Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pentecost +10 Sunday – C1

Pentecost +10 Sunday – C1

Years C
Hosea 11:1-11 or Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23

What a vanity, this tough-pretending G*D. Old Ephraim has been busy with the business of living in human form - unhappy business. We hate our toil; G*D hates our toil. Finally there is despair from humans and despair from G*D - the more we are called the more we went in the opposite direction. Thus, despair in all directions.

A solution to this unhappy business is not despair squared, but a recognition that, despairing or not, we and G*D won't give up. Those old hounds of heaven have been unleashed. Fierce despair/anger won't be unleashed. When the hounds arrive, great licking of faces will occur. Forgiveness as slobber -- compassion, warm and tender -- will find us at home again.

= = = = = = =

caught between
vanity and vanity
hearken back
at distance

once loved
given up for lost
and threatened
nothing left

still loved
compassion shines through
no more wrath
welcome home

what sense this
wavering wind of uncertainty
trembling bird
new future

Monday, July 30, 2007

Pentecost +10 Sunday – B

Pentecost +10 Sunday – B

Years B
2 Samuel 11:26 - 12:13a or Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15
Psalm 51:1-12 or Psalm 78:23-29
Ephesians 4:1-16
John 6:24-35

Ah, sweet fleshpots! There is nothing sweeter than vain imaginings that something other than a worthy life will satisfy. We look for that "more" in sex and getting what we want through betrayal. We look for that "more" in "the good old days" (that really weren't). We look for that "more" in controlling unanimity using fear of the "other" to keep us in line. We look for that "more" in fullness of stomach and pocketbook.

The John passage in particular is antidote to the prosperity theology so popular these days. Always looking for one more buck, one more sign, these "theologians" continually miss life-bread in the simplicity of living oriented toward deeper meaning. As long as the Ponzi Scheme of prosperity theology holds, folks will give untold dollars for a food that perishes. In short, short-cuts bring us up short and cut us to the quick. There is no slot-machine God who will consistently pay out - it is all a ploy to pay out a little, because we remember that, in order to suck us in further and further -- all the way to bankruptcy.

= = = = = = =

our transgression
needing untold mercy
is the violence
to which we will go
to get a full stomach

no matter how we cover it over
sin is connected with violence
this is its ultimate ending place
little by little we accommodate
and fear fear enough to instill fear

a clean heart restores joy
so lacking in short-cuts
that lead to violence
so focus on joy
sustain a willing joy

joy-gifts touch us
deeper than tokens of fear
joy that sees abundance
all around
reveals the lie of violence

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pentecost +10 Sunday – A

Pentecost +10 Sunday – A

Years A
Genesis 32:22-31 or Isaiah 55:1-5
Psalm 17:1-7, 15 or Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21
Romans 9:1-5
Matthew 14:13-21

Jacob wrestles with an angel; disciples wrestle with a crowd. In both instances they learn something very important.

For Wrestling Jacob (in the Wesleyan Tradition) G*D is identified as Love. The disciples learn their perceived limits are not so - an ordered method allows folks to sit together and look at one blessing and see within it an abundance not previously glimpsed.

In the midst of everyone looking every which way (searching for their own best advantage), two loaves (loves) and five fish seem mighty puny. When, together we look (and see them identified as a blessing) - things change.

= = = = = = =

when we awake
we shall see righteousness
and be satisfied

when will that be
that steadfast love
will be recognized

how do we help one another
perceive grace and mercy
as ever present

so often there is such need
hungers are so high
we can't spare the time

we anticipate a zero-sum game
driven by competition
and miss compassion's presence

attend to our night cry
wrestle with us
til day breaks

love dawns
blessing abounds
we go on together

Friday, July 27, 2007

Pentecost +9 Sunday – C4

Pentecost +9 Sunday – C4

Years C
Luke 11:1-13

Prayer is intimately connected with service. The model of prayer Jesus offers in response to a request to be taught to pray like John taught his disciples can be seen as prelude to Jesus' usual bait and switch methodology. His message - pray but prayer is never enough; I go apart to pray but I always come back to put the Amen to my prayer with healing/teaching ministry.

