Posts

ODJ: a song of hope


Fearful of its subversive text and implications, the Guatemalan government of the 1980s banned the public reading or singing from Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:47-55). It’s the poetic hymn Mary sang after the angel had announced that she would give birth to a baby from God. One might wonder how a tender song from sweet Mary about a little baby could possibly be a threat to powers of any political

ODJ: a long way


In trying to sell our house by owner (not using an estate agent), my husband made sure to ask each of our neighbours for permission to place a directional sign at a junction near our home. One particular homeowner seemed surprised that Scott had bothered to ask. As he gave his assent, he admitted that his usual response was to pull up any signs left by others who had not asked his permission. So w

ODJ: counting the cost


Jesus’ good friend Lazarus had died (John 11:14,17). And so He performed an amazing miracle by raising Lazarus from the dead (vv.43-44)—leading many who came to the funeral to believe in Him (v.45). But the Pharisees and priests responded differently. From that time on, they began to plot Jesus’ death (v.53). 
News of the spectacular miracle spread throughout the thousands of Jewish pilgri

ODJ: pearls to pigs


I have always been perplexed by today’s reading in Matthew 7. What are these “pearls” being spoken of and who are the “pigs” we’re not to throw them to? 
One suggestion is that the pearl is the kingdom of God (see 13:45), and so a common explanation of this verse goes like this: There’s a beastly group of people for whom the gospel is not to be shared. They will only trample on our

ODJ: recalculating relationships


A comedian once mused that he wished someone would make a Sat Nav for husbands. He said something like this: Sat Nav: “Compliment your wife’s appearance.” Comedian: “Hey, honey, you look really good.” Sat Nav: “Ask her about her day.” Comedian: “How was your day, sweetheart?” Sat Nav: “Pretend to be listening.” Comedian: “Oh . . . Really . . .” Sat Nav: “Flatter your wi

ODJ: let go


I spent the summer of 1992 tumbling, somersaulting and crashing over the waters of a nearby lake. To avoid a grand impression, I was simply trying to learn how to water-ski. The painful endeavor revealed the deep level of determination I carry within me. One of my greatest errors lay in my refusal to let go of the rope and admit defeat when I had fallen. It was not a pretty sight.
 Twenty years

ODJ: squash the beef


During a promotional event, two 73 year old former football stars got into a fistfight on stage. They had a ‘beef’ (a grudge or feud between friends, family members or enemies) dating back to a controversial football game in November 1963. After one of the senior citizens knocked the other off the stage, the crowd yelled at him to “let it go!” In essence, they were telling him to ‘squash

ODJ: serve your oppressor


A few years ago some young men stole my car. They crashed it, damaging it beyond repair, and I was never compensated for it. I even had to pay to have the car towed away from the crash site! By rights, those thieves should have replaced what they stole. 
That type of justice was reflected in the Old Testament rule of “eye for eye” and “tooth for tooth” (Exodus 21:24; Matthew 5:38). T

ODJ: freely given


At the end of a long day, I took a moment to get a head start on my work emails—striving to preempt any surprises I might face at 8 o’clock the next morning. Frustration ebbed throughout my tired mind as I read an email that contained complaints and feelings of entitlement from a student known to be immature in his responses to life’s challenges. I wanted to send back a veiled sting of repro