Lectionary: Proper 18C / Ordinary 23C / Pentecost +16

prison-Bible

Jeremiah 18:1-11

“Broken, but not Shattered”

by AMN

One of the most overlooked descriptions of our thrice holy God is that of a potter working with freshly-made clay. In the beginning of Jeremiah 19, the prophet is sent to a potter’s house to watch the craftsman work with the raw material. As Jeremiah watches the potter, he notices that it takes a second effort before the potter is satisfied with the vessel’s form. Continue reading

Lectionary: Proper 14C / Ordinary 19C / Pentecost +12

“Our True Nature”

by AMN

Isaiah 1:1, 10-20

I often hear people say that this country is a godly nation and I see people take pride when “God Bless America” gets played. In Isaiah’s day, the Kingdom of Judah felt the same exact way about their nation. Who could blame them? With direct access to God, the beautiful temple of Solomon and having more priests and Levites than the ‘hood has liquor stores; it put the other tribes in the Northern Kingdom to shame.

Continue reading

Lectionary/Poem: Proper 14C / Ordinary 19C / Pentecost +12

by Kwame Toure Kagale

“The Trampling of My Courts”

“When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?”
– Isaiah 1:12 –

I was lost and alone,
behind these bars of steel.
Afraid of what was ahead of me,
with no one to appeal.

Continue reading

Lectionary: Proper 13C / Ordinary 18C / Pentecost +11

Proper 13C / Ordinary 18C / Pentecost +11

What is the point of prison?

by Matthew B. Harper

Hosea 11:1-11 or Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23
Psalm 107:1-9, 43
Colossians 3:1-11
Luke 12:13-21

With over two million men and women incarcerated in America today, and millions more under custodial supervision, it is perhaps time to ask ourselves, what’s the point?

Continue reading

Lectionary: Proper 11C / Ordinary 16C / Pentecost +9

by Matthew B. Harper

Amos 8:1-12
Psalm 52 or 82
Colossians 1:15-28
Luke 10:38-42

Amos is one of the most relevant books of the Minor Prophets, and one of the least known. Sequestered at the tail end of our Old Testament, these books sit seldom used. Called “minor” only because they pale in length compared to Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel (doesn’t everything). These are not minor words from God. Some of our great treasures, like words to “do justice and love mercy,” or the timeless tale of Jonah and the fish, come from these books. It is from Amos that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King quoted when he cried for “justice to roll on like a river.”

Continue reading

Lectionary: Proper 10C / Ordinary 15C / Pentecost +8

by AMN

Psalm 82

“The Office of God”

In this Psalm of Asaph, the psalmist rightly talks about who is actually in control of everything and those who abuse God’s office of being a Judge and diviner of justice will one day have to answer for their doings; including those who sit as appointed officials in our government.

Continue reading

Lectionary: Proper 7C / Ordinary 12C / Pentecost +5

1 Kings 19:1-15

“That Still Small Voice”

by AMN

I hold this passage of God’s holy word very dear to my depraved heart. That still small voice that came to Elijah on that mountain came to me during a life-altering moment in my life. I was in solitary confinement and literally fighting against spiritual wickedness in my cell.

Continue reading

Lectionary: Proper 6C / Ordinary 11C / Pentecost +4

1 Kings 21:1-21a

“Remember the Power”

by CM

It can be so easy to forget the simple fact that God is in charge. And by “in charge” I don’t simply mean the director of the course of events as they naturally unfold. I mean that God is the One with whom you check your opinions and actions and the One who is indeed the Sovereign Ruler.

Continue reading

Lectionary: Easter 7C

by Matthew B. Harper

Acts 16:16–34
Psalm 97
Revelation 22:12–14, 16–17, 20–21
John 17:20–26

We are in the seventh week of Easter, and our extra readings from the Acts of the Apostles are drawing to a close. But before they do, we read this wonderful account of God shaking the very walls of prison. It is a fitting place to read for this Prison Lectionary.

Continue reading

Easter Vigil

by Matthew B. Harper

Isaiah 55:7 – Let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thought; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon…

Psalm 42:1 – As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.

Romans 6:4 – Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death…so we too might walk in newness of life

Matthew 28:7 – Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘he has been raised from the dead

All of these readings come to us from the service for the Easter Vigil, and together they sum up our faith journey.

The words from Isaiah are in a chapter that my Bible titles “invitation to an abundant life.” They are the words that invite us out of our old life of Sin, and into the life of God. We are a fallen people, and the only way back is through a proper relationship with our God. But we cannot go as we are. We cannot be with God when we love our wicked ways.

I am in constant fellowship with godly men who have been criminals of all kinds. The very foundation of their repentance and transformation is to forsake their wicked ways. There comes a day in every person’s life when they are just tired of being wrong, sinful, and alone. To give up what is wrong, and to return to the Lord, is the beginning of all good things.

When we first begin to turn from our sin, and to turn our face back to the Lord we have such a passionate hunger for our God. We want to be with God and to know God’s ways in all things. It is a sad truth that the ways of the world can make that passion dull in our minds and hearts over time. When we are complacent we can forget that there are bigger things than us. We lose our focus on God, and that puts the whole world out of focus. We have to take time to refocus our hearts and minds.

Christ’s death is something we like to talk about, and we cannot allow ourselves to forget that it is our death as well. When we were baptized we were buried with Christ, so that we could be raised in Christ. This Lent we have worked to put to death those things not of God, and to bring forth those things that are of God. This Easter morning we will celebrate Christ’s rebirth just as we celebrate our own rebirth through Christ. Through Christ all of us are in newness of Life.

Mary Magdalene has often been called the ‘disciple to the disciple’ because of the commandment given to her by the angel. It was she that was the first one told to ‘go’ and to tell the good news, and she did. But it did not stop there, and this commandment is given to us as well.

When we realized we are a fallen people, we turned to God; when we thirsted for God, we were filled; when we were crucified with Christ, we were resurrected to new life. In all things we have been given an unbelievable gift from the creator of all creation, and it is the only natural thing that we should go forth and proclaim this goodness to all people. If you are a Christian, how can you not want that very same thing for everyone?

Tonight is the Easter Vigil, and we sit and await the resurrection of our Lord. We sit as if we were children on Christmas Eve; we sit with great anticipation awaiting the new morning. We may already know what will happen on Easter morning, but we cannot allow ourselves to miss the majesty of it. So rise again this Easter. Rise again a new creation, forgiven of your sins, and alive in Christ. Trade your happiness for Joy, find Peace in a troubled world, and pass on the Love of Christ to everybody you meet.

O God, who made this most holy night to shine with the glory of the Lord’s resurrection: Stir up in your Church that Spirit of adoption which is given to us in Baptism, that we, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship you in sincerity and truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. BCP 295