Sunday, January 15, 2006

January 22, 2006 - Year B - Epiphany 3

Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm 62:5-12
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

"Waiting is half of our story." [You can hear a snippet of The Prodigal by Joe Wise here. The whole song and cd Show Me Your Smile is a favorite]

We await the result of our desire. We await in silence. We await a preferred future. We await a call.

Wait well.


  1. Mark 1:14-20

    After Baptizer John was arrested, Jesus, away from the Jordan, back in Galilee, began preaching the same message as John.

    Comment 1: Jesus is focused on the nearness and the activity of G*D, not himself. As John points to Jesus, Jesus points to G*D. This awareness of G*D calls for a shifting of gears.

    Comment 2: Jesus calls folks away from the water. We are going not going to be fishing among the baptized, but among those flopping around on land straining for a breath of oxygenated water (creation water, flowing water, living water).

  2. 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

    The present form of the world is passing away. So, what's new?

    How tightly we will hang on to that which is passing and how lightly we will hold any new beginnings entrusted to us?

    These questions move us into solidarity with our Buddhist sisters and brothers. Their gift of open-eyed detachment will aid us into a radical openness to what we experience as the expansive and expanding love of G*D.

    What has been weighing you down these days? What has been heightening your anxiety? Let's look at these situations again, this time through eyes focused on the presence of G*D in the midst of these and every event.

  3. Psalm 62:5-12

    Not only is G*D a refuge for us, but the very silence of waiting for GODot is a holy place of renewal.

    In silence we reconfirm our hope for a preferred future already birthed among us and growing, no matter how imperceptibly.

    In silence we find a place of solidity. If the silence cannot rob us of it, nothing can. In silence we can become disoriented (any sensory deprivation can do this) and so if we find that place of security in silence we can hold it in the midst of every other temptation to forget who we are.

    In silence we find what is trustworthy and what is not. Silence tunes our ear to wrong notes so no matter how subtle the propaganda we can notice it and bring it to light. (Ahh the interplay of senses from sound to sight.)

    In silence we find our unity and permission for our uniqueness. Enjoy extending your silent time an extra five minutes this day and, perhaps, ten tomorrow.

  4. Jonah 3:1-5, 10

    Good old G*D, making redecisions according to the actions of the folks. Talk about your process G*D-ology. Sure is a good thing that G*D waited long enough for this response. Imagine G*D's deadline for Ninevah being a day earlier.

    Of course a case can be made for an predetermined God who knew the folks would turn as soon as Jonah opened his mouth. Life can be seen as but a row of dominoes to be toppled in an exact sequence of moves. Ultimately this is rather boring.

    There is a line from Edward Albee's The Zoo Story, that is apropos here -- "sometimes you have to go a long way out of your way to come back a short distance correctly." Sometimes our waiting takes the form of a long way of activity in one direction to get a gravity slingshot's worth of energy to actually arrive at a place of success beyond one's greatest fears.

    I suspect we all have similar stories to tell. It is amazing how short the "correct" distance is. It could certainly be longer in physical measurement but experienced as being a short way. When in the groove distance is a non-barrier.

  5. 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

    And just what happens to people who deny, repress, avoid their participation in relationships? their connection with their emotions, such as mourning and rejoicing? their connection with society as represented by an engagement with the current economy? their connection with the thought patterns of a culture?

    Are they thereby mechanically, automatically kept from some distress or anxiety that Paul bookends this pericope as his major reason for so behaving?

    Is there not a blessing available for those who have a vocation to these parts of life? Did not Jesus return a boy to his widowed mother, a daughter to her parents? Did not Jesus enter into weeping and feasting for the bridegroom is present, not just coming? Did not Jesus counsel paying taxes and accept the welfare or charity of many? Did not Jesus use the thought patterns as a basis for his parables that begin to shift those thoughts, not deny their presence?

    For what purpose would you disengage from life? For some supposed more life? To attempt to reduce your anxiety?

    For what purpose would you engage more deeply with life? For some supposed more life? To attempt to fill your life?

    See if you can apply this quote from Paul Tillich's, "An Ontology of Anxiety," The Courage to Be.

    "Fear, as opposed to anxiety, has a definite object (as most authors agree), which can be faced, analyzed, attacked, endured. One can act upon it, and in acting upon it participate in it--even if in the form of struggle. In this way one can take it into one's self-affirmation. Courage can meet every object of fear, because it is an object and makes participation possible. Courage can take the fear produced by a definite object into itself, because this object, however frightful it may be, has a side with which it participates in us and we in it. One could say that as long as there is an object of fear, love in the sense of participation can conquer fear. But this is not so with anxiety, because anxiety has no object, or rather, in a paradoxical phrase, its object is the negation of every object. Therefore participation, struggle, and love with respect to it are impossible. He who is in anxiety is, insofar as it is mere anxiety, delivered to it without help."

  6. Mark 1:14-20

    The time has come.

    "Of course there are those for whom all this exuberant urgency is rather too much. We have become more or less content with the normal ways of marking time, of waiting out our lives. We postpone all our commitments supposing that it's not the right time. And so we make our peace with the way things are, with the mind-numbing tale of human inhumanity, of hope deferred and longing forgotten. And so we are likely to find all this joyous urgency rather suspect and more than a little annoying. And so long as this is true for us we can hear no gospel. Perhaps that is why the ones who most readily respond to this 'good news' are those who have nothing left to lose." [ The Insurrrection of the Crucified: The "Gospel of Mark" as Theological Manifesto by Theodore W. Jennings, Jr.]

    Look around. Do you really have anything more to lose? The time has come!

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