Thursday, April 30, 2009

1 John 3:16-24

Easter 4 – Year B

1 John 3:16-24

While love has a sacrificial aspect to it (it’s not all about me), it must be asked whether sacrifice is its hallmark.

Stinginess is certainly a sign that any love available is being blocked from rising to the surface. It does not follow from this that love is absent when not evidenced, ultimately lost or controlling of G*D if not immediately passed on, or based on obedience.

I suspect the community had some reason for looking beyond word or speech, as a grounding of mutual love, to the abstracts of truth and action. I expect they had their share of disappointment and betrayal by smooth-talkers. Eventually, though, they do know that loving one another (loving all creation) is important, no matter what the response and whether or not it is commandable.

Perhaps it will suffice to note a connection between the particular and the general, physical and spiritual love. To be dependent, one upon the other, or to consistently choose an independence of one modality over the other, does not bring the interdependent, holistic experience of being loved and loving. If we were to leave Jesus out of this, the writer could still have arrived at the point from purely Jewish sources (which of course they did by referencing Jesus).

May you be bold in restoring the world by receiving your belovedness, your image of G*Dness, and encouraging those qualities within those you meet along the way.

= = = = = = =

In Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Lessons for Transforming Evil in Soul and Society by Matthew Fox we hear the following about the “Fifth Chakra: Prophecy” and find a connection with “love in truth and action” that goes beyond sacrifice of life and obedience:

“This chakra represents the throat and the expressing of one’s truth and wisdom. The throat lies between the heart and the mind chakras. Truth comes from both heart and mind. This chakra is also the prophetic chakra. The throat is the trumpet that speaks our truth, as the prophets also spoke out (the meaning of prophetein in Greek) their truth. . . .

“It is my experience, in listening to stories of people over the past two decades, that many people are having dreams about their throats. This is especially true of women and of gay people, and I think the meaning is that these people are finding their voice after having had it taken away for many centuries. They are on a search for their true voice. . . .

“The prophetic call is to speak out to interfere with what we see is obstructing what we deeply believe in. This chakra recovers the sense of the ‘holy word’ that we are called to speak regularly in our lives. . . .”

May your deep belief be spoken/lived this day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Psalm 23

Easter 4 – Year B

Psalm 23

How dark is dark? Darker than a soul’s despair? Darker than midnight down in a cypress swamp? Darker than before light bursts on the scene?

Some of these darknesses are post-event – a sin-sick soul. Darkness is pain and death.

Some of these darknesses are present – midnight is but a marker of time and a swamp is a marker of location. Darkness here does not carry an emotional overlay beyond this time, this space.

Some of these darknesses are prelude – a fertile flow of various circumstances undefined. Darkness here is ready for a creative spark.

The shift from one kind of darkness to light is different in each case. Sometimes we are able to shift from post-event to prelude to light without having to spend time simply cataloging circumstances. Sometimes we find ourselves shifting through all three forms of darkness, like an atom in Brownian motion, and not finding a light at the end of our undeterminable tunnel. Sometimes we don’t even know there is darkness abounding as we float on our obliviousness. Sometimes we are in light and our context defines it away.

The significance of rod and staff, feasts, reconciliation, and abundance is different in each case. Our assurance of goodness and mercy being our milieu also varies according to the source, duration, and depth of our dark experience.

Blessings upon your particular darkness. Take Psalm 23 and call me before morning.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Acts 4:5-12

Easter 4 – Year B

Acts 4:5-12

Again with the proclamation, not the action.

Prelude Note: in verse 4 we hear of 5,000 people responding when Peter and John speak about “resurrection from the dead”. The scene is one of arrest by “Priests, Temple Captain, and Sadducees” in the presence of these 5,000. At this point in the story we are still carrying on the tradition of Jesus regarding a rejection of violence. Scripturally it is difficult to condone violence in Jesus’ name.

