Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pentecost +14 Sunday – C4

Pentecost +14 Sunday – C4

Years C
Luke 14:1, 7-14

Jesus went to a house where folks already knew where G*D was and no longer needed to ask.

While there he spoke of humility. Asking where G*D might be today, this moment, is a very humbling question. It means we can't answer too quickly, lest an echo of our voice be heard as the presence of G*D. It means we can't demand a quick response, lest our desires masquerade as G*D's voice. It means we don't claim a point of knowing before we have participated in a larger picture than our small piece of information can fill.

Whether visiting or being visited, ask about where G*D is right now. It distracts those who are busy looking to judge primarily on the intertwined bases of their own power position and current experience.

= = = = = = =

when I came to visit
I had an agenda
longer than a santa list
it didn't matter
what you so graciously prepared
my own hungers
filled the horizon

when I invited you
I had an agenda
lovingly made for your benefit
it didn't matter
that it didn't connect
with anything real in your life
it's my home after all

when I stopped visiting
a clearer eye appeared
between my current two
bringing a vision of honor
beyond my power
and my experience
bringing blessing bounty

Pentecost +14 Sunday – C3

Pentecost +14 Sunday – C3

Years C
Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16

It is sometimes instructive to read scripture from a different point of view. Here we have a passage directly directed toward our actions in regard to others. Try reading it as though you were addressing a part of the congregation within yourself.

For instance - a beginning: Let self-love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to the stranger within, for thereby some have entertained angels unaware. Remember those parts of you that are in prison, as though the rest of you were in prison with them; and those voices within who are ill-treated, since you also are in the body with them....

For those of us who are so other-directed, it is important to hear a call to equal care for self.

= = = = = = =

looking for confidence
in all the wrong places
is an alternative
country wailing

we know we need it
for our fears are real
and rising with a dark moon
in a storm-darkened sky

there is no escape
the fiercest of nightmares
that are not only possible
but actually real somewhere

our needed confidence
is directly tied to contentment
our culture and our yearnings
disparage and dismiss

is there a place
of no forsakenness available
in our past or present
we can count as steadfast

is that place only in our dreams
where a helper is quick
to be present and protective
that others within won't scream

with or without confidence
we could do with a few
content people to imitate
and pass on to others

Pentecost +14 Sunday – C2

Pentecost +14 Sunday – C2

Years C
Psalm 81:1, 10-16 or Psalm 112

G*D faces the same issues that face every "image of G*D" when life goes astray.

Externalization: giving them over to their "stubborn hearts". It is their fault, let them live with the consequences.

Internalization: steadfast presence of grace, mercy, and presence. To be light that continues to rise in the darkness.

And so America, land of the free, continues to build more and more prisons with less and less health care or rehabilitation for more and more prisoners. [article] This is a one sided approach, dividing G*D from G*D.

= = = = = = =

from where and whence
will righteousness' wholeness
not be moved

for now it is tied to remembrance
it is clear in hindsight
but oh so cloudy today and tomorrow

having seen results
we can sift and winnow evil
assigning it its cause

recognizing situations differ
as well as continue
brings dissonance of head and heart

our evil-dar goes on the blink
in the blink of an eye
a wink of conspiratorial delay

until finally we see grace
and it so deeply angers us
we divide self from self

until calico cats and gingham dogs
thoroughly obliterate reconciliation
and we sink into eternal mourning

hardly daring to peek into tomorrow
for a better world to tie to
with every fiber of today

with time split from time
person from person
only hope and despair are left

choose you this day
whom you will serve
and you will be well served

Pentecost +14 Sunday – C1

Pentecost +14 Sunday – C1

Years C
Jeremiah 2:4-13 or Sirach 10:12-18

G*D still "contends" with us, but we fail to stretch with G*D when we slack off on the question, "Where is G*D today?" This is a larger question than "Where is Waldo?" Sometimes G*D is off the page on a Sabbath retreat or on to another picture than we thought we were looking at.

When we don't keep up with this living G*D, it might be said that sin localizes and becomes pride. We insist on G*D staying put and get angry when this is not the case. Our anger causes us to hew out a meaning of life that is cracked and broken, unable to hold living water. From here it is a short step to anger begetting anger and being even less able to ask where G*D might be and even more able to restrain G*D from being anywhere other than on our side.