The prayer is very our (read in-group) oriented. Yes, hallowed be G*D's name, typical honorific, and yes, bottom-line is give me my bread and keep things "fair" rather than just (forgiveness as an eye-for-an-eye model rather than preemptively forgiving whether we get anything in return or not).

So the prayer needs immediate application grounded in experience. Keep asking (living as though what you needed was already present) and, lo, and, behold, it is.

Here is one attempt to apply the prayer to the story. How might you apply it to your so-called daily life?

Friend (Father), I need three loaves (for hospitality purposes - daily bread for more than me). We presume generosity on the part of others as we would be generous to them. Don't bring us to disappointment.

= = = = = = =

what demon of muteness
has captured our culture
keeping extraneous secrets
for the sake of keeping them
keeping us from
not searching them out
to reveal their banality

what demon of muteness
has captured our "news"
kept us separated
from one another
locked in our own world
and desiring no other
judging others muter than I

what demon of muteness
needs recognition
needs exorcism
needs healing
as we run across
a long bridge
screaming but not heard

what demon of muteness
has so destroyed our speech
than when we finally speak
there is nothing in what we speak
for we remember the words
but not their power
and so linger in whisper

what demon of muteness
has captured church and state
in a dance of complicity
finding their destruction
not in division
but a desert creating

what demon of muteness
will finally give way
when we pray
and yell and shout
in an imperative mood
Hallowed Come Give

what demon of muteness
needs an amen and amen
of prayer in action
speaking up
speaking out
speaking with
a voice of new creation

mine of course
yours of course
ours of course
now ours now
now yours now
now mine now

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pentecost +9 Sunday – C3

Pentecost +9 Sunday – C3

Years C
Colossians 2:6-19

"As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him." This line raises a question: just how do we receive a Christ.

Those who have gradually morphed into a relationship with a Christ that continues to point beyond Christ are encouraged to continue growing, not to stop with the current relationship.

Those who have suddenly come to a relationship with a Christ that continues to point beyond Christ are instructed to be prepared for yet another change as Christ pays attention to a Living G*D and will be changing accordingly.

How did you receive a Christ who points beyond? Guess what - there are still more changes to come. Don't become captive to deceitful philosophy or to your current "having come thus far to Christ". There is still more nourishment and growing of additional ligaments and sinews ahead - with G*D.

= = = = = = =

live your life
as you have lived your life
is not a condemnation
to stasis

life so far
has been a journey
of maturing at least growing
and fading away

live in the middle
of such diverse dynamism
and wonder upon wonder
will be revealed

more life than ever imagined
will open through more growth
and through more endings
along your way

live your life
as you have lived your life
and you will live
as you have never lived before

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pentecost +9 Sunday – C2

Pentecost +9 Sunday – C2

Years C
Psalm 85 or Psalm 135

Obviously G*D is not controllable. Angers arise, wave-like, against a background of steadfast love. In fact, we call G*D to account, to change. We expect G*D to change, except in our creeds.

Even with the ability of G*D to change there is also a sense in which that which will ultimately be unchanged are such G*D actions as speaking peace, giving what is good, and following where righteousness leads.

This last image is particularly intriguing. What is this righteousness that goes before G*D and makes a path for G*D to follow? While we can imagine that as an aura of some sort emanating from G*D, there is also a separate reality sense to it as well.

If we can image evil happening separately from G*D, can we also image good happening separately. If both of these, what then is the role of G*D in creation and your life and mine? Might there be some management (or other presence) of the circumstances of life, rather than their initiator?

= = = = = = =

in the red corner
faithfulness springs from the ground

in the blue corner
righteousness leaps from the sky

in the center
a referee calls out the rule of engagement

thou shalt cooperate
for the increase of good

the sound of one cymbal is as nothing
but the sound of two, ahh, the sound

opening a way by garnering attention
for revival's time of rejoicing

a bell sounds, cymbals crash
peace is spoken, love is shown

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pentecost +9 Sunday – C1

Pentecost +9 Sunday – C1

Years C
Hosea 1:2-10 or Genesis 18:20-32

How great is the outcry! How great the sin! The inhospitability! The injustice! How tempting to pull it all up, even if it take any elseway opportunity with it.

