Matthew 15: 21-28

Illustrated New Resources

  • The Enemy of My Friend Is My Enemy?

    by Jim Chern
    “My wife’s enemies are now my enemies too… No one tells you about the other in-laws you acquire when you get married.” It’s hard to ignore a headline like that – especially when you’re sitting in a waiting room for an hour and a half. New York Magazine writer Josh Gondelman, makes his case that up until 5 years earlier, he had practically gotten along with anyone he met. Sure there were people he might not have clicked with right away, but as he put it “my impeccable get-along instincts and crushing fear of confrontation prevented things from coming to a head very often.” He claims that it wasn’t until he met his wife that he learned the “fine art of having enemies.” Most of the article was tongue in cheek, sarcastic, and humorous pointing out how as a husband and wife – as two become one; you see friendships and families merge; you appreciate other interests that perhaps you never considered before. But along with all of those changes, he argues, you pick up enemies as well – or as he describes it “enemies-in-law, to put it more precisely. Childhood bullies. Estranged best friends. Snotty adult cousins. Professional nemeses. Celebrity grudges. Unaffectionate neighborhood dogs. These may be your partners’ enemies, and if you’re devoted, they’ll become your enemies too.”...
  • Upon Reading of the Canaanite Woman and Jesus

    by Joanna Harader
    I do want to be like Jesus, God. But not the Jesus who ignores this woman. Not the Jesus who calls her a dog. I want to be like the Jesus who is caught off guard. The Jesus who listens after all. The Jesus who lets himself be interrupted. The Jesus whose compassion overcomes irritation. The Jesus who says, “Not my will But yours.”
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 15A)(2020)

    by Scott Hoezee
    Some years ago when he was still known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the man who became the now retired Pope Benedict XVI ignited a firestorm of discussion when he issued the declaration Dominus Iesus or “The Lord Jesus.” This document, which received the endorsement of Pope John Paul II, re-affirmed the doctrine that salvation comes only through Jesus. That central thesis did not receive much press, however. Instead the section which grabbed the attention of so many was the part which dealt with the Church. If only Jesus saves, where can you meet this Savior? Jesus is encountered through the Church, which proclaims the gospel. But to the great disgruntlement of many, Ratzinger refused to call any group outside Roman Catholicism a “church,” opting instead to call non-Catholic denominations only “ecclesial communities.” There’s just one true Church, Ratzinger claimed, and it’s the one headed up by the pope in Rome. Other groups of Christians “are not Churches in the proper sense.”...
  • Gone to the Dogs

    by Jim McCrea
    Mary McLeod Bethune was the 15th of 17 children born to former slaves. Mary was the first of their children to be born in freedom. From that humble beginning, she lived such an impactful life that, when she died, one newspaper suggested that “the story of her life should be taught to every school child for generations to come.” So what did she do? Plenty! First, she started a school for African-American girls with only $1.50 in her pocket. She started the school next to the dump, using make-shift desks and chairs created out of discarded crates and boxes. Her five initial students made their own ink from elderberry juice and pencils from burned wood. And before that first school year was over, she had a total of 30 students. When the the local Ku Klux Klan heard about her school, they threatened to burn it down. But Mary stood in the doorway, refusing to leave or back down, so the Klan eventually left. She had learned the importance of reading and writing as a young girl. So she walked five miles each way to a school that would accept her as a student and then taught her family what she’d learned when she returned home. She eventually became the first African American student to graduate from the Moody Bible Institute. The little school she saved from the clan ultimately merged with a private institute for African-American boys and became known as the Bethune-Cookman School. She was president of the college for some 20 years, one of the few women in the world to serve as a college president at that time. When one of her students was denied admission to a hospital, Mary raised the funds to found the first black hospital in Daytona, Florida. She became known as a national advocate for civil rights and for women’s suffrage. Franklin Roosevelt also appointed her to be one of his national advisers in his so-called “Black Cabinet.” In that role, she became known as the “First Lady of the Struggle.”...
  • Listen and Understand

    by James Pitts
    “Help, I am talking and can’t shut up!” Simply hit the alert button for the shock of silence. Wow, that takes us way back to 1960’s and the sound of silence. Remember Simon and Garfunkel… Hello darkness, my old friend I’ve come to talk with you again Because a vision softly creeping Left its seeds while I was sleeping And the vision that was planted in my brain Still remains …Within the sound of silence. And the people bowed and prayed To the neon god they made And the sign flashed out its warning In the words that it was forming And the sign said “The words of the prophets Are written on the subway walls and tenement halls And whispered in the sounds of silence”...

