Matthew 10: 16-39

Illustrated New Resources

  • Nothing to Fear But...

    by Jim Chern
    What are you afraid of? Not too long ago, there was a story that was published entitled Cancer Doctors Avoid End-of Life Talk. It reported that many oncologists often refuse to tell terminally ill patients the truth about their condition. One of the main reasons is fear. The doctors talk about their own personal fear over breaking difficult news coupled with their concern of bringing even more fear to their patients. The article went through a list of reasons why this was so difficult for the doctors but, not surprisingly the same study said that cancer patients who were informed by their doctor of their true condition often did better than those who were not. Most patients who knew their condition were better prepared to face the reality, as well as their families. It helped them make decisions they had been putting off. Sure it didn’t remove all of people’s understandable fears, but the truth often helped mitigate it...
  • Proper 7A (2020)

    by Delmer Chilton
    Once, when I was maybe five or six years old, my grandfather tried to teach me how to prepare a bundle of tobacco leaves for market. The adults in my family spent several months in the fall doing this. It was a very hands-on, time consuming, traditional craft. The farmer took a handful of cured leaves, arranged the stems evenly, then wrapped a leaf around the top, binding the whole thing together. Every time I tried it quickly fell apart. After what seemed to me an eternity but, since I was a little kid, was probably only 10 or 15 minutes, I threw my leaves down in disgust and whined, “Come on Grandpa, show me the easy way!” Grandpa looked at me, chuckled a bit, picked up the leaves, and drew me into his arms, “I’m sorry to tell you this Son, but there just ain’t no easy way.” In today’s gospel lesson, we hear Jesus say the same thing, “Child of God, I know you want to follow me, and I have to tell you a difficult truth; there is no easy way. There is only this way, the way of the cross.”...
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 7A)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    Years ago a man named Millard Fuller was pretty near the apex of an American success story. He was a high-octane corporate executive working eight days a week and pulling down close to a million bucks a year. But then one day he heard God calling to him, telling him his life was overfull and his priorities out of whack. So in prayer with his wife one day, Fuller re-committed his life to Christ. He quit his job, moved to a more modest house, and wondered what to do next. What he ended up doing next was building affordable houses for low-income families who could purchase these homes interest-free. Today we are most of us well aware of the great good Habitat for Humanity has done. A preacher once re-counted Fuller’s story but was later approached by someone who asked, “How old were Fuller’s children when he quit his job like that?” It took this preacher a minute to appreciate what lay behind this query: how dare Fuller uproot his kids and subject them to a less lavish lifestyle just so that he could serve God?!...
  • Jesus and a Sword

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    In the typical arrangement, shown here in Hans Memling's triptych, Jesus sits on a throne. A stem of lilies extends from one side of his mouth; a sword extends from the other. The lilies symbolize mercy; the sword justice. Jesus' right hand (under the lilies) forms a symbol of blessing; his left hand (under the sword) is palm down, indicating a curse. As the ultimate and final judge, Jesus brings both mercy and justice. Is that what the sword in Matthew's gospel means? Does that sword represent judgment?...
  • Rise Up

    by Robin Wilson
    Besides a bunch of college history professors, who in recent memory talked about the American Revolution until the musical "Hamilton" hit Broadway? In this Tony-Award-winning hit, a gloriously diverse cast uses rap, hip hop, jazz, R&B, ballads, and more to share the life and legacy of Alexander Hamilton with the 21st century. We learn of his tragic childhood, his gifts with the spoken and written word, his passion for justice and revolution, and his human frailties. We hear how he created our federal financial structures and how he made many enemies over the years with his fearlessness in speaking up for the causes in which he believed. Throughout the play, Hamilton is held in contrast with Aaron Burr, another intelligent rising star with many gifts, but a man who refuses to speak out for what he knows is right. Burr continually waits to see where the majority of society will land on important issues. He refuses to take a stand, refuses to help those who are on the side of good, refuses to lead. Burr waits so long to side with the revolutionaries that he is snubbed repeatedly by George Washington for his lack of courage and character. Aaron Burr gets excluded from the key decisions that help win a revolution and shape a young nation, and he never gains the respect by those who embrace Hamilton for his bravery and willingness to speak up, even in the face of a powerful British government, loyalists all around, and a fledgling movement. In the song, "My Shot," Hamilton and his fellow revolutionaries get energized to lead the colonists to get out from under the oppressive burdens imposed on the colonies by King George and the British rule, to stand up for what is just, and to wait no longer to work for the cause that they realize is worth living and dying for, a cause beyond themselves, a cause that will make their world a better place. As Hamilton and his friends become bolder and more resolute in their plans, this song reaches a fever pitch with the call to "Rise Up!" It is time to take their shot, to act for that which is most important to them...

