Introduction to Daily Bible

Welcome to Daily Bible, my effort to share insights while reading the Bible from cover to cover in the course of a year. I hope you’ll find my introductory comments helpful enough to inspire your own reading. You don’t have to start at the beginning–jump in wherever you like, and we can be a reading community together. I appreciate the connections you notice and share in the comments below. I also welcome your challenges and critiques, to which I will add my own. The ancient texts we read now are not infallible–only God is God. However, the Bible does record human efforts to describe God’s activity through the centuries. God still speaks today through the Bible, which becomes (holy) Scripture as readers like us find in its pages God’s wisdom for our own time. Continue reading “Introduction to Daily Bible”

Good News Can’t Wait

Community United Church of Christ (Saint Paul Park, Minnesota)

Text: Mark 1:1-20

These days after Christmas are a little treasure that I often forget about. They exist here in an overlooked space on the calendar, a quiet little valley between the mountain peaks of Christmas and New Years. Everyone is so hurried and busy before Christmas: buying presents and wrapping them, putting up trees, making family arrangements, planning meals, and visiting loved ones. But now, when the presents have been opened, family visits are concluding, and enough sweets have been consumed to send us all into comas, we experience what feels like real Sabbath. When Christmas comes on a Friday like this year, most of us get several days before we have to go back to work, before the stock market opens again, and before we have to file year-end reports. These days of leisure following Christmas are something like the “vacation after vacation” which we long for at other times of the year. Continue reading “Good News Can’t Wait”

Where the Light Shines Through

Community United Church of Christ (St. Paul Park, Minnesota)

Text: Luke 2:1-20

I have what might appear to some as an unhealthy fascination with fire. I mostly keep it under control, but do light candles nearly every day of the week. There’s usually always one burning on my desk, and I can tell you the location of every stash of candles here in the church. Occasionally I’ve been teased for my preoccupation with fire, as well as my messy habit of melting one spent candle’s wax into another. I should just learn to make candles, and then I can justify this obsession as a life-enriching hobby. But at my current rate of combustion, smoke inhalation will probably get me first. Continue reading “Where the Light Shines Through”

Home Again

Community United Church of Christ (St. Paul Park, MN)

Scripture: Ezra 1:1-4 and 3:1-4, 10-13

Last weekend Javen and I spent most of Saturday on his grandparents’ farm near Dassel, Minnesota. We and almost a dozen other members of the extended family gathered together for a Swedish celebration of Christmastime. Javen and his grandmother worked together for several hours making thin potato pancakes, or lefse. I did my part by taking pictures and downing cups of glögg, a potent Scandinavian drink. When it came time for dinner, we ate great heaps of delicious homemade food, including Swedish meatballs and the lefse (with butter spread by traditional wooden knives), on special holiday china that Grandma Aileen has had for many years. To show that I too could get into the Swedish holiday spirit, I even had me a little piece of lutefisk. The only thing we were missing in this postcard-ready Swedish Christmas were those iconic Scandinavian sweaters, but I assure you that one has been ordered for next year.

Continue reading “Home Again”

Road Construction

Community United Church of Christ (St. Paul Park, Minnesota)

Isaiah 40:1-11

All this year, driving along Snelling Avenue where we live has been absolutely miserable. This is a major arterial route in Saint Paul, on which thousands of cars, buses and bicycles travel every day. Yet it’s been torn up for what seems like forever. It started this spring, when the Snelling Avenue bridge over Interstate 94 was closed and then removed entirely. That bridge wasn’t replaced and reopened until the State Fair at the end of August. No cars, buses, bikes or people could get over the highway at Snelling for four whole months. At the same time in our immediate neighborhood just north of the bridge, every inch of Snelling got a total makeover, which jackhammered sidewalks, churned up the pavement and choked traffic to a single, crawling, dusty lane. As if this weren’t enough, all the rest of Snelling Avenue for miles north and south of us has been torn up at half-mile increments on both sides of the road, to put in stations for a Bus Rapid Transit line. So all year long, travel on Snelling Avenue has been nearly impossible. City buses were rerouted and delayed, cars were detoured a half-dozen different ways, and people decided to avoid Snelling Avenue like it was the bubonic plague. So when I hear Isaiah the prophet proclaim a highway prepared, with the uneven ground becoming level and the rough places a plain, all I can think of is road construction.

Continue reading “Road Construction”