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!!]
  • Faith

    Illustrations from the Archives
  • Food for the Dog

    Source Unknown
    The old farmhouse had been too big and too lonely since (my husband) Martin died. My daughter Jane lived in another town about fifty miles away. It wasn’t a great distance, but she was busy with a job and two young boys. I tried hard not to get upset when weeks went by without a visit from her. I knew she would come more often if she realized I needed her. I did need her. I needed to see her face, hear her voice, feel her hug, and spend a little time with someone who cared for me. But Jane didn’t know that... One morning, while sweeping off the porch I saw a skinny little dog coming from behind the house. His tail and his head were lowered and he watched me with wary eyes as he slowly approached. If he hadn’t been so dirty he would have probably been white, but he was so caked with mud and brambles it was hard to tell. Sighing, I went into the kitchen to look for a scrap of food to feed the dog. I didn’t need a dog. I didn’t want a dog. But I couldn’t let him go hungry. I would feed him and then I would call animal control to come and get him.
  • The Gospel Is Going to the Dogs

    by D. Mark Davis
    (includes lots of Greek exegesis!!)
  • Feisty Faith

    by Kathy Donley
    Out of Africa was a 1980’s movie loosely based on the life of Karen von Blixen. By the end of the movie, she had known much loss. She emigrated from Europe to South Africa to join her husband in running a coffee plantation. She suffered illness and infertility resulting from her husband’s infidelity. The harvested coffee crop, which was her last chance to save the farm, was destroyed in a fire. She has formed a bond with the Kikuyu people who provide most of the labor for the plantation. When it appears that they may lose the chance to continue to live on the land, Karen goes to petition the new governor, at a reception being held in his honor. When she is introduced, she kneels at his feet to beg land for the Kikuyu. The governor is mortified with embarrassment. He urges her to stand while the sedate British crowd looks on, appalled at her behavior. But she is desperate and continues to plead from her place on the ground...
  • Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here

    by Jerry Fuller, OMI
    ("A man was going up to bed when his wife told him he'd left the light on in the garden shed. She could see it from the bedroom window. But he said that he hadn't been in the shed that day. He looked out himself, and there were people in the shed, stealing things...." and other illustrations)
  • A Mother's Love

    by Sil Galvan
    Frank and Lee married in 1948 after serving in the Catholic church, he as a seminary student and she as a nun. When they started a family, Lee decided that she wanted six children. The first arrived in 1951, with five more following in the next 11 years. But by the time the fifth child, Tom, arrived, Lee was at the point where she wasn't sure she'd be able to care for another. At six months, Tom still wasn't able to take spoon feedings or hold his head up. Lee felt that he was developing slowly in general. So she took him to the pediatrician, who told her that she was making a big deal over nothing.
  • The Power of Faith

    by Sil Galvan
    Mornings were always hectic at our house. The boys would rush in from doing farm chores, scurry for breakfast, and hustle to shower in time to meet the 7:15 school bus. The morning after Mother's Day in 1973 was no exception. Thomas, fourteen, and Stephen, twelve, begged for a little more time so they could have bacon and eggs instead of cold cereal. "We'll ride our bikes to school," they said. Their thirteen-year-old sister, Diane, decided to ride with them instead of taking the bus. As they charged out door, Diane handed me a card. "I forgot to give this to you yesterday. Mom. It's a Spiritual Bouquet. In the next few weeks I'll be saying lots of prayers for you." She gave me a quick kiss and was gone. Minutes later Tommy called me from a neighbor's house yelling "Mom, Diane's dead! A car hit her!"
  • Proper 15A

    by Bill Loader
    (always good insights!)
  • The Quality of Mercy

    by William Shakespeare
  • Exegetical Notes [Matthew 15:(10-20) 21-28]

    by Brian Stoffregen
    (excellent exegesis with several quotes from commentaries)