How important it is to remember Gomer, as well as Hosea, and their children who become more than their beginning! In so doing we hear G*D engaging G*D with an internal dialogue between discontent and promise.

We hear echoes of G*D's self-reflection through the vehicle of Abraham -- "Shall I go into Sodom and know her children as my own? Is pity and adoption my hallmark, or not? If one of my own goes astray, will I take out my loss on others?"

It is so tempting to have our fantasy -- you are not mine! -- cemented for all time. It is so blessed to have this same fantasy redeemed in real life.

= = = = = = =

it takes two to whore around
whether that be macro
with G*D and Sodom
or micro
any two Gomers and Hoseas

then we freeze-frame a moment
and name it abomination
not you
not mine
not any

forgetting a first word
is not a last word
yes, you
yes, me
yes, all

so look again
in your bag of tricks
for not only the old
familiar approbation
but a new beginning

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pentecost +9 Sunday – B

Pentecost +9 Sunday – B

Years B
2 Samuel 11:1-15 or 2 Kings 4:42-44
Psalm 14 or Psalm 145:10-18
Ephesians 3:14-21
John 6:1-21

Bathsheba and Jesus were both faced with being taken by force. Their circumstances and options were different. Male and Female, Subject and Master, are significant variations.

Both Bathsheba and Jesus were strengthened that they could live through their respective situations.

Bathsheba acquiesced to force; Jesus withdrew from it. There probably isn't one right response to a test.

Of interest is the use of intermediaries by David and Jesus. There were those who responded to inquiries about Bathsheba and Uriah carrying his own death warrant to Joab, who undertook it. There was Philip who didn't play along, Andrew who did, and the disciples who facilitated a feast.

Questions of how we respond to force come at us every day. Likewise, choices of how we are going to respond to requests from authorities. So, how's today for you? Whose intermediary have you been so far and whose do you anticipate being later today?

= = = = = = =

evil requires
before and after
the fact

under this spreading net
a village smithy stands
strong of arm
stronger of heart

rooted elsewhere
bringing solidarity of port
to those adrift
on the sea

an adult
remembering their child
rich in fish and bread
richer in sharing

Pentecost +9 Sunday – A

Pentecost +9 Sunday – A

Years A
Genesis 29:15-28 or 1 Kings 3:5-12
Psalm 105:1-11, 45b or Psalm 128 or Psalm 119:129-136
Romans 8:26-39
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

With what intentionality does G*D create or foreknow? One camp says absolute intentionality - there is plan, purpose, malice aforethought with every thought/action of G*D. Another camp says no intentionality, only potential.

Of the two, we side with the potential that accords with spending time following the twists and turns of love and understanding. Mindful of a covenant of mutuality that thinks and acts for the sake of others/creation, we experience a love and understanding that continually pulls us toward one another.

There are many ways to express this unity of mutuality. Mustard seeds, yeast, treasure, pearls, and fish but scrape the surface of the presence of G*D.

= = = = = = =

before prayer
a sigh
before knowing
a call
before covenant
a thanks
before serving
a love
before presence

Friday, July 20, 2007

Pentecost +8 Sunday – C4

Pentecost +8 Sunday – C4

Years C
Luke 10:38-42

A fine example of family systems at work. Here Martha, past her usual coping skills, cries out, "Ma, Mary ain't helpin'!"

The response reported by Jesus could have been more helpful with a bit more specificity, but at least he didn't play all of the triangling game here.

We've been able to put all manner of content into his "one needful thing" phrase. Unfortunately all of them pit Martha against Mary, as though Martha hadn't also participated in a needful thing.

Surely, with his emphasis upon service, Jesus didn't mean to disparage offering one's life to serve others as Martha was participating in that. Though when specific service is too narrowly defined it is something to avoid as it has lost its life.

Surely, with his emphasis upon service, Jesus didn't mean to focus everything on basking the in the glory of a master teacher such as himself or even G*D, whom he focused on. When no service is required, life has been lost.

It is difficult for us to get into a seasonal flow about his response. Shawna R. B. Atteberry has a sermon about this that is helpful.

