Romans 13: 1-14

New Resources

  • Sermon Starters (Proper 18A)(2020)

    by Doug Bratt
    In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott recounts a story told by Jack Kornfield of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, CA. it’s about an eight-year-old boy whose younger sister was dying of leukemia. He was told that without a blood transfusion she would die. His parents explained to him that his blood was probably compatible with hers and, if so, he would be the blood donor. They asked him if they could test his blood. He said, “Sure.” They did and learned it was a good match. They asked if he would donate to his sister a pint of his blood because it could be her only chance of living. He said he would have to think about it overnight. The next day he went to his parents and said he was willing to donate the blood. So they took him to the hospital where he was placed on a gurney beside his six-year-old sister. Both of them were hooked up to IV’s. A nurse withdrew a pint of blood from the boy, which was then eventually transferred to his sister’s IV. The boy lay on his gurney in silence while the blood dripped into his sister, until the doctor came over to see how he was doing. Then the boy opened his eyes and asked, “How soon until I start to die?”
  • See Your Neighbors

    by Frederick Buechner
  • The Law's Aspirations

    by Christine Chakoian
  • Proper 18A (2020)

    by Christine Chakoian
  • Exegesis (Romans 13:8-14)

    by Richard Donovan
  • Proper 18A (2020)

    by Ryan Hansen
  • Proper 18A (2020)

    by Phil Heinze
  • Proper 18A (2020)

    by Israel Kamudzandu
  • Proper 18A

    by William Loader
  • You Know What Time It Is

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    Calling James Borden a clockmaker is a true statement, but his work is more than that. His clocks are indeed sculptural, hanging on walls, sitting on tables, even suspended from the ceiling. These kinetic sculptures are large pieces, some as large as 10' wide and 6.5' tall. They tell time but they engage more of the viewer than your average clock. Can you figure out how to tell time with this clock? Does it change how you perceive time and the passage of time? That's what Paul hopes his words will do for the Christians in Rome. He wants them to remember that every moment moves us closer to Christ's return. That should change how we perceive and value and use each day. Paul's timetable may have anticipated a return sooner than events have proven to be true, but the ultimate day is still moving toward us. Each day bringing us closer to salvation than we are right now.
  • A New Wardrobe

    by Glenn Monson

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • The Sin of Sloth

    by Gilbert Bowen
    Jane Kenyon was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in May of 1947. Her father Reuel played piano all his life ... toured with American dance bands. Jane’s mother Polly had sung with orchestras in night clubs, and when her children were born, turned seamstress and teacher of sewing. The family lived on the outskirts of town, on a dirt road opposite a working farm in a house crowded with pictures, books, and music. Jane went to a one-room school through the fourth grade. During junior high school she began to write poems. At the University of Michigan, where she majored first in French and then in English, she won the Hopwood Award. We met in 1969, courted in 1971, married in 1972. In 1975, with Jane’s encouragement, I quit my university job and we moved to a family place in New Hampshire. Her readers are aware of Jane’s struggles with depression, but also her joy in the creation, in flowers, music, and paintings, in hayfields and a dog. We had almost twenty years together at Eagle Pond Farm, engaged separately in a common enterprise (they both wrote poetry) commonly loving land and house and church and friends. Jane died of leukemia on April 22, 1995...
  • Sermon Starters (Advent 1A)(2019)

    by Doug Bratt
    In his December 17, 2013 New York Times obituary for Harold Camping, T. Rees Shapiro wrote “That life on Earth continued after May 21, 2011 was a crushing disappointment to Mr. Camping, his legion of devout followers and millions of listeners on his Family Radio network … “‘It is going to happen,’ Mr. Camping told NPR in early May 2011. He reportedly spent tens of millions of dollars to spread his doomsday message. His May 21 prediction was plastered on more than 5,000 billboards across the country. He had 100 million pamphlets printed in 61 languages, including some that read, ‘The End of the World is Almost Here!’ “His volunteers canvassed the country, including dozens who walked Washington’s Mall handing out fliers that reminded passersby to ‘Save the Date.’ Through the Internet and social-media platforms, Mr. Camping’s bold prognostication ‘was made all the more accessible to a wider demographic and more quickly,’ said Jay Johnson, a religion professor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA...
  • Our Unpaid Debt