= = = = = = =

changing gods
when there are no gods
to change to
is one of the more intriguing
human traits

we take some characteristic
associated with ease
and look to repeat and repeat it
for our profit
even as prophets decry us

worthless god
to worthless god
we bounce along
refusing to look around
for flowing fountains

Monday, August 27, 2007

Pentecost +14 Sunday – B

Pentecost +14 Sunday – B

Years B
Song of Songs 2:8-13 or Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9
Psalm 45: 1-2, 6-9 or Psalm 15
James 1:17-27
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

When we speak, ideas are to flower. Our tongue is the overflow of a goodly heart, spreading blessings wherever it is.

Our participation in a word of truth will reveal the image of all creation in our living as the first fruit of such a word that ends in the affirmation, "It is good!"

Meekness will be both the prepared soil and the resulting harvest of this creative word, implanted soul-word. So we are called to be not a hearer that forgets, but a speaker that acts their word. As such we move into an unbounded religion that takes seriously and joyously a word to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and keep steadfastly on with this task, no matter what.

= = = = = = =

so many fine words
have come my way

no changes of life
but plenty of compliments

to keep on with this pattern
is to keep change from happening

obviously I have gone awry
focused on words and not hearts

and so my hypocrisy shines
as I glory in fine words

while mourning a lack of effect
is but vanity vanity

let us hear again
insides are to be joined with outsides

until fine words diminish
and heart deeds flourish

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pentecost +14 Sunday – A

Pentecost +14 Sunday – A

Years A
Exodus 3:1-15 or Jeremiah 15:15-21
Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c or Psalm 26:1-8
Romans 12:9-21
Matthew 16:21-28

Questions can be stronger than answers. Moses turns aside toward a burning bush to ask, "Why?"

Only after this question is asked does G*D move in.

A question about who is speaking might be asked of Exodus 3:9. Does the cry of the Israelites "now" come to G*D or is this an affirmation of Moses, confirming G*D's observation of the Israelite's misery?

Even as Moses asked, "Who am I that I should go on this journey to Pharaoh's?" so does Peter deepen that with a question of Jesus, "Who are you that you should go to Pilate's?" The sign of the appropriateness of entering the halls of power will come later - Sinai and Resurrection.

Are you willing to wait confirmation, of that where you sense you should be going, until after you have gone? If so, enjoy your journey. If not, don't go.

= = = = = = =

let love be genuine
live toward a better tomorrow
do no harm
live toward a better tomorrow
hold fast to good
live toward a better tomorrow

one love added to another
leads to mutual affection
one honoring of another
adds up to more
an ardent spirit
lives toward a better tomorrow

rejoice in hope
tomorrow has begun
be patient
tomorrow has begun
persevere in prayer
tomorrow has begun

extend hospitality
live tomorrow today
bless rather than curse
live tomorrow today
live in harmony
today of all days

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pentecost +13 Sunday – C4

Pentecost +13 Sunday – C4

Years C

We are crippled by all manner of events. Eighteen years is a long time. Was it the length of reign of Tiberius to that date, as some of suggested? Political decisions can bend us over. Military occupation can bend us over. Was it some relational issue that had bent her over? A spouse, a divorce, a death, a child, and/or a friend can bend us over. Was it physical? Disease and disability can bend us over. Was it spiritual? Satanic? Testing?

Regardless of what the form of bent-overness might be, this woman, already demonstrating the same faith as Abram and Sarai, can be recognized as their "daughter." She occupied her promised land, a synagogue.

It is this recognition that sets Jesus apart from the others present. Who among us can see G*D's child in another, particularly another who is bent over? Can such contain G*D? While hypocrites usually put on masks to fool other about themselves, here hypocrites put masks on others so they don't have to deal with them. A mask here is the mask of Sabbath.