It may be that Jesus' response still lies in that fuzzy arena of what we are not yet ready to hear. Thus we still need some help from a Spirit.

For the moment: good for Martha, good for Mary, good for Jesus. Their better parts will not be taken from them. Good for you and good for me.

= = = = = = =

Cathye Wehr puts another twist on this: "Jesus came with the disciples to Martin and Harry's garage to get ready for a road trip. Martin is working on the minivan getting it ready while Harry is over in one of the chairs gathered around the Mr. Coffee listening to Jesus. Martin comes over wiping his greasy hands on a rag, asking Jesus to tell Harry to go put his coveralls on and work on the van with him. Jesus says, 'Martin, Martin, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Harry has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from him.'"

Martha's details
Martin's need
require someone else
to pull things off
to their satisfaction

Harry's listening
Mary's sitting
are all wrapped up
in unitive behavior
needing nothing else

Martha tugs at Harry
Martin at Mary
Harry calls to Martha
Mary to Martin
each deaf to the other

eventually Mary gets hungry
Martin gets hungry
two different hungers
growing out of their hunger
of the moment

tomorrow Mary tugs
and Martin calls
as we lose track
of needful things
and better parts

so mutuality
appreciation of differences
recognition of seasons
gentleness with each other
is once again revealed

- - - - - - -

Bonus: The word "wrapped" above began as "rapt" until this tidbit surfaced to change the choice of language:

One might be surprised to learn that rapt, a word used in describing states of deep delight or absorption, has a relative with an entirely different emotive force--rape. Now most often used to mean "to force someone to submit to sexual acts," rape once had a much broader application, as it meant "to seize, carry off." In fact, it was often used in positive and nonviolent contexts. From the Middle English period, we have examples of its being used to mean "to carry off to heaven from earth," as in "the visions of seynt poul wan [when] he was rapt in to paradys." As this quotation shows, rapt started out as the past participle of rape. As time went on, rapt became restricted to mental or emotional states, while rape developed a new past participle, raped, and became limited to criminal or violent acts.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pentecost +8 Sunday – C3

Pentecost +8 Sunday – C3

Years C
Colossians 1:15-28

From the Yakrider site -- So where, is God in all this? Different members of the Yakrider community will have different responses to this question. Let's look at this from the Christian perspective for a moment. One school of thought conceives God as always outside of the universe, as the "Wholly Other" who built it, set this mechanical model into motion and stepped back to let it run itself, and there is nothing divine in the material world of nature. That's God as carpenter or potter. Another school sees, as in The Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians that the eternal Christ is the "firstborn" or archetype of all creation -- in him were all things created, and "all things in him subsist" (Col. 1:16, 17). The Greek term "sunesteken" is translated variously, "subsist," "consist", or "are established." Eduard Lohse, in his commentary on Colossians notes: "In Platonic and Stoic philosophy the verb "sunestekenai" (to be established, to continue, to exist, to endure) was used to denote the wonderful unity of the entire world." It's little wonder that physicists, facing the unexplainable problem of why an atom's whizzing, orbiting electrons never spin off into randomness, call this phenomenon, simply, the Colossians Principle, referencing, though humorously, this verse – that all things are held together by "Christ." Though they don’t mean it literally or seriously, such might be close to what St. Paul had in mind.

- - - - - - -

I was glad to hear of the "Colossians Principle". It gives a needed lightness to this passage that comes close to a Hindu appreciation of creation in all and all in creation. Otherwise we get pretty heavy handed about a uniqueness of Christ (perhaps Jesus, or you) and a too easy taking on of suffering that needs a Buddhist antidote.

All in all this passage ends up with the helpful and hopeful image of assisting everyone to mature (implicitly, after their own fashion, their own Christness).

= = = = = = =

the fullness of G*D
pleases to dwell
wherever it alights
from thence
it brings forth
an olive branch

the fullness of G*D
touches everything
from chaos
to this ego
birthing christ
and myself

the fullness of G*D
imparts fullness
develops wholeness
urges maturity
until all is known
beyond all that's known

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pentecost +8 Sunday – C2

Pentecost +8 Sunday – C2

Years C
Psalm 52 or Psalm15

Psalm 52 sets two dramatically different approaches to life -- devouring and trusting -- against one another. Implication, it is better to trust -- it is to one's long-range benefit.