Illustrated Resources from 2017 to 2019

  • God's Kingdom Includes All

    by Delmer Chilton
    Since I’m always losing sunglasses, I try to keep a pair of clip-ons in each of our vehicles. Of course, I lose those too. At the beginning of the summer I bought a pair to wear in my pickup. For two weeks, I fretted and fussed with those sunglasses because they just didn’t fit tight. Finally, I took a good look at things and discovered it wasn’t the clip-on that was crooked, it was my glasses. It’s like that with the word of God in our lives. We continually try to bend God’s word to the shape of our lives, and we continually find it to be an uneven fit. The salvific moment, the moment we begin to be saved, to be converted, is when we reverse the process and begin to bend our lives to the shape of God’s word.
  • Beyond the Bondage of Self

    by Michele Frome
    Is thinking about myself wrong? I’m starting to find an answer in the writings of Richard Rohr. In his book, Falling Upward, Rohr has written about the two phases of our lives. In the first phase, we are focused on establishing our identity. This is important work – we need boundaries, order, and an ego structure. But this isn’t our life, it’s merely the “container” for our life. In the second phase of life, we find the contents that our container is meant to hold.
  • Gone to the Dogs

    by Jim McCrea
    Former President Obama recently tweeted a quote from Nelson Mandela that says, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion … People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love … For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” However, a recent scientific study of racism suggests that is only partially true. The study found that unless someone actively taught children not to be racist, they will be. The researchers suggest that that is due to societal pressures surrounding each child.
  • Stella's Table Manners

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    Jesus' association of bread, table, children and dogs offers a strategy for looking at images of the Last Supper. Are there crumbs falling from that particular table? Are there any references to Jesus' conversation with the Canaanite woman? Jacopo Tintoretto painted at least ten different versions of the Last Supper. They are busy, active scenes - quite a contrast to the solemn poses and perfect perspective of, say, Leonardo's iconic version.
  • God Bothering

    by David Sellery
    “God bothering” is a sarcastic description of prayer that worked its way into the English language in the 19th Century. While it was coined as a nasty putdown, it seems particularly appropriate when applied to this colloquy between Jesus and the Canaanite woman. In her persistent appeals to Jesus, she is literally “God bothering.” As they say in Yiddish, she’s a “nudjh”… a mega-pest, a super-nagger. But she’s more than that. She’s on a mission to save her daughter. And she won’t be brushed off by the disciples or overawed by Jesus. She believes only Jesus can save her daughter and she won’t stop petitioning him… bothering him… until he does.

Illustrated Resources from 2011 to 2016

  • Crumbs of Love

    by Rick Brand
    ("there was this elderly man in Florida who decided to get himself a hot sports car. He drove it off the lot and went out on the Interstate to test it out. He hit 80, 90, and was pushing 100, when he saw a Highway Patrol officer with flashing lights. The old man immediately sped up and tried to get away")
  • Leftovers for All!

    by Christopher Burkett
    ("Once upon a time, a woman called the local vicar and asked him if he would officiate at a funeral for her dog. The priest was a bit put off by the request, and with a somewhat disgusted tone in his voice, he suggested that there was no way he could do such a thing, and that she might try one of the other churches in the area. She agreed to do that but not before she asked the priest for some advice. 'Do you think £500 is an appropriate honorarium for a funeral of this kind?'...")
  • Expanding the Table

    by Tom Cox
    ("Growing up, we had a country style white deal kitchen table which I recently got restored. I love it for the memories that it holds. Like most family tables, it was common to have to extend it when there were extra people for dinner. It also meant sharing out what was in the pot. This is probably one reason why stews/casseroles were a handy and flexible meal. Not to mention tapioca or milk puddings when there was surplus milk from the "herd" of three cows!. But we never minded. The visitor brought a richness to us and was welcome...")
  • Feisty Faith

    by Kathy Donley
    Out of Africa was a 1980’s movie loosely based on the life of Karen von Blixen. By the end of the movie, she had known much loss. She emigrated from Europe to South Africa to join her husband in running a coffee plantation. She suffered illness and infertility resulting from her husband’s infidelity. The harvested coffee crop, which was her last chance to save the farm, was destroyed in a fire. She has formed a bond with the Kikuyu people who provide most of the labor for the plantation. When it appears that they may lose the chance to continue to live on the land, Karen goes to petition the new governor, at a reception being held in his honor. When she is introduced, she kneels at his feet to beg land for the Kikuyu. The governor is mortified with embarrassment. He urges her to stand while the sedate British crowd looks on, appalled at her behavior. But she is desperate and continues to plead from her place on the ground...
  • Preaching Helps (Proper 15A)(2011)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Some years ago when he was still known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the man who is now Pope Benedict XVI ignited a firestorm of discussion when he issued the declaration Dominus Iesus or The Lord Jesus. This document, which received the endorsement of Pope John Paul II, re-affirmed the doctrine that salvation comes only through Jesus...")
  • A Mother's Cry

