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The Forward Day by Day Archives

We've published links to the last few weeks' Forward Day by Day Meditations below. You can search for past meditations (from June 2012 and later), and filter them by keyword if you wish, using the search form.

Please note: Some of our archived meditations are currently unavailable. We are working on the problem and expect to have the Archives page fully operational again soon.

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  • MONDAY, November 18

    Judas Maccabaeus succeeds his father Mattathias and wracks up a string of impressive military victories against the Seleucids. Still, when he proposes attacking an army that outnumbers his own, his lieutenants demur. Judas reminds them that they are God’s vessels, and no one can successfully resis....
  • SUNDAY, November 17                           23 Pentecost

    Before offering these words of hope about endurance, Jesus warns his listeners of a time when there will be “wars and insurrections” and all manner of natural disasters.

    This really gets the conversation going, and Jesus takes the opportunity to explain that things wi....

  • SATURDAY, November 16

    The story told in Maccabees casts Mattathias and his son Judas Maccabeus as heroes. They are commanded by Antiochus IV Epiphanes to abandon the covenant between God and the children of Israel. Mattathias refuses and begins an armed revolt.

    We don’t take everything the re....

  • FRIDAY, November 15

    Antiochus IV Epiphanes is a ruthless tyrant, but his desire to create one people out of a diverse group who share the same real estate is not an inherently evil idea. Indeed, as we will pray on the last Sunday of Pentecost, our hope is that all of humankind will be “freed and brought together” u....
  • THURSDAY, November 14

    If we had a title card like the ones in the movies, today’s would read: “Three Hundred Years or So Later.” The Seleucid king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, is eager to “de-Judaize” Judea and Jerusalem. Some of the Jews are willing to accommodate or even collaborate with their conquerors in the i....
  • WEDNESDAY, November 13

    The remnant of the children of Israel are hearing the Law of Moses read as if for the first time, and they weep—first because it offers them a spiritual identity—and then in repentance, they suddenly become aware that they have not been keeping the law while in captivity.

  • TUESDAY, November 12

    By using symbolism in a very sophisticated way, John the Revelator discloses a catastrophic future for a fallen state in terms of economic ruin. No fewer than three times in nine verses we read of merchants bemoaning the fall of Babylon the Great (Rome, in John’s context) because it effectively pu....
  • MONDAY, November 11

    Today, we overhear a tense three-way conversation between Jesus, his disciples, and a group of Pharisees about the Law of Moses. Jesus’ point is that people should not be so…well…legalistic about the Law.

    Quibbling over fine points should not overshadow the purpose ....

  • SUNDAY, November 10                           22 Pentecost

    Paul has been arrested on trumped-up charges, sent to Caesarea in protective custody, and is now on trial before Felix, the Roman governor. He’s trying to frame his argument in a way calculated to exploit the disagreement between his accusers on whether there will be a resurrection of the dead.
  • SATURDAY, November 9

    The exiles returning from Babylonian enslavement, under Ezra’s leadership, struggle to maintain their identity as a people and a nation. This involves some attitudes and practices—like avoiding intermarriage with their Gentile neighbors—that we might find off-putting or offensive.

    <....
  • FRIDAY, November 8

    The lesser and unspecified details from this story in the life of Jesus invite all sorts of questions. What does Jesus hear that causes him to take a solo boat ride? Is it the news that Herod considers him a resurrected John the Baptist, or is it the news that John—Jesus’ cousin—has been behea....
  • THURSDAY, November 7

    No one looks forward to being evaluated by the boss, whether in a formal annual process or something more casual. There is an element of fear that comes with having our performance judged, even if we have reason to be confident in our competencies.

    The Church acknowledges ....

  • WEDNESDAY, November 6

    Nehemiah was one of the leaders of a group of Jews returning to their ancestral home after having survived the Babylonian captivity. He was in charge of restoring the physical and spiritual infrastructure of Jewish life in Jerusalem.

    Nehemiah’s work periodi....

  • TUESDAY, November 5

    Why was the joy of Jerusalem heard across the countryside? This joy was the voice of exuberant celebratory singing. Nehemiah had led a massive construction project—rebuilding the wall around the city—following the return of the exiled children of Israel from bondage in Babylon. A proper celebrat....
  • MONDAY, November 4

    I’ll never forget an outdoor advertisement I saw some decades ago: “I tasted escargot twice. Once going down.” For many, the taste of cooked snails is a bitter one. Saint John the Revelator has just witnessed an utterly astonishing scene: a truly massive angel descending from heaven, wrapped i....
  • SUNDAY, November 3                           21 Pentecost

    Anxiety is a natural and unavoidable emotion. So, we might wonder if Jesus is guilting us about our feelings. I think not. When Jesus talks about people who are anxious about food or clothing, he’s not necessarily indicating ill-fed or ill-clad people but perhaps the folks who are trying to keep u....
  • SATURDAY, November 2

    Images frequently show people who have departed this life cartoonishly walking on clouds and holding harps, with halos hovering above their heads and wings attached to their shoulders. Each of these details has a loose connection somewhere in the Christian tradition—but they are a distortion of ou....
  • FRIDAY, November 1                           All Saints’ Day

    On this principal feast of All Saints, we remember and honor those whose witness to Christ and to the gospel was writ large, of heroic proportions. These are souls that have been purified and made holy and reside in the unfiltered presence of God. It is not without good reason that we see them as be....
  • THURSDAY, October 31

    Last November, I went to Guatemala with my son and my parents. We lived there in the early 1970s, while my dad attended seminary. I wanted my son to see where we lived and where his grandparents had planted churches.

    While we were in Guatemala, many of the ....

  • WEDNESDAY, October 30

    I love nature—clouds, flowers, beaches, rocks, seashells, trees, and landscapes. If you look at the pictures in my phone or in my albums, you will find many nature pictures. I may not want to camp out and sleep under the stars, but I do love nature. Even through the haze of my allergies, I see God....

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