Leaving that duality behind for the moment, I am intrigued with the image of "a green olive tree in the house of God." The flourishing of ourselves (our tree-ness) is like the flourishing of steadfast love or mercy. This is what is called for, regardless of whether or not we ever gloat over those who limit such G*D-ly qualities.

It helps to remember Jeremiah 11:16 -- "The Lord once called you, 'A green olive tree, fair with goodly fruit'; but with the roar of a great tempest he will set fire to it, and its branches will be consumed." If flourishing is to continue it needs to continue to deepen and strengthen its roots or it, too, will fall.

The image of a green olive tree is not a cause for pride, but an investment in deeper roots to have greener leaves and more bountiful fruit. When satisfaction sets in, roots wither, ever so slightly at first, and fruits are reduced. It's not easy being green.

= = = = = = =

laughter at doing well
enhances such doing
even when all about
are mourning

by our laughter
we scorn not others
but enlarge our life and see
more reason for laughter

our laughter brims over
surely goodness and mercy
are with us now
and anon

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pentecost +8 Sunday – C1

Pentecost +8 Sunday – C1

Years C
Amos 8:1-12 or Genesis 18:1-10a

Our behavior sensitizes us to more or fewer options. Our associations shape our involvement.

So when we participate in deceit we are less able to hear and respond to teachings and opportunities to practice honest dealings. In this way our behavior limits our reception of a word of health and healing and common-wealth. These are "words" of G*D that become outside our usual reception and often require dramatic conversions.

A famine of imagination of how we might have a better present and future than we do is as deadly as a famine of bread or a drought of water.

= = = = = = =

let me bring you a little bread
let me under-weigh a little grain

between these two
lie a chasm
amazing grace
to bridge

let me bring you a little bread
let me pile high a little more grain

Monday, July 16, 2007

Pentecost +8 Sunday – B

Pentecost +8 Sunday – B

Years B
2 Samuel 7:1-14a or Jeremiah 23:1-6
Psalm 89:20-37 or Psalm 23
Ephesians 2:11-22
Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

"Come away beloved/disciples," has a different feel when said by Solomon than by Jesus.

Jesus was an active prophet, not a poetic one. Particularly in Mark do we have an agenda-driven presentation speeding on.

When Jesus invites us to a deserted place it is only deserted inasmuch as he is not currently there, not that it is a desolation. A part of his teaching is to be active where you are in such a manner that such activity can be sustained for we are always dealing with desert-ion.

Sometimes we enter desolate territory only to find it wasn't, isn't, wont be. Sometimes we find such desolation visiting our routine life. Whether visiting or being visited, opportunity for "making whole" is available.

Our choice is to view desolate places as our life's joy or an impingement upon our possibilities.

= = = = = = =

a deserted place
is never so
when it is sought

desolation has a life
and rhythm of its own
not to be presumed upon

transforming strange aliens
into intimate family friends
hostility to peace

out of such journey
comes healing aplenty
for every unbidden dark valley

a desired desolate place
teems with expectation
and vast need

Pentecost +8 Sunday – A

Pentecost +8 Sunday – A

Years A
Genesis 28:10-19a or Isaiah 44:6-8
Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24 or Wisdom of Solomon 12:13, 16-19 or Psalm 86:11-17
Romans 8:12-25
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Yes, let the righteous shine -- but not at the expense of those not yet righteous or deemed never to be righteous.

We have a long-standing tendency to idealism. Somehow or other, we yearn for days to come where all choice is taken from us so we won't even consider an alternative because such might eventually, incrementally, lead us elsewhere, astray. Likewise, we dream of days of non-complicity wherein evil is externalized and we are implicitly innocent.

Truth be told, I hold invasive weed and intentional wheat in tension. Neither can be denied its present reality. So was a first garden and so a future garden already holding an unrepentant thief.

Beware enthusiastic righteousness (even G*D's) rooting out all but itself -- it is unbalanced with only one leg to stand on.