    by Janet Hunt
    ("Mental illness carries all kinds of stigma today. I have known this since I was a child and we experienced it in our own family. Back then it was something whose name you whispered. I'm not sure it is so very different now. When I was young during that time during the prayers of the church where we stood in silence and remembered people in need, I would close my eyes shut tight and silently plead for Aunt Donna's healing...")
  • Needing Growth

    by Beth Johnston
    "A few years ago a minister was babysitting the "food bank" trailer that had been set up in the parking lot of a restaurant. By and by a burly, very tough looking biker with many tattoos, on a very loud bike roared into the parking lot. He saw him go into the restaurant and he assumed he was drinking his coffee and eating his donuts inside. When he was leaving, he looked at the trailer and then walked over to it. 'What's going on here?'..."
  • A Sermon for Those With Green Heads and Blue Hands

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("'Far and few, far and few, Are the lands where the Jumblies live Their heads are green, and their hands are blue, And they went to sea in a Sieve.' If you are a fan of Edward Lear's nonsense poetry those words will be familiar. Edward Lear's creatures are often in some way outsiders, odd and isolated. The Quangle Wangle, lives a lonely existence high up in the Crumpetty tree...")
  • Gentile Dogs

    by Fran Ota
    ("While Sister Act is mostly a movie about church revitalisation, it is also a movie about how people get stuck in particular ways of thinking, and make judgments about those they deem to be 'other'. Mother Superior, played by Maggie Smith, is fearful of everything. Her major worry is that the lounge singer, Deloris Van Cartier played by Whoopi Goldberg, is corrupting the other sisters...")
  • Churlish Jesus

    by Larry Patten
    ("In the infrequent times he became angry, where I heard my father say something mean, he had a favorite phrase: 'That personis a dog in a manger'. For the longest time, I didn't know what it meant. Dogs were good. Right? Based on his childhood stories, Dad owned dogs as a kid. And the manger? While a strange place for a birth, the Prince of Peace was born there so it had to be a good place. Right?...")
  • That Woman

    by Larry Patten
    ("I should go. I've wasted my time. My daughter needs me. As with so many times before, my shouting has been wasted. No one hears me. No one cares about me. I'm not even sure I can rise from the ground, not because my knees hurt so much—though they ache all the time from the wearying, bone-jarring work I must do six days a week—but because right now I simply possess no strength...")
  • Case in Point

    by Beth Quick
    ("My friend Richelle read a news story about a playground in Wales called The Land. It looks kind of like a junk yard. It's meant to. There's a lot of broken things there, dirty things, even a fire burning. There are some adult staff who hang out at The Land. But they only intervene in children's play if absolutely necessary. So far, children have gotten some scraped knees, but otherwise fare pretty well...")
  • Out of the Heart

    by Nancy Rockwell
    ["The Market Basket brouhaha is a case in point: this small chain of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island grocery stores has been riven by a blood feud between the family members who own it for two generations now, and for the past month that feud has spilled out of the boardrooms and into the public ears, as Market Basket employees have risen up with a united voice to protest the ouster of one cousin-owner by another, and to protest plans to sell the chain..."]
  • Junk-Yard Dog

    by Shannon Schaefer
    ("'Junk-yard dog.' The first time he ever called her that, I bristled. Wish I could tell you it was said in private, out of ear-shot, but it wasn't. It was his term of affection for her, said often to her face. I'd been coaching kids' soccer for all of three weeks, eight year olds, and her mom had struggled to consistently get her to practices and games...")
  • Don't Be a Trender, Be a Trendsetter

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("'Trending', as in 'what's trending?', is a social networking term used to describe what latest 'hot new thing' is gaining popularity online and in our TGIF (Twitter, Google, Instagram, Facebook) culture. If you know what is 'trending', then supposedly you've got your finger, or at least your texting finger, on the pulse of 'what's happening' in the world today....")
  • Going Beyond the Boundaries

    by Alex Thomas
    ("There is the story of a woman who seemed like she was totally crazy. She was old, dirty and had a strange appearance. She was walking along the beach, and stopped from time to time, picked something up and put it in a bucket. When she went by, parents called their children so they would' t go near her..." and another illustration)
  • Removing the Boundaries That Hurtfully Divide Us

    by Alex Thomas
    ("A young man was trying to find the meaning of life and he asked a question of a wise man that he had gone to visit. 'When can I say that it's daytime, when I see an animal in the distance and I can tell whether it's a horse or a cow?" The wise man responded: 'No!' 'Is it when I see a tree and I can tell whether it s an ash or an oak?' 'No, not at all.'...)
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Faith

