Practice Resurrection – Tom Mundahl reflects on the story told by how we live. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary Readings for the Day of Pentecost, Year B (2021, 2024) Acts 2:1-21 Psalm 104:24-34, 35b Romans 8:22-27 John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15 As he finishes one of his best-known poems, “Manifesto: the Mad Farmer Liberation Front,” Wendell Berry calls his readers to “practice resurrection” (The Mad Farmer Poems, Counterpoint, 2013, p. 21). These outrageous verses issue a challenge to rethink the tenets of standard economics. After all, calling farmers to plant sequoias and view one’s chief crop as forest that shows a profit from the twoRead More →

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 →

Rejoice? – Tom Mundahl reflects on joy in the midst of grief. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for the Third Sunday of Advent, Year B (2020, 2023) Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 Psalm 126 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 John 1:6-8, 19-28 The Third Sunday in Advent has traditionally been called “Gaudete Sunday,” a Sunday to “rejoice” as we turn in hope and expectation toward the Coming One. While gaudete (“rejoice”) originally comes from the Vulgate translation of Philippians 4:4, “rejoice in the Lord always”, this week’s readings do not neglect this theme.  For example, this week’s Second Lesson calls Thessalonian community members to “rejoiceRead More →

Thinking the Unthinkable – Tom Mundahl reflects on our communal lament and hope for wholeness. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent, Year B (2020, 2023) Isaiah 40:1-11 Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 2 Peter 3:8-15a Mark 1:1-8 Few themes sound more powerfully during Advent than the promise of comfort. We cannot help being moved by Handel’s Messiah as the tenor takes up the prophet’s voice with the clear tones of “Comfort ye, comfort ye, comfort ye my people.” During this “Covid year,” we will likely miss lifting our voices together in Olearius’ hymn, “Comfort, Comfort Now My People”Read More →

Let’s Just Start Over! – Tom Mundahl reflects on the start of Advent in the midst of pandemic, climate crisis, and racial violence. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for the First Sunday of Advent, Year B (2020, 2023) Isaiah 64:1-9 Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 Mark 13:24-37 Advent marks a new beginning, entry into a new church year.  What a luxury it would be to face the future by erasing the challenges of the last year as easily as a child does by shaking her Etch-a-Sketch. Unfortunately, as we restart the liturgical year — our framework for telling and livingRead More →

Fake News – Tom Mundahl reflects on the alternative. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for Sunday June 26 – July 2, Year A (2020, 2023) Jeremiah 28:5-9 Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18 Romans 6:12-23 Matthew 10:40-42 While there have always been questions about the accuracy of journalism, only in the past few years have charges of “fake news” and adherence to“alternative facts” gained prominence.  This development is chillingly reminiscent of George Orwell’s novel 1984, which begins “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” (Signet Classic, 1949, p. 5). Immediately we recognize that we are entering aRead More →

It Can’t Happen Here – Tom Mundahl reflects on prophetic voice and lament. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for Sunday June 19-25, Year A (2020, 2023) Jeremiah 20:7-13 Psalm 69:7-10 (11-15) 16-18 Romans 6:1b-11 Matthew 10:24-39 When I read Camus’ novel The Plague during my freshman year in college, it never occurred to me that I would live to see a global pandemic. Nor did I expect that this novel would describe so accurately our reaction to this “new plague.” Here is Camus providing a picture of how the residents of the Algerian city of Oran first met this brewing disaster.Read More →

A Community to Serve the Whole Earth – Tom Mundahl reflects on support, endurance, and hope for the challenges we face. Care for Creation Commentary on the Common Lectionary  Readings for Sunday June 12-18, Year A (2020, 2023) Exodus 19:2-8a Psalm 100 Romans 5:1-8 Matthew 9:35-10:8 The arrival of the novel coronavirus has shaken our culture to the foundations. In a matter of a few months, trust in endless economic expansion and progress has all but disappeared. The vaunted American medical system — the “best in the world” — has been unmasked as a disorganized boutique  set of arrangements designed to treat illness among theRead More →