The Lively Lectionary New Testament is a blog by Rev. Dr. Alyce McKenzie that reflects on the gospel text from the Revised Common Lectionary each week. It offers a 1000-1200 word post that relates the text to contemporary life.

Living the Resurrection - Reflections on Acts 4:32-35

The author of Acts, Luke, the writer of the Gospel that bears his name, has amplified the call of the older testament to order the new resurrection community in the way that the Israelites were similarly called to shape their community under YHWH.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Tell the Story! - Reflections on Mark 16:1-8

I chose this amazing text from Mark, because I know of no better account of the astonishing event that Easter commemorates. You may, I imagine, disagree! After all, Matthew has fainting soldiers and rising corpses. Luke offers the story of two disciples trudging toward Emmaus, disconsolate until they meet the risen Jesus and recognize him when they break bread. John tells us the touching tale of Mary and her confusion about Jesus as a gardener. And Mark? Here we get the empty tomb, a man in white, and at the end silent and terrified women. Just what sort of narrative is that for an Easter Sunday? I am glad you asked!

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

God Comes in Surprise - Reflections on Acts 16:16-34

Among many other characteristics of the God we worship, the chief one is divine actions when we least expect them, actions that often amaze and astound, appearing as they do in common forms.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Fully Open to the Spirit - Reflections on Acts 11:1-18

Today’s text thrusts us directly into the enormously consequential narrative of Peter’s confrontation with the Holy Spirit that forces him to rethink everything he has learned and practiced as a first-century Jew.

Monday, May 9, 2022

The Pony Under the Pile - Reflections on Mark 13:1-8

When we're going through hell, how can we keep on going?

The answer? By remembering two pieces of very good news concealed in the pile of pains, pangs, and persecutions of this text:

  1. The Holy Spirit supports us in every dreaded encounter and event.
  2. The one who keeps the faith and endures to the end will participate in Jesus' victory over death.
Monday, November 8, 2021

All In! - Reflections on Mark 12:38-44

I know lots of adults who make sure they buy enough candy (that they like) so they have some left when the trick or treaters have stopped ringing the doorbell Halloween night. We all have our own ways of keeping a little something back for ourselves. We can't all be like this noble widow giving away her last bit of cash with nothing left in her ATM. She's all in. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Living by Heart – Reflections on Mark 12: 28-34

God doesn't want much. God just wants your heart, the seat of your emotions, your inner character, and your decision-making. God just wants your caring, your character, your creativity, and your carry-through. Strengthened by God's giving God's heart to us, we can give ours to our neighbor.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Stupid Disciple Tricks: Reflections on Mark 10:35-45

Within our hearts are both humility and arrogance, respect for others and a desire to outshine them, a desire to serve and a craving to be served. The one you feed wins. How do we feed the humility and spirit of service Jesus holds up as the model for discipleship in this passage from 10:35-45? 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Hi, Perbole! Exaggeration, Anyone? Reflections on Mark 9:38-49

What Jesus does is take a traditional proverbial form used to offer clear-cut options and adds a dash of paradox and a big dollop of hyperbole. In everyday life when people exaggerate, they are stretching the truth. What is different about Jesus' use of hyperbole is that he is not exaggerating about the destructive potential consequences of our actions. Not really.

Monday, September 20, 2021