Tuesday, December 16, 2014

2 Samuel 7:1-16

Year B - Advent 4 or Needed Change 4
December 21, 2014

In contrast to an announcement coming at a right moment, we too often brazenly announce what our privileged position would seem to have a right to. We even solicit affirmation from authorities as support for what we want to do anyway. (Note how this is still happening in leaders and governance structures of every shape and time.)

Even as we listen for an announcement and try to force an easier than harder one to come along, we know that at these times we really need a “No”. Children do need boundaries to both keep them safe and provide resistance against which they can strengthen themselves. Neither of these give rationale for the abuse of rigidity.

In this scene Nathan moves from behaving like a false prophet (“Do whatever your heart desires and you can get away with”) to presenting a prophet of a better way (“No, you have more personal work to do than public—wait”).

In other scenes we know that false prophets cry out, “Wait”, while farther-seeing prophets simply say, “Proceed. Do not delay justice. Now!”

It is better to check motivation behind announcements and not simply rely on a formula of that way you wish things would be or what sounds good. This is more difficult and filled with gray-areas, but it provides far more healthy and stable decisions.

Luke 1:26-38

Year B - Advent 4 or Needed Change 4
December 21, 2014

In a 4th week of Advent, what announcement from the Universe is sent to your location?

No matter how ready or not-ready you are, that announcement has been on its way for light-years. It has been coming from the beginning of your creation or a more general creation (it makes no discernable difference which). There has been much gravity along the way which has shifted it this way and that (as though you were ducking and dodging to avoid having to face its force). But neither nothing nor everything has been able to keep it away forever.

What new thing is being born in you? This is a very individual matter and can’t be guessed at by anyone else (or even yourself). All of us watching wonder at how it could be that this new thing has come through you. Usually we are each equally surprised at what is coming through us.

In the midst of every “How can this be?” there is only a quiet response that indicates the mechanism is of very little consequence. There is a new reality about to come that will catch our attention and keep us awake far more effectively than this question.

This is a week of giving thanks for that which has finally arrived to deepen our meaning and set us apart to work on a needed part of a larger community. Argue a bit, if you must (and you probably do), but not overmuch.

Monday, December 08, 2014

John 1:6-8, 19-28

Year B - Advent 3 or Needed Change 3
December 14, 2014

There is indeed a person sent from G*D. Their name is your name. You are here as a witness to testify to what it takes today to prepare for a better tomorrow. This light of tomorrow revealing emptiness in today is a gift for your eyes. While there is always a danger of confusing our own wants with this light, it helps clarify matters to remember we are not the light.

This light we have been speaking of is always a half-step ahead and asks us to make that half-step.

This passage drops out a whole section about Jesus being some true light already arrived and settled among us. All we are asked for in this section is allegiance rather than mutual exploration. This does get confusing and we are too quick to claim this as personal knowledge rather than communal growth beyond current privileges such as knowing Jesus as my “personal” Lord and Savior.

Our testimony is to be humble enough to not equate ourselves with salvation and powerful enough to cry out in the face of harm and mercilessness.

One among us stands yet unknown. Insert your name here again.

Now an Advent choice: 

   Will you reveal or claim
   your “sent from G*D” name 
   your “unknown one among us” name?

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

Year B - Advent 2 or Needed Change 2
December 7, 2014

Be careful what you ask for:

Let me hear what G*D will say....
“Steadfast trust and love are to meet, go forward together, and make a path for G*D.”

Why can’t G*D make G*D’s own path? Is this something that can only be done for G*D, not by G*D? “Salvation” here is implied to be a mutual endeavor. What do you think about a meeting at a new creation point between heaven and earth where your trust in G*D leaps from the mundane and G*D’s trust in you drops from the empyrean.

We get so tied-in to our dualities that we are blinded by our privileged unities set against anyone else’s reality. It is through catching a new possibility out of the corner of our eye that we begin to wonder about recognizing a new plateau as prelude to actually setting out for such. Beware Advent proposing a new way forward—beyond Ouroborus.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Isaiah 40:1-11

Year B - Advent 2 or Needed Change 2
December 7, 2014

We move from knowing, last week, we respond to negative reinforcement to, this week, an appeal for positive action: From “tear open the heavens” to “comfort, O comfort my people”. Both seem to be needed for we are such a various people. Some of us need a threat and some encouragement to move beyond where we are.

