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.

Jesus Is In the House! - Lectionary Reflections on Mark 7:24-37

She had a crumb of confidence and that was enough to make her persist. He called her a dog, using the term of derision commonly used by Jews to refer to Gentiles as unclean. In her desperation, she comes back at him with a wise retort that revealed she was not a dog, but a lioness: "Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs" (7:28).

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Heart Check Up! - Reflections on Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Jesus knew that even the best intentions can become corrupted. They can become substitutes for devotion to God while our hearts are occupied with thoughts that promote our agendas and whittle others down to size. We can "honor God with our lips," while our "hearts are far from God" (Mk. 7:6 quoting Is. 29:13).

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

No Choice? - Reflections on Mark 6:14-29

Imagine if Herod could stand on a stage, dark except for the spotlight that illuminates him, and offer a soliloquy in which he introduces himself to the audience and attempts to justify his actions in the deaths of both John and Jesus.

Monday, July 5, 2021

A Proactive Faith - Reflections on Mark 5:21-43

In a Gospel where the disciples never seem to get Jesus, never seem to figure out his divine identity, Jairus and the woman with the 12-year flow of blood are better models of faith than the disciples.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Faith amid the Chaos - Reflections on Mark 4:35-41

People who think of the sea as a scenic view from the boardwalk as they slurp their snow cones don't understand where Mark is coming from in characterizing the sea. People who have been through a hurricane or a tsunami, however, get it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Surprising Seeds! - Reflections on Mark 4:26-34

Chapter four of Mark is taken up with seed parables: the parable of the sower (4:3-8), the seed growing secretly (4:26-29), and the mustard seed (4:30-32). They teach us that God's rule is "something hidden, indirect, surprising in its manifestation and not easily perceived." (Barton, 41-42)

Monday, June 7, 2021

Trinity Sunday, Reflections on John 3:1-17

The new birth is a breaking free of unbelief into belief. It is a breaking free of darkness into light. It is a breaking free of restricted, judgmental life into abundant life. 

Monday, May 24, 2021

The Spirituality of Stuff - Reflections on Acts 1:15-17, 21-26

Given the story of the ascension of Jesus in the sight of his closest followers, the reader might well expect that the great story of the Pentecost experience would ensue immediately. Instead, we get a detailed account of the destruction of the circle of the innermost community of Jesus’s disciples by the abhorrent actions of one of their members, one chosen and active in the ministry as they all were, but who “went to his own place” at the end, leaving them all for his own interests.

Monday, May 10, 2021