Get Ready to Celebrate

July 25, 2014

Get Ready to Celebrate ~ Martin B. Copenhaver

Keep awake – for you do not know when the master of the house will come.  From Mark 13:32-37

In this passage Jesus says that we are to live as if he will return any time. He says that we are to act as if we are servant who do not know the exact moment when the master will come home. So we are to keep alert and be ready, treating each moment as if he is about to walk through the door.

When I was a teenager and my parent left me on my own while they took a trip out of town, sometimes they would be coy about the time of their return. They wanted to keep me wondering when they would be back so that I wouldn’t get into mischief while they were way. Is that something like what Jesus is saying here?

Well, perhaps, in part. Jesus does not expect us to live in an upright manner. But, in the end, preparing for his return also mean being ready to celebrate. When our children were young, we always, kept party hats and noisemakers in our dining room because we never knew when the events of the day would be cause of celebration. Birthdays one can prepare for, but other kinds of celebrations require a more constant preparedness. And when Jesus shows up in a big and small ways in our lives it is cause for great celebration. Will you remember where you have put your party hat and noisemaker? Will you be prepared to whoop it up?

PRAYER: Jesus, help me to prepare for your appearance in our world and in my life with a heart that is tuned for joy. Amen

 Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 220.

Big Things Come in Small Packages


February 12, 2014

Big Things Come in Small Packages ~~ Lillian Daniel

[Jesus] also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth; yet when it is sown it grown up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shaded.” From Mark, 4:30-34

In grade school, they would always line us up in order of height. It was humiliating being the shortest one. People looked around to see where they ranked. I envied the tallest people, of course. But later I learned that this exercise also embarrassed the tall girls, who didn’t like towering over the boys and wanted to be shorter themselves.

My son, who stakes out the low end of the height graph in his medical chart, asked our pediatrician how tall he would be. Based on his chart and his parents’ heights, the doctor predicted he’d reach about 5 fee 9 inches. We could see that my son was disappointed in the answer. “Sorry, kid. You chose the wrong parents,” the doctor joked. I imagined that my son, like me at his age, had been dreaming of the ay he would have his sudden growth spurt and hoot past them all. Just for the record, I am still waiting for my growth spurt.

So ever since childhood, I have loved the parable of the mustard seed. It is about a small thing that makes a big impact. Since it is a parable, it’s not to be taken literally. Jesus doesn’t mean that all small things have to grow big to make a difference. You just have to live big. You have to live as thou you are a part of the kingdom, the realm, of God, because you are.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, bring me with you as you walk among the small things, noticing their greatness and claiming them for the realm of God. Amen.


Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 47.

When To Be Indignant


February 10, 2014

When To Be Indignant ~~ Anthony B. Robinson

People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not stop them…” From Mark 10:1-16

Jesus wasn’t always nice, or meek and mild. Here Jesus is indignant. “Indignation means “anger aroused by something unjust, mean, or unworthy.” I like it that Jesus got indignant, that he felt angry about things that were wrong or mean. Here Jesus was indignant with his own disciples for telling children to go away.

The psychologist Erik Erikson once cautioned, “Do not misuse one of the strongest forces in life – true indignation in the service of vital values – to justify your own small self.”

Does it sometimes seem to you that toady indignation is overused or used in the wrong causes? All sorts  of people are ticked off and “not going to take it anymore.” Someone called ours a “culture of complaint.” We complain early and often. Indignation is often put in the service of our own “small self.”

Jesus was indignant, not on his own behalf, but on behalf o others how couldn’t stand up for themselves, for children. In Expressing his indignation, Jesus buck the conventional wisdom, surprising his disciples by telling them that children could teach them a lot. On behalf of what “vital values” ought you and I to be experience and expressing true indignation?

PRAYER: Dear God, help me not to misuse our over use the strong force of indignation, but to use it sparingly and rightly in the service of truly vital values. Amen.


God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 45.