= = = = = = =

want to set the folks rejoicing
Mr. Religious Leader
tear down this mask
dividing people

we are after healing of nations
pray for Rwanda and Iraq
America, Israel, and Iran
this is a day for unbinding

in such a day
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
Thursday, Friday, Saturday
or Sunday is a Sabbath

and since a Sabbath can be any day
it can also be every day
seven Sabbaths every week
is very good

creation is underway
that work is over and done
new non-work is needed
to hallow every hollow

we are like a sinkhole
our ground of being
has sunk until
we are bent over

reach out and touch someone
ground them in your steadfastness
loved and patted into new shape
standing and striding forth

our hollow places filled in
our mutual ministry
beyond our isolation
creates new Sabbaths

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pentecost +13 Sunday – C3

Pentecost +13 Sunday – C3

Years C
Hebrews 12:18-29

In the push and pull of the world, how do we best find the energy to change and to persist in such a change?

Is it in the presence of a fearsome firestorm that will destroy at the slightest misstep? It seems for some this is a powerful motivation. A question can be raised about how deep such transformation runs, but some bear strong testimony to its effectiveness.

Is it an invitation to a festal gathering that speaks a better world ahead than brother against brother? For some this is a most effective approach to transformation.

Is it some judicial application of both -- "we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken" and "indeed our God is a consuming fire".

It is important to note both one's own proclivity in this regard as well as that of the folks one is encountering. When both are similar there is probably the greatest chance of making a difference in one another. When dissimilar, the communication between the two styles may block every other good intention.

= = = = = = =

double trouble
bile and bubble
danger abounds
protected only by
greater danger

in such a world
Abel continually cries
out for revenge
even though Cain
is protected

never will there be
a surcease of gloom
without a better word
leading a better world
into renewed life

this better world
goes beyond
a lick and a polish
a hope and a dream
to deeper festivity

no surface Pollyanna
can ride this ride
for it takes one taller
and deeper than
an arbitrary standard

here one must stand
beyond shifting foundations
upon a surety of better
words and worlds
especially if delayed

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pentecost +13 Sunday – C2

Pentecost +13 Sunday – C2

Years C
Psalm 71:1-6 or Psalm 103:1-8

Preemptive refuge is a tempting appeal to make. It helps us never arrive at a spot of needing healing, we never get bent-over.

This refuge seems to be based on a requisite quality and/or quantity of praise. One measure of this is how much of ourselves we put into praise and calling G*D to the qualities of mercy, grace, slowness to anger, and steadfastness in love.

Or, if we don't quite make it to preemptive refuge, we expect our praise will at least cut down on the time between our need and our rescue.

= = = = = = =

come quickly
come quickly effectively

so we cry out
and are echoed by all
in the grasp of injustice and cruelty

so we hear others cry out
and we echo their refrain
refuge, pity, vindication

may our cry
involve our lives
beyond god's machinery

recognize now
recognize now presence

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pentecost +13 Sunday – C1

Pentecost +13 Sunday – C1

Years C
Jeremiah 1:4-10 or Isaiah 58:9b-14

Here is an area I don't know much about. One chronology suggests this order for the writings: 1st Isaiah, Jeremiah, 2nd and 3rd Isaiah. Is there conversation to be had between Isaiah and Jeremiah as there was between Job and Proverbs?

Of interest is Jeremiah's boyhood diffidence and an immature or rigid appointment over nations. Can you hear Isaiah's age commenting on the yoke implied in Jeremiah and a call to Jeremiah to be just as a source of assurance rather than simply a speaker about justice.

Isaiah might be counseling the doing of justice over the proclamation of justice.

What conversation partners do you have?

= = = = = = =

speaking loudly
because god is speaking
through me for the ages
since before birth
to this day
I speak as commanded

such is the arrogance
of Jeremiah
and even each of us
such assurity
enough to destroy
before planting

such temper
calls for tempering
removing such a yoke
that requires such power
offering nothing in its place
but afflicted needs

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pentecost +13 Sunday – B

Pentecost +13 Sunday – B

Years B
1 Kings 8:(1, 6, 10-11), 22-30, 41-43 or Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18
Psalm 84 or Psalm 34:15-22
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6:56-69

If you had to choose between grandeur or protection, which would it be? The grandness of Solomon's over-the-top prayer and grandiose temple is a wonder to behold. It inspires awe. Is that a desired dwelling place for more than a moment?

