Sunday, May 28, 2006

June 4, 2006 - Year B - Pentecost

Acts 2:1-21 or Ezekiel 37:1-14
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
Romans 8:22-27 or Acts 2:1-21
John 15:26-27;16:4b-15

Patience is a huge issue in truth-receiving and truth-telling. It is difficult to acknowledge we only see through a glass -- dimly.

Sneaky and Ellusive, Demanding and Allusive, so a Holy Spirit interacts with us. We press so hard for finality that often we find ourselves having avoided and limited that was sent. Our recievers are locked on one frequency while messages come on a variety of frequencies.

We cut off possibilities still available as impossible to happen as dry bones are to live again. A Holy Spirit revises our vision or lack thereof.

This week we continue ready to wait and to jump to with prophecy and to wait some more. Listen for a creative wind.


  1. John 15:26-27;16:4b-15

    Can't you just wait to be proved wrong about sin, righteousness and judgment?

    If you had to locate three key arenas of life that need to be revisited and revisioned, would they be these three or others? Sometimes our identification of the key issues of life can sharpen our responses.

    Here is one way to look at these three.

    1. Sin: not believing in a journey of Jesus toward compassion, kindness.

    2. Righteous: being on a journey with Jesus toward compassion, kindness.

    3. Judgment: reflection on and course changes through a journey with Jesus toward compassion, kindness.

    Having identified the issues, can we we get on with a closer approximation of our lives with their view of G*D (The Compassionate One)?

    [Note: This posting was stimulated by Karen Armstrong's latest book about an Axial Age and the Golden Rule - The Sunday Times gives one of many synopses of her work at,,27709-2075414,00.html.]

  2. Romans 8:22-27 or Acts 2:1-21

    Presuming that Jesus did give his friends a spirit holy (John 20:22) we know hear of another receiving of said spirit 50 days later (Acts) and years later (Romans). This raises a question about the presence of a spiritual reception decades and centuries and millennia later.

    Too often we pass by the present (in all of its confusion) by perceiving the past as settled (not still repeating itself in differing guise). At other times we get so caught up in making meaning of the present that we lose track of the many threads that have brought us to this moment.

    Whether it is creation or ourselves (go ahead and try to distinguish them) groaning for a new beginning -

    Whether we are in a current state of hope or hopelessness -

    Whether patience or anxiety seems to be our lot -

    Whether we are sighingly weak or comfortably isolated -

    Whether we are saints or non-saints -

    Intercession is made on our behalf. Join it, test it, rejoice in it, share it, do not let it go for nothing.

  3. Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

    The earth is full of G*D's creatures.
    Which is to say -- the earth is full of G*D's spirit.

    These creatures, even such as ourselves and our enemies, are part of wisdom spirit.

    Even Leviathan is spirit-filled. Where once we saw Leviathan as one part of a struggle for control, the forces of dark/evil against the forces of light/good, we now see creation building, not destroying. Let us sport with ourselves, one another, and all.

    At the right time, the kairotic time, the spirit of food (not just the calories of food) are given.

    The spirit is not about rightness, but renewal -- a creation-centered spirituality.

    No matter where we are or what we are doing we are part of a singing spirit. Question: are we harmonizing? Is our discord able to break open new insights or is it simply knee-jerk againstness?

  4. Acts 2:1-21 or Ezekiel 37:1-14

    Sounds, unlike sights, are encompassing. To look at something we have one field of view at a time. To hear something is to perceive it wherever it is, before us or behind.

    Sounds can be one clear note or a cacophony. Sounds can be progressive in melody or punked all at once. Sounds can help clear our mind or confuse us.

    Here we have violent rattlings bringing so many differences together at the same time. Whether of bones or languages we hear the primordial sound of creation echoing in birth, rebirth, and new birth. Here we hear the formation of community.

    Consider all the different sounds of your community. Imagine them all at once. What joy! What possibilities! What integration of diversity!

  5. Romans 8:22-27 or Acts 2:1-21

    In our own languages we hear "them" speaking about G*D's deeds of power, with sighs too deep for words, according to the will of G*D.

    Sometimes the poor and oppressed only have sighs with which to communicate.

    When we try to speak of G*D it often seems like trying to communicate in a foreign language. There is something miraculous about the translation process that parallels our experience with the otherness of G*D. We marvel as much with unexpectedly hearing our native tongue as with what we hear. The very medium is as mysterious as the message.

    This otherness turns out to be as close as our breath. So close our breath is taken away. All that is left is a sigh brooding over the face of the deep, calling deep to deep. This sigh becomes our new language that gives us a prophetic perspective. Ahh, yes, the violence of chaos is not countered by the chaos of violence. Ahh, yes, insides touch outsides and around goes yin and yang. Ahh, yes, it is not our past that determines us, but our dreams. Ahh, yes, the language of hope transforms the determinism of anger.

    To speak with kindness is an expression of G*D's presence. To pause, to rise on expectant toes, is to accord the presence of G*D a new reality heretofore unexpressed.

    May you pause long enough to be able to hear the sighs of the world as key signs of the presence of G*D. May you pause long enough for kindness to rise within you. It may take longer than a count to ten.

  6. John 15:26-27;16:4b-15

    If we consider the elided material, Jesus is saying some stuff intended to keep us from stumbling. Of course, intentions have yet to not go astray.

    At any rate, here comes some new stuff that is just as problematic as the older stuff. If we are trinitarian how do we deal with Jesus going away in order that a helping advocate come. Is there some spiritual law that only one of the three can be present at any given time? Is Jesus such a powerful personality and the Advocate such a shy one that Jesus not only outshines the sun, but the Holy Spirit?

    Further, is it merely one more repetition that is keeping us from understanding sin, righteousness, and judgment? If we didn't get it with Jesus, what makes anyone think we'll get it with a Spirit Holy? Isn't this somewhat akin to jumping off the temple to showboat power.

    If we are trinitarian how do we deal with a Holy Spirit that is a simple non-physical presence of Jesus, not having anything of its own to offer?

    Ya gotta love John and his imagery of nesting dolls -- smallest doll is G*D (all that G*D's got is mine, inside me); middle doll is Jesus calling the shots; largest doll is Spirit Holy, Jesus' aura, Jesus' force-field.

    How would you talk about the relationship of your faith development? Are you a doll smaller than G*D or larger than Spirit?

  7. So what happens if we scrap "trinitarian?"

    It is a dead metaphor. Van Bogard Dunn said that exact thing: "Trinity is a dead metaphor"

    and he said it way back in 1989 or 1990 at School for Ministry (aka Pastor's School), Wisconsin Conference UMC.

    Van Bogard Dunn is dead now (pity, few have the intestinal fortitude he had), but his words have rung true for me ever since he spoke them with courage and conviction:

    Trinity is a dead metaphor.

    Tom D'Alessio
    UM pastor for exactly 26 more days.

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