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Grace

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Love

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

Illustrated Resources from 2008 to 2010

  • Gathering Others

    by Daniel Deffinbaugh
    ("I'm not really sure what drew me to Lars and the Real Girl, but after seeing the film last night it has immediately become one of my favorites...")
  • The Gospel in Disney: Beauty and the Beast

    by Nancy Cushman
    ("what do you do if you don’t know how to love? Are you doomed if you are self-centered and/or angry at everyone most of the time? Can you learn to love? The answers to these profound questions are explored in one of my favorite Disney movies, Beauty and the Beast...")
  • Wizard Of Oz-Companions On The Journey: Courage

    by Nancy Cushman
    ("The Lion tried to hide his cowardice behind a false bravado. Have any of you ever known someone like that? Have any of you ever done that? Over the course of the journey, the lion very reluctantly gains courage.")
  • Crumbs

    by Lane Denson
    ("Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good.' Charlotte Whitton, one of the 20th century's most colorful and controversial women, spoke these words...")
  • Ordinary 20A (2008)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("A young college student went to the Newman chaplain and said, I believe in God and in life after death and in resurrection and in the church, but I cannot accept that Jesus is really present, body and blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist...")
  • The Heart of the Matter: the Heart Matters

    from Preacher's Magazine
    ("No matter how much I tried, I could never see the "hidden image." I would stare. I would hold the picture close to my face. I would hold the picture away from my face. I even thought about crossing my eyes and standing on my head, just to try to see the "magic" hidden picture...")
  • Who Gets to Enter the Temple?

    by William Blake Rider
    ("There are a growing number of homeless and working poor in the Montrose area. Real people who also do not have ready access to medical and mental health care. In the past few weeks, I've heard these people, these real people-some of whom are adults, some of whom are teenagers, and some of whom are children-referred to as cattle, referred to as rats, as worthless human beings...")
  • Live and Learn

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    ("Learning, continually interacting with and challenging the experiences and informational input that surrounds us, is a life-long process. Gerontologists are now recommending that as we age we intentionally set up new, unexpected circumstances or encounters for ourselves every single day...")

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • A New Heart

    by Bob Allred
    ("I can think of no more appropriate example of mercy and grace than that of the life of the famous Georgia Methodist preacher Sam P. Jones. He had been an attorney in Cartersville, who in today’s Atlanta could have feigned an acceptable lifestyle; but, in a small town nearly a century ago, everybody knew of his drunkenness and sinful life...")
  • Keep the Change

    by Mickey Anders
    ("Everyone here has probably used the phrase which I have chosen for the title of this sermon 'Keep the change'. We give our son $3 to buy a gallon of milk. And when he returns with loose change, we say, 'Keep the change'...")
  • Jesus Suddenly Made the World Bigger

    by Charlene Barnes
    ("There is a story of a teacher and student. The teacher noticed something about the way Jeanette held the book in reading class and arranged for an eye examination. The teacher did not send Jeanette to a clinic; she took Jeanette to her own eye doctor...")
  • What's in Your Bucket?

    from Biblical Studies
    ("If you were walking back from a well, carrying a bucket of water and someone jostled you, there could be spilled from that bucket only that which it contained. As you walk along the way of life, people are constantly bumping into you...")
  • Shameless Persistence

    by Gary Botha
    A sparrow cares for another injured bird.
  • Lord, Help Me!

    by Allison Cline
    ("It was a Friday evening and I had just settled down to watch a video when I was paged to the hospital to be with a young lady whose 28 year old husband had been brought into the hospital by ambulance...")
  • A Woman of Great Faith

    by Frank Cordaro
    ("The woman of the greatest faith that I encountered in this journey is my life-long friend, former lover and fiancée Jacquee Dickey. I met Jacquee in Iowa City the fall of 1975. I was in my third year of major seminary at Aquinas Institute of Theology in Dubuque, Iowa...")
  • Proper 15A (2005)

    by Harry Denman
    ("The Sunday before this homily was written, the Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in St. Louis, began closing more than 20 parishes because of the lack of priests and the changes in demographics of where parishioners lived...")
  • The Faith of the Canaanite Woman

    by Ernest Munachi Ezeogu, CSSP
    ("Mahatma Gandhi in his autobiography tells how, during his student days, he read the Gospels and saw in the teachings of Jesus the answer to the major problem facing the people of India, the caste system...")
  • Crumbs from the Table