Remembering the adversarial nature of a trial setting, it is easy to understand Peter’s advocacy for “Jesus Only”. Setting the narrowness of the assertion about Jesus aside for the moment, what is not easy is our own response to the questions, “Who put you in charge here? What business do you have doing what you do?” [The Message] or “By what power or by what name did you do what you did?” [NRSV]

We sometimes find ourselves surprised at being effective in a healing and needing to come up with a reason for it, a surmise about how to replicate it. On these occasions it is probably best to be a bit tentative. After some experiences we can begin to be a bit more secure about some elements of healing, but it is a mistake to think that healing is only science and not art.

Behind this utilitarian response to the questions, there is the larger question of why we bother to engage the attempt to make the present better.

Verse 13 begins to move toward a response of “boldness” being what we need – a boldness to proclaim while G*D acts (vss 29-30). As you work with your response, you may find that proclamation is not a stand-alone unit. We need to reclaim our partnership with G*D in action and be a bit more tentative about the proclamation – a Living God is pretty hard to pin down to one mode of validation.

Monday, April 27, 2009

John 10:11-18

Easter 4 – Year B

John 10:11-18

Echoes of Baptism.

I have received authority – the authority of belovedness. I will be cared for, come hell or high water, first wilderness temptation or last crucifixion temptation. In this beloved care I can be bold to choose to pick up more life and to put down more life. The life I put down may not be anywhere equivalent to a life picked up, if similar it is as different as a river stepped into twice; if some other aspect of life is picked up it may not even come close to what was laid down.

This is my birthright as a creature of the cosmos standing at this end of a gene pool – to choose. "Hired hands" and "sheep" still need to move toward healthy choices, but witnessing to choices available to me is important whether the hired hands or the sheep can yet recognize it or follow. This is part of Ezekiel's watcher-on-the-wall heritage – to call out what is seen regardless of other's response.

This authority to choose need not separate us from one another, but further engage us as we see the consequences of a choice farther into the future than usual. With boldness we proceed to choose, to take the consequences, to trust.

Friday, April 24, 2009

gentle conversation

gentle conversation

bad incident
dream-breaking incident
universe-shattering incident

walk away from it
run away until
all you can do is walk away
and walk and walk

share the pain
relive the pain
wallow in the pain

focus on the loss
obsess on the loss
bathe in the loss

gentle conversation
remembers deeper than before
cede becomes seed
let’s keep on

simple food
after a fast
becomes a feast

return to community
draw back to center
run home

tell your story
trigger more stories
collect and build them high
stand on them and laugh

Thursday, April 23, 2009

1 John 3:1-8

Easter 3 – Year B

1 John 3:1-8

From The Message:

1 – What marvelous love [ G*D ] has extended to us! Just look at it – we're called children of G*D! That's who we really are, But that's also why the world doesn't recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who [ G*D ] is or what [ G*D's ] up to.

= = = = = = =

So what do G*D's children say about G*D? If we can figure that out then the challenges and responses of the rest of life falls into place. We can then proceed to our own arenas of engagement and be satisfied with what we do and feel.

What we say may not be translatable, but it is of great importance. Others may not get what we are up to as their appreciation of what motivates us falls into a blind spot for them. But we have what it takes to proceed to joy in all things, to fullness of life, even abundant life beyond the appearance of being in death.

So what do you say about G*D? Here a key word is "with".

= = = = = = =

[ side note: This is the lucky 777th posting on this blog - did you find a triple blessing today? :) ]

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Psalm 4

Easter 3 – Year B

Psalm 4

Here are two alternatives to the closing three verses (6-8).

6          Am I crazy? Am I a fool?
     Some would say so. They doubt you.
7          But I know the peace I felt when you opened your door
     and the warmth when you invited me to share your table.
8          I can let my eyes close.
     In your home, I am at home.

From Everyday Psalms by Jim Taylor

6-7 Why is everyone hungry for more? "More, more," they say.
          "More, more."
          I have God's more-than-enough,
          More joy in one ordinary day

7-8 Than they get in all their shopping sprees.
          At day's end I'm ready for sound sleep,
          For you, God, have put my life back together.

