Get Up!

Grace Claus

READ : John 5:1-24 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” (v. 8) “Heal my spirit, Lord!” I prayed a while back. I felt spiritually incapacitated, unable to take the necessary steps—or any steps at all—toward wholeness. Like the man by the pool of Bethesda, I thought I was stuck by the side of the pool, consigned to a life of watching the restoration of others to lives of joy. Why not me? Lord, change …

Come and See

Grace Claus

READ : John 1:29-51 He said to them, “Come and see.” (v. 39 NRSV) “Come on over!” My husband and I love to host; we take delight in opening our home to friends, both familiar and new. It brings us joy to share meals and conversations and jokes within those walls. While it’s fun to spend time with people out and about, there’s something significant about inviting them into our home. Part of the reason we practice hospitality is because …

Joy That Takes Up Space

Grace Claus

READ : Psalm 126 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy. (v. 2) The first time I encountered this psalm, I was in college, where we sang it regularly at our weekly Sunday service. Every time we sang the line “our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with joyful shouting,” I couldn’t help but break into laughter myself. I had no experience that paralleled that of Israel’s exile, or their return to …

The Mountain of Jesus Christ

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READ : Psalm 125 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion. (v. 1) If you’ve watched any television in the past twenty years, you’ve probably seen a commercial for a Chevrolet truck. “Like a rock,” the singer growls while a Chevy rumbles down the road, kicking up dust behind it. If you own a Chevy, you might agree that your vehicle is strong and dependable, that it has lasted decades. But even Chevy owners have to admit …

Through the Sea

Grace Claus

READ : Psalm 124 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side. (v. 1) Imagine that you are a little Hebrew child. One night a few weeks ago, after your father painted the doorframe with lamb’s blood, your mother told you to put on your shoes, choose one toy, and leave with the family. After a week’s travel, everyone set up camp along the banks of the sea. This morning, your sister points behind you to …

A Pilgrim Life

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READ : Psalm 123 So our eyes look to the Lord our God. (v. 2) Few of us understand what it means to go on a pilgrimage. Although there are still holy sites around the world, not many Christians—at least, Protestants—journey to them. The closest thing to a pilgrimage might be something like the snowy trek to your parents’ house for Christmas: treacherous roads, the possibility of not making it, the anticipation of reunion with people you love. Psalm 123 …