    Narrative Sermon by Richard Fairchild
  • Overcoming Barriers

    by Richard Fairchild
    Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in his famous letter from Birmingham Jail responded to criticisms of the local clergy who charged that he was an outside agitator who was stirring up trouble away from his home town. He wrote I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
  • Breaking Habits

    Poetic Sermon by Frank Fisher
  • Crumbs from the Table

    Narrative Sermon by Susan King Forbes
  • Faith of a Nobody

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("In 1931 Charlie Chaplin starred in a movie entitled City Lights. Chaplin plays the role of a broke and homeless tramp. He meets a poor blind girl selling flowers on the streets and falls in love with her. Since she can’t see the tramp she thinks that he is a millionaire...")
  • God's Love For Losers

    by Vince Gerhardy
    ("For Sparky, school was all but impossible. He failed every subject in the eighth grade. He flunked physics getting a grade of zero. Sparky also flunked Latin, Algebra, and English. He didn't do much better in sports...")
  • Mending Walls

    by Patricia Gillespie
    ("Something there is that doesn't love a wall, Before I built a wall I'd ask to know What I was walling in or walling out...")
  • Ordinary 20A (2005)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a bunch of teenagers had to go to wedding. Now they were not bad human beings for teenagers, you know. The only thing was that their male cousin who was the groom was marrying a young woman who was Greek...")
  • Ordinary 20A (2002)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once upon a time a certain family moved into a neighborhood. They were dark skinned and mysterious. They had four or five children, no one was sure how many, and they kept to themselves...")
  • Ordinary 20A (1996)

    by Andrew Greeley
    ("Once there was a very unpopular new group in American cities. The best people in the cities said that this group was hopeless. They were slovenly, devoid of ambition, quarrelsome, drank too much, fought too much, were inclined to be brutal criminals, had too many children whom they did not know who to bring up to be proper citizens...")
  • Outsiders

    by Roger Haugen
    ("This is a text for outsiders. People on the outside looking in but very much aware that they do not belong. People who have a lot of other people making sure that they know that they do not belong. It is a text where those on the inside make sure that the outsider stays where she belongs...")
  • God Is Not Fickle

    by Mark Haverland
    ("George Bush, the governor of Texas and candidate for President endorsed in Des Moines recently what he called 'English-Plus' school programs. English Plus programs balance the need to have children learn English with a recognition of the value of other languages and cultures...")
  • Dogging Jesus

    by Peter Hawkins
    ("Christians throughout the ages have proclaimed that 'Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever' (Heb.13:8). The implicit teaching is that by being eternally the same, he is therefore divine: a Rock of Ages and, like the Father of Lights, beyond the shadow of changing. He is...")
  • How to Be Strong/How to Be Weak

    by Donald Hoffman
    ("Saudi extremists were losing face as long as American troops were stationed on Arabian soil. So some of them, in order to save face, went on a suicide mission to destroy some symbols of American power. So of course, Americans, to save face, had to strike back, to get revenge...")
  • Ordinary 20A (2005)

    by Paul Larsen
    ("Mable Anderson is a member of St. Timothy, where I used to serve. She is109 years old. She doesn't say she is one hundred and nine she says she is 1-0-9. She feels that doesn't sound as old. She is a spry and sprightly person despite her advanced age and her inability to see anymore...")
  • Hang In There

    by David Leininger
    ["Actually, it reminded me very strongly of an experience I had as a physician's assistant in India 30 years ago. We had been trying mightily for a long time to encourage the Harijan (the outcastes) to come to the clinic, as they (being toilet sweepers) were at high risk for disease..."]
  • Who Is in First?

    by Samuel T. Lloyd III
    ("Several years ago, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, two of America's great comedians, developed a routine using baseball terminology. It is now very famous and most people have seen it time and again on television...")
  • Yelping Puppies, The Canaanite Woman

    by Edward Markquart
    ("The wheels from the car screeched. The mother’s heart stopped. The child screamed. The mother ran to the street out in front of the house as fast as she could. She was scared spitless when she saw the tricycle and her daughter lying on the pavement...")
  • What About the Crumbs?

    by David Martyn
    (includes several stories about dysfunctional people)
  • Crumbs from the Table

    by Jim McCrea
    ("You may have heard the story of a Chinese man and a Jewish man who encountered each other one day on a New York City street. The Jewish man took one look at the Chinaman standing before him, and immediately hauled off and slugged him, knocking him to the ground...")
  • Did Jesus Mean to Call Her That, or Was He Just Having a Bad Day?