= = = = = = =

what's G*D doing
at the bottom of the ladder
while angels climb
up and down down and up

angels are a diversion
while G*D sneaks up
as imagination soars
with the ladder

angels bring not messages
from above
but store promises
with the rain

together they fertilize
our present
to bring forth much future
growing up

promises spoken
are carried on high
to baptize tomorrow
resurrect a day after

Friday, July 13, 2007

Pentecost +7 Sunday – C4

Pentecost +7 Sunday – C4

Years C
Luke 10:25-37

Most test questions have a built-in expected answer. Usually test questions are hypothetical in nature, looking to bolster one theory or another.

When we have our eye on a larger picture it becomes possible to respond to test questions in a manner that shifts the vision of the asker of test questions and allows a different response to rise out of their imagination, heretofore blocked because of the power of the question they asked. Test questions are also questions of limits that allow us to avoid stretching our mercy or implementing love steadfastly.

When finally faced with a storied response it becomes evident that the initial question wasn't sharp enough to lead us past today, only strong enough to perpetuate yesterday.

When, in this case, the tester began looking for a limit to mercy, they found they needed to ask a different question: "Who is not my neighbor."

When test questions are paired with their obverse they are able to turn and face a situation with hope of healing partiality and restoring mercy to its crucial position in logic.

= = = = = = =

A word history for neighbor from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition.

Loving one's neighbor as oneself would be much easier, or perhaps much more difficult, if the word neighbor had kept to its etymological meaning. The source of our word, the assumed West Germanic form *nahgabur, was a compound of the words *nehwiz, “near,” and *braum, “dweller, especially a farmer.” A neighbor, then, was a near dweller. Neahgebur, the Old English descendant of this West Germanic word, and its descendant in Middle English, neighebor, and our Modern English neighbor, have all retained the literal notion, even though one can now have many neighbors whom one does not know, a situation that would have been highly unlikely in earlier times. The extension of this word to mean “fellow” is probably attributable to the Christian concern with the treatment of one's fellow humans, as in the passage in Matthew 19:19 that urges love of one's neighbor.

plumblines aplenty
pointing toward gravity's center
like a porcupine pincushion
none parallel to the next
only aligned
with its direct opposite

in our local neighbor
we find subtle differences
not lined up
with our own field's pull
neighbor is always
about differences

we find different neighbors
within ourselves
our religious persona
turns priestly
denying wounds

our doctrinal plumblines
claim uniqueness
wounding others
on top of insult
distancing ourselves
from dwellers near

our samaritan neighbor
our set-upon neighbor
offer opportunities
to replumb
from the other side
aligned and in tune

neighbors all
within my personal habitat
with butterfly wings
affecting climates
inside and out
of understanding

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pentecost +7 Sunday – C3

Pentecost +7 Sunday – C3

Years C
Colossians 1:1-14

A word of hope for the future is known because a word of hope about the present has been heard. To disjoint the two is to miss worthy living (joyful patience).

Down through the ages, to this very day, those with the greatest hope for tomorrow speak a word of hope about today. If we can't see a new possibility for right now our "hope" for tomorrow is delusional, not really hope at all.

It is this focus on present hope that grounds every other hope.

= = = = = = =

prayer without ceasing
calls for a patience
beyond patience
known otherwise
as joy

prayer without ceasing
calls for action
beyond results
known otherwise
as hope

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pentecost +7 Sunday – C2

Pentecost +7 Sunday – C2

Years C
Psalm 82 or Psalm 25:1-10

What a scene -- G*D enters a divine council after having seen how Amos responded to his call and, having learned, stands to prophecy, "How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?"

That divine council -- ours -- after all, we are there. In such instances, divinity blinds. Time and time again it is necessary to be called out, to see again the weak, etc.

So, we, too, might call out, "Do not remember my past judgments, according to steadfast love may I judge anew and break my own precedent."

It is this feedback loop of re-judging that instructs us. No feedback loop, no G*D.

= = = = = = =

I am divine
a most high child

I am mortal
fallen into death

rise up
with healing

wounded healer

weal and woe
and every soul

justice needed
not justice achievable

between poles
holding both souls

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Pentecost +7 Sunday – C1

Pentecost +7 Sunday – C1

Years C
Amos 7:7-17 or Deuteronomy 30:9-14

Questions of authority abound. They are the currency of power - held and desired. Those who can most successfully question another's authority are able to claim authority. We contend over our questions.

