Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Isaiah 40:21-31

Epiphany 5 - Year B

Isaiah 40:21-31

Have you not known? Have you not heard (seen, felt, smelled, tasted, sensed in any way)?

There is more than the circle of earth we run on. Raise your eye and see systems and processes whirling slowly - beyond your control.

This larger universe is available to your moments of faintness and powerlessness. Amazingly, this larger reality, from the inside, rises and we mount higher and walk farther.

This wonderful dynamic makes our very being tardis-like. We are larger on the inside than ever we thought for we are connected to an outside which is more intimate than we had felt possible (AstroCantus).

What have you yet to know? What have you not yet experienced as real? All of that and more is available to you and me, and us together. Let this epiphany not go lightly.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mark 1:29-39

Epiphany 5 - Year B

Mark 1:29-39

In a synagogue and in a home, healing takes place. Any distinction between sacred and secular is false. Everything Is Holy Now

We are just coming off a synagogue story where the result of a healing was amazement. This home story has the result of bringing all who were sick to Jesus - it doesn't matter if they were in synagogue/church earlier or not. A home setting has more flexibility and authority than any institution that carries restrictive rules in its DNA - rules that limit the freedom of G*D to call and gift and heal anyone, period.

After the openness expressed in a home setting, word comes that even more people are seeking all that such freedom has to offer - “Everyone is searching for you.” When was the last time you heard that about a church?

Interestingly, Jesus takes this information and further expands it - from synagogue to a home in a community to more towns. Eventually we understand the expansion goes to the ends of Galilee and then the earth.

Remember here that there is both a message and a healing. They go hand in hand.

Hear again the message: Belovedness and happiness is real and energizing. This is G*D’s presence and is growing. Respond by not being stuck - change your hearts and lives and trust an abundance in you and in all.

Hear again the healing: All who were sick were brought and healed. All.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Epiphany 4 - Year B

they went to Capernaum
the same way
we find ourselves
where we are

they went to synagogue
just because it was sabbath
and teaching occurred
as it does

new sparks flew
not just rote
a new freedom
was flowing

just as unsurprising
as another sabbath
is the presence of

what does a new freedom
have to do with brokenness?
is freedom for one
destruction for all others?

if you have to ask
you are blind to the silly
crazy at a creation deep level
lost from your belovedness

and so we stand silent
before a captive
our silence calling
forth depth

such depth of abundance
that brokenness is pushed out
there is no room
where we are not connected

a healer is convulsed
along with the healed
both cry aloud
be whole

amazed? really?
this is creation old
void to an eighth day

what is this?
a new teaching?
no - simply
applied freedom

in Capernaum still
in dark and dreamless streets
you and yours arrive
to freely free

Thursday, January 26, 2012

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Epiphany 4 - Year B

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Now, concerning food sacrificed to idols....
Now, concerning xxxx(anything)xxxx....

It appears any claim to knowing forgets that understanding shifts. Thus it is important to come to grips with what is claimed as a source of authority. Here Paul attributes rules, “what everyone knows”, to G*D.

In this case we are reminded that there are rules and principles beyond an immediate limitation on behavior. These larger meta-understandings come from a relationship named love. Through these we find the courage to enter into a new relationship with food and idols. Through these we find the assurance that we can break our own larger rules on behalf of others - doing so willingly, not coerced.

There is not a way to protect others from falling away from their next best ideal, much less one of their past beliefs. To operate out of false protection of another is simple enabling. It would be more helpful if Paul were to speak out of what one can do with integrity while caring for another rather than taking responsibility for their well-being. In this way I can eat with vegans and vegetarians, with omnivores and advocates of steak tartare, without trying to talk them out of their way or show them up with an alternative menu. We need more honoring of differences-in-doing than attempts at conversion-of-being.

Diets do not bring us close to ultimate reality, though they can help remind us to live out of a sense of fullness, not scarcity. Making others into ourself does not construct a paradise. Freedom to respond beyond rules leads us to the big non-rule - be with others as you would have them be with you.

Now, concerning food or anything else, be strong enough in your conscience to be gentle with the conscience of others.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Psalm 111

Epiphany 4 - Year B

Psalm 111

G*D’s got you in the palm of a nonpareil hand and is listening hard for your ultimate respects uttered in extravagant language.

The fearfulness of your position must be recognized and this begins your learning, but does not end it. And the same for G*D.

Presuming you can get through a bias of G*D for fear inspired behavior, there may arise within you both more options. G*D might hear praise echoing and enduring forever and not be as demanding of that particular response from such as yourself. You might practice thankfulness until it permeates every bone in your body and be a natural response to any unnatural occurrence - not because it is demanded, but because it feels so good.

What is your fear-based learning today?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Deuteronomy 18:15-20

Epiphany 4 - Year B

Deuteronomy 18:15-20

How straight forward - listen to G*D’s prophet and all will be well for you. If not, of course, it will be all the worse for you. Likewise prophets are to only prophesy what G*D intends. To do otherwise will bring death, obliteration.