Other New Resources

Recommended Resources

[Based on requests from several members (although I am reluctant to do so since my favorites may not be those of others), I am listing here some of my own favorite resources. Hopefully, members will have the ability to rate all of the resources on a 5-point system soon!! FWIW!!]
  • Discipleship

    Illustrations from the Archives
  • Sacrifice

    Illustrations from the Archives
  • A Difficult Text for Difficult Crises

    by D. Mark Davis
    (includes lots of Greek exegesis!!)
  • Observe the Sparrow

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("'His name was Sam,' the student said to me. 'As I recall, I only talked to him on two occasions. He was a janitor at our high school. Looking back on my high school years, I'd have to say that maybe he was the most important person in my life during that period..." and other illustrations)
  • Speak the Word with Boldness

    by Sil Galvan
    I remember golf when it was played B.C. (before carts). I was caddie master at a busy club. One morning, a gentleman asked me if I could use another caddie. He said he had a nineteen-year-old mentally retarded son who was strong and healthy. "The boy knows nothing about golf," the gentleman said, "but I'm sure he can be taught how to caddie." The man's son, named Happy, had never been to school nor had any training. (Back then, there were no special education programs.) As expected, some people did not want Happy to caddie for them. Many days, he could not get out. I explained this to his father as tactfully as possible, but his dad was just grateful that Happy could be part of a normal activity and make a few dollars each week.
  • Lessons from the Master Teacher: Follow Your Passion

    by Fred Kane
    "Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo were running backs for the Chicago Bears who began rooming together in 1967 when Sayers was recovering from major knee surgery that threatened to end his career. It was a first for race relations for professional football. They were the first white and black to share a room. They developed a loyalty to each other that we learned about from the movie Brian’s Song..."
  • Impossible Odds

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("In 1998 a young priest, who was just 33 years old at the time, had some devastating news. He'd been suffering from blurred vision and problems with balance, and tests revealed that he had multiple sclerosis. There's no good time to get news like that, but this was a particularly bad moment. His second child had just been born, and he had just taken up a new job at Coventry Cathedral as director of the International Centre for Reconciliation which was based there..." - powerful story!)
  • Proper 11A

    by Bill Loader
    always good insights!
  • The Sparrow at Starbucks

    by John Thomas Oaks
    It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square. For a musician, it's the most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I'm told, and consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right. I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who also added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments. During our emotional rendition of "If You Don't Know Me by Now," I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along. After the tune was over, she approached me. "I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?" she asked.
  • Exegetical Notes (Matthew 10:24-39)

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegsis)
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Ordinary 12A)

    by Various Authors
    A second grader once asked his teacher how much the earth weighed. The teacher looked up the answer in an Encyclopedia. "Six thousand million, million tons," she answered. The little boy thought for a minute and then asked, "Is that with or without people?" Viewed from one perspective, it might very well seem that people don't really matter very much. After all, we are but microscopic inhabitants of a tiny planet orbiting a relatively obscure star in a small galaxy among the billions and billions of stars and galaxies that make up creation. Yet the God of creation has counted the very hairs of our heads. Wow! What a magnificent picture of God.
  • Ask the Creator

    by Carlos Wilton

Illustrated Resources from 2017 to 2019

  • Ordinary 12A (2017)

    by Liddy Barlow
    Lawyer Kenneth Feinberg chaired the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, which gave money to the family of each person who died in the 2001 terror attacks. Starting with a formula and then using his discretion, Feinberg considered the victims’ age, their dependents, whether they had life insurance—and their income and earning potential. The value assigned to these lost lives varied dramatically: as little as $250,000 for blue-collar workers, as much as $7.1 million for executives. Feinberg later reflected on his experience. “As I met with the 9/11 families and wrestled with issues surrounding the valuation of lives lost, I began to question this basic premise of our legal system,” he told NPR. “Trained in the law, I had always accepted that no two lives were worth the same in financial terms. But now I found the law in conflict with my growing belief in the equality of all life.”... After the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund completed its work, Kenneth Feinberg received a call from the president of Virginia Tech, asking him to manage the fund that would distribute compensation to the families of the students and faculty killed in the 2007 mass shooting. “I realized that Feinberg the citizen should trump Feinberg the lawyer,” he said. “My legal training would no longer stand in the way. This time all victims—students and faculty alike—would receive the same compensation.”...
  • Jesus Doesn't Believe in Family Values

