Wednesday, June 15, 2005

June 19, 2005 - Year A - Pentecost +5

Genesis 21:8-21 or Jeremiah 20:7-13
Psalm 86:1-10 or Psalm 69:7-10, (11-15), 16-18
Romans 6:1b-11
Matthew 10:24-39

We are always attempting to discern what is temporary from what has deep meaning by which we are willing to shape our lives. This deeper life revives our ancestors and emboldens our descendants. It is worth investigating.


  1. Matthew 10:24-39

    It is enough to be like Jesus, without having to be Jesus. Imitating a Jesus that is still alive is to meet the challenge of doing greater things than Jesus did. To live a WWJD life (as differentiated from the jewelry) is to be at that vulnerable place of the sword's edge where clarity refuses confusion and an inclusive love of others confronts exclusive bloodlines and literalistic creeds. At this point we are encouraged to point a clear direction in the midst of winds blowing all around and to let go of certainty when all about are clinging to smaller visions.

  2. Romans 6:1b-11

    If we live with Christ (symbolize this with Baptism) we will live into his life which includes a willingness to take what comes as a consequence of living into fullness.

    So are we going to live a life or are we going to die a death. If we are dealing with a living Jesus the focus needs to be on his life. His death is seen in its light, not the other way around.

    So what does baptism mean to you? To those around you? Does it encourage you, day by day, to walk in newness of life? David Lawson, two bishops ago here, used to emphasize knowing our baptismal date and to use that information as part of our spiritual growth. My sense of clergy response was seeing a good technique we could use to deflect the question from themselves by shaming congregations. "Why you don't even know when you were baptized." I suspect it didn't have the power it might have because, for whatever reason, a connection was never made between the act of baptism and the life of a baptized person.

    Baptism is not just a personal growth technique, but entering into a community that eggs one another on to fully live, riskily live, live past fear of death.

  3. Psalm 86:1-10 or Psalm 69:7-10, (11-15), 16-18

    Here we are - - poor and needy, sunk in deep mire without a foothold. We look around for a way out and there is none.

    Our behavior is that of bargaining with GOD. What else is there to do? Oh, yes, plead. We plead with GOD.

    Both of these behaviors indicate the grief we are still feeling from the metaphoric time of garden leaving. The kids recognize this and murder foul is afoot. Time after time we find ourselves going awry and trying to get back into good graces on our terms.

    This is a tough cycle to break. If we remembered that GOD was outside the garden as well, steadfast in presence, if not in rescuing us from consequences, we might open our eyes to the possibilities of life and thankfulness and not focus quite so much on the disasters and petulance.

    In the abundance of steadfast love we have the crack in our defensiveness, our sense of entitlement. Let's not settle for being free because of our enemies, but simply because freedom is what it means to be present to the Freedom of GOD. Whether rescued or not, we are already saved. It is GOD's intention.

  4. Genesis 21:8-21 or Jeremiah 20:7-13

    Does GOD know everything, including the future, or is GOD still inventing, creating, growing into new life? An old, old question.

    Does GOD already know Ishmael will be rescued by GOD and so sending Hagar and Ishmael cavalierly onward is but an opportunity to have GOD be seen in a better light, later?

    Does GOD agree with laughing Sarah who is no longer laughing about Ishmael's playing? ("Laughing" can be an euphemism that would make them lovers and "playing" can stand for sexual activity that would be the cause for banishment.) Then is it only after hearing Ishmael's cries (but not Hagar's?) that GOD wakes to the enormity of the consequence for the permission-giving already done?

    How do you play this one, from GOD's perspective? Do Abel and a Flood finally dawn on GOD and a rainbow sparkle? Was it in GOD's cards all along? Is Ishmael's inheritance claim upon GOD primary or secondary, a given or an afterthought?

    How does this play out within the institutional church? Is it the role of priests to play Sarah and cast out those with whom they disagree or accuse of one heresy or another? Consider how prophets are cared for in the same way as Ishmael -- seen as second-class rather than first-born and cast out, but, crying, cared for.

  5. Romans 6:1b-11

    Verse 5. The word we translate as "united" comes from symphytos, meaning "planted with". The New Interpreter's Bible suggests this is "a horticultural metaphor indicating that sanctification is a process of growth."

    How many plantings has it taken you to move on from death to as much resurrection as you currently have. As you have matured in this process, do you find that it takes fewer deaths to move to the next plateau of resurrection?

  6. Matthew 10:24-39

    "Family values" always require values larger than the family.

    Family is always in some larger context, be it an economy of resources or an economy of GOD.

    Herein lies issues of choice between the immediate family and the larger family.

    Anyone who thinks that when you have said, "Family Values", that you've said it all" is sadly mistaken.

    "Family values" always require values smaller than the family.

    Family is always made up of some smaller units, be it genes or personalities.

    Herein, again, lie issues of choice between the immediate family and the members thereof.

    It is still true that anyone who thinks "Family Values" is all life is about, doesn't understand the value of family in the micro- and macro- aspects of life.


Thank you for blessing us with your response.