Week of February 1–7, 2016 – With Unveiled Faces by David L. Eastman
Scripture Overview: The texts for Transfiguration Sunday insist that glory is the right word for God as well as those touched by God’s presence. The psalmist praises the exaltation of God above all people. The exodus text depicts God’s glory and its consequences for human beings. Moses, by virtue of speaking with God, undergoes a change so dramatic that the people of Israel cannot even look on his face. In the passage from Second Corinthians, Paul draws on this story of Moses to make the radical point that, in the Christ-event, God enables all to participate in the glory of God. All can see the glory of God (3:18) and, indeed, as Paul states in a verse that follows our passage, all believers have “knowledge of the glory of God” in Jesus’ face (4:6). As Peter learns, God’s glory can be neither reduced nor controlled.
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection
 - Read Exodus 34:29–35. Where do you see or experience God’s grace in your daily life?·
 - Read Psalm 99. What does it mean to you to know that the same God who defends and protects also desires intimacy with you?·
 - Read 2 Corinthians 3:12–4:2. How can you be more open to God’s spirit working in the world? How can you reflect God’s grace in the world?·
 - Read Luke 9:28–43. In what areas of life can you listen more to Jesus?

Week of February 8–14, 2016 – Gratitude for All We Have Received by Elaine J. W. Stanovsky
Scripture Overview: What does it mean to call on God? Israel exists because it cries to God out of its bondage, and God delivers. The psalmist is convinced of the personal and profound manner in which he has offended God and shattered their relationship. In casting himself on God’s grace, the psalmist acknowledges God’s role as the unique savior of faithful people, and the result of God’s intervention is a changed and redirected life. The story of Jesus’ temptation offers a strong rejoinder to those who would claim that loving God and calling on God result in rescue in any and all circumstances. God’s care is not a commodity to be gained by human beings through wheedling; it is, instead, a promise that no one ventures outside the realm of God’s care. To call on God is not to ask for power to be dispensed but to acknowledge human finitude and divine providence.
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection
· Read Deuteronomy 26:1–11. How do you employ the three-fold method of (1) giving, (2) remembering and reciting, (3) celebrating and sharing?
· Read Psalm 51:1–17. Where in your life is God granting you courage to make a needed change?
· Read 2 Corinthians 5:20–6:10. In what ways can you receive God’s grace in times of trial?
· Read Luke 4:1–13. Trials often accompany blessings. How can you use the blessings and trials in your life to show God at work in a life-giving way?

Week of February 15–21, 2016 – Do Not Be Afraid by Jack Ewing
Scripture Overview: The contradiction between appearance and reality runs through several of the readings. Hearing God’s assurance of protection, Abraham reminds God that he and Sarah are childless. Hearing God’s promise once again, Abraham believes; but he believes in the face of all the evidence. In Philippians, Paul employs the powerful language of citizenship to explain that Christians live as citizens of another realm; believers live out of an allegiance that cannot be witnessed with ordinary vision. “Herod wants to kill you,” Jesus is warned. Yet Jesus’ death will not prove an end to the threat he poses to either Roman or religious authority. If Psalm 27 does not so clearly distinguish between appearance and reality, it is because the psalmist knows on whose side reality lies. He anticipates a time when things will appear the way they actually are; that is, when he will live in God’s very presence.
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection
· Read Genesis 15:1–18. When have you doubted God’s promise to you?
· Read Psalm 27. When have you felt surrounded on all sides by “enemies”? How has entering a holy space brought calm to your soul?
· Read Philippians 3:17–4:1. Who models the Christian lifestyle for you? What would need to change for you to be more like them?
· Read Luke 13:31–35. What aspects of your life do you fear but know that you have to endure? How can you approach those with the confidence of God’s presence and strength?

Week of February 22–28, 2016 – Lessons from the Desert by Joan Campbell
Scripture Overview: The need for introspection and repentance looms large during this season of the church year, yet there is also room for joy. The joy that issues from the Isaiah text is generated by the prophet’s realization that God’s mercy is close at hand and available to any who will draw on it. Psalm 63 expresses a strong confidence in God, praising God for past outpourings of mercy. The longing for sustenance is transformed into a “rich feast,” which satisfies the innermost being of the psalmist. Paul views the lives of his fellow Christians in Corinth against the background of ancient Israel’s experiences of exodus and wilderness wanderings. The Corinthian believers are exhorted to learn from the example of these Israelites, lest they too be judged by God. Paul balances the warning with a promise: God’s grace is active, even in times of greatest pressure to forsake God’s calling. The Luke reading stresses the urgent need for repentance.
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection
· Read Isaiah 55:1–9. When have you been the most aware of your own smallness in contrast to God’s greatness? How did you react?
· Read Psalm 63:1–8. Consider how earnestly you take your relationship with God. Do you seek God halfheartedly or with deliberate intent?
· Read 1 Corinthians 10:1–13. In what ways is our culture similar to that of Corinth? How have we let the world’s culture creep into our churches and lives?
· Read Luke 13:1–9. When have you experienced Christ’s pruning? What fruit did you bear?

Week of February 29–March 6, 2016– Finding Your Rhythm by DJ Del Rosario
Scripture Overview: A common theme of these passages is that of joy over the restorative love of God. Joshua 5:9–12 describes the first celebration of Passover in the land of promise. God’s promise has been realized; the goal of their lengthy journey is beneath their feet. The psalmist, aware of the devastating nature of human sin, celebrates the reality that confessed sin offers a means of reconnecting with God. Paul acknowledges certain consequences of Jesus’ death: (1) the cross opens up a new way of knowing, (2) to see with the eyes of the cross is to see a new world, (3) God’s reconciling love is clearly revealed, and (4) Christ’s .followers are commissioned to engage in the ministry of reconciliation. The familiar parable of the prodigal son is concerned with matters of recognition and nonrecognition. The younger son comes to his senses about his own situation, and his repentance is recognized by the father.
Questions and Thoughts for Reflection
· Read Joshua 5:9–12. How am I being rooted and grounded in this very moment to acknowledge the presence of God?
· Read Psalm 32. When did you last experience the joy of forgiveness that only God offers?
· Read 2 Corinthians 5:16–21. When have you failed to treat others as persons of sacred worth?
· Read Luke 15:1–3, 11b–32. With which character do you most identify? Where do you see God in this story? How would you respond if you found yourself in the role of the elder son?