Sunday, June 11, 2006

June 18, 2006 - Year B - Pentecost +2

1 Samuel 15:34-16:13 or Ezekiel 17:22-24
Psalm 20 or Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15
2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17
Mark 4:26-34

Points of view are crucial pieces of information. To know from whence one is viewing is to recognize limits of interpretation. It is to know that there are other things to be seen simply by changing perspectives or walking a mile on someone else's path.

To recognize someone else's point of view both eases the implementation of compassion and helps folks talk together about otherwise controversial issues.

It is always interesting to see how many different points of view we have that depend upon the issue at hand. Many of our points of view are in conflict with one another, if simply looked at in that way. A consistency of point of view is difficult as it is so easily influenced by our experiences and learnings. We cover up our points of view with the subject at hand and mistake the subject for the point of view. To reveal our points of view regarding particular concerns is to move us toward conversion.


  1. Mark 4:26-34

    Jesus spoke publicly in parables. Jesus offered viewpoints on the parables in private.

    This is an interesting dynamic. In the midst of a church that doesn't seem to get what the progressive, prophetic parts of the spirit and world are saying, we have to ask ourselves whether or not we have been speaking publicly in a parabolic form? (Not that speaking forthrightly would do any better in the presence of hard and hardening hearts.) Have we kept private the keys to a wider perspective?

    What would sermons, homilies, witnesses, conversations look like this week if we were deliberate in keeping such as parables? Could you really refrain from trying to make your viewpoint clearer and clearer with greater and greater explanations? Even if we piled parable upon parable, would we be satisfied without trying to clarify some point or other?

  2. 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17

    One dies for all.

    This is a parable.

    Therefore all have died.

    This is a private explanation.

    As you pick up the paper or listen in on a newscast or blog, how do you view the deaths that are noted there? How are you seeing your own life as you are a day nearer your death? Does this particular/universal connection make sense to you?

    Since you have died, what are you now willing to live for?

  3. Psalm 20 or Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15

    What is your view of G*D's presence in the midst of difficult times? Easy to discern? Can't tell until you look back at one pair of footprints? A dark night of the soul that doesn't even have any footprints?

    Is it your view that the righteous flourish? that the lawless get theirs?

    These bedrock understandings of how life moves and has meaning affect our interpretation of our experience. Fortunately our experience can also affect our viewpoint. In the interplay between our various viewpoints and our predominant viewpoint we find ourselves fated from the past and freed for a different future.

    An image here is that of a tree that flourishes with fruit. May you continue to see a fruitful future for yourself and for us together. With that vision comes strength for a journey that scatters seeds along the way and prepares for a new creation.

  4. 1 Samuel 15:34-16:13 or Ezekiel 17:22-24

    A play between the unexpected leadership of the youngest and the rooting of a cedar's growth tip.

    In the first instance every institution desires to clone itself at its maturation level and to develop the kind of leaders that are currently present. To turn things on its head is to move back to the movement level, pre-institution. Here creation of the next day of creation is clearer. This is a case of evening and morning, in that sequence. [It would be nice to have the luxury of another comment here about claiming to have no criteria for selection and having handsomeness be sufficient to be noted. That connection will have to wait for another day.] But here we reprise beginnings, with all the attendant uncertainty and subsequent errors to focus simply on the unexpectedness of a new beginning.

    In the second instance we note information about a Cedar from the web [ ] "Vegetative Reproduction- Cuttings may be rooted with relative ease. A recommended practice is to use cuttings from tips of major branches from the lower crown of young trees, taken from December to February.... Most reproduction, however, is from seed."

    Again there is the unexpected process. Instead of propagation from a typical seeding route we have a cutting route. From being a vulnerable part of the tree, with no strength of years ringed around, it becomes the central spot of strength around which new years of growth circle and widen. All would probably be well here if we posit a once-for-all G*D setting things in motion and hiding secret doctrine deep within an institution. When we look at the sweep of scripture, however, we find this cutting process to go on and on and on -- new beginnings from old institutions goes on and on and on.

    A call to us, still, is to find new leadership for a new way [are you willing for that to be you?] and to rely upon a tip of new growth rather than the accumulation of rigid doctrine that is good for seeing growth rings, but then can add nothing new [are you willing to be moved beyond that which birthed you?].

  5. 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17

    A Cartoon about being in a judgment seat Enjoy!

    It seems that when we talk judgment we are talking negatives. That is the viewpoint that holds power over us.

    Imagine a cartoon where the person whose life is being shown is alert with anticipation to see how things were connected and where some editing would have helped. Instead of slinking down, one might sit up and pay attention.

    Presumably the story being shown is not yet over. Why not look forward to what is going to happen next instead of shying away from what has already occurred?

    Consider your own usual image of a judgment seat? Something to be avoided as long as possible or something to hustle along to to get a front row seat on what might yet be done? It is time to enjoy judgment, not fear it.

  6. Mark 4:26-34

    I expect Jesus would have been just as well off not explaining things to the disciples in private. It only leads to their thinking they can get a handle on what it is that Jesus is up to and makes the temptation to power on Palm Sunday even stronger for them. If they have the inside scoop what is to keep them from having the preferred seats in paradise?

    Inasmuch as the presence of GOD is quite a mystery to us, we can, at best, compare it to other things we know. In each instance the comparison falls apart somewhere and goes too far in other ways. We are called to have a series of parables at our disposal to be be able to bring out the one that will cause the most stretching in the moment. We sharpen our appreciation of the presence of GOD by whetting one parable against another other.

    May we listen beyond hearing and evoke in each other a greater attention to what is going on in the moment.


Thank you for blessing us with your response.