Text: Luke 2:  22-40
Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word . . .”
What is it about this encounter that convinces Simeon that he is, at last, dismissed? What has he been waiting for? What is the word that assured him through these days, months, years? What might he do tomorrow? Will there be a new task, a new commission? I wonder.- Andy Kille
Text: Sirach 24:1-12
This Sunday’s text is a little unusual. It comes from the book of Sirach or Ecclesiasticus, one of the texts in the Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical writings that come from the period between the Old and New Testaments and are often left out of Protestant Bibles. (You can find the details and history here.)
What can you say about wisdom in your life? How are you wise? Not so wise? In what sense might you be a place in which Wisdom dwells? What do you know of a voice that comes from the Most High? When do you sense within you that spirit of glory? Continue reading
Text: Matthew 2:13-23
“A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” Matthew offers Herod’s massacre of children as a “fulfillment” of the “prophecy,” found in Jeremiah 31:15. Yet, this image of Rachel, the matriarch of Israel, weeping for her children seems less a prophecy than a description of the tragic state of the people of Israel in exile, as yet unredeemed. How many other times in the past and even today is Jeremiah’s description “fulfilled.” Where do you find mothers weeping for their children in the pages of the morning newspaper, on the TV, in your own day-to-day living? What kind of “fulfillment” might these mothers wish for, hope for, dream of?
– Andy Kille
This Sunday’s design invites you to consider some artistic renderings of the story of Jesus, Herod, the Slaying of the Innocents and the Flight into Egypt. Here are some links for your consideration: Continue reading
Text: Jeremiah 31:7-14
Jeremiah did not go into exile with his people; he writes for those who were left behind after the Babylonians took the upper levels of the culture back to Babylon in a series of three deportations. For those left behind, the situation was dire – wells were poisoned, soil salted; it is thought that the book of Lamentations was written during this time. Those who survived went to Egypt out of hunger and desperation. Jeremiah’s consolation was that there would be a remnant, some who would eventually go home, and recreate a world. With weeping they will come and with consolations I will lead them back, says God, through Jeremiah. I will turn their mourning into joy, says the Lord. Continue reading
A blessed Christmas to you and yours from all the staff, editors, and writers at Bible Workbench.
May we all
not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. [T. S. Eliot, “Little Gidding” from Four Quartets]
Text: Luke 2:41-52
Consider the possibility that this story of Jesus and his family is also your story – an experience that happens often between parents and children but as well within your Self. What if there is part of you that is a child in the process of growing up and another part parents who are responsible for this inner child’s safety, nurture and development? What have you ever experienced of that immature part of you (pre falling in love, changing career, beginning retirement, facing serious illness) that is most often supervised and protected by the parental within as you reach a stage and dream of “traveling to Jerusalem” – crossing the boundary and stepping over a line? What have you ever known of the surprise of discovering within yourself a part or aspect or hidden dimension braving the fears of a dangerous threshold only to discover on the other side a new and exciting part of your Self – a you that both excites and terrifies your parents within? Where might there be within you even now a twelve year old who is waiting for parental permission to leave home, travel to “Jerusalem,” where he/she might find a voice and speak important truth? How do your inner parents exercise their authority of keeping you home and silent? What is the conversation between these family members that is waiting to happen within you at any age?
– Bill Dols