With Faith Awakened

The First Sunday in Advent
Mark 13:24-37

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.

Jesus’ words that you will read sound more like something ending, rather than the beginning of a new church year. It appears to be the reversal of the first verses of Genesis when God created light, the sun, and the moon. Darkness comes again, as though chaos, first bound by God at the beginning of the Bible, is swallowing up God’s creation again. These are signs of the beginning of something gloriously new—the total reign of Jesus in creation. However, as often happens in our own personal lives, “Things have to get worse before they get better.” Present with you right now, the Lord seeks to turn the chaos of your life into one of order and light, even when you do not see it.

Walk awakened in faith and not in fear.


Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from The Revised Common Lectionary.


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Each Person Is Responsible

The Sabbath Torah Portion – Tol’doth (Progeny)
The entire portion is Genesis 25:19—28:9

The Bible Through the Seasons follows those Jewish traditions that divide the portion into thirds. This year, we read Part 2. Genesis 26:23—27:29

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.

Families are like mobiles. Ideally, each part of the mobile hangs freely in their proper place, all of them suspended by one string. Few families are like that; most are tangled together, resulting in the term, “dysfunctional family.”

The family of Isaac and Rebecca has seeds of dysfunction within it. Esau, selling his birthright for food—is he not also responsible for the loss of the blessing, which Isaac gave to the deceitful Jacob? Then there is the preferential treatment of Rebecca to Jacob, and the latter’s complicity with her plan. Even Isaac needed to trust his nose more than his hands when he “smelled” something not quite right when Jacob approached him as Esau.

We are responsible for the situations in which we find ourselves. This frees us from the language of blame, reserving the discovering of our guilt when we go and pray to the Father in secret.


Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.


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The Great Commission

Friday of the Last Week in Kingdomtide
Matthew 28:16-20

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.

Recall the mountains in this Gospel—the setting for the Beatitudes in “The Sermon on the Mount,” Mount Tabor where the Transfiguration of Jesus took place, Mount Calvary, and finally this mountain where your King bids farewell and gives “The Great Commission.”

On this last week of another year of grace, place yourself among those first disciples who heard the commission. Feel yourself a part of the Church, bonded together in such a way that Christ lives in you and works through you because of the connections you have with the members of Christ’s body.

Take the Great Commission personally. How are you living it? What changes in your life need to take place? Advent begins in two days: a new year of grace is about to rush in for you!


Fridays are dedicated to the Gospels—this year, St. Matthew.


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Letters to Seven Churches

Thursday of the Last Week in Kingdomtide
Revelation 2—3

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.

As you read these letters to the seven churches, catch the essence of the point of John’s writing to each of them. Evils that attack the church from within beset them.

Does your heart nod, acknowledging any of these points as applying to you? If so, repent. Also, hear these letters as though you yourself were one of the churches to whom John is writing. Thus your repentance will not only be personal, but communal, as you ask the Lord’s forgiveness for how the Church today has fallen into the same areas of sin as these early communities. Intercede for the Body of Christ as you read and pray.

An evening supper with the Lord in the Book of Revelation marks this last Thursday of Kingdomtide.


Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels. During the season of Kingdomtide this year, we read 1 Corinthians.


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Applause for Creation

Wednesday of the Last Week in Kingdomtide
Psalm 47

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.

I remember a delightful evening many years ago, walking with some dear brothers on the lovely grounds of the former novitiate of St. Andrew-on-Hudson in Hyde Park, New York. We asked ourselves, “Why do we only applaud when someone performs? Why don’t we clap for God’s beautiful creation … like that tree over there?” We began to applaud the tree, turning to other ones whose beauty was revealed to us the more we clapped. There was simple, clear joy in our abandon.

For our Jewish ancestors, clapping the hands for the Lord’s victory over enemies was as spontaneous as our society’s standing ovation after a great performance, or during a ticker-tape parade of heroes on Broadway in New York City.

Do not allow secular settings to be the only ones for applause—especially since clapping first began with the sacred. Applaud God in all manifestations of the divine in creation.


Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms.


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The Lasting and the Passing

Tuesday of the Last Week in Kingdomtide
Ecclesiastes 1—4

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.

Jewish people have a tradition of reading this book in the fall. They recognize that the author, attributed to be Solomon, was writing these words of wisdom in the autumn of his life. We retain this tradition in closing the final Tuesdays of Kingdomtide with this book.

The theme of the work is in 1:3. The word “meaningless” (sometimes translated as “vanity”) occurs throughout the whole book, translating the Hebrew word yitron, meaning “breath”—all that is empty and without substance.

Read these chapters with the wisdom that the Spirit gives you in Jesus—the Way, the Truth and the Life. Everything in life is ultimately empty and meaningless without the grounding and centering that life in God brings.


Tuesdays are dedicated to Old Testament history and “The Writings.”
During the season of Kingdomtide this year we read a few chapters of Proverbs followed by 2 Samuel


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Two Sides of a King

Monday of the Last Week in Kingdomtide
Isaiah 39

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.

Hezekiah is better at praying than at being a diplomat. Recalling the prayer of King Hezekiah in last week’s reading and contrasting it with today’s chapter, we discover a king who is a mixture of fervor in prayer on the one hand, weakness and co-dependency on the other.

Our last taste of Hezekiah is in his weakness. Look at the final verse of the reading. He displays the treasures of the kingdom to foreigners. He has no boundaries. He reveals precious articles intended only for the worship of the Lord, to a people with no respect for God. Jesus would say that he is “Giving pearls to swine” (Matt. 7:6).</p9

Have respect for what the Lord says to you in the privacy of your own prayer, revealing and witnessing to others according to God’s invitation. Beware of sharing emotions and personal graces with those who at best could care less or who worse, despise the things of the Lord.


Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets
In the season of Kingdomtide this year, we read Isaiah chapters 28 to 39.


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