God’s Plan –  Nick Utphall reflects on the order(s) of the universe and a baby. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for Second Sunday of Christmas, Years A,  B, and C  Jerimiah 31:7-14 or Sirach 24:1-12 Psalm 147:12-20 or Wisdom 10:15-21 Ephesians 1:3-14John 1:[1-9] 10-18 “What has come into being in him was life…but [they] did not accept him” (John 1:3-4, 11). We’ve spent months explicitly close to and aware of the sense of not accepting what makes for life. It has been a persistent reiterated theme of the pandemic. How many times have you been told to wash your hands? Remember nine monthsRead More →

Divorced, Together –  Nick Utphall reflects on the connections in the family of creation. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for First Sunday of Christmas, Year B (2020, 2023)  Isaiah 61:10 – 62:3Psalm 148Galatians 4:4-7Luke 2:22-40 For creation connections, it doesn’t get much clearer than the Psalm for the day, Psalm 148. I reprint it here just to refresh and maintain your contact with these globally, cosmically full words: Hallelujah! Praise the LORD from the heavens;    praise God in the heights.Praise the LORD, all you angels;    sing praise, all you hosts of heaven.Praise the LORD, sun and moon;    singRead More →

Displaced and Found by God –  Nick Utphall reflects on the place of baby Jesus in a pandemic. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for Christmas Eve (Nativity of Our Lord), Years A, B, and C Isaiah 9:2-7Psalm 96Titus 2:11-14Luke 2:1-14 [15-20] At worship planning in early November, some members of my congregation raised the idea of renting a barn for our Christmas Eve worship services. Here in Wisconsin, some location that could offer a little shelter from the cold of the night probably seemed like a good idea. And maybe the ambience was intended as much as the practicality. In thisRead More →

Needing New Life:  Nick Utphall reflects on following the Good Shepherd.   Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year A (2020, 2023) Acts 2:42-47Psalm 231 Peter 1:19-25John 10:1-10 Editor’s Note: In his commentary for the Sundays before and after Earth Day, Nick Utphall reflected on Easter, Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, and the coronavirus. He continues these themes with the following thoughts about the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter.  Some pastoral and rural peace may be just the ticket for these days. Let’s get out of the house and follow the Shepherd! These days, it doesn’t evenRead More →

Needing New Life:  Nick Utphall reflects on Easter, Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, and coronavirus. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for Second Sunday of Easter, Year A (2020, 2023) Acts 2:14a, 22-32Psalm 161 Peter 1:3-9John 20:19-31 Readings for Third Sunday of Easter, Year A (2020, 2023) Acts 2:14a, 36-41Psalm 116:1-4, 12-191 Peter 1:17-23Luke 24:13-35 I had been looking forward to working on this commentary for months now. Back before almost everything changed, I was aiming toward it since before the start of 2020. I was feeling great excitement and some ownership about late April of this year. It’s the 50th anniversary ofRead More →