Is authority a conveyance that moves from captured or established authority to whomever will keep it in place? Is authority an integrated whole rising from within to bless and challenge current authority.

Obviously, this curious word authority plays on several levels. Going back through its usage, it began by meaning to increase and thus to create (to author).

In today's world, authority might be thought of as that which decreases and thus controls. As you think about your life - what authority do you bring - an inner authority to increase or an outer authority to decrease? The difference is crucial and the choice that we make regarding our authority is one of one's meaning.

So, take thou authority...

= = = = = = =

a commandment
that is not a commandment
is not too far away
too high or too wide

this commandment
is not a commandment
for it touches our depths
becomes our own

Monday, July 09, 2007

Pentecost +7 Sunday – B

Pentecost +7 Sunday – B

Years B
2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19 or Amos 7:7-15
Psalm 24 or Psalm 85:8-13
Ephesians 1:3-14
Mark 6:14-29

Dancing David
Stumblebum Uzzah
Beheaded John
Face-saving Herod
Plumbline holding Amos
Fearful Amaziah
Destined Christ
Promised Holy Spirit

The earth (see above for its variety) is G*D's and all that is in it (even the female not mentioned above).

Lift up your heads, O David, John, Amos, Christ, Holy Spirit! and be lifted up.

Lift up your head (__your name here__)! and be lifted up.

Imagine even Uzzah, Amaziah and Herod able to lift their heads, for all are chosen in Christ. Imagine the hardest person you have to deal with. Their head, too, will be lifted. There is no stopping the results of steadfast love and faithfulness, righteousness and peace. They will not stop at such nothings as political promises and betrayal, falseness and war.

Lift up your heads, O Uzzah, Amaziah, Herod! and be lifted up.

= = = = = = =

nothing tries so hard
to be something
when all that is needful
is nothing

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Pentecost +7 Sunday – A

Pentecost +7 Sunday – A

Years A
Genesis 25:19-34 or Isaiah 55:10-13
Psalm 119:105-112 or Psalm 65:1-13
Romans 8:1-11
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

What would it be like to read Paul as a frustrated parablist who simply can't get past his juridical language base?

We need a midrash cyclotron that can speed Paul and Jesus to light speed and smash them into one another. Then we might see Spirit as seed and Flesh as seed. We might understand soil as Spirit and soil as Flesh. In so doing new sparks will fly off into our lives today and we would care less about any traps of our own or others devising and simply pay more attention to a joyful heritage of a good creation and universal salvation and simply incline our hearts to both short- and long-term good at the same time.

= = = = = = =

brother wrestler
heel grabber
stew chef
lineage stealer
flock grabber
G*D wrestler

go out
anguished loneliness
to accomplish
more than you purposed
to return
a brother's embrace

even here
instead of a thorn
a sound of singing
in the myrtle
an everlasting sign
none are cut off

Friday, July 06, 2007

Pentecost +6 Sunday – C4

Pentecost +6 Sunday – C4

Years C
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

We just moved with more than a purse, bag, sandals, and silent grim determination of the soul on the road. We arrived with a greeting of "Peace" - some of which has been returned to us and some kept and cherished. We hope to remain without moving for the term of our appointment. Now comes the time to find the culture of this place, to eat what is set before us, and to set a presence of G*D before those sick from its absence.

A challenge is to speak with the authority of experiences of G*D's presence that have gone before without yanking them out of their context.

A hope is great joy.

A task to take authority to enter new experiences of G*D treading out the hurtful.

= = = = = = =

challenges hopes tasks
come in community
from us and to us
in us an for us
by us and with us

they feel like ours alone
but always they are set
in a larger context
shared with seventy times seven
who have gone ahead

we are overwhelmed
with need and limits
carrying only urgency
in frail experience
of expansive presence

it is
for now
and ever

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pentecost +6 Sunday – C3

Pentecost +6 Sunday – C3

Years C
Galatians 6:1-16

Work for the good of all. Why? Because the cosmic payoff is worth it - a new creation.