Joshua's recounting of a journey from nowhere to a particular somewhere and the interpreted protection that took in the face of enslavers and people already living where we claimed we were to live and were, thus, by definition, our enemies. It inspires awe. Is this a desired dwelling place for generations?

Where is G*D's dwelling place? Temple or Promised Land? Prayer or Journey?

= = = = = = =

we image G*D's armor
as being fit for us to wear
forgetting David trying
to wear Saul's helmet and shield

what arrogance we have
to be able to bear up
under the weight of armor
umpteen times too big

such armor can at best
be worn by a whole community
and even then turns to pride
claiming god on our side

what armor is there
against spiritual forces
a Maginot line
against flanking tanks

participate in prayer
for all saints of every stripe
share life and lives
be bread for one another

trust not in more arms
trust arms more
which may embrace
with shorthand's - amore

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Pentecost +13 Sunday – A

Pentecost +13 Sunday – A

Years A
Exodus 1:8-2:10 or Isaiah 51:1-6
Psalm 124 or Psalm 138
Romans 12:1-8
Matthew 16:13-20

There are many gifts. In the Moses story there are folks who have the gifts of disobedience, secrecy, complicity, adventure, subversion from within, etc.

In the Jesus story there are gifts of Baptist John, Elijah, Jeremiah, and other prophets that help to define who Jesus is and isn't.

Likewise there are gifts in each of our lives as we interact with those closest to us, those we yet name enemy, those whose challenge and/or support feed us to become more than we currently are.

There is no one else's story to tell but our own. So the disciples were told not to tell the gift of Jesus, for that was for him to reveal. So no one else will tell the secret of who you are, it is yours to reveal and this is a good time to reveal it.

Are you someone whose gift of compassion will not allow you to go along with the dicta of society? Are you a gift willing to give birth to something new even in the face of overwhelming evidence that such is not desired? Are you willing to be practical enough to let go of your child and gift it another space where it might yet grow, knowing your own space is too risky for it? Are you gifted to reach out to the forbidden and make it your own? Are you willing to participate in the irony of life that flourishes within your own unironic life?

= = = = = = =

how shrewd we are
as we look around
to the dangers
and opportunities
to enhance our power

our very shrewdness
turns all too readily
to ruthlessness
we only perceive
as extra shrewd

being so shrewd
we fail to find
the irony in ruthlessness
that destroys
its beginning shrewdness

somehow it is never our fault
that what we have set in motion
will come back to haunt us
through the very structures
of our elite electedness

we move from "us"
who are fearful
to restrictions
that fall apart
at the next "I"

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pentecost +12 Sunday – C4

Pentecost +12 Sunday – C4

Years C
Luke 12:49-56

Being the literalist that he was [grin], Jesus knew there was no getting around flooding folks out again. A rainbow is a rainbow is a rainbow. The natural alternative for the rule bound is to flip things 180 degrees. No water! - its opposite is Fire! That's the ticket, Fire!

So the slaves sang, "God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, the fire next time!"

Who among us hasn't envisioned ourselves as the spark to get a conflagration going that would refine all the dross of our lives (particularly particular other people). Rage, rage, against the dying of the light of justice. Of course there is going to be separation of people, we are all at different levels of maturity and peace.

This is not new news. This is our condition as long as our condition has been reported. The only surprise is the lack of progress we have made in recognizing our condition.

= = = = = = =

division is so embarrassing
it always means someone
is getting chosen last

division is so normal
it is the water in which we swim

division is so tempting
we're going to settle this
once and for all

division following Zeno
means we will never
get to a better place

division is a giving up
on the paradoxes of life
and the processes of G*D

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pentecost +12 Sunday – C3

Pentecost +12 Sunday – C3

Years C
Hebrews 11:29-12:2

Faith does not have to do with "perfection" - finally finished. Rather, faith is always "in medias res." Whether or not we eventually find a way through, there are seas surrounding us. Our context is certainly less than perfect. The same might be said for the imperfection of some of our habits of life, whether freely chosen or forced upon us - remember Rahab who was certainly among the "disobedient" and yet still had one thing going for her.