    by Laura Brekke
    As Christians, we recognize that our allegiance has shifted. No longer are we to pledge ourselves primarily to family. Indeed, we are called to pick up our Cross and leave our family. What this looks like today is holding all of our relationships loosely, keeping Jesus as the primary relationship in our lives. It also means we radically redefine family. No longer are parents and children the primary form of family. Jesus created a “found family” with 12 disciples of different ages, skills, and backgrounds. He created family with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He created family in an Upper Room. Biological bonds are replaced by the bonds of kinship in the great family of Jesus Christ.
  • Small, Swift Birds

    by Jim Eaton
    One of my favorite bands has a song called, Small, Swift Birds. It uses this image to teach us to appreciate how important every encounter is, to teach us to appreciate each moment. I have heard about the lives of small swift birds.
They dazzle with their colour and their deftness through the air.
Just a simple glimpse will keep you simply standing there….
And then there’s the day we look for them and can’t find them anywhere.
  • For Christ's Sake, Tell the Truth!

    by Owen Griffiths
    Did you ever see that great musical Les Miserables? There’s a song lyric that succinctly makes Jesus’ point in verse 10:28. Jean Valjean, the ex-con who has broken parole and started a new life, learns that a man who looks just like him has been arrested in his place. He knows he will be sent back to prison if he corrects the mistaken identity. He also knows the cruelty the innocent man will face in prison. In a poignant and powerful solo he sings, “If I speak I am condemned. If I keep silent I am damned.”
  • Providence

    by John Kavanaugh, SJ
    The most fearless person I have known took these words of Jesus seriously. Physical discomfort, strife, censure, disappointment, foolishness in the eyes of the world, none of these could intimidate her. Even the sight of violence, whether in ugly war or mean streets, seemed not to daunt her. She once saw a rape in progress. She did not try to hide, did not worry or fret. She simply pulled her old Volkswagen over to the sidewalk close to the sordid scene and looked at the man—his foot on the stomach of his victim. He was frozen by her light, by her sight. He insisted that she leave, escape, mind her own business. Yet she stayed with her terrible light, her fearless gaze. After many minutes, the rapist ran. And she, with the victim, came to me and my secure community to seek help.
  • What Are the Fears That Keep You from Flying?

    by Terrance Klein
    We human beings never stop being fearful of life, just as we never stop sinning, and the harmony between those two facts of life ought to tell us something. There is still another congruence: Fear, like sin, is not immediately recognized. It takes a certain grace to see how fear clips our wings. That is because fear is so much a part of our lives, of the way we live each day. And there is a third similarity: Fear, like sin, is not something that comes from a healthy mind. There is something irrational about both fear and sin.
  • The Birds

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    Jesus has seen these birds (or some like them) before, and he will see them again. Not just see them but mention them in words and deeds that have been recorded for us. Here, the reference to the sparrows compares the worth and value of humans relative to the birds. In many images of the Presentation in the Temple, Joseph will be holding a cage or basket with the two birds. In the Byzantine manuscript illumination below, the doves are being carried in Joseph's hands, wrapped somewhat in his garment. Their eyes are focused toward the infant Jesus who is in his mother's arms.
  • Go, Have No Fear, Take Risks and Share the Good News

    by Steve Pankey
    St. Alban lived just outside of modern day London during the third century. He was a pagan when he met a priest who was fleeing the most recent wave of Roman persecution. For reasons that will forever be unknown, Alban decided to hide the priest in his home. For several days, they had nothing to do but talk with each other. Over time, Alban was so impressed by the faith of the priest, that he became a Christian. When soldiers got word that the priest was hiding at Alban’s home, they came to arrest him, but Alban quickly donned the priest’s cloak and gave himself up instead. Alban was tortured in hopes that he would renounce his faith, but when he withstood the flogging with patience and joy, the judge ordered him beheaded.
  • Ordinary 12A (2017)

    by Mary Paul
    The famous Wesleyan prayer says it well: “I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be employed by thee or laid aside by thee. Exalted for thee or brought low for thee. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.”...
  • A Meta-Narrative of Consolation

