First Glance: Matthew 6:9-10

“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9a) For many Christians, the Lord’s Prayer is the first prayer we learned by heart. We may pray it every week in worship or every day at meals. This prayer has worn deep paths in our souls. However, our familiarity with the prayer Jesus taught…

First Glance: Luke 23:34

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. (Luke 23:34) Jesus does not ask that his enemies get what they deserve (“Father, smite them, for they knew exactly what they were doing!”). Instead, he prays for their forgiveness. He prays…

First Glance: Luke 1:1-25, 57-80

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.” (Luke 1:13-15a) I…

Review: Rejoicing in Lament

J. Todd Billings, Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer & Life in Christ. Brazos Press, 2015. It is a rare book that can hover between the academic and the personal in a way that enriches both realms. After he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma at age 39, J. Todd Billings’ life took a surprising…

First Glance: Luke 1:5-25, 57-66

“But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.” (Luke 1:13a)   Advent is a season of longing. As we anticipate Christmas and the celebration of the coming of Christ, we are invited to long with Israel for the Messiah. Zechariah and Elizabeth had lived with longing. This…

First Glance: Psalm 122

  Jerusalem—built as a city     that is bound firmly together. To it the tribes go up,     the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel,     to give thanks to the name of the Lord. (Psalm 122:3-4) A few weeks ago we had the unique opportunity to walk on the temple mount. The tension was high. Armed…

First Glance: Psalm 113

Who is like the Lord our God, who sits on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap. (Ps 113:5-7) Sometimes a prayer comes at just the right time. God takes all our feeble plans and hopes,…

First Glance: Psalm 51

  to the leader. A psalm of David, when the prophet Nathan came to him, after he had gone into Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, According to your steadfast love. According to you abundant mercy, Blot out my transgressions.” (Ps. 51:1) Every prayer has a story. Whether it’s the simple cry, “Help!”, a…

Why So Much Anger?: #YesAllWomen and Psalm 137

In response to the recent shootings in Santa Barbara, the hashtag #YesAllWomen has swarmed social media sites. Millions of tweets have begun or ended with #YesAllWomen – signaling their intended support of the movement. Originally, I noticed a few friends of ours using the hashtag on twitter to share stories and statements supporting women and…

First Glance: Acts 16:16-40

  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. – Acts 16:25 Paul and Silas have found themselves in quite a conundrum. They spent the last several days being followed around by a young girl who had a spirit in her. She kept shouting about their status as servants…