The Lively Lectionary Old Testament is a blog that reflects on the Old Testament text from the Revised Common Lectionary each week.

12 Weeks with Genesis - Reflections on Genesis 1:1-2:4a

Because this is Year A in the lectionary cycle, we are embarking on a three-month journey through the book of Genesis which will not end until August 20. We begin on Trinity Sunday, a day when the Christian community celebrates that mystical, and mystifying, theological doctrine of the Trinity, where God appears, it is said, in three indivisible guises: God, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Watch Those Omissions! - Reflections on Ps.104:24-34, 35b

I would imagine that most preachers will give primary attention on Pentecost, the so-called “birthday of the church,” to Acts 2, the tale on which the celebration is largely based. If we imagine that the Christian church was founded that day in Jerusalem, we should further hope that it was not founded on the slippery slope of being more against certain ideas than for the universal love and grace represented by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. 

Monday, May 22, 2023

The Hatred of Enemies - Reflections on Psalm 68:1-10, 32-35

The portrait of YHWH in Ps.68 is rooted in a time in Israel’s distant past when they struggled for survival in a hostile land, surrounded by people who were vastly superior to them in technologies and cultural stability. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Warning: Danger Ahead! - Reflections on Psalm 66:8-20

I must say that Ps.66 is a relic from a theological time that I hope has passed away, but that I know sadly has not. God is larger, more mysterious, more inexplicable than we all can imagine, and because that is true, we are in no position to know precisely what God is about in our lives at every moment, in every occasion.

Monday, May 8, 2023

YHWH’s Fierce Love - Reflections on Ps.31:1-5, 15-16

I know full well that the word “fierce” is often used in contexts of savagery and bestiality, a description of the behavior of wild animals, and thus perhaps not the first word that comes to mind when considering the saving and protective love of God. Yet, it seemed to me all the more important to get this wild element of God’s love into the English rendering.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Familiarity Breeds Indifference - Reflections on Psalm 23

Is it truly possible to say anything new about Ps.23? I have heard this poem so many times that I have stopped listening to its words. That indifference is a great mistake, I think, because this little poem is fairly riddled with powerful claims, hilarious assaults on human pride, and ambiguous meanings in any number of places. 

Monday, April 24, 2023

Thanksgiving After Rescue - Reflections on Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19

Ps.116 is a psalm that apparently enshrines the gratitude of a worshipper who has faced severe sickness, has cried out in anguish to God for help, has been answered by that God, and has offered multiple forms of thanksgiving for rescue. All who read this psalm can recount many occasions when the sufferer did not receive the reply urgently requested. God’s gifts are just that, gifts, not certain results of faithful actions. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

A Hope for Unity - Reflections on Jeremiah 31:1-6

Jeremiah offers to us one of Easter’s most profound calls - a promise of unity, when human divisions will end, when wars will cease, when partisanship and quarreling will stop, swallowed up in the blinding light of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. 

Monday, April 3, 2023

Liturgy of the Passion - Reflections on Isaiah 50:4-9a

Nearly every church I know celebrates Palm Sunday, rather than Passion Sunday, but today I choose to focus on the text chosen for Passion Sunday, Isaiah’s third Song of the Servant of YHWH.

Monday, March 27, 2023

New Life - Reflections on Ezekiel 37:1-14

In response to the question of YHWH God, “Mortal, can these bones live,” the prophet first says, “YHWH God, you know,” which may be a way politely of saying, “Not likely!” But God has not yet given up on Israel, nor on us, because the prophet is asked to animate these bones with his prophecy, with his prophetic voice. 

Monday, March 20, 2023

Seeing as YHWH Sees? - Reflections on 1 Samuel 16:1-13

We preachers must be careful not to fall into the traps of simplism when we seek to elucidate these subtle and rich texts. After all, YHWH sees us as well, we claim, and evaluates our employment of the sacred texts, weighing our hearts as we ply our homiltical trade. Read more carefully, I regularly hear God say. 

Monday, March 13, 2023

What is Meaning, Anyway - Exodus 17:1-7

The Bible is a book filled with puzzles. To ask the question of the meaning of any text is to ask a very complicated question. Is the meaning what the author meant, what it may mean to this or that reader, or something else entirely different? 

Monday, March 6, 2023