    by Ron Rolheiser, OMI
    Several years ago, I was at a symposium at which we were discussing the struggle that many young people have today with their faith. One of the participants, a young French Canadian Oblate, offered this perspective: I work with university students as a chaplain. They have a zest for life and an energy and color that I can only envy. But inside of all this zest and energy, I notice that they lack hope because they don’t have a meta-narrative. They don’t have a big story, a big vision, that can give them perspective beyond the ups and downs of their everyday lives. When their health, relationships, and lives are going well, they feel happy and full of hope; but the reverse is also true. When things aren’t going well the bottom falls out of their world. They don’t have anything to give them a vision beyond the present moment.
  • Shout from the Housetops

    by Bruce Schoonmaker
    I present to you one Norman Borlaug, hardly a common name in the annals of American history. But his name should ring from the voices of every student in every school in our country! Norman Borlaug was an American scientist who won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal. Few people have been so honored in their lives. His work in developing disease-resistant, high-yield wheat has been credited with saving the lives of more than a billion people. Imagine that: saving the lives of more than three times the population of the United States. Saving the lives of one out of every seven people living on earth.
  • The Politics of New "Family Values"

    by Fritz Wendt
    How could Jesus (who taught us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves) be so hard on parents? The answer to that question is hinted at in the story of King Presenjit and the Buddha. King Presenjit came to the Buddha with a problem: “I would like to become your disciple, but my old mother may feel hurt—she is too old.” When the king was sitting in front of Buddha, one of his disciples (called a sannyasin) came by, touched Buddha’s feet and said, “I am going on a long journey. Bless me, please.” Buddha looked at Presenjit and said, “This man is the answer to your question. He has killed his father and mother both!” King Presenjit was disturbed and thought: How can Buddha entertain a man who killed both his parents? The king said, “You praised that man even though he is a murderer!” Buddha smiled and said, “I mean he killed them metaphorically; what this sannyasin has learned is to kill his clinging and his dependence”.
  • Rise Up

    by Robin Wilson
    In the song, "My Shot," Hamilton and his fellow revolutionaries get energized to lead the colonists to get out from under the oppressive burdens imposed on the colonies by King George and the British rule, to stand up for what is just, and to wait no longer to work for the cause that they realize is worth living and dying for, a cause beyond themselves, a cause that will make their world a better place. As Hamilton and his friends become bolder and more resolute in their plans, this song reaches a fever pitch with the call to "Rise Up!" It is time to take their shot, to act for that which is most important to them.

Illustrated Resources from 2014 to 2016

  • Proper 7A (2014)

    by Richard Bryant
    ("I live in Northern Ireland. I live in a town that is over 95% Roman Catholic and 5% Protestant. At one point in recent memory, this town was the most bombed city in Europe. That was until Sarajevo took top spot in the 90's. For the first time in my life, I think I understand this passage. This is a passage with an Irish, Bosnian, Russian, Chechen, Armenian, Azerbaijani, and countless other accents...")
  • Confirmation: A Waste of Time?

    by Dan De Leon
    ("Not long ago, I attended a meeting that was open to the public at Texas A&M University. A student named Levi was presenting on his experience with reparative therapy and his research of so-called ex-gay ministries. To a room of roughly 50 people, Levi talked about being raised in a Christian home, being actively involved in his church's youth group, and devoting his life to following Jesus...")
  • Trust in the Lord

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Martin Niemoeller, a founder of the confessing church in Germany was outspoken in opposition to the Nazi regime. To keep him quiet Niemoeller was imprisoned. Months later he was summoned before a special court, and suddenly he began to feel afraid. He had no idea what to expect! As he was taken along the seemingly endless corridor from the prison cell to the courtroom, he heard a quiet voice..." and other illustrations)
  • A Disciple Is Not Above the Teacher

    by Janet Hunt
    ("I had pulled into the drive at their old farm house. I could see Larry standing at the kitchen door -- his hair now gone from his battle with cancer. Head down, my heart caught in my throat as I made my way to the back steps. We stood in the kitchen and visited a while. When I left, he said to me. 'You know, I'm not afraid. George taught me how to do this.' He was speaking then of our precious friend whose dying we had grieved together not so many years before...")
  • Preaching to the Choir