From The Message by Eugene Peterson

When writers and poets get hold of good material it can end up moving in several different directions. Jim's take tends in the direction of the Emmaus story, while Eugene's has more in common with the leaping lame in Acts.

What take do you see? It will be interesting to compare that with what you would have seen a year ago and what you might come to in another year. A literal approach to the Psalms is particularly deadly. May it continue coming alive in your time and may you launch forth from your current place of safety.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009



This last week the Clergy of our Circuit met for a meal and a farewell to me as I prepare for retirement to the other side of the state. Good food, laughs with fake gifts, and good gifts for camping and reading were shared. One of pastors gifted me with an honor unexpected – my own words reshaped into liturgy. May you experience your own words unexpectedly showing up as liturgy.

The original text included last year's reflection on Emmaus (thus appropriate for this week), and others from May 2006 and January 2007.

Words thrown back in one's face diminish; those lovingly reflected enhance. Thanks, Grace.

Here then is the litany:

ONE: To know and to be known,
            inside out,
            is a great pleasure

ALL: and a great threat.

ONE: (not Wesley's words) Friends in this circle of circuit clergy
            we have begun to know each other, inside out
            We have offered a pleasure and a great threat. . . .
                    (back to Wesley's words)
            We have come to know that with or without power from on high
             Jesus is capable of surprising.

ONE: Jesus becomes recognizable in the breaking of bread and
                  the sharing a cup.
            And, then, like any good catalyst, Jesus leaves unchanged,
            but leaves a changed situation.

ALL: Jesus becomes a new community
            and gives it space to re-form.

ONE: it takes several times around the block

ALL: no only going around once for me

ONE: it takes several times around the block
            and then all at once for no reason at all
            what once was a silent loneliness
            rattles the windows of our rooms

ALL: no only going around once for me
            it takes several times around the block
            what once was a silent loneliness
            rattles the windows of our rooms

WESLEY: rattles the windows of our rooms
            with every timbre of joy

ONE: a few more laps bring an understanding
            of perfection never being perfect
            and wholeness always being whole

ALL: a few more laps sets our eyes anew on
            what might yet be beyond joy

WESLEY: and but a bit further
            lies a funeral barge
            and final words
            still searching for peace
            still praying for souls

ALL: still trusting simply trusting

Acts 3:12-26

Easter 3 – Year B

Acts 3:12-26

Who is not lame from limping around a variety of altars? Lameness, even from birth as we deal with our cultural lameness, is a most unoriginal sin. There's not much to it, it's not like soul-searing thievery, murder, adultery. It's pretty lame to be lame.

Here we are without a foot to stand on, still in the midst of community, being carried to our assigned spot. The only thing equal to the gift of being carried where one needs to go is to be able to carry another.

This story, to which Peter adds a lot of interpretation bordering on speculation, is much more an Easter story than the preaching about it.

Imagine a lame culture, a lame individual, and there being a quantum leap from lameness to a lovely deer leaping o'er the hills to its lover. There is a move here from passivity to partnership.

Just live with the first 11 verses without breaking into talk at verse 12 about blame and conversion. Experience again the various shifts you have experienced of seeming to have no choice and then having a choice. It is astonishing. It is also astonishing that we so quickly forget those experiences. When it happens again, we get astonished all over again. See if you can sense the beginning of astonishment before its full-blown arrival and be ready to jump in with both feet. In this way we might lose our lameness come from limping around Lethe's altar of forgetfulness.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Luke 24:13-49

Easter 3 – Year B

Luke 24:13-49

Talking to compatriots builds solidarity. If that is all that goes on, it also builds deafness to other perspectives. Whether true-believers or true-disappointees circle their wagons, there is a built-in barrier to hearing another way, even if it may be of assistance.

In this setting, even a spirit-breathed word doesn't illuminate. Jesus can talk until he is blue in the face and not make a dent in the armor of like-talking-to-like.

