Tag Archives: Gospel

Mark (Apr/May 2021)

Each photo below corresponds to the chapter-a-day post for the book of Mark published by Tom Vander Well in April and May of 2021. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

Mark 1: Source, not Compensation

Mark 2: The Great Conflict

Mark 3: A Different Playbook

Mark 4: Sow What?

Mark 5: The Three Questions

Mark 6: Soil Samples

Mark 7: The Contrast

Mark 8: The Inflection Point

Mark 9: “Ins” and “Outs”

Mark 10: Life on the Fast-Track

Mark 11: By-Products

Mark 12: The Crowd

Mark 13: Of Riches and Rubble

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Call and Response

Call and Response (CaD Ps 134) Wayfarer

Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord
    who minister by night in the house of the Lord.
Psalm 134:1 (NIV)

My nephew Sam and his family came to visit last Sunday to hear Uncle Tom’s message among our local gathering of Jesus’ followers and hang out with me and Aunt Wendy for the day. Sam mentioned that in their hour-long drive that morning they’d been listening to the music of an artist that his father introduced him to back in his childhood.

I love all kinds of music, and I consciously endeavored to introduce our daughters to all kinds of music. I even made compilation CDs of different genres and wrote liner notes to introduce them to some of the classic artists and songs of the genre. One of my favorites was Papa’s Got the Blues. In the liner notes, I described the connection between the blues and black gospel. One of the devices that both used is “call and response.” The lead singer calls out in song and the congregation/crowd responds with a word or phrase.

While the device is widely used in more recent musical genres, it is ancient.

Today’s chapter, Psalm 134, is the final in a series of “songs of ascent” that the editors who compiled the anthology of Hebrew song lyrics put together. The song is a fitting end to this section. It is comprised of only three-lines that were an ancient version of “call and response” that was sung between pilgrims who had spent the day worshipping at the temple and are leaving at nightfall Levites working at the Temple.

Members of the Hebrew tribe of Levi were responsible for the care, upkeep, and activities of the Temple (except for priestly acts that could only be done by descendants of Aaron). The lyrics of the song picture exiting worshippers blessing the Levites who will remain at the Temple to perform their duties through the night. The pilgrims sing:

Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord
    who minister by night in the house of the Lord.
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary
    and praise the Lord.

The Levite(s) then bless the worshippers as they exit:

May the Lord bless you from Zion,
    he who is the Maker of heaven and earth.

The reality is that “call and response” is actually a broader spiritual theme in the psalms and in the Great Story. Many psalms begin with a “call” to God anticipating the “response” to the song, prayer, and petition. In 1 Samuel, God “calls out” the boy Samuel who is confused until the priest instructs him to provide the response “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” In the Jesus story, a blind man incessantly “calls out” to Jesus and Jesus responds by healing him.

In the quiet this morning I find myself meditating on the spiritual notion of “call and response” which works in both directions. God’s Word and Spirit may “call out” to me. Am I listening? Will I respond? How will I respond? At other times, I am like the songwriters of the psalms, calling out to God in faith that God will respond. Either direction, there is an interaction that is relational.

“Here I am!” says Jesus in Revelation 3:20. “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice [calling] and [responds, as in] opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

1 Corinthians (Nov ’18/Jan ’19)

Each photo below corresponds to a chapter-a-day post for the book of 1 Corinthians published by Tom Vander Well in November and December 2018 and January 2019. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

Chapter 1: The “Divine Right” (to be Equal)
Chapter 2: The Cloud of Unknowing
Chapter 3: Cooperation, not Competition
Chapter 6: Life, and Light, Under the Bucket
Chapter 7: Answering Accusation (or Not)
Chapter 8: Context and Relationships
Chapter 8: Non-Essential Liberty
Chapter 9: Vocation and Ministry
Chapter 10: “Ten Bucks”
Chapter 11: From Simple Ritual to Complex Regulation
Chapter 12: Rediscovering the Organism
Chapter 13: The Activating Ingredient
Chapter 14: My Lessons from Diverse Experiences
Chapter 15: The Grace Response
Chapter 16: Love in the Ordinary