Remembering Gideon, Samson, David, and the lot - we know the imperfections of their lives, as well as what we are now calling "faith". Temptations and failures seem to be endemic to life, and yet faith beyond a fulfillment of promise is also alive and well.

So let's not look for the absolutely perfect model before we begin to simply be. It is not that we find ways to be scourged and mocked that will indicate our faithfulness to Jesus' modeling. Note the line about, "for the sake of the joy set before him" and consider what joy is currently set before you that frees you to move where you need to move. Without that deep joy we find all manner of ways in which to be bound to the contemporary manifestations of the principalities and powers.

= = = = = = =

happy happy joy joy

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pentecost +12 Sunday – C2

Pentecost +12 Sunday – C2

Years C
Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19 or Psalm 82

An old conundrum goes -- Give me another chance and I'll change : Let me see you have changed and I'll give you another chance. Which chicken and which egg came first? Which will come next?

This debate continues around any given referendum, extension of "rights", or decision to war. Isolationists battle interventionist. Does a creed from the past trump any new opportunity in the present?

So, G*D, grant us one more get-out-of-jail-free card, we'll respond to your expansive love. So, G*D, hold our feet to the fire, we'll respond to your judgment of death.

= = = = = = =

restoration comes
in every size and flavor

this is sufficient to link
restoration with mystery

the question isn't
what will bring restoration

the question is
what ethically won't

at what point do we destroy
restoration to restore it

that size and that flavor
are ungainly and revolting

pray for honorable restoration
and then pass it on

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pentecost +12 Sunday – C1

Pentecost +12 Sunday – C1

Years C
Isaiah 5:1-7 or Jeremiah 23:23-29

From the Fantasticks comes a wonderful little ditty, Plant a Radish, about planting cabbages and getting cabbages, with vegetables there's never any dobut, but with progeny all bets are off. This latter day parable might be sung to G*D in regard to having planted a vineyard and expecting a vineyard, only to have conveniently forgotten that we're dealing with human beings here, images/progeny -
["While with progeny,
It's hodge-podgenee.
For as soon as you think you know what kind you've got,
It's what they're not!"]

We don't do justice very well - either for ourself or, most certainly not, for others. The same goes for righteousness. Think back as far as creation stories or only as far as last evening to see what I mean.

Lighten up, G*D! Your expectations are just that, and unrealistic to boot. You have filled all secret places and have been present with the deceitful dreams of false prophets. If you are not going to turn us all into puppets (no long term fun in that because there would then be no audience to amaze) it is time to get real in real time. What do we do now is a far more fruitful question than what we should have done differently back then (though the diagnostics of historical inquiry can be helpful in energizing different choices). Blame is no where as helpful as, "Well, given this, where to from here."

= = = = = = =

things haven't gone
the way I expected
so I'm going
to rip and tear
that which I desired
I'll make it desolate
because that's what I am

so quick to pout
when discouraged
so fast to apply a vacuum
where nothing can exist
except huge amounts
of boredom
revenge and angst

in so recognizing
we name our creator
in whose image
we live and move
at least gasp and pine
how convenient for us

but a time has come
to be saviors of G*D
living and moving
today and onward
to have the student
teach the teacher
so all might learn

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pentecost +12 Sunday – B

Pentecost +12 Sunday – B

Years B
1 Kings 2:10-12; 13:3-14 or Proverbs 9:1-6
Psalm 111 or Psalm 34:9-14
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6:51-58

The temptation of "understanding" is very great. Even wise old Solomon finally failed that test. Along with understanding came/comes riches and honor. And what, I ask, can stand in the face of such principalities and powers? Understanding eventually pales in the temptation of increased riches and honor. Why, simply because it takes so much to increase in wisdom appropriate to this new time and place. Let your growth in understanding lag for a bit, presuming for a moment that you have sufficient, and, lo and behold, riches and honor gain momentum and priority.

Without an increase in wisdom there can be no sense made of metaphor and mystery such as living bread imaged in personal terms. Alice in Wonderland's bottle and cake remain as strange to us as Jesus' language about eating him. Where we are willing to suspend our disbelief with Alice, we don't seem to be able to do so with Jesus.