    by Nathan Nettleton
    ("A few years ago I had a New Testament teacher named Edwin Broadhead. Eddie had grown up in the Deep South of the USA and he reckoned that he was about 17 years of age before he realized that there was any other way of thinking about black people than the racist way of the culture he grew up in...")
  • Entering into the Struggle with God and with Ourselves

    by William Oldland
    The spiritual theme of this year's mission trip was about sanctuary. In preparing for the trip I did some study on the word. At one time in human history, the church was seen as a place of sanctuary. If someone had committed a crime or was accused of a crime, they could enter a church and claim sanctuary. They would be safe until a trial could be arranged. No one could harm them. As I reflected I also remembered the movie "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" where I first saw this term used in this way. I also remembered that Disney had done a cartoon version of the old story. So I found the film and watched it. While the meaning of the word sanctuary was very present, there was another scene and song that really stood out. In the scene, Esmerelda has asked for sanctuary from the person pursuing her. She is safe but she is also unable to leave the church. If she leaves the church she will be arrested immediately. Now, she is wandering around the cathedral looking at the statues of Mary and Jesus and seeing the beautiful stained glass windows. In addition to Esmerelda, there are others walking around too. Staying away from the others, she begins to pray. She prays not for herself, but for the gypsies, the people like her, that are unprotected from this evil man. He is after all the gypsies. He wants them all destroyed because they are different. As Esmeralda is praying, we get to hear the prayers of the town’s people as well. They are praying for riches. They are praying for power. They are praying for possessions. Yet, all the while Esmerelda continuously prays for the outcasts, the gypsies. She believes if God is indeed God, then God is God of the outcast too. At the end of the film, we will see her belief was correct...
  • Proper 15A (2002)

    by Joseph Parrish
    ("A man came in here on a weekday a few years ago saying he had been living in Newark Airport for five months, escaping detection by constantly moving from terminal to terminal and staying well-shaven and clean...")
  • Living Life Outside In

    by Michael Phillips
    ("A soldier approached the Teacher. ‘I’ve mastered all of the martial arts,’ he said calmly. ‘I have risen to the highest rank possible for a man of my training. I now wish to learn about God. Can you help me?’ The Teacher smiled and invited the man to sit at the table...")
  • Points of Grace

    by Beth Quick
    (focuses on Amazing Grace)
  • God of Mongrels

    by Gail Ricciuti
    ("While I was growing up, my family had a toy poodle. But my Mother comes from a line of meticulous Scots and Finns; and so Muffie the poodle lived in the utility room. She was never, to my memory, allowed into the rest of the house; and certainly not into the kitchen or anywhere near the table...")
  • Igniting the Imagination of Jesus

    by Mary Hinkle Shore
    ("I wrote this letter to the Canaanite woman whose story is told in Matthew 15:21-28. 'Dear Canaanite Sister, You go girl! I’ve never seen anyone talk to Jesus like that. And this from someone who so clearly does not belong...")
  • Learning to Connect the Dots

    by Martin Singley
    ("When I was a child, I loved to play 'Connect The Dots'. It was all a part of learning to sequence numbers from 1 to whatever, and learning to draw lines, and learning to discern whole images out of background noise. What a miracle it was to realize that the dots connected into a beautiful picture!...")
  • From the Heart

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ["On the first Sunday I met Frank and Buster. They both were in their 70's. Both had been (or thought they had been) leaders in the community and in the church. Both of them considered the Church their Church..."]
  • Has Faith Gone to the Dogs?

    by Billy D. Strayhorn
    ("A number of years ago when Pepper Rodgers was the football coach of UCLA, he was in the middle of a terrible season. It even got so bad that it upset his home life. He recalled, 'My dog was my only friend. I told my wife that a man needs at least two friends and she bought me another dog...")
  • God's Amazing Grace Moves Fences

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Now there was once an old reprobate who had lived a wild and loose life too much in love with gambling and the bottle. When he died the local minister, who was something of a tyrant, insisted that the man be buried outside the fence of the church cemetery...")
  • Who's In and Who's Out

    by Alex Thomas
    ("Ralph Keyes in a book called Is There Life After High School? has some interesting things about famous people and their experience in High School. He mentions a time when Mia Farrow couldn't get a date for a dance...")
  • Us and Them

    by Carlos Wilton
    ("Sometimes it takes an experience like that -- an experience of struggle -- to shake us out of our prejudices. That's the way it was for a Dutchman by the name of René Schäfer. Schäfer was a prisoner of war in Japan during World War 2...")
  • Faith and Love

    by Tim Zingale
    ("I would like to share with you this morning, a brief description of a Charlie Chaplin's movie City Lights. Chaplin plays a little vagabond tramp who opens himself to anyone who opens their door to him. He becomes a vehicle for salvation for both a poor blind girl and a rich man...")

