This week, BibleWorm reads Luke 6:1-16. We draw out the connections between King David and Jesus early in their careers, both walking through the world as God’s anointed before anyone really knows it. We think of the debates between Jesus and this group of Pharisees as akin to the debates that encircle our public health crisis. And we wonder, for a moment, what it was like for the man who was minding his own business at synagogue one day, when a part of his body -- his withered hand -- became a location for this debate.
This week Bobby and Amy discuss the story of Jesus calling his first disciples in Luke 5:1-11. We think about Jesus, teaching outside the synagogue and surrounded by the crowds, looking for a familiar face to accompany him in his ministry. We marvel at the response of Simon, James, and John, who set aside their tiredness and their obvious technical expertise to respond to the call of Jesus to go back out and drop the nets one last time. And we admire these men who look past their sudden economic boom and leave everything to follow Jesus.
Also, we worry about the fate of the fish, who were having a pretty good day until Jesus got involved. What does it mean to catch people like that—and do we really want to do that to them?
This week, BibleWorm reads Luke 4:11-30, the story of Jesus’ visit to his hometown of Nazareth. We revel in the moments where everything is good -- where the people are enthusiastically with him -- before things fall apart terribly. Did the people of Nazareth have unreasonable expectations? Did Jesus kind of pick a fight? And really, why is it that with all the healing he’s got planned, none of it is for the people he grew up with? Hometown visits sure are complicated.
This week BibleWorm discusses the ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus’s baptism as told in Luke 3:1-22. We explore John’s vision of repentance, which balances individual responsibility with commitment to the most vulnerable in the community. We wrestle with John’s insistence that no one should have excess—not just among the ultra-rich but also in the middle class, being pinched from both sides. And we talk about God’s delight in Jesus’s baptism, wondering whether God might find delight in us, too.
Also, we ponder how fabulous Jesus might be walking the red carpet. But we digress.
This week, BibleWorm reads Luke chapter 2:41-52, the story of Jesus as a 12 year old, sitting in the Temple and learning with the community leaders. We shower Luke with love for including this story of adolescence, this awkward time in between the passivity and infinite possibility of babyhood and the full strength and differentiation of adulthood. We watch the tween Jesus push away from Mary and Joseph like the side of a pool, but then come back to hold on again. We draw out this model of community learning where a 12 year old's questions -- and answers! -- are taken seriously. And we wonder -- is this whole thing the biblical precedent for the movie Home Alone?
This BibleWorm follows Mary and Joseph as they bring the infant Jesus from the pastures of Bethlehem to the Jerusalem temple in Luke 2:21-38. There we encounter the righteous man, Simeon, and the prophet Anna, both of whom have been waiting patiently for the messiah. We marvel at the persistent years of seemingly mundane religious practice that have prepared these two for this moment, wrestle with Simeon’s pronouncement that Jesus will cause the rising and falling of many, and ponder the significance of the prophet Anna, who takes her place along side the great women prophets of the Bible in welcoming the messiah.
Also, we imagine a possible future career for Simeon as the most amazing flower girl ever. You’ll just have to trust us on that one.
In this special Christmas eve episode, we read Luke 2:1-20. We imagine ourselves with the shepherds in the field, taking in the mindblowing magnitude of their theophany in the field, and wondering who are the proverbial shepherds in our society today. We see not only the theological but the political revolution bubbling up in the story. And we wonder -- though the text is silent on this point -- was there a donkey in the manger? We are willing to bank our reputations on it.
This week we find ourselves in Luke 1:26-56, the story of Mary receiving the good news of Jesus’s birth from the angel Gabriel. We talk about the remarkable composure of the young Mary, who boldly takes up her role among the matriarchs and prophets of Israel. We relish the tale of Mary’s visit with her cousin Elizabeth, two women profoundly blessed and empowered by the Spirit. And we wrestle with sweet little Mary’s powerful song about the overturning of the world.
This week BibleWorm reads the short but radiant chapter Isa 61, where the text walks with us incrementally from the indignities of captivity - whether economic, spiritual, or deep in our own bodies - through freedom and clear into glory and splendor. We imagine a jubilee that can reset the ever-growing avalanche of injustices in our world, and envision ourselves as the people who serve those who have been held captive. Amy also imagines some kind of bizarre armed robbery wherein the robber wields a charred cow as a weapon. Wait, you don’t see that in the text?
This week BibleWorm turns to the prophet Joel 2:12-29. There we find Joel prophesying to a people suffering from a plague of locusts, promising that God is about to restore them if only they will return to God with their whole hearts. We wrestle with Joel’s call to “rend our hearts” and ask what it means to tear open the pain, sorrow, and regret we carry deep inside. We relish Joel’s description of a God gracious, merciful, and abounding in steadfast love and the promises of a land and a people restored. And we ponder God’s promise to pour out the spirit on all flesh, welcoming everyone—young and old, male and female—into the prophetic community of God.