This week we explore at the story of the binding (sacrificing?) of Isaac by Abraham. Abraham has to choose from two difficult options and has to trust that God will provide Isaac and him with what they need. Listen as Intern Pastor Jennie considers how Abraham trusts God in the most difficult action in his life and how we look to God in times of struggles.
This week we go all the way back to the beginning as we read the first of two creation accounts found at the very beginning of our biblical witness. Genesis 1 tells the story of how God created the world in seven days and after each day of creation, God took a step back and saw that it was good. Not perfect. Listen as Pastor Kate explores the goodness of a flawed creation and how we reconcile acts of violence, disease, and evil as they exist in God’s good creation.
When we read this week’s text of the demoniac, we normally see the physical miracle of healing and the releasing of the demons within the man. We look and consider the physical actions surrounding the story. But the man experiences more than the physical healing. What would it look like to consider the feelings within the story? Where do we find our honest and whole selves in God? Listen as Intern Pastor Jennie considers the emotions of the man and how we connect with God in the midst of emotions we struggle with.
What do you do when your world falls apart? Everything Job holds dear – his property, his family, his wealth, his physical health – has been taken from him. Reduced to suffering and misery, Job laments his circumstances and tries to make sense of what has happened to him. How do we also seek to make meaning of our pain? Listen as Pastor Kate considers where to find understanding when nothing makes sense and our lives have fallen apart.
We often take for granted this week’s story of Moses’s mom putting him a basket and floating him down the river to his eventual safety and future. It’s easy to see it as only a plot point in a fascinating tale that ends with God’s people being liberated from slavery. Yet, it is so much more than that – it is a testament to real love, the strength it takes to say goodbye to someone you hold so dear, and the risk that can be involved when we choose life. Listen as Pastor Kate considers how there is great strength in vulnerability and that real love sometimes means letting go.
Doubting Thomas gets a bad rap. First, the man he had hoped would change the world and bet his whole life on was dead and things looked bleak for anyone known to follow Jesus. In the midst of his grief, hope was distant and even though Thomas and the other disciples trusted Jesus, they doubted he was really coming back. So it’s no wonder the disciples locked themselves away from the world, huddled together in an attempt to save themselves. Yet Jesus finds them anyway and it is in that encounter, they are extended real, lasting peace. Listen as Pastor Kate considers the ways our fear, grief, and pain cast doubt in our lives and how Jesus encounters us to bind us back together.
Many of us have parts of ourselves that we hide from the world because we are ashamed or worry about others reactions. Yet, God knows what those things are and still loves us. In our reading this week, we encounter Jesus at the well with a Samaritan woman who was there midday probably because she didn’t want to worry about the stares and snide comments she would receive if she went another time. Listen as Pastor Kate explores how in that encounter, this woman’s shame is unraveled by Jesus’s love for her – a love that extends to each of us.
Sometimes we need to plan a funeral for our dreams because maybe then we can grieve the broken dreams and begin to see the beauty that surrounds us. This week we hear God tell the Jewish people exiled away from their homeland to begin to put down roots in Babylon – to build houses and plant gardens. Listen as Pastor Kate considers how letting one dream die might open us up to new dreams and new possibilities.
Change is the only constant in the world. And yet, it is something so many of us push back against, fight, or refuse to do. So much so, that it might take an act of God to put us on a different path – something the Apostle Paul knows all about. This week we hear the story of how Saul has a change of heart and stops persecuting the Christians to become an apostle who proclaims Jesus to the world while another disciple, Ananias, takes a risk and trusts God to encounter the newly converted Saul so he can regain his sight. Listen as Pastor Kate considers what it might take for us to change our minds, both about what we believe and whether we can trust other people have actually changed.
Is there really enough? Pharaoh would say no. God always says yes, there is always enough. Listen as Pastor Kate considers whether we trust God’s abundance and desire for freedom and justice, or if we, like Pharaoh, unravel God’s plans with our belief there simply isn’t enough to go around.