Friday, March 09, 2007

Third Sunday in Lent – C4

Third Sunday in Lent – C4

Years C
Luke 13:1-9

Unless you pay attention in a different way than you have, you will perish as did those at a deliberate hand of violence or in another anonymous occasion of death.

Our usual process is to use comparisons. I'm better than they, so I deserve better. They are worse than I, so they deserve what they got. Or, we get lost in trying to parse a nuanced duality of good and evil out of a creative impulse and bump into irreconcilable differences.

Here repentance doesn't change the final outcome of death, but it does change the energy of it. To pay attention in a different direction is to focus on that which brings life and leave death to do its own thing. We don't try to justify one death as being different than another. We do, however, bring careful compassion to individuals and prophetic justice to unjust systems. In so doing we join G*D and Jesus in watering lives and changing the pH of contexts.

Just a note: often we associate G*D with the "man" in parables and, here, the gardener with Jesus. Given the beginning of this section, "the man" might better be seen as Mr. Market Force, Pilate, or the Principalities and Powers - always looking for an advantage and claiming a seven-year fig in only three - always ready to destroy. In like fashion, the gardener role becomes you, so enjoy digging in the stuff of life.

= = = = = = =

a cacophony
survival needs
desires of niceties
clamor and echo

to listen in its midst
is like tuning a hearing aid
to hear a whisper
amid the latest dissonance

was that a fire siren
a clink of toasting glasses
warning us away
drawing us close

get me some head-on (r)
I can't pay attention any more
and wander and waver
where's good fruit

its not comparing deaths
its not theod-I-see
lets simply see one tree
and bring it many cares


  1. I am struggling with the "hosautos" (likewise) in Luke 13:3. Please explain what you mean by: "Unless you pay attention in a different way than you have, you will perish as did those at a deliberate hand of violence or in another anonymous occasion of death." Thank you.

  2. This comment tries to connect the language of repentance (a turning here not from evil to good in one fell swoop or from disbelief to belief, but a shift in attention from such dualistic preoccupations toward a step in the direction of a more unified field of meaning) with a look beyond our experience base of violent, intentional death-dealing and a consequece of being in the wrong space/time, accidental death.

    Likewise might be considered a form of blowback where we get caught in monkey-see/monkey-do circular thinking and reap the backside of an ill wind. Are we first looking at experiences in light of who is at fault, then fault will be what we see wherever we are. There will never be an escape from having missed the mark and since we all do we will continually repeat sin very unoriginally. Keep looking in this fashion and you will likewise become what you see - sin.

    There is an old story about someone anticipating a move to an area and asking about the nature of the people there. The response is a question, "How were the people where you were?" This understands that as we are currently finding our neighbor so we will likewise find them wherever we are.

    To change our "likewise" we need to shift our attention (begin a repentance of our prior first response).

    Thanks for the question. I hadn't seen how such an innocent little word as "likewise" carries such consequence. It is worth wrestling with some more.


Thank you for blessing us with your response.