This sounds as if it has all the bases covered. Epiphanies will be authorized. How could a prophet system like this go wrong? Well, G*D’s delayed implementation of threats to false prophets seems to have had significant consequences.

It seems as if court prophets, looking out for their own profit, have proliferated over time. There is no shortage of pundits (today’s spelling of prophet). Would that they understood the importance of speaking carefully, lest they be considered heedless and cast away.

Most true prophets end up getting heartburn as they live between the compulsion to speak and a fear to speak beyond what they know. Most false prophets end up prospering under whatever political system they are currently working.

Just know that the next prophet is coming from the people, just like you. And it may well be you. Enjoy the ride.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mark 1:21-28

Epiphany 4 - Year B

Mark 1:21-28

Authority - “meaning the freedom to express one’s powers” (JANT).

Authority is a freedom always available, even in coercive situations. Expressing one’s powers may or may not carry the day in the short-run, but it is always a witness to what you consider to be trustworthy. In this you can be as authoritative as Jesus.

It is worth reflecting on the accusation, “Have you come to destroy us?” Certainly there is a sense in which the answer is, “Yes”. For some who are into security, any modification from their ultimate control, is a death. This is the same dynamic used by those privileged in religious power. They must protect every part of their established tradition for the loss of any one part is experienced as a destruction of all of it.

The new Jewish Annotated New Testament is very clear here: “Although there has been a tendency in the modern period to distinguish Jesus’ healings from those of contemporary Jews and others, this is a theological not historical judgment. The miracles in the Gospels contain the same procedures, healing formulae ..., and demonological lore as the magic of the ancient world.”

Let’s not get caught up in trying to make things more holy than they are and openly stick to the simplicity of a freedom to express a power available in the moment.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Epiphany 3 - Year B

look back through history
and you’ll find yourself
having been spoken for
by someone along the way

that thoughtful ancestor
gives credence
to your deep heart’s core
but is now off the scene

now it is your time
to carry and advocate
an important piece of wisdom
unexperienced by others

carrying on ancient truth
builds a bridge to tomorrow
picking up strangers along the way
entrusting them with yourself

called from their past
into your new today
and better tomorrow
interesting days are ahead

when you have moved on
they will carry on
in strange and wondrous ways
those before you

honor now your ancestors
before you join them
in fulfilling hopes
and overflowing

anticipate your descendants
by planting seeds
they will reap
and replant

Thursday, January 19, 2012

1 Corinthians 7:29-31

Epiphany 3 - Year B

1 Corinthians 7:29-31

If we are going to affirm that the present configuration of love and power is out of balance and passing away, there comes a new challenge.

Continuing to live as though we were perpetually confined to the present is expecting a different outcome from the same behavior. However you were living a day ago, change it today that tomorrow might blossom and grow.

Moving on is a given, treat it as such. Hop to.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Psalm 62:5-12

Epiphany 3 - Year B

Psalm 62:5-12

Called to change ourselves and the world around us - to set a new course - to enter into a new creation, an 8th day - to whisper and shout about change - to see G*D change : this is our rock of salvation, our power to proceed, regardless.

On the surface of this psalm it is G*D who doesn’t change but is a source of refuge for us when we waver or feel wobbly in the face of one violence or another. This seems to work for some. Blessings to them. For others of us, this static gap between G*D and ourselves is greatly disappointing in its mechanism to keep us in a juvenile state.

When it is all about G*D, its all about nothing.
When it is all about Creation, its all about everything being related.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jonah 3:1-5, 10

Epiphany 3 - Year B

Jonah 3:1-5, 10

Change is a consistent part of life. The only thing that doesn’t change is change.

Change comes to Jonah, to the citizens of Nineveh, to G*D.

There is an old story about the 36 hidden saints in the world (Tzadikim Nistarim or Lamed Vav Tzadikim). No one knows who they are, including themselves, but without them the world would grind to a halt. They are seedbeds of change - not in terms of technical innovation, but for how we treat one another. Repentance and forgiveness are great change agents.

Since you may be one of the anonymous saints, what change needs to be made in you to live a whole and mature life that others might experience you and the hope you carry within?

Since your neighbor, or even enemy, may be one of the anonymous saints, what change needs to be made in you for them to be more whole and mature?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mark 1:14-20

Epiphany 3 - Year B

Mark 1:14-20

Was the stimulus for Jesus proclaiming “good news of G*D” the arrest of John or Jesus’ return from wilderness of post-baptismal temptations?

If Jesus is seen as the inheritor of Baptist John, folks might well shy away from what appears to be a losing cause - personal repentance and baptism as political/religious resistance.

If this is an external manifestation of an internal strengthening, we might better hear a communal invitation to repentance and trust as good news in and of themselves. Was Jesus empowered by an experience of temptation recognized and dealt with to such an extent that Simon, Andrew, James, and John were able to catch more than the words reported - “Follow me”?

Where, these days, do you hear an invitation to trust a repentance based on a direct encounter with temptation’s power. Is it in the political realm, the religious, the personal, the economic?

Should you be blessed/cursed with hearