Isaiah 55: 1-13

New Resources

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Crisis/Kairos: Time for Praying, Praying for Time

    by John Auer
    Our theme of “lostness and foundness” this season guided me through the recent news story about U.S. Olympic skier Toby Dawson. Dawson was three years old when he was lost in a market by his mother in South Korea. Eventually he was adopted and raised by the Dawson family, ski instructors in Colorado. When Toby Dawson won the bronze medal in freestyle skiing last Winter Olympics, his story caused dozens of would-be Korean parents to come forward to claim him. Dawson waited until genetic tests confirmed Kim Jae Su as his biological father. The two met again just last week. The son was prepared to say in Korean, “I’ve been waiting a long time, father.” The father responded, “I am so thankful that he has come to look for me even after such a long time.” Toby Dawson added, “My life until now has been confused. I looked at my parents, and I didn’t look like them. Then I also felt if I went to Korea, I didn’t belong there. I felt like I was still lost, stuck between two different worlds.”...
  • God's Ways

    by Craig Condon
    in 1818, Louis Braille was sitting in his father’s workshop. His father was a harness maker, and Louis loved watching his father work. He even wanted to be a harness maker just like his father. His father started teaching him how to cut pieces and punch holes in the leather. Once when Louis hit the hole-puncher, it flew out of his hand and pierced his eye, leaving him fully blind. This led to an infection that spread to his other eye and eventually cost him the sight in that eye. Years later Louis was sitting in the garden when someone handed him a pine cone, As he ran his fingers over the pine cone, he got an idea. What if the blind could learn to read with their hands? He created an entire alphabet with raised dots. That enabled millions of blind people to read to this very day. Louis Braille’s loss of sight had a purpose, but it took years of living with his blindness before he began to see the reason for his pain. Our pain has a purpose as well. Even though we might not see it, God is at work when we suffer. We have to trust Him to reveal the purpose for our pain in His own time and in His own way...
  • Lent 3C (2010)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Mark Salzman's novel, Lying Awake, is set in a Carmelite monastery just outside of Los Angeles. The book details the lives of the nuns who live there and ultimately ponders the meaning of what constitutes a genuine religious experience of God's presence. The nuns devote themselves to prayer and contemplation, allowing the rhythm of liturgy to set the cadence of their lives....")
  • God's Will Be Done

    by James Kegel
    I remember reading a story of a young monk who spent months in a Belgian monastery helping to weave a tapestry. One day he rose from his bench in disgust: "I can't do this any more! My directions make no sense. I have been working with a bright yellow thread and suddenly I am to knot it and cut it short for nor reason. What a waste!" "My son, said an older monk, "You are not seeing this tapestry correctly. You are sitting at the back, working on one spot." He led the young man to the front of the tapestry, hanging stretched in the huge workroom, and the novice gasped. He had been weaving a beautiful picture-the three kings paying homage to the Christ Child-his yellow thread was part of the gleaming halo around the baby's head. What had seemed wasteful and senseless was magnificent...
  • If You Are Keeping Score, It Is Not Real Love

    by Terrance Klein
    He was not directly referring to his first marriage with Vivian, though how T. S. Eliot described his play “The Cocktail Party” accurately describes their union. “A man who finds himself incapable of loving/ And a woman who finds that no man can love her.” In real life, both of the Eliots, Tom and Vivian, seemed almost to race, seeing who could become more psychologically and physically ill...
  • The Martians Are Coming!

    by Anne Le Bas
    ("On a certain Sunday night in October 1938, evening prayer services were in full swing at a local church when a man named Sam, a member of the congregation who lived down the road from the church, charged into the prayer meeting trembling with fear and excitement. Finally gaining the breath to speak, he shouted, 'Martians are attacking the earth in spaceships! Some of 'em have already landed in New Jersey!'...")
  • Sermon Starters (Lent 4C)(2019)

    by Stan Mast
    It has been years since the last Master Card “Priceless” commercials were all the rage on TV. You remember them. They were all like jokes with three lines followed by a punch line. After three scenes featuring some hapless individuals, the punch line would be “priceless. For everything else there’s Master Card.” Those ads ran so long that they lost their appeal and became the subject of wicked parodies. The whole idea of “priceless” became a joke. In our text, God’s offer of life for free is not a joke. It has no price and it is beyond price. It is priceless, because the price has been paid by Christ.
  • This Is Not Bread (Isaiah)