For the moment, go with the positive. Here a baptism with Holy Spirit brings a promise that, when all is said and done, both levers in the Great Experiment will bring forth food and we will have more than a wire mannequin holding the food.

So, recognizing both our longevity and constancy are limited, rejoice that when we look back over our life we did remarkably well with what we had available to us. There will remain questions about today and tomorrow, but yesterday is in the book and, all things considered, we played our what we were dealt as well we could. That is a comfortable thought in the midst of continuing uncertainty.

Supposedly we could have optimized more, but there is that longevity and constancy thing we have going on. We’ve done enough to be able to learn from the past and apply it to the present without having to perfect both. This learning so we don’t have to repeat processes ad infinitum does smooth the present a bit more than if we stumbled upon it with no experience that will allow us to live G*D with us, to be gentle with ourselves and others.

Have you not heard? Have you not learned? As we learn compassion for self and smooth the way for others, the presence of Mercy is revealed.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Mark 1:1-8

Year B - Advent 2 or Needed Change 2
December 7, 2014

December 7 was described by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as “a date that would live in infamy”. The second Sunday of Advent this year falls on December 7.

Roosevelt’s speech might have begun: “The beginning of bad new of war’s return.” On this day we could take any news medium and see what the proportion of bad news to good news might be found. The odds are overwhelming that the bad continues to be more powerfully portrayed than the good. Fear seems to always have the advantage over hope in the short-term.

Good seems to have to play a long game of moral arcs in the face of so much loss. Even as a background to all else, hope flickers along in the darkness. Hope is kept alive in prophecy. Here it is Isaiah that is remembered.

So what are we waiting for? Another shoe to drop confirming our worst imagining? A real though far off hymn hailing a new creation?


May we be ready to now know that we are the one’s we’ve been waiting for.


Friday, November 28, 2014

1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Year B - Advent 1 or Needed Change 1
November 30, 2014

In the United States of America (again clarifying its dys-unity—racial at the moment and in other ways at various times) it is Thanksgiving Day (unified in its official celebration on the same 4th Thursday of November in 1941).

Rather than dreading the dysfunction of our common-good (for ever has it been thus) look to what is still available: we are not lacking in any spiritual gift. This means it is not too late to still take on the dys-unity round and about. We have what we need and this clarifies for us that the issue is that of desire, of will.

To date we have preferred to jockey for our privilege niche. Once we find it, it is like an enchanted evening, never to be let go. An Advent question is how much privilege we are willing to give up that others might have some and enough more to thrive. If we are all willing to die for our current state, we will collectively do ourselves in before Jesus is revealed in our care for one another.

Give thanks—there are enough gifts to make a change in our basic relationships with one another. May this become a radical understanding that we will act upon it now on behalf of subsequent generations for it will take all our current life-times to make this shift. Anything less than starting now to live out of our abundance of gifts just won’t do.

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If you are interested in following a daily devotional or to have past Year B comments in one collected spot, check out my new book Wrestling Year B: Connecting Sunday Readings with Lived Experience at http://amazon.com/author/wesleywhite

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

Year B - Advent 1 or Needed Change 1
November 30, 2014

Restorative justice is important because it opens a way forward, a way beyond retribution. In that sense, “restore us” is important. Unfortunately, the way we usual read “restore” is some going back to one set point or another without any learning having taken place. We just want to be in G*D’s good graces again with a spit and a promise that things will be different next time and we’ll never again be separated.

If we are on the cusp of something new and then get scared and back away into some idealized past, we have blown an Advent opportunity.

May we look again at the demands of a restoration and how we are going to participate in our own salvation as well as that of our Neighb*rs and G*D’s.

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If you are interested in following a daily devotional or to have past Year B comments in one collected spot, check out my new book Wrestling Year B: Connecting Sunday Readings with Lived Experience at http://amazon.com/author/wesleywhite