    by Nicholas Lang
    ("In 1965, those who marched for voting rights for African-Americans from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama were attacked by state and local police, in what became known as 'Bloody Sunday'. On the same day, Stanley Kramer's 1961 film Judgment at Nuremberg, a dramatization of post-World War II trials Nazi war criminals, aired on ABC-TV. That night, many stations interrupted regular programming to show clips of the violence in Selma. Some viewers actually thought that the footage of police in military-style helmets and riot gear, brutally beating protesters, was a part of the movie...")
  • The Work of Easter Is Begun

    by Andrew Prior
    (includes several quotes)
  • Many Sparrows

    by Nancy Rockwell
    The gun, drawn from hidden holsters, blazes death fire all across America. Our children are no longer safe in their daylit classrooms. There have been 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook CT, and each incident creates a spike in new gun sales. Cries for background checks come to nothing, and I, for one, don’t believe the checks would stop any of these shootings – the student shooters have no prior record, buy their guns legally or take them from their parents...
  • Hating the Godfather

    by Ragan Sutterfield
    ("The Godfather, the classic 1972 film by Francis Ford Coppola, opens with a garden wedding at the family estate. It is a homecoming for Michael Corleone, the favorite son who's just returned from a tour in World War II and is enrolled at Dartmouth. The picture is clear early on—Michael loves his family, but he doesn't want to be a part of it. The Corleones are a crime organization and they are as tight knit as they are patriarchal...")

Illustrated Resources from 2008 to 2013

  • Remembering What We Believe About the Church

    by Amy Butler
    Mahatma Ghandi, though a devout Hindu, was widely known to admire Jesus; Ghandi often quoted from the Sermon on the Mount, in fact. Once when the missionary E. Stanley Jones met with Ghandi he asked him, "Mr. Ghandi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?" Ghandi replied, "Oh, I don't reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ."...
  • Illustration

    by Dan Henderson
    ("Margaret Mahler, a psychoanalysis who has studied the importance of parenting with children, devised the concept of being a 'good enough mother'. She had filmed and video taped the interactions between mothers and their infants...")
  • Preaching Helps (Proper 7A)(2008)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Years ago a man named Millard Fuller was pretty near the apex of an American success story. He was a high-octane corporate executive working eight days a week and pulling down close to a million bucks a year...")
  • Controlling Fear

    by Jim McCrea
    ("Joe Garagiola, former major league baseball player and television personality, tells about a time when Stan Musial came to the plate in a critical game. Musial was one of the greatest baseball players of all time and he was at the peak of his career...")
  • No Fear

    by John Pavelko
    ("We see the slogan on T-shirts, coffee mugs, shorts and lapel pins - no fear. Its was created as an advertising gimmick but it has caught on with a generation that thrives on taking risks, living on the edge, pushing the envelop to its outer limits...")
  • Out of the Dark

    by Jan Richardson
    ("In 1941, a young Jewish woman named Etty Hillesum began to keep a journal. Hitler's armies had invaded her homeland of the Netherlands nine months before she took up her pen...")
  • The Iron, Silver, Golden, Platinum, and Titanium Rules

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("The ability of the human brain to store, retain, and recall enormous amounts of information is miraculously impressive. Unfortunately, sometimes information gets permanently stored that we would love to dump.")
  • The Gaze of God

    by Tim Zingale
    ("Above the hills of time the Cross is gleaming. Far as the sun when night has turned to day; and from it love's pure light is richly streaming, To cleanse the heart and banish sin away...")

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • The Birds Next

    from Bits and Pieces
  • Proper 7A (2005)

    by Luke Bouman
    ("I recently watched the 1957 Henry Fonda film 12 Angry Men based on the stage play of the same name. In it Fonda plays a character on a jury. For the other 11, the case was simple, open and shut, and they all vote guilty right away...")
  • Not to Bring Peace, But a Sword

    by William Sloane Coffin
    (includes several quotes)
  • God On Our Side

    by Tom Cox
    ("There is an old proverb that goes something like this: Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things will be yours...")
  • The Challenge of Our Faith

    by Joan Crossley
    ("As a society we are facing an epidemic of lack of commitment. Those who run organisations, whether it is the Brownies or cricket teams, all complain that they find it hard to find people who will take on roles of responsibility...")
  • Dare We Be Disciples?