    by Dan Clendenin
    If anyone knows about credit and debt, that would be Warren Buffett. This week I watched the HBO documentary "Becoming Warren Buffett" (2017). I definitely recommend it. We know the stories about Buffett as a regular guy who eats breakfast at McDonalds every morning, takes his grand kids to Dairy Queen once a month, and who has lived in the same Omaha house for 58 years. Ditto about his stupendous wealth ($73 billion). But what really animates this HBO documentary is how Buffett has worked at improving his relationships with the people he loves the most. According to his three children and his first wife Susie, for most of his life he was emotionally aloof. "I was a lopsided person," Buffett admits. He was more comfortable with numbers than with people. "My dad is a solitary guy," says his son Peter.
  • Ordinary 23A (2002)

    by Frank Cordaro
    ("Many years ago, early in my Catholic Worker/Resistance career, I remember driving down a hill on Indianola Road on the south side of Des Moines heading towards downtown. From the top of the hill, you can see the whole Des Moines skyline. A vision of a nuclear bomb destroying the city came into my mind's eye. It was scary...")
  • Hope for the Long Haul

    by Kathy Donley
    In the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, there was a bakery owned by a man named Yankel. Yankel survived the Holocaust. He once said, “You know why it is that I’m alive today? I was a kid, just a teenager at the time. We were on the train, in a boxcar, being taken to Auschwitz. Night came and it was freezing, deathly cold, in that boxcar. The Germans would leave the cars on the side of the tracks overnight, sometimes for days on end without any food, and of course, no blankets to keep us warm,” he said. “Sitting next to me was an older Jew – this beloved elderly Jew - from my hometown I recognized, but I had never seen him like this. He was shivering from head to toe, and looked terrible. So I wrapped my arms around him and began rubbing him, to warm him up. I rubbed his arms, his legs, his face, his neck. I begged him to hang on. All night long; I kept the man warm this way. I was tired, I was freezing cold myself, my fingers were numb, but I didn’t stop rubbing the heat on to this man’s body. Hours and hours went by this way. Finally, night passed, morning came, and the sun began to shine. There was some warmth in the cabin, and then I looked around the car to see some of the others in the car. To my horror, all I could see were frozen bodies, and all I could hear was a deathly silence. Nobody else in that cabin made it through the night – they died from the frost. Only two people survived: the old man and me… The old man survived because somebody kept him warm; I survived because I was warming somebody else…”...
  • Have You Got the Time?

    by Rob Elder
    Does anyone else remember the old song recorded by the band, Chicago, which began: “As I was walking down the street one day, a man came up to me and asked me what the time was that was on my watch; and I said: ‘Does anybody really know what time it is? Does anybody really care?'"1 In the background, the chorus sings, “I don’t care about time.” It was a modest little protest against the control which clocks place on our lives, and perhaps my uncle’s pastor had heard this song once too often and begun living by its message. But the answer to the question that chorus is asking, of course is, yes, lots of people care about time...
  • Advent 1A (2016)

    by Scott Hoezee
    Most of us have heard the humorous old story about the 19th century farmer whose wife went into labor in the dead of night. The doctor was fetched and delivered a child while the farmer held a lantern aloft to help the doctor see. But then the doctor said, “Hold on—there’s another one. We’ve got twins here!” And the doctor delivered a second child. The farmer was shaken by this unexpected development but then, “Hold on! We’ve got triplets—another one is coming.” At this the farmer began to back out of the room. “Come back here with that lantern,” the doctor shouted. To which the farmer replied, “No, no—it’s the light that attracts ‘em!”...
  • Proper 18A (2017)

