The Language of Lament

Chuck DeGroat

Read: Psalm 102 In my distress I groan aloud and am reduced to skin and bones. (v. 5 NIV) I don’t lament well, especially compared to people in some other cultures and countries, where weeping and wailing are on public display. I subscribe to a keep-it-between-you-and-your-Kleenex theology. Wipe away the tears as quickly as possible. Clean up. Get it together. This isn’t really the way I want to be, but it’s what I was taught and what I’m prone to. …

Faithful God, Fearful Followers

Jill English

Read: 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13 When I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain. (v. 5) As parents, we love, teach, guide, and mentor our children and, when it is time, release them into the world—only to circle back in a panic to check on them again and again, afraid, like Paul, that our good work was in vain and …

A Different Perspective

Andy Bast

Read: Isaiah 2:1-4 The mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains. (v. 2) The summer before our first child was born, my wife and I decided to take a vacation (some call it a “babymoon”) to the Pacific Northwest. We spent a day hiking in Mount Rainier National Park. Mount Rainier rises 14,000 feet above sea level. We had been to Colorado and Montana earlier and had hiked some large mountains, …

An Advent Prayer

Kristen Deede Johnson

Read: Psalm 33 He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. (v. 5) I remember the moment when an older, wiser Christian asked which psalm was my favorite to pray. I had no answer. Praying the psalms was an entirely new idea to me, but I decided to give it a try. After years of cultivating a prayer life rooted in my own words, it was hard to make the shift to …

Waiting for Jesus

Felix Theonugraha

Read: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 . . . to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (v. 10) “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable.” One of my professors drilled this into me when I was in seminary. Showing up early for a meeting was a way of showing respect, but making someone wait was the height of selfishness. In this passage, …

Not Slow but Patient

Jeff Munroe

Read: 2 Peter 3:1-10 The Lord is . . . patient toward you. (v. 9) During Advent, and then continuing through the end of December, the Words of Hope devotional is written by a group of faculty and staff from Western Theological Seminary. Our community is thoughtful and reflective, and we fully embrace the liturgical seasons of the church year as we worship together. Advent is a favorite season for our community. This time of year is muted and dark …