Enough said.

= = = = = = =

sky-writer large
is not large enough
for a new
creation message

what needs lopping off
is not our sexuality
but our control
of cultural symbol

do this and you're in
avoid this and you're in
do that and that
and you're out

every diminution of one's life
to carry out
someone else's plan
lessens our common good

take care in temptation's face
not to live another's life
no matter the perks
it is not redemptive

focus on gentleness
bear mutual burdens
do your own work
weary not in good

compassion trumps judgment
care overarches competition
sowing precedes reaping
peace always mercy ever

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Pentecost +6 Sunday – C2

Pentecost +6 Sunday – C2

Years C
Psalm30 or Psalm 66:1-9

The very journey G*D has been on and the very journey we have been on, with all their attendant ups and downs, leads us to desire a point of stasis - "I shall never be moved." Somehow we imagine that this concretization of experience is of more value that the ebb and flow of life. We erase our experience of our own life and our experience of G*D's presence (whether filled with anger or favor) in favor of a static ideal, a never changing creed that betrays its very origin.

Even when we imagine ourselves a strong mountain, we find ourselves dismayed. The statement, "I shall never be moved," is idolatry at its most evident and in our blindspot - both at once.

= = = = = = =

giving thanks to
giving thanks with
is an ocean-wide gap
between religions
within a religion

the "to"ers
do unto
at a moments notice
with a goal
of no more heretics

the "with"ers
race on
with an eternity
to dance
new wine

bless G*D
bless neighbors
now and always
G*D blesses
neighbor blesses

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pentecost +6 Sunday – C1

Pentecost +6 Sunday – C1

Years C
2 Kings 5:1-14 or Isaiah 66:10-14

Naaman finally came to a river. A river finally comes to Jerusalem. Around we go with difficulties and blessings, with individuals and communities.

Everyone will be nursed and nursed again. We can take that in stride or rail against a need to receive.

A part of our common work is to receive nursing and to give nursing and to wisely know the difference and the time for each.

= = = = = = =




Monday, July 02, 2007

Pentecost +6 Sunday – B

Pentecost +6 Sunday – B

Years B
2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10 or Ezekiel 2:1-5
Psalm 48 or Psalm 123
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Mark 6:1-13

To keep us from being too inflated or elated we are given a thorn - hometown. Here people changed our diapers. Here people saw the bad haircut we gave ourself. Here errors in judgment as we moved through the stages of life are laughed about every holiday. Here people join in expecting to honor a conquering hero to return home.

Out of his own experience at Nazareth, Jesus sends out the twelve and ourselves. They and we find places as humbling as a hometown and new places that become our hometown.

Whether needing refuge and defense or providing such (opportunity for repentance), we stretch our walk with G*D to include folks for whom we are a thorn and folks who are a thorn for ourselves. Mutuality is not just support, but also correction.

= = = = = = =

in season or out
learning is in order

learning to live
without surprises

we will receive
hometown adulation

along with
hometown rejection

both are unrealistic
no surprise here

caught up to seventh heaven
or caught on a thorn

in season or out
teaching is in order

Pentecost +6 Sunday – A

Pentecost +6 Sunday – A

Years A
Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 or Zechariah 9:9-12
Psalm 45:10-17 or Song of Solomon 2:8-13 or Psalm 145:8-14
Romans 7:15-25a
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

A first or most recent glance at a beloved calls forth action. A first or most recent whisper of a beloved calls forth action. Whether from or toward a beloved, we are called beyond sitting and theorizing/creedalizing/speculizing.

Even with the threat of messing up, of mistaking a dream of a beloved for a beloved, there is no real option (though lots of unreal ones) for following a heartbeat that resonates with one's own. There are no guarantees where such action will lead, simply a prayer that love will find its way.

Such love is our birthright. It is G*D's way that we re-image. It is a source of thanks that eases our journey through life.

= = = = = = =

stamp your foot
play your flute
throw your tantrum

there is no getting around
a wisdom of deeds
lived into and through

eventually we all
arise and come away
to a beloved space

in such wise
prisoners are freed
from dryness unto death

in such wise
prisoners are made
of restored hope