[Can't help but wonder if Jesus tastes as wonderful as Alice's drink - "mixed flavour of cherry-tart, custard, pineapple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast" or what my flavor(s) might be or yours.]

= = = = = = =

wisdom connects
far better
with departing
from evil(1)
and doing good(2)

when wisdom
gets mixed up
with riches and honor
there is going to be
hell to pay

to keep wisdom
increasing in stature
attention to G*D's presence(3)
even more than any list
becomes our joy and focus

[Note: (1) (2) (3) are references to The United Methodist General Rules.]

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Pentecost +12 Sunday – A

Pentecost +12 Sunday – A

Years A
Genesis 45:1-15 or Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
Psalm 133 or Psalm 67
Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32
Matthew 15:(10-20), 21-28

Unity as "good and pleasant" is quite an understatement. Given our starting points, to arrive at some semblance of unity (an outcome of justice) is so remarkable that it calls for a more enthusiastic response.

To arrive at some given understanding that rejection is not the last word about the meaning of life (though it is often one of the first words we encode), a sense of relief in the face of such mercy needs a conversion miracle response.

Jesus' response to the woman responding to being called a dog, after pleading for her daughter, is too sterile. It is not as though some word-game had been played out that had no real consequence. It is not as though Jesus doesn't have an epiphany here - faith comes from every angle, not just the preauthorized.

= = = = = = =

gifts and calling

our life
is our gift
our calling

toward wholeness
finds our denial

beyond journeying
at a stopping point
we find irrevocability

whether rued
or rejoiced
life calls

gifts once dead
remain ours
to do

Friday, August 10, 2007

Pentecost +11 Sunday – C4

Pentecost +11 Sunday – C4

Years C
Luke 12:32-40

It is G*D's pleasure to be present.

It is our pleasure to be present, without possessions.

Where your presence is, there is your heart's treasure.

Just as we can measure our faith by looking at our bank balance, check book, credit card statement, etc., so we can measure our faith by where we put our presence, where we are active, where we bring some light to a given subject.

Blessed are those alert to presence with them and their presence with others.

= = = = = = =

how long we wait
for a presence worth waiting for

how often we jump
at any presence that comes along

how do you do
still waiting or jumping

when the right presence is noted
there is a veritable feast

servers are served
the served take their turn

yin yang unity turns and turns
each in and out of the other

we're not there yet
rejoice in how far we've come

our waiting has borne fruit
enough to wait some more

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Pentecost +11 Sunday – C3

Pentecost +11 Sunday – C3

Years C
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

"Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (11:1) ... "[the faithful] desire a better country" (11:16)

So often faith relates backward. It circles around an assent or belief that we have come to.

We sometimes encourage one another to have faith enough to move forward with fear and trembling.

Here faith is not a grit your teeth and move ahead or a casting a fond eye over our shoulder to days gone by. Here faith is hardwired to assurance and conviction. These are the measuring rods of faith, not stated belief or hoping for the best. Of course assurance and faith are tricky categories as we can fool ourselves without even blinking. We can be quite sure and dead wrong. We can have the strongest of convictions without having helpful behavior.

Here faith is communal, even over time, where the common thread of assurance and conviction are equally tied to a desire or yearning for a next better place to be, better person to be. It is this communal nature of faith that can ground it with more confidence (even when in the middle of a generalized cultural delusion).

How clearly can you name a better situation than the one you are in and find a next step toward it? Odds are it will be in concert with others with the same desire.

= = = = = = =

by faith calls are heard and followed
into an unknown territory
of a better country
this is our Darwinian genetic heritage
to stay in a tent in this land
and the next land
and any other or returned to land
as we discern where we are
and where we are yet headed

not even the nearness of death
will stay the faithful one
from their appointed rounds
snow and sleet are nothing
compared to disappointment
at our distance from better
and so strangers and foreigners
in this place we set out again
to what we know is yet there

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pentecost +11 Sunday – C2

Pentecost +11 Sunday – C2

Years C
Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23 or Psalm 33:12-22

A centering point of Psalm 50 is verse 14. Without it the beginning and the end fall apart. This center is "a feast of kept promises", "a 'sacrifice' of thanksgiving".