    by Scott Hoezee
    Simone Weil once noticed something in the Genesis creation account: the greatness of God, Weil suggested, is not simply in God’s gigantic creative powers and prowess. No, the deepest revelation of God’s greatness in the creating of the universe is that God is not God-centered. God is other-oriented, other-centric. God’s greatness is that he is able to get outside of God’s own self—and being God, the self in question is more than sufficient for many eternities’ worth of self-absorption—and take note of and revel in the existence of the Other. Even for God, his own creatures made in his image are the most important thing. When it comes to our love for neighbors, God is asking us to do no more than what he himself has been doing since the dawn of creation...
  • Where Two or Three Are Gathered

    by Anne Le Bas
    (" I read a wonderful post on an Christian blog this week, and I'd like to read you the first part of it. It might make you scratch your heads a bit, but don't worry, because when I read you the second part of it later on, it will fall into place. 'There is no doubt that going to Church is a waste of time. After all, you could be on Twitter. You could be in B&Q or digging the garden or in bed. Or watching Great British Bake-Off on BBC iPlayer...")
  • Living by the Word

    by Joann Haejong Lee
    In his book The Year of Living Biblically, A. J. Jacobs shares his experience of trying to adhere to all the Bible’s laws and rules for one full year. He tries to follow the major, well-known rules—such as the Ten Commandments—but also the more obscure ones, like this command from Leviticus 19:19: “Nor shall you put on a garment made of two different materials.” What emerges is a humorous yet poignant story of an impossible quest.
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 18A)(2013)

    by Stan Mast
    It was toward the end of the summer of the year AD 386. In the garden of a villa near Milan in northern Italy sat Augustine, born November 13 of the year 354. Beside him on a bench was a copy of Paul’s epistles. But he seemed not to be particularly interested in it. He was experiencing an intense spiritual struggle, a violent agitation of heart and mind. Getting up from the bench he flung himself down on the grass beneath a fig tree. As he was lying there, he heard the voice of a child, boy or girl he could not tell. That voice was repeating again and again, “Tolle, lege; tolle, lege.” (“Take up and read; take up and read.”) He got up, returned to the bench, and, having picked up the copy of Paul’s epistles, read the first passage on which his eye fell, a Latin version of Romans 13:13b, 14, “Not in orgies and drinking bouts, not in sexual excesses and debaucheries, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the (fulfillment of) the lusts of the flesh.” It was this passage plus love and the constant prayers of his devout mother Monica that lead to the conversion of Augustine, who became one of the greatest leaders of the church.
  • Owing the Debt of Love

    by Jim McCrea
    In his book Sources of Strength, former President Jimmy Carter writes, “After a personal witnessing experience with Eloy Cruz, an admirable Cuban pastor who had surprising rapport with very poor immigrants from Puerto Rico, I asked him for the secret of his success. He was modest and embarrassed, but he finally said, ‘Señor Jimmy, we only need to have two loves in our lives: for God, and for the person who happens to be [standing] in front of us at any time.’”
  • Love One Another

    by Philip McLarty
    One of my favorite illustrations is that of young woman who grew up in a large family. They were poor, and the highlight of their week was Sunday dinner, when they had fried chicken. All the kids competed for a breast or a leg or the "pulley bone." "Mom always asked for the back," the young woman said with a tear in her eye. "She said it was her favorite piece." Then she added, "It wasn't until I graduated from college that it dawned on me that she took the back so that everyone else could have what they wanted."...
  • All You Need Is Love

    by Keith Wagner
    ("Several years ago a twelve-year-old girl, Ashley Peebles, ran into the kitchen and said to her mother, 'Have you seen the news today?' The news revolved around a flood that hit Elba, Alabama. Elba relied on a levee system to hold back the waters of the Pea River. The levee gave way and the entire town was engulfed in water. Many families lost everything they had. Ashley wanted to help. She decided to start a food drive and wondered where to begin..." and other illustrations)
  • The Golden Years