When faced with these sorts of situations street-theatre is needed – he took bread, blessed, and broke it.

He was recognized. He vanished. Mission accomplished. Who was that masked man?

Now the good part – they returned to other compatriots and were able to introject a new perspective in the old conversation. The two on the road become the presence of Jesus in their old crowd; it was as if Jesus himself stood among them.

Having broken the spell, each can now go forth to other relationships and be witnesses of the reality of suffering and the process of repentance and forgiveness that raises us from simply suffering.

Having received a virtual bread-blessing, may you break it again in solidarity with your neighbors. In this we find peace.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


among all that might be declared
a friendship of flesh
stands clear
"let there be..."
"from dust of earth..."
"a living soul..."
"blest and blessing..."
"loving G*D and enemy..."
"toward a new earth paradise..."

now we look for a place
to hold the space
of our enfleshed soul
so grounded
so ready to soar further

always ready for an event
to echo our time present
our energy spent
ensouling flesh
"and it is good..."
"forgiven death..."
"with leaves of healing..."

declared entwined
flesh and soul
soul and flesh
partners encouraged

Thursday, April 16, 2009

1 John 1-2:5

Easter 2 – Year B

1 John 1-2:5

Truth, in matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived. ~Oscar Wilde, writer (1854-1900)

Don't you wish your experience of G*D had come much earlier – earlier enough to have made the political cut of what was in and out of that called scripture? Being in that genre casts a special glow on each and every one of your declarations.

"G*D is light and in him (sic) there is no darkness." I take it that G*D's previously reported repentance and placing all responsibility in an image to take the rap for any darkness doesn't count. It is quite an opinion.

"If we walk in the light as he (sic) himself (sic) is in the light, we have fellowship with one another." It sounds as if Jesus came for the light-bearing, not "sinners". It sounds as if fellowship, friendship, community must hide any non-light from one another.

Thank you John, whichever you might be, for writing in order to keep me from sin. So far that hasn't happened, but maybe today. In the meantime I need less a juridical advocate than a companion encouraging us both to do the best we can, to be courageous enough to take the results of so living, and to continue toward wholeness rather than stop and claim perfection in our current condition or opinion.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Psalm 133

Easter 2 – Year B

Psalm 133

Though but a small song, one that can be hummed all life long.

!! How very good !! and pleasant it is !! when kindred live together !! in unity !!

It is an anointing to bring one closer to G*D and G*D closer to G*D and G*D closer to another.

It is a refreshment from the very edge of our reach, and beyond, that comes to our center as a blessing beyond any expected.

Unity here is not uniform, but that of pressing boundary and center, present and mystery, self and other together well enough to have them keep their identities and yet be inextricably partnered.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Acts 4:23-37

Easter 2 – Year B

Acts 4:23-37

Friends are private places safe from harm where privacy of self is not a main value. Friends are in life with us, heart and soul. Friendship is the oneness promised in the Shema – Hear this, God is a Friend – and affirmed by Jesus – I call you Friends, not servants.

Where do you travel when there is amazing news to tell? A sorrow too deep for the keeping? To someone, somewhere, where sharing is honorable! where mutual sharing is a joy!

When who-bodies and where-places give evidence of this sort of welcome and hospitality we might say a resurrection has occurred. Hie thee hence!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Song Link Clarification

After posting the comment on John it became clear that the reference to the music needed an additional word. If you are interested in the "Song of the Seals", after arriving at the site it will be important to click on the little triangle next to number 6 - Song of the Seals. Of course you are welcome to listen to the whole album, but it was that track that was intended to be referenced.

Click here for album and then click 6 for Song of the Seals.

John 20:19-31

Easter 2 – Year B

John 20:19-31

Shifting gears from Mark and its abrupt ending with three women running away, scared and silent, we turn to John's storyline following a triumphant Jesus who was above his own crucifixion.

Rather than meeting the disciples in Galilee as per Mark, here Jesus preemptively visits ten fearful men hiding behind closed doors.