Just as a king is not saved by a great military (death comes to all), so a relationship with G*D is not saved by much spilling of blood. Rather, hope (more specifically, actually living in hope or having hope live in you) on the part of both G*D and you is the basis for the steadfast love toward which we seem to have a genetic predisposition.

Hope fulfilled is evidenced by kept promises and constant thankfulness.

= = = = = = =

o what a wrathful G-O-D
with all the emphases
upon purity separation
puppet obedience

what a joy and relief
if only one emphasis
was removed
and we dealt with G-O-D

and so much more
when one-by-one
such specialness
is sacrificed

G-O-D can still be steadfast
in love and distinction
even plain old G-O-D
has presence aplenty

eventually we might even
speak a title GOD
and leave room
for mystery G*D

and wonder of wonders
how far the wrath can be removed
when we find ourselves
moving to wholeness

dreaming of unity
with creative forces
we find we change
distance to welcome

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Pentecost +11 Sunday – C1

Pentecost +11 Sunday – C1

Years C
Isaiah 1:1, 10-20 or Genesis15:1-6

Imagine G*D satiated. G*D has had it up-to-here with what G*D had thought would be a good thing - sacrifice. Stop, already!

There is no covering up who we are with the fanciest of offerings. When some cosmic bottom-line is measured, it won't be a matter of how much blood is spilt - but how much evil was avoided and how much good was initiated.

If we are willing to make this shift, the good of the land will more than flow in to fill whatever good we have sent forth. If we are not willing to make this shift, that which we have not held back (evil) will be as garlic mustard, teasel, and emerald ash borer in the American mid-west - invasive and uncontrolled.

Time's up. Still trying to substitute something in place of seeking justice? Forget it, the argument is over, it's justice or nothing.

= = = = = = =

purell kimcare provon
were too late on the market
for Lady Macbeth and preemptive warriors
who wring bloodless bloody hands

a next entrepreneurial opportunity
is not covering up what is already there
but a preventive cleansing
to keep purell from being needed in the first place

pure-el calls forth a new desire
to be elseways than el has been
and in turn to have el's images
transformed in our lifetime

Monday, August 06, 2007

Pentecost +11 Sunday – B

Pentecost +11 Sunday – B

Years B
2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33 or 1 Kings 19:4-8
Psalm 130 or Psalm 34:1-8
Ephesians 4:25-5:2
John 6:35, 41-51

Somehow our desire and greed for life has gone bitterly astray. We run until we are surprised by a noose disguised as a tree; until we fall exhausted of all reserve; until we find ourself in the disinterested grasp of despair; until our waiting only brings forth more waiting.

So it has been for us and for all of our image (read G*D). The imitation of our own image imagines another way beyond the stillness of an overly humid day with a hazy gray sky hanging featureless over our heads.

This alternative presses back against the anger of unmet desire and greed - limiting it to this day, this moment; presses back against our thieving actions until they come out another side as sharing. In shorthand, we "live in love" and shift our experience from claiming others as our daily bread to being such daily bread - unconcerned for cosmic, heavenly authority for so being, and simply believing/claiming/acting eternally in each moment available.

= = = = = = =

["-- Who can tell truth from falsehood any more?
I say it, and you feel it in your hearts:
no man or woman on this big small earth."
- e.e. cummings]

am I not
but the gene pool
of mother and father
narrowed down
to one option
as all other options

am I not
a feast
for generations to come
opening a broadening way
willing one form
to dive deep
into each next

Pentecost +11 Sunday – A

Pentecost +11 Sunday – A

Years A
Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28 or 1 Kings 19:9-18
Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b or Psalm 85:8-13
Romans 10:5-15
Matthew 14:22-33

A promise: I will send you to those who hate you, who cannot speak peaceably to you.

So Joseph responds to his call as a prophet, "Here am I" and goes to his "brothers." So Elijah hears as a prophet hears, in great silence, and returns to those seeking his life. So the disciples enter the chaos of the deep, of wind and wave. So the faithful strive not for heavenly stairs or power to change the past, only a word and heart for this day's need.

