“Rhythms of Growth is like a 12-month garden tour through countries of the spiritual life. Each month Linda Douty explores a different aspect of spiritual living, using the language and metaphors of field and garden.”
–Sybil MacBeth, author of Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God
“Insightful daily reminders that inspire us to live a deeper life.”
–John McQuiston III, author of Always We Begin Again: The Benedictine Way of Living
Discover how to pray and read scripture in ways that lead you to know and follow God’s will.
Interruptions often blindside us, leaving us wondering where God is. Jacob Armstrong looks at how Jesus responded to interruptions.
Set aside your stress for a bit and consider how the interruption you are going through may actually be an opportunity to feel God’s presence.
What do you say to someone who’s dying? Richard Morgan draws on his experience as a pastor and hospice chaplain to give guidance for those conversations you need to have with loved ones as they approach death.
“These poems are a journey of healing, hope, and spiritual wholeness.”
—Elaine J. W. Stanovsky
Bishop, The Mountain Sky Episcopal Area
The United Methodist Church
Through this book of poetry and reflections about the death of her mother, Roberta Bondi offers a gift to all who have lost a loved one.
“This outstanding resource for churches, small groups, and individuals will help people grow in their faith. Rob Fuquay is an excellent teacher and guide, and I look forward to studying this resource in my own small group.”
Pastor and author of The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus
In this 7-week study, Rob Fuquay explores what Jesus meant when he said “I Am the Bread of Life,” “I Am the Light of the World,” “I Am the Good Shepherd,” and other “I Am” statements.
Travel with Rob Fuquay to the Holy Land and see the places where Jesus stood as he disclosed his identity and the context in which he spoke the “I Am” statements from the Gospel of John.
The gospel comes to life as we move from the Judean wilderness to the Gaililean hills and into the heart of Jerusalem in this fast-paced, interactive video journey that helps us discover Jesus anew. The DVD includes Group Guides for adults, youth, and children.
The Upper Room Disciplines is a best-selling book of daily devotions published annually by Upper Room Books. Each week’s readings are reflections on scripture passages from the lectionary for that period. On Mondays the first reading for the week will be posted. We’d love to hear what you think about the week’s readings and prayers. Just sign in and add your comment in the Comments section following this post.
Read Matthew 21:23-27
This confrontation occurs not just in the holy city of Jerusalem but at the epicenter of the Jews’ relationship with God, the Temple. Matthew has just recounted how in this very place the blind and lame are coming to Jesus for cures (v. 14).
Jesus has brought his mission of teaching and healing— which reveals what God’s will is on earth as it is in heaven— from the roads and lanes of the countryside into what, for his people, is the most sacred locale on the planet. Here at the center of the world brews the crisis over whether and how that world belongs to God. To the marginalized—the sick and the children crying out “Hosanna to the Son of David” (v. 15)—discernment of heavenly power at work on earth is clear. Why should the powerful men of the Temple care if that’s how those at the bottom of society see things?
When recovered from disease and illness, the people were obliged to procure the Temple services of the priests who would offer the proper sacrifices. Being healed, not just cured of body but also rectified with God and reintegrated into God-fearing society, cost money—money that the afflicted often did not have. Having “overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves” (v. 12), Jesus’ cures proclaim that God’s favor, divine grace, is utterly free. And so we find the chief priests and scribes asking Jesus about his authority. Jesus brilliantly responds on their turf and puts their rules into play with his question about John the Baptist’s reputation and authority. After all, so much power on earth really is, in the end, about reputation. The powerful men’s inability to respond to Jesus’ question exposes their blindness and humiliates their claims to divine authority.
Teach us, Lord, to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is heaven,” such that your words resonate in our attitudes and actions. Amen.
Jesuit Father Bruce Morrill, the Edward A. Malloy Chair of Catholic Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School, teaches and writes on topics of systematic and liturgical theology, engages in parochial and prison ministries in Nashville, and makes occasional pastoral service trips to villages on Alaska’s Bering Seacoast. Among his numerous publications are Divine Worship and Human Healing (Liturgical Press, 2009) and Encountering Christ in the Eucharist (Paulist Press, 2012).
A GATE TO PARADISE
Little Sara couldn’t understand death on that hot day, but since then she was scattered in the coldness of desolation and rarely afterward did her heart feel any warmth. A Gate to Paradise picks up Sara’s story twenty years after the death of her mother as she prepares to enter into an arranged marriage.
This memoir follows Sara and her thoughts and dreams as she is stuck in a web of complex relationships in her home of Damascus, Syria. She lives in a continuous conflict between madness, pain, and tenderness. An educated woman in the medical field, she tells her story against the backdrop of her mother’s death and how her own surrender to motherhood led her to the front door of paradise.
A Gate to Paradise provides insight into the Arab world and its customs through Sara’s eyes. The traditions of the Middle Eastern community come to light as one woman comes to terms with her own life and her role in the world.