    by William Danaher
    ("Recently, I have gotten to know Francis Walter, a priest who was active in the civil rights movement in Alabama. Early in his ministry, Francis had been forced out of the Diocese of Alabama in 1961 by Bishop Charles Carpenter for his involvement with the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity...")
  • Acknowledge Christ Before Men

    by Adrian Dieleman
    ("Pastor Li stood in front of the chopping block, a Communist guard on each side of him. He trembled as they placed his right hand on the block and spread his fingers wide...")
  • More Important Than Family (RC & EL)

    by Adrian Dieleman
    ("When Julius Caesar landed on the shores of Britain with his Roman legions, he took a bold and decisive step to ensure the success of his military venture. Ordering his men to halt on the edge of the Cliffs of Dover, he commanded them to look down at the water below...")
  • Looking Unto Jesus

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    ("Some years ago, a Christian minister and a group of students from Canada went to Kenya for a summer field study program. They had a jeep to enable them travel deep into the rugged hinterland. On one of their travels the vehicle broke down and they had to employ the services of the village mechanic...")
  • God Will Take Care of Us

    by Ron Forrest
    ("It was not long ago that I was watching television and as I scanned the various channels available I happened to settle upon the channel that displays vintage movies on a continual basis. As I tuned in the moderator was introducing a movie that was about to be shown. As the movie was introduced I recognized the title...")
  • Do Not Be Afraid

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Martin Niemoeller was on Adolf Hitler's list of people he feared and hated the most. To keep him quiet, Niemoeller was put in prison. Months later he was summoned before a special court, and suddenly he began to feel afraid...")
  • Peace of Mind

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("Some of you may recall from your childhood or perhaps read the story to your children – a story by Dr. Seuss entitled Horton Hears a Who. It's a children's story about an elephant named Horton, who tries to protect a tiny world full of little creatures called "Whos" from destruction...")
  • Wanted: Cracked Pots; All Shapes and Sizes

    by Patricia Gillespie
    ("A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on either end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the river to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full...")
  • Ordinary 12A (2005)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time back in the last century there was a young woman from Ireland who had lost her parents and all her family. Some kind people wrote to their relatives in America and said we have this fourteen year old orphan here who is very bright and very pretty and very hard working...")
  • Ordinary 12A (1996)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time that there was a young woman who won every short story contest when she was in high school. She decided that she would be a great novelist some day and wanted to major in creative writing in college...")
  • What's Your Labarene?

    by Mark Haverland
    ("With earned doctorates in music, philosophy and theology, Albert Scweitzer decided in 1905 to go to medical school to become a jungle doctor. 'It struck me as incomprehensible that I should be allowed to lead such a happy life...")
  • A Cross to Bear

    by John Jewell
    ("I can recall very clearly a young man and woman in Mexico seeing their brand new 12 x 14 foot concrete block home. It had a dirt floor and a corrugated steel roof and a tiny patch of ground for a yard with a water spout behind the house...")
  • The Hard Choices

    by Beth Johnston
    "There was a young couple in Virginia and they had one child, a bright eyed, curly haired, energetic five year old named Rachel. One day those eyes began to cloud and after some tests it was discovered that the child had cancer of the eye..."
  • His Eye Is on the Sparrow

    by James Kegel
    ("I would like to share with you the story of a man from my first parish, Chan. Chan was the superintendent of the Sunday school at Edison Park Lutheran Church in Chicago, well-educated and multi-talented. He served as president of the congregation, was a gifted public speaker and an able leader. He was also an executive on the move with a large retail chain. Chan had managed stores around the Chicago area and had become manager of a large downtown store...")
  • Opening the Door to Jesus

    by Kirk Alan Kubicek
    ("Evelyn Underhill, an English woman, was a layperson, and someone with little formal religious training. Yet, her abilities to recognize the hidden dimensions of God's presence in our life ...")
  • Do I Have a Destiny

    by David Leininger
    ("As you probably recall, the hero of Forrest Gump is a slightly slow-witted young man whose life we follow from boyhood through about age 40. We learn that he got his first name from a distant relative, Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate General who, once the War between the States was over, used to dress up in bed sheets and tear around the country with his similarly-dressed friends in their club called the Ku Klux Klan..")
  • Like the Master

    by Alexander Maclaren
  • God's Eye is on the Sparrows

    by Edward Markquart
    ("Sparrows. Sparrows are all around us. Sparrows are those little brown birds that seem to be everywhere. Ever present. Unimportant. Unimpressive. Unassuming...")
  • True Discipleship: Christ Brings Division

    by Edward Markquart
    ("The novel titled TRINITY is one of the finest books I have read. It was written by Leon Uris. It is a story about an old conflict that has been going on for centuries in Ireland. It was and still is the perpetual conflict between Irish Catholics and British Protestants...")
  • Will It Sell in Peoria?