Since they didn't hear it from a messenger, as the Marys and Salome did in Mark, Jesus is his own messenger, his own heavenly host, announcing peace in a most dramatic fashion.

Even though this passage is traditionally thought of as about Doubting or Absent Thomas, we might consider it on John's terms – it is about Jesus, Peace, Forgiveness, and Sign-Stories (preludes to commissioning or putting the disciples back in the game) of real and eternal life, not the skittery, temporary picture they had been living out of (literally, living out of).

Jumping from Mark's completely incomplete story to John's neat wrap gives a moment of disorientation. Hopefully, with our corpus callosum intact, we can see both these stories and rub them together for sparks adding to our benefit rather than have them be mutually exclusive.

On a day after Sabbath, Mark roils the deep before a creating and John moves with breath over the dark and creation not only lingers but goes on again. [Here is the music that inspired this paragraph – one of my all-time favorites and so I think it is worth four-and-a-half minutes of your time.]

Friday, April 10, 2009

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Easter – Year B

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

How do we get beyond what has been handed on to us? Here the business of tradition keeps alive the sacrificial motif as basic to faith. What else have we come to "believe" because it has simply been around and found ourselves in its midst?

Conversion mania of being more faithful than the faithful is a phenomenon that deepens hearsay into eye-witness reports. You can almost bet that the ever more righteous who show it by being even more righteous than the current most righteous, will devolve the gift of life into reward for themselves. No matter how slyly Paul protests that it is just the grace of god that has enlightened him, his passing on what he had been taught as a good sacrificial Pharisee is not helpful or excusable. In terms of counter-espionage, Paul might be considered a double-agent or mole as well as by his current sobriquet of saint.

Easter pushes us beyond what has been handed on to us. There is a new reality afoot. Follow the clues of Jesus' faithfulness and you will not find a sacrificial utilitarianism, but an obliviousness to sacrifice through radical hospitality with those traditionally left out.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Acts 10:34-43

Easter – Year B

Acts 10:34-43

Insight, when it finally dawns, is wonderful to behold. "I truly understand, now, finally, that G*D shows no partiality!"

That's a life time of work for some folks, while others arrive there more quickly they still have to decide how to live it out for insight is not per se action. I can perceive a cross without bearing it.

In keeping with a focus on Saturday's Grave time, it is important to see a dynamic of new possibility going on under our noses, beneath the ground of our being. How does Peter finally come to the insight about impartiality?

Here is a story from the Wesley Study Bible that pushes at the same point: When a young person felt the call to become a missionary, they felt privileged to study and thought it their responsibility to take G*D to other people. The story of Peter and Cornelius teaches us just the opposite. Cornelius is a Gentile and yet G*D gives him the vision to seek Peter. This is an example of the Wesleyan doctrine of prevenient grace – of G*D loving us even before we know G*D. Now that young person who became a missionary is much more humble in their mission theology and sees G*D at work around the world – well in advance of a missionary visit. [note: slightly modified according to my biases regarding language]

To be impartial is not to be lacking in passion. It is to affirm that new life is available to everyone, regardless of track-record or prospects. In this resurrections are taking place daily. Be ready to enjoin and enjoy the one already coming your way.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

Easter – Year B

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

18 - The Lord has punished me severely, but he did not give me over to death.

19 - Open to me the gates of righteousness,
        that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.

20 - This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.

- - - - - - -

Punishment does not lead to thanksgiving. Its unremittingness doesn't leave room for thanks. There is no growth available here.

Amazingly a gate beyond punishment, often thought worse, that of death, does offer a new kind of room. In this fashion death can become a blessed advisor. Whatever kind of death is considered, it is a gate to set things right.

Let us turn our face toward whatever Jerusalem mean for Jesus, including a city of peace beyond punishment and more particularly beyond death wherein new life is raised.

This is a strange kind of process to bet on. Will I be raised through such a gate or simply lie amouldering among the leaves so brown?