    by Keith Wagner
    Once there was a family that was not rich and not poor. They lived in Ohio in a small country house. One night they all sat down for dinner, and there was a knock at the door. The father went to the door and opened it. There stood an old man in tattered clothes, with ripped pants and missing buttons. He was carrying a basket full of vegetables. He asked the family if they wanted to buy some vegetables from him. They quickly did because they wanted him to go away. However, the next week, the man returned again. Over time, the family and the old man became friends. The man brought vegetables to the family every week. They soon found out that he was almost blind and had cataracts on his eyes. But he was so friendly that learned to look forward to his visits and started to enjoy his company. One day as he was delivering vegetables, he said, “I had the greatest blessing yesterday. I found a basket of clothes outside my house that someone had left for me.” The family, knowing he needed clothes, said, “How wonderful.” The old man replied, “The most wonderful part is that I found a family that really needed the clothes.”...
  • The Politics of Advent

    by Fritz Wendt
    Jochen Klepper, a theologian of Germany’s Confessing Church, struggled with how to confess Jesus as Lord amidst the political realities of Germany in 1938, as he wrote these verses on our epistle reading: The night is quickly paling and dawn is not too far. Our praises should be hailing the radiant morning star! Those who in tears were spending the night, come, join with cheer. The morning star is lending light to your pain and fear.
  • The War on Advent

    by Carl Wilton
    The TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, is going to be 54 years old this year. Remember, in that story, how Charlie Brown gets fed up with all the commercialism of Christmas? Lucy’s wrought up over what presents she’s going to get, Schroeder’s a bundle of nerves on account of the Christmas pageant, and as for Snoopy, he’s strung so many Christmas lights on his doghouse, he’s about to take down the power grid. Charlie Brown goes out and buys that scrawny little tree that bends over with the weight of a single ornament. He fears his quest to find the true meaning of Christmas is a complete failure. That is, until Linus — that resident theologian of the Peanuts gang — saves the day with a simple recitation from the second chapter of Luke. Everybody remembers, then, what Christmas is really about. Fifty-four years ago, that was controversial stuff for TV. The network executives very nearly cut the Bible reading. They were concerned it was a little too sectarian for the American viewing public. The cartoon’s creators stuck to their guns. The reading from Luke stayed in: and that scene of Linus up on stage, bathed in the spotlight as he tells of shepherds out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night, has become many people’s favorite part of the story — the thing they look forward to each year. There’s one little detail from that scene you may have missed, no matter how many times you’ve seen the cartoon. I missed it myself for quite a number of years, but now I can’t see A Charlie Brown Christmas without thinking about it. If you know anything about the character of Linus in that famous comic strip, it’s that he’s never without his security blanket. He’s a bit old to be carrying a blanket around, but it’s just what he does. If anyone tries to take Linus’ blanket from him — like Snoopy, in a mischievous moment — he goes ballistic: completely freaking out with anxiety, until some kind person returns it to him. The only time in all the Peanuts comic universe when Linus voluntarily lets go of his blanket is in this very scene from A Charlie Brown Christmas. As Linus steps up on stage to recite the Christmas story, he quietly lets go of his security blanket. It falls to his feet in a heap — forgotten, for the next couple minutes or so, as he loses himself in the story of Jesus’ birth. When the Bible recitation is ended, he picks it up again and everything goes on as before. But for those few, brief moments, he’s free of his anxiety...

Other Resources from 2019 (Advent 1A)

Other Resources from 2017 (Ordinary 23A)

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2016 (Advent 1A)

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2014 to 2016

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2010 to 2013

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from 2001 to 2009

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Other Resources from the Archives

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

Resources from the Bookstore

Children's Resources and Dramas

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)

The Classics

(In order to avoid losing your place on this page when viewing a different link, I would suggest that you right click on that link with your mouse and select “open in a new tabâ€. Then, when you have finished reading that link, close the tab and you will return to where you left off on this page. FWIW!)