This promise is repeated continually. Some hear and are renewed. Some almost hear and fear. Some do not yet hear, but are called, nonetheless.

Sometimes we hear and jump into the waves. Sometimes we forget in the presence of pressing need and regret our jump. Nonetheless, a repeated call is available to hear when we can clear our mind.

= = = = = = =

sent ahead
we know our own
times of famine
made worse by tired feet
starved of peaceable speech
as well as of daily bread
our insides and outsides
stumble on

sent ahead
without a clue
we take
what we know
and join it
with what others know
silently singing
steadfast love to action

sent ahead
into unfamiliar chaos
we battle wind and save
until we can step aside
from our fears
until our words
turn to healing
for the nations

Friday, August 03, 2007

Pentecost +10 Sunday – C4

Pentecost +10 Sunday – C4

Years C
Luke 12:13-21

Jesus tells a story intended to revive our thoughtfulness regarding life beyond simply our life. It reminds me of a phoenix rebirth. Having died from greed while still living we need a bit of mercy to revive our cold, cold heart.

This focus can be found in a song by Bill Staines (wish you could hear him sing it on his CD The First Million Miles or in person), entitled Phoenix (cursor down after getting to the link).

With this rebirthing mercy we find the epitaph "Fool" erased from our life marker, regardless of the form greed takes in our life - and it has, oh, so many faces.

= = = = = = =

["Nothing follows but the day
And all the memories
Of better times for giving.

Oh, Lord, have mercy on this poor, poor heart;
Keep it from the ashes,
And teach it how to fly again;
Oh, Lord, have mercy on this poor, poor heart."
- Bill Staines]

like hell
has an open door
we can exit
any time
at all

better times
for giving
such memories
see this better time
for giving

in the memory
find the mercy
available then
available now
available always
to rise again
from greedy ashes
to sing again

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Pentecost +10 Sunday – C3

Pentecost +10 Sunday – C3

Years C
Colossians 3:1-11

If you have come to seek, with Jesus, a Presence/Freedom of G*D, then seek. There will be choices to be made about what to attend to during this Neverending Story. Our choice might be attracted by a pull to such a Presence or it might be driven by a fear of wrath to come.

Whichever way you come to the Story, there is a need to jettison such unhelpful pausing points as anger, malice, slander, and abusive language.

These behaviors further separate what is intended to be moving in similar directions. These behaviors keep our desired renewal at bay, so we continue to divvy up our past as though it were fatalistically tied to our future. In so doing "Greek" and "Jew" are eternally divided from one another. "Barbarian", "Scythian", "Slave", and "Free" continue to circle one another with great wariness, each looking to their own advantage.

= = = = = = =

idolatry is greedy
delving into every possible source
of satisfaction
never finding enough

a good gift of sexuality
is devoured until only
fornication is left
to sell cars

an ideal of purity
is thoroughly doused in
unrelenting cynicism
until it forgets itself

enthusiasm for a joy of life
becomes so bored
passion flares
accepting only one side

so gifts ideals enthusiasms
wear down in the face of bottom lines
including the bottom line of death
leaving only greedy idols

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Pentecost +10 Sunday – C2

Pentecost +10 Sunday – C2

Years C
Psalm 107:1-9, 43 or Psalm 49:1-12

Steadfast love endures.

This may mean that "a little dab will do you" - sort of like one of those funeral jewelry pieces where you can keep a bit of the cremains of a loved one close to you.

This may mean that you need to constantly enlarge your ability to receive more and more of this steadfast love because it just keeps coming and we can't give it away quickly enough. When we don't keep up with being as steadfast in loving others as G*D is steadfast in loving us that the only way it can be released is with our death.

I don't mean to lessen the lesson about real resources that need to be distributed, but part of the reason we feel we never have enough resources is because we haven't given away enough love.

= = = = = = =

mortals cannot abide in their pomp
so says the psalmist

I ain't got no stinkin' pomp!

sending an escort with myself?

with more emphasis upon the escort than myself

with my old beat-up hat?

with my distain of all things fashionable?

oh, that's my pomp

nope, it won't abide

nor will I covered in my pomp

how 'bout you?