Death is a gate of the Lord. Abandon hope. Fear and trembling abide. This is a new way of living. Enjoy.

= = = = = = =

In Speaking of Faith: Why Religion Matters and How to Talk About It, Krista Tippett remembers a conversation with Thick Nhat Hanh that surprised her when he spoke about the kingdom of God – "He could not imagine the kingdom of God to be a place without suffering, he says. For how then, would we learn to be compassionate? This is a striking Buddhist inversion of the Christian preoccupation with the problem of evil."

In this same way we cannot imagine Christianity with only the resurrection of Easter and no death of Good Friday. Nonetheless, we are able to abstract this enough that it not affect our own life.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Isaiah 25:1-10

Easter – Year B

Isaiah 25:1-10

This is a looser than usual connection to the lectionary.

Cities are extensions of individuals. There are patterns that occur. The boom-town phenomenon is one sort of city. Sometimes they develop more than their original impetus of economic mono-culture and continue, mostly not.

Cities with a long history have come and gone. How many Jerichos have archeologists found? Why does New Orleans stay functional? What will happen with Fargo when Canada rebounds another inch from its glacial compression and the Red River basin returns to a lake?

We might think about cities and migrations in terms of resurrection. After awhile cities fail and immigrants are incorporated into the genetics and other strata of a culture. There is a fading, a dying. But periodically there is a rebirth, a feast is re-established.

Waiting and salvation seem to be on unaligned sine waves. Even were they synchronized there would still be a waiting and a fulfillment. It is obvious that death has not been swallowed up – see to what lengths the church and individuals will go to deny death and set up protections against death. Somehow we keep thinking that G*D really will defeat death once and for all. This rings false from the beginning. Just try to imagine any vitality in a creation without death or G*D without Death – soon implacable stasis, a state worse than death, sets in.

It is this reality of death that leads us, time and again, to a gift of resurrection, not its surety. We all like a next breath too much to look forward to resurrection being a gift and not a given. For all our preaching about Easter qua Easter, Good Friday still is its straight-man. Without Good Friday, Easter's punch-line wouldn't ring true.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Mark 16:1-8

Easter – Year B

Mark 16:1-8

Mary, Mary, and Salome, now representing the discipleship narrative once held by James, John, and Peter, were practical to wait until Sunday dawn to go to a tomb. Tombs are dark enough in daylight and to do so after dark would add difficulty to difficulty. They were not practical in their uncertainty about being able to get in when they got there. Where was Martha who would have organized this expedition so they would know they could enter when they arrived?

Well, it turned out the spirit of Martha had been on duty after all – the door was open and they walked right in.

I suppose they might have known that things were already falling apart in their orderly world when the stone had been moved. It doesn't begin to sink in, though, until they enter to find another transfigured figure who transfixed them with words unimagined – "Jesus ain't here, he's on the way to Galilee. Tell those behind you that Jesus has gone on ahead of you (sort of a John the Baptizer reprise)."

Well, what now? Our question about the stone sure had a response we weren't looking for. Now there too many more questions suddenly swirling within. We can't even talk to one another yet.

When practical and caring women go quiet, look out – gestation is taking place and birth will come in its own time.

What questions are taking root in you? What has surprised you into silence that it might become you? [Note: remember to read the phrase, "become you" in several ways.] Eventually you will "go ahead" too, so enjoy the growth going on now and the going ahead will be more joyous.

= = = = = = =

In today's WUMFSA reading of Say to This Mountain: Mark’s Story of Discipleship by Ched Myers, Marie Dennis, Joseph Nangle, OFM, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, and Stuart Taylor we hear:
     ". . . as the reader buckles under the weight of this ignominious end, Mark tells a curious story.
     "In a parenthetical comment, we learn about a "young man" who flees with the other disciples (14:51). This naked flight symbolizes the shame of the discipleship community, leaving behind a "linen cloth." The garment will reappear as the burial wrap of Jesus (see 15:46), and the young man will reappear in Jesus' empty tomb, fully clothed in white robes (see 16:5). We shall see that this transformation of clothing, as in Jesus' transfiguration (9:3ff), represents both a promise and challenge to the reader."

