Posts By This Author

Consumption, Charity, or Change?

by Laurel A. Dykstra 11-01-2008
Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary, Cycles A and B

The month of November is a lectionary train wreck. The calendars of liturgical and secular feast days collide so that Halloween, All Saints’ Day, Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the year, and lighting the first Advent candle all fall within 30 days.

This month we read the entirety of Matthew 25, but the crescendo of this “eschatological discourse”—which precedes the trial, crucifixion, and resurrection—is cut off abruptly by the start of Advent. Before we have faced Jesus’ death in Jerusalem, we are studying the signs that point us to his birth in Galilee. With no closure, we end our intense and bewildering grapple with the gospel of Matthew.

During a month in which there is an excess of consumption and charity but little focus on concrete social change, we hear a gospel reading about economic realities in first-century Palestine that is entirely relevant today: predatory investment, greed, and the accumulation of wealth. “For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away” (Matthew 25:29). Perhaps we can keep this verse and “those who have nothing” in our prayers and our actions.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

by Laurel A. Dykstra 09-01-2008
Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary for October.

A Harsh and Dreadful Love

by Laurel A. Dykstra 09-01-2008
Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary for September.

Lives and Fishes

by Laurel A. Dykstra 08-01-2008
Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary, Cycle A.

Life Lessons

by Laurel A. Dykstra 07-01-2008

“That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach.

Uncomfortable Words

by Laurel A. Dykstra 06-01-2008

We have returned now to what some churches call “ordinary time,” a designation more to do with the numbering of weeks than a plain or mundane time.

The Creator of Life

by Laurel A. Dykstra 05-01-2008

Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost are not three distinct seasons, but rather celebrations of and grapplings with three aspects of Christ’s resurrection and what they mean about Jesus, God, Sp

Resistance and Survival

by Laurel A. Dykstra 04-01-2008

The books of Luke, Acts, and 1 Peter dominate the readings this month; Peter and Paul are key players.

Word on the Street

by Laurel A. Dykstra 03-01-2008

This month, as we enter the high season of the church year, the common lectionary offers an overwhelming number of biblical passages for our consideration.

A Season of Repentance

by Laurel A. Dykstra 02-01-2008

Christians tell the same story over and over even though we know how it ends. We dread the execution even as we anticipate the resurrection.

Voices of Truth

by Laurel A. Dykstra 01-01-2008

In the Northern Hemisphere, the short days and long nights of winter come with lectionary readings full of references to dark and light.

A Prophetic Call

by Laurel A. Dykstra 12-01-2007

December 1 is World AIDS Day. Worldwide, 15 million children have lost one or both parents to the AIDS pandemic; in Zimbabwe, one in five children are orphans.

Defiant Daughters

by Laurel A. Dykstra 09-01-2003

In a time of hardened hearts, the story of Exodus is relevant once again.