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    The prophet asks, "Why spend your money on things that aren't bread?" (Isaiah 55:1-9) Why spend your money on things that don't sustain life? Why exchange your work for things that don't satisfy? The world is full of things that look like they sustain life. There are many things for which we work that ultimately do not satisfy. But those things can be so attractive that we forget they aren't life-sustaining or ultimately satisfying. Dutch still life painters created an entire genre of paintings that model the prophet's question...
  • As It Turns Out, There Is Such Thing As Free Lunch

    by Steven Molin
    Several years ago, on a family trip to Seattle, Kyle and I attended an afternoon Twins/Mariners baseball game, while Marsha and Kindra spent the afternoon shopping at Pike's Place Market. When they stopped for lunch at a sidewalk café and ordered pretty much whatever they wanted to eat, unconcerned about the price of the meal, they noticed a man being removed from the restaurant for scavenging the tables before the bus boys came to clear the plates. As they watched the man, he was watching them; watching them eat their sandwiches, and sip endless servings of water and iced tea and Diet Coke. After 30 minutes, Kindra and Marsha were stuffed, while the hungry man just beyond the railing was still…well…still hungry. Just before they arose, Marsha tells me, Kindra did a curious thing; she slid her plate with half a sandwich remaining, down to the end of the table, as near to the railing as it could possibly be. They paid their bill and left, and then they watched the man reach over the railing and grab the sandwich, and offer Kindra a grateful smile as he did so. But for the remainder of the afternoon, Marsha wondered whether they had done the right thing or not. Oh, they didn't regret leaving behind half a sandwich, mind you. What they regretted is that they didn't invite the man to join them at the table, to allow him to order from the menu, and to share a meal with one who was dying to eat what they were willing to leave behind as scraps...
  • Nourished

    by Beth Quick
    ("I recently ran across a passage from the 19th century theologian and philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. He wrote, 'The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand it we are obliged to act accordingly...")
  • God's Generous Invitation

    by Fritz Wendt
    It all started in the summer of 2017. Four women, Natalie Hoffman, Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse, and Zaachila Orozco-McCormick, all volunteers with a humanitarian aid organization called No More Deaths, drove into the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, and left behind jugs of water and canned food for migrants. That day, they were followed by a U.S. Border Patrol officer, arrested, and charged with entering the wildlife refuge without a permit and with “abandonment of property.” After a three-day bench trial at a federal court in Tucson, the four women were found guilty on misdemeanor charges of “Operating a Motor Vehicle in a Wilderness Area” and “Abandonment of Property.” They were told that each could face up to six months in federal prison; at the sentencing early this month, they instead received relatively minor sentences of 15 months of probation and a $250 fine. The Cabeza Prieta Refuge is located in southwestern Arizona in the United States, along 56 miles of the Mexico–United States border. Located within the Yuma Desert, a lower-elevation section of the Sonoran Desert, the refuge was originally established in 1939 to protect desert bighorn sheep; in addition, the area is an active corridor for illegal entry and smuggling into the U.S. The Trump administration has tightened rules against leaving food, water, and clothing in areas such as Cabeza Prieta even if meant to save lives...
  • The Real American Idol

    by Carl Wilton
    In his book, Who Switched the Price Tags?, Tony Campolo tells a story from his youth, growing up in Philadelphia. Just as it is here, the night before Halloween is known in Philadelphia as Mischief Night — and we all know what goes on. One year, Tony and his best friend devised the perfect Mischief Night prank. They never carried it out, but they sure had a lot of fun thinking about it. The prank was to break into the local five-and-ten store. They didn’t plan to take anything. All they wanted to do was change the price tags on as many items as they could
  • No Condemnation

    by Lois Wolff
    Sid Burgess, pastor of Edgewood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, AL, has a vision of a banner for his church. That banner would be right on the corner, where the traffic light gives drivers a few minutes to read it. It would simply say “No Condemnation. Sundays, 9:30 a.m.” In the 60’s, there was ‘criticism of civil rights leaders, peace proponents and liberal “do-gooders;”’ in the 70’s, condemnation of “intellectuals and divorcees, women taking on leadership roles.” He figured if the churches condemned all those people, sooner or later it certainly would condemn him! Maybe what they mean, if he could read the fine print, is “No condemnation of good people. No criticism of folks who can say the right words and know when to stand and when to sit and what to wear and how to write the big checks.”...

Other Resources from 2020

Other Resources from 2019

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Other Resources from 2017 and 2018

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Other Resources from 2014 and 2015

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Other Resources from 2009 to 2013

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Other Resources from the Archives

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Resources from the Bookstore

  • Returning

    by William J. Bausch, from More Telling Stories
    ("In the spirit of glasnost, I presume, an unusual film was permitted to be shown in Moscow about two years ago, entitled Repentance. It was such a popular film that it opened in seventeen Moscow theaters and the lines for tickets were even longer than the lines for the great Russian passion, the ballet..." and other illustrations)

Children's Resources

(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 tab”. 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

Currently Unavailable

  • What Do You Want Most?

    by Steve Goodier
  • Hope for Tomorrow

    by Keith Wagner
    ("On the morning of May 26, 2006, Daniel Mazur, a mountain climber, was less than 1,000 feet from the summit of Mt. Everest. He abandoned his own climb to the top in order to save another climber, Australian, Lincoln Hall, who had been left for dead by his own team. Mazur's decision to aid the fallen climber meant that none of his group could press on..." and other illustrations)
  • Ordinary 18A

    by Susan Fleming McGurgan
  • Lent 3C

    by Stephen P. Riley
  • Drop-in Discipleship

    from Homiletics Online