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1, 2, & 3 John (April 2020)

Each photo below corresponds to a chapter-a-day post for the book of 1 John published by Tom Vander Well in April 2020. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

Chapter 1: The Ringing in My Ears
Chapter 2: Transformed by Love
Chapter 3: An Uncomfortable Realization
Chapter 4: Let it Flow
Chapter 5: Only When I Receive…
2 John: Incomplete Joy
3 John: “LandBnB.org”

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2 Corinthians (Jan-Feb 2019)

Each photo below corresponds to a chapter-a-day post for the book of 2 Corinthians published by Tom Vander Well in Jan-Feb 2019. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

Chapter 1: The Unexpected Prophecy
Chapter 2: Trying Not to Stink
Chapter 3: Both “Letter” and “Spirit”
Chapter 4: Outward Groaning, Inward Growing
Chapter 5: Creation and Re-Creation
Chapter 6: (No Need to) “Wait for It!”
Chapter 7: It’s Colder than the Arctic. Oh, the Joy!
Chapter 8: Drilling Down to Spring Generosity
Chapter 9: The Miser, and the Psalm 112 Man
Chapter 10: Lunch with the CEO
Chapter 11: Not an Application, an Invitation
Chapter 12: Level 1 Pain; Level 4 Purpose
Chapter 13: Mentor, Protégé, and Attitude

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Romans (Feb-Mar 2019)

Each photo below corresponds to a chapter-a-day post for the book of Romans published by Tom Vander Well in March 2019. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

Chapter 1: Art History; History Art; Art, History
Chapter 2: “Oh Yeah, That’s One Of Mine”
Chapter 3: The Inclusive Exclusivity Problem
Chapter 4: Legalism’s Tragic Imitation of Faith
Chapter 5: WELL…SH!T
Chapter 6: 90 M.P.H. Down a Dead-End Street
Chapter 7: Masking Tape Mess
Chapter 8: Fear: The Great Motivator
Chapter 9: Forever Young Maturity
Chapter 10: New Discoveries in Familiar Places
Chapter 11: The Doorway of Defeat
Chapter 12: Is “Living Sacrifice” an Oxymoron?
Chapter 13: Wrestling with Subjection to Authority
Chapter 14: Keeping it to Myself; Holding it Together
Chapter 15: Grace in the Journey: Given and Received
Chapter 16: High-Fidelity Follower

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Ephesians (Apr-May 2019)

Each photo below corresponds to a chapter-a-day post for the book of Ephesians published by Tom Vander Well in April and May 2019. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

Chapter 1: Learning How to See
Chapter 2: Getting Direction and Flow Right
Chapter 3: Prisoner of Whom?
Chapter 4: Out with the Old, In with the New
Chapter 5: The Way of Love
Chapter 6: “All Kinds” on “All Occasions”

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Philippians (May 2019)

Each photo below corresponds to a chapter-a-day post for the book of Philippians published by Tom Vander Well in May 2019. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

Chapter 1: When “Love” is Hard
Chapter 2: The Christ-Likeness of Mothers
Chapter 3: Not Earth to Heaven, but Heaven to Earth
Chapter 4: Pomp and Circumstance

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Colossians (May 2019)

Each photo below corresponds to a chapter-a-day post for the book of Colossians published by Tom Vander Well in May 2019. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

Chapter 1: Expanding My View of “All Things”
Chapter 2: Rooted
Chapter 3: An “Eternal Question”
Chapter 4: Seasonal Companions

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Philemon (May 2019)

Each photo below corresponds to a chapter-a-day post for the book of Philemon published by Tom Vander Well between 2006 and 2019. Click on the photo linked to each chapter to read the post.

Chapter 1: Broken Relationships, Divine Purpose (May 2019)
Chapter 1: Hollywood Moment in Colossae (July 2016)
Chapter 1: Sometimes You Have to Go Back (July 2013)
Chapter 1: Chapter-a-Day Philemon (November 2006)

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