Other Resources from 2017 to 2019

Other Resources from 2014 to 2016

Other Resources from 2011 to 2013

Other Resources from 2008 to 2010

Other Resources from 2005 to 2007

Other Resources from the Archives

Resources from the Bookstore

  • Commentary

    by William Barclay, from the Daily Study Bible

Children's Resources and Dramas

The Classics

Recursos en Español

Currently Unavailable

  • Lectionary Reflection

    by Tom Harries
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm

    from Homiletics Online
    ("Larry David is thoroughly disagreeable. You might even call him enthusiasm-impaired. That's what makes him so funny on the HBO series -- he's completely incapable of expressing any excitement about everyday earthly existence...")
  • Fine Words

    by Ross Bartlett
    ("One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex standing in the foyer of the church staring up at a large plaque. It was covered with names with small flags mounted on either side of it. The seven year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so the pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy, and said quietly, 'Good morning. Alex'...")
  • Exegetical Considerations

    by Richard Carlson
  • Flipping the Script

    by Stephen Chanderbhan
    ("The congregation at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Richmond, VA could not believe what they were witnessing. One Sunday morning in June 1865, the story goes, as everyone prepared to receive communion, a black man rose from his pew in the back of the church, where all blacks had to sit, and strode to the front of the church...")
  • Ordinary 20

    by LeRoy Clementich, CSC
  • And Jesus Learned to Hope

    by Patrick Earl, SJ
  • And Jesus Learned to Hope

    by Patrick Earl, SJ
  • Domingo 20

    por Frank Enderle
  • Ordinary 20

    by Frank Enderle
  • Faith Is a Gift

    by James Farfaglia
  • Ordinary 20

    by Campion P. Gavaler, OSB
  • Ordinary 20

    by Campion P. Gavaler, OSB
  • Out into the Sewer

    by J. Curtis Goforth
    ("I'll never forget the first time I ate supper with my wife's father and stepmother. I didn't know her family very well, so I thought I would make some chit chat about her father's occupation. I didn't know at the time that he worked for the Cabarrus County Water and Sewer Authority...")
  • A Tap on the Shoulder

    by Anne Howard
  • Domingo 20

    por Joseph Madera
  • Ordinary 20

    by Alex McAllister, SDS
  • Tips for Discipleship: Be Bold

    by John and Robin McCullough-Bade
  • Come One, Come All

    by Leo Murray, SJ
  • The Tyranny of Program

    by Ron Rohlheiser, OMI
  • Room for All

    by Keith Wagner
    ("One time there was a vagabond who lived a wild and loose life. He had several vices like gambling and drinking. When he died a local pastor, who was something of a tyrant, insisted that the man be buried outside the fence of the church cemetery. The ground inside the fence was reserved for good and upstanding Christians..." and other illustrations)
  • Proper 15

    by Martin Warner
  • Lectionary Reflection

    from Word of God Among Us
  • Ordinary 20A (2017) and Week Following

    by Elaine Ireland
    All those who join themselves to the Lord’s mission and message of love and compassion are welcome on his holy mountain. How is it they live for eons in such harmony—the billions of stars— when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their mind against someone they know. There are wars where no one marches with a flag, though that does not keep casualties from mounting. Our hearts irrigate this earth. We are fields before each other. How can we live in harmony? First we need to know: we are all madly in love with the same God. (St. Thomas Aquinas, We are Fields before Each Other, from “Love Poems from God”)
  • Ordinary 20A

    by Wenonah Kateri Chapman, OP
    ("In 2001 one of the Klansmen responsible for the Birmingham, Alabama church bombing was convicted for the killing of the four young girls who died in that explosion. Almost forty years after the crime, he was finally brought to justice...")
  • Ordinary 20

    by Tom Clancy
  • Ordinary 20A (2014)

    by Alex McAllister
  • Insiders and Outsiders

    by David Risendal
  • Domingo 20

    de Sadlier
  • Faith and Mercy

    by David Risendal
  • Foreign Dogs

    by Jose Ignacio and Maria Lopez Vigil