In no particular order and feeling limited:
1. But God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?’ And he said, ‘Yes, angry enough to die.’ Then the Lord said, ‘You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labor and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?’ (Jonah 4:9-11)
This verse always tells me that God has a sense of humor, that God loves and intends all creation for salvation and that God is very, very, very patient. I know someone who likes to point out that the greatest miracle in the book of Jonah isn’t the whale, it’s a whole city repenting. Indeed.
2. When they told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” (Esther 4:12-14)
I don’t tend to believe in that God has orchestrated all the details of our lives, but I do believe that God’s hands are always at work in us and around us and sometimes we just look up and, um, suddenly the world’s need and our skills and passions meet. (Buechner’s definition of vocation) Sometimes you are where you are for reason and God goes before you and the Spirit pushes behind you. And you try not to screw it up in your bold sinning.
3. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13)
I think we should beware verses that get plaque-ified, ubiquitious and impotent. But I don’t see why we don’t see THIS verse a lot more.
4. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. (Revelation 21:3-6)
I know the author is citing Isaiah, but I like it summed up in this post-resurrection, end-time way. God makes all things new, not all new things. I can’t say anything more since I can’t think over the sound of “Blessed Assurance” in my head.
5. Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:34-36)
Every Reformation Day I think, “This text, again?” Then I read, gulp down the lump that forms in my throat and think, “Thank God for this text. Again.”