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There’s no such thing as a free lunch. That mind-set permeates our culture. For example, here in the South, we are taught never to return a dish empty after someone gives us food. So in order to keep my neighbors from reciprocating every time I share a treat, I have...

Holy God, encourage us to give up our spiritual scales. May we allow ourselves to rest in your grace and to focus on relationship, not rules. Amen.


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Lectionary Week
February 19–25, 2018
Scripture Overview

We cannot earn God’s love. Going back to the time of Abraham, God’s blessing has been based on faith. God chose Abraham for a covenant not because Abraham was perfect but because he believed God. The psalmist reminds his audience of their ancient relationship with God and expresses the hope that it will continue through future generations. Paul reinforces the centrality of faith in Romans. Following the law was not bad, but no one should believe that following the law could earn God’s favor. In Mark 8, Jesus pushes his disciples in their understanding of faith. Trusting God means surrendering everything, including position and reputation. If we value those things more than God, then we are not displaying the faith of Abraham.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16. No rules, just relationship. How comfortable are you in your relationship with God? Upon what does it rest?
• Read Psalm 22. Which verses are most familiar to you? In what ways does your faith journey live in the interplay of shadow and light?
• Read Romans 4:13-25. How easily do you live in God’s grace? In what areas do you find yourself “reckoning” your righteousness?
• Read Mark 8:31-38. When the world asks you who you are, what is your reply?

Respond by posting a prayer.

Matt croasmun casula

Jesus is speaking to us . . .

"Many of us are used to the idea that we might speak to God or to Jesus. Maybe at times it feels like shouting into the darkness or whatnot, but it’s not hard to do—at least as an imaginative exercise. What’s harder—even imaginatively—is to try to hear Jesus speaking to us. Are we just making things up? Are we just using Jesus as a puppet to say whatever we want to hear?" READ MORE