How are you tying various parts of this story together?

Stations of the Cross

Good Friday – Year B

Stepping outside the lectionary process for a moment –

From Say to This Mountain: Mark’s Story of Discipleship, by Ched Myers, Marie Dennis, Joseph Nangle, OFM, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, and Stuart Taylor:

"We might legitimately approach this cross with all those who have dared hope for a better world, especially those who have been crushed struggling for a justice that seems forever deferred, and demand an explanation. For who of us is prepared to accept that this is the way to liberation?
     "Attempting to face that question, many Christians who struggle for human rights have appropriated the ritual of Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) in new and creative ways. Whereas traditionally the "Stations of the Cross" offered the believer personal meditations on Jesus' trial, suffering, crucifixion, death, and burial – all designed for spiritual contemplation – now the same "Stations" are given a much broader scope.
     "These alternative liturgies have as their goal a linking of Jesus' journey to Golgotha with the enormous suffering, both personal and social, represented in public places. Those who lead such modern variations of this ancient ritual are often themselves either victims or healers of the social evils being cited. Let us walk through a typical Via Crucis, which might be held in the U.S. capital city." [The authors then append a written description of the "Stations" in Washington, D.C.]

Here is a visual, liberation theology oriented Via Crucis online that may be more immediately usable in a congregational setting in prelude to next year providing a Via Crucis in whatever community we find ourself.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Strength of Conviction

Palm Sunday – Year B

Palm branches were the "Yes We Can" advertisements of their day. If palm branches can be political placards, what can't be.

A part of our spirit energy is to open our eyes to the usually invisible symbols of our time. What political message is a "Forclosed" letter giving? What about reports regarding percentage of graduates in a school system? Infant mortality and numbers of people incarcerated are other political signs to be waved, not waived.

Here we are using "political" in its broadest term of decision-making process. If the "Romans" of that or any day have come or are on the horizon, what options are open, which are not, and why would we put any in the "not open" category if faithfulness to a larger vision is important. A near-the-end-of-Lent reflection on whether we are willing to take the consequences of our belief is still in order.

No matter how many palms are waving it won't be long before they morph into fists waving. Eventually we will have to face the strength of our conviction (both that brought against us and that rising from within).

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Philippians 2:1-11 (12-13)

Palm Sunday – Year B

Philippians 2:1-11 (12-13)

This is another passage in which it is helpful to read it aft to fore.

G*D is at work in you, for pleasure – yours and G*D's. There will be fear and trembling involved with this pleasure called "salvation". It will include being recognized as G*Dly, which is a pleasure of "glory".

Are you ready for such exaltation, such pleasure? It will be revealed to you in completing what it means for you to be in human form, filling that form with abundant living. It is as worth living as human as it is to live as G*D, there is no competition between them. Let this be fulfilled in you.

Be interested in others living their life, it will encourage you to live yours. This humility will enhance your life in community. Beware those selfish, ambitious, conceited images that would put us into competition of there being only one good. To complete the pleasure of "joy", sympathy, compassion, sharing, and love will console and encourage you to participate in Christing – revealing in oneself the joy and glory of salvation – living sacred and secular, human and divine, as one.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

Palm Sunday – Year B

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

Figure it this way: The righteous get to go in through the gate of righteousness. I'm righteous, so open to me the gate of righteousness that I may enter.

Then be open enough to consider you considered incorrectly. Steadfast love doesn't work on such a simplistic one-to-one correspondence. That is much too much too boring.

Note that there are gates upon gates of righteousness. One for your form of righteousness, sure enough, and other for mine and still others for others. All gates are the right gate – some are more easily recognized than others, but there are far more abundant gates than folks to go through. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

When our calculations turn out to be too small, think again, return to this passage and be reminded of steadfast love.