The Upper Room is here for you in these anxious times. Click Here

Buy or Subscribe Today

Disciplines is available in a variety of formats: print, digital, and print/digital combo packages. A digital subscription includes access to author bios, the ability to comment, and audio lectio.

Sign Up Today

Many years ago, I heard this passage from Luke’s Gospel read from the pulpit of the African-American church where I have been a member for more than sixty years. It was the Sunday before Christmas, and our pastor chose to preach his sermon on these verses, which are commonly referred...

God, sanctify our imaginations so that we might be able to read the scriptures through the eyes of the poor and oppressed, because it was for them that you brought good news. Amen.


0 Comments
Log In to leave a comment
Lectionary Week
December 9–15, 2019
Scripture Overview

Isaiah anticipates a future time of total restoration. The desert will bloom, the blind will see, the lame will walk, and the people will return to Jerusalem with joy. Since ancient times, some have understood this as a description of the age of the Messiah. Luke records the song of Mary. After Elizabeth blesses her and her unborn child, Mary praises God for God’s strength, mercy, and generosity. In the epistle, James encourages his audience to be patient as they await the second coming of the Lord. In the same way, we wait for the birth of the Messiah during Advent. An uncertain John the Baptist sends a message to Jesus to ask if he is the promised Messiah. Jesus responds by affirming that he fulfills the messianic expectations in the prophets.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Isaiah 35:1-10. When has scripture strengthened you through personal or societal crises?
Read Luke 1:47-55. Those with power interpret scripture differently than those who are oppressed. How can you make room for perspectives other than your own as you interpret scripture?
Read James 5:7-10. When have you had to endure frustration with patience? How have you been strengthened by these experiences?
Read Matthew 11:2-11. What does it mean to you to be greater than John the Baptist?

Respond by posting a prayer.

Our resolve must be different. My prayer is that we have finally reached a tipping point. My hope is that when the protests fade and the marches slow that our will as a church to truly eradicate the scourge of racism won’t dissipate but grows even stronger.” 

View a growing list of resources for the spiritual work of overcoming racism.