Sunday, March 04, 2007

Third Sunday in Lent – A

Third Sunday in Lent – A

Years A
Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 95
Romans 5:1-11
John 4:5-42

"Give us water to drink," quarreled the people with Moses.
"Salvation is present in rocky ground!" rejoices the Psalmist.
"Peace with G*D," is Paul's lifeblood.
"Give me a drink," focuses Jesus' challenge.

An old standard is 6-8 glasses of water per day. In a world of increasing ecological disaster and civilian-oriented warfare, even 1 glass a day is a challenge in many places.

A next war may be fought over water rights. Quarrels have already begun about water's availability. It may be that where folks literally thirst for life - they will rise to take the life of those who withhold such a basic necessity.

Such physical realities have cosmos-wide implications. We can't separate water gushing up for eternal life from water gushing up for daily life. These are not just religious, theological, doctrinal passages, but political and prophetic ones. If you have not already been called to use your gifts and resources in some other arena of life, this would be a worthy place to engage to see if this is for you and your life-giving community.

= = = = = = =

water everywhere
drinks on the house
bottoms up
filled to the brim

water everywhere
rights to be wrangled
dams to build
levees to rebuild

water everywhere
and yet thirst
and yet division
and yet ignorance

water everywhere
water in rocks
water in wells
water in star dust

water everywhere
ho, come to the water
dive deep
until a spell is snapt

water everywhere
watering prayers
watering love
with sips and gulps

water everywhere
and not a god to drink
then a little vesper bell
rings out a change

water everywhere
staff to rock
voice to ear
salvation saved

suggested by a Wikipedia article Info about The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Fulford, Tim, "Poetry of Isolation: The Ancient Mariner," Coleridge's Figurative Languages (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1991), 62-73.
Fulford analyses the composition of the poem's discourses in the context of the assumptions of the historical biblical hermeneutics with which Coleridge was familiar. Fulford argues that the poem's discourses disrupt the hermeneutic circle of believers posited by biblical hermeneutics, and illustrate the isolating freedom provided by an exegesis discontinuous with tradition. Historical biblical hermeneutics attempts to deal with the problem posed by the finitude and historicity of interpretation. By positing a grand unity of perspective in God, historical biblical hermeneutics can deny the inerrancy of scripture (an embarrassingly untenable notion) while placing each sacred text in a cirle with other spiritual interpretations of existence authority, a circle which progresses toward though never reaching the circumscription of truth. Spiritual authority thus rests in a continually reinterpreted tradition of spiritual texts. McGann and Butler argue that Coleridge organizes the multiple levels of discourse in his poem to create such a hermeneutic circle: the Mariner interprets his own experience; his interpretation is affirmed but reinterpreted by the poem's narrator, the balladeer; the narrator's reinterpretation is deepened by the scholarly author of the gloss, who typologically integrates the poem into the tradition of Christian hermeneutics; critics such as Warren perpetuate the circle with their interpretations of the poem, which are modernizations and expansions upon the gloss. Fulford argues that the poem is more problematic than either McGann or Butler perceive it to be. The poem brings together, not in unity but in collision, radically discontinuous hermeneutic discourses; the poem breaks the hermeneutic circle. The Mariner's interpretation of his experience cannot be reduced to the narrator's moralizing or the glosser's typological interpretation. As in "The Wanderings of Cain," in "The Mariner" traditional interpretations of guilt and punishment are destabilized by the poem's sypathetic treatment of the Mariner. The tension thus created between the Mariner's tale, the narrator, and the gloss is left unresolved. Furthermore, the Mariner himself breaks with hermeneutic tradition when he denies the Christian interpretation of the albatross and shoots it. His interpretation of the consequent events disconfirms the hermeneutic circle: through imagination the Mariner creates an interpretation of reality as chaos which is incompatible with the unifying assumption of the hermeneutic circle. His fate as a misunderstood prophet outside of society expresses the radically isolating consequences of the dissolution of the hermeneutic circle into the babble of competing discourses. Even the glosses are fissured by the incompatibility of the various interpretive discourses the glosser draws from the hermeneutic tradition and puts into play in the poem. The unity of the poem's hermeneutic circle is on the verge of collapsing into the fragments of a forced appearance. The poem does not capitulate entirely to radical discontinuity, but suffers intensely from the strain, created by the movements toward unity on the one hand and dissolution on the other, which is inevitable in all hermeneutic endeavors.

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