear. Adulterers get stoned. What else could Jesus possibly say? It’s the “clear meaning of scripture” after all. He couldn’t possibly go against that or could he?
Continue reading “Lenten Devotional Series 2020: Day 34”
The Art of Waiting by Hannah Elhard
An excerpt from Oh The Places You’ll Go
Everyone is just waiting
For a train to go or a bus to come
Or a plane to go or the mail to come Or the rain to go or the phone to ring Or the snow to snow or waiting around For a Yes or a No
Or waiting for their hair to grow Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
Or waiting for wind to fly a kite
Or waiting around for a Friday Night
Or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake Or a pot to boil or a Better Break
Or a string of pearls or a pair of pants Or a wig with curls or Another Chance.
Continue reading “Lenten Devotional Series 2020: Day 33”
Is He or Isn’t He? by Beata Gray
Is Jesus the Messiah, or isn’t he? It is time to make a choice. Do we let minor things like where He comes from cast doubt on our belief in our Lord? Or do we come to Him, come thirsting for a drink of His living water?
Continue reading “Lenten Devotional Series 2020: Day 32”
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. Amen.
The Lord is Our Keeper by Charlie Kneer
Whether it is easy to admit or not, we all need help. However, so often we solve our own needs with the resources we have…time, money, the internet. It is so easy to lose sight of the fact that all we have is a gift of God’s grace. It is so easy to forget that while we sleep and while our loved ones sleep, it is God that keeps our lives.
Continue reading “Lenten Devotional Series 2020: Day 30”
A Life Raft by Hannah Elhard
My mother’s family are all Roman Catholics. My Nana is especially devout, attending daily mass like clockwork. She kneels to pray beside her bed every morning and every night before bed. She has done this for as long as anyone in the family can remember, going on 60 years. Part of her daily morning prayers is the Magnificat, the canticle drawn directly from this text in Luke.
Continue reading “Lenten Devotional Series 2020: Day 29”