    by Edward Markquart
    ("You may or may not realize it, but Peoria, Illinois is the geographic center of the United States. If you were going to pick one city that is the center of the country, you would pick Peoria, Illinois...")
  • Ordinary 12A (2005)

    by Paul O'Reilly, SJ
    "Some years ago, I had a moment of spiritual awakening ­ it happened in the very dirty toilet of a North London Cinema. Somebody had pinned up on the wall a poster..."
  • We Are Not Just Sheep

    by William Oldland
    ("One of my favorite past times as a child was to watch Saturday morning cartoons. I would get up early and go sit in the den, turn on the TV and watch Bugs Bunny and a host of other characters on Merrie Melodies...")
  • No Fear

    by John Pavelko
    ("We see the slogan on T-shirts, coffee mugs, shorts and lapel pins - no fear. It was created as an advertising gimmick but it has caught on with a generation that thrives on taking risks, living on the edge, pushing the envelop to its outer limits...")
  • A Healthy Dose of Fear and Faith

    by Paul Rooney
    ("I am reminded of the true story of the Holy Ghost missionary priest, Alphonse Schaeffer. Alphonse was assigned to an outpost in the Congo in Africa. One day the village elder came to him and said, 'Fr. Alphonse, crocodiles from the river have killed two more of our women, who were washing their clothes in the river...")
  • Getting It, Together

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("In Southern Africa, The Bebemba tribe has a fascinating ritual for combating feelings of rejection. Each person in the tribe who acts irresponsibly or unjustly is taken alone to the center of the village. Everyone in the village stops work and gathers in a large circle around the accused...")
  • Risky Business

    by Alex Thomas
    "I remember years ago when I was a teenager in army cadets and was considering the Officers Training Program, I was presented in the interview with all kinds of dreadful scenarios of what could happen to you of the battlefield or even in the training program. They wanted us to know what we were getting into. They wanted to test our commitment to the program. They wanted to weed out those who were unwilling to take the necessary risks. It could be that Jesus was doing the same kind of thing. He wanted his followers to know that following him was to find the true meaning of your life, but there were also risks. It was to be indeed 'risky business'." and other illustrations
  • Risky Business (#2)

    by Alex Thomas
    During the sixties some ministers came to Bishop Lloyd C. Wicke of The United Methodist Church and told him they wanted to take a firm stand for racial equality in their communities but wanted him to guarantee them that they would be protected from the possible opposition in the churches they served. They reminded the bishop of the importance of the prophetic dimension of ministry. Bishop Wicke affirmed their intentions but then added, ‘‘I do not remember any of the prophets getting a safe conduct guarantee, or even wanting it."
  • The Two Movements of the Christian Life

    by J. Barry Vaughn
    ("Have you ever seen a labyrinth or walked one? Whether or not you’ve seen or walked a labyrinth, you probably know what I’m talking about. A few years ago, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco reintroduced the labyrinth as a spiritual discipline...")
  • Proper 7A (2005)

    by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson
    ("I believe that one of the worst kinds of fear is that of the unknown~especially fear of people who are different than ourselves. In Waiting For The Parade, Canadian playwright, John Murrell tells us the story of five women during World War II...")
  • A Radical Reorientation

    by Robina Marie Winbush
    ("The mystic theologian Howard Thurman in his book Jesus and the Disinherited speaks to this issue of fear and how we counter fear as we seek to minister and do the work of God in our lives...")
  • Fear Not, Therefore

    by Tim Zingale
    ("During his years as premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev denounced many of the policies and atrocities of Joseph Stalin. Once, as he censured Stalin in a public meeting, Khrushchev was interrupted by a shout from a heckler in the audience. 'You were one of Stalin's colleagues. Why didn't you stop him?'...")
  • Proper 7A (2005)

    by Tim Zingale
    ("Dr. William Sloan Coffin of New York's Riverside Church said this in the April 20,1984 Lutheran Standard after the death of his son, Alex.'The night after Alex died, I was sitting in the living room of my sister's house outside of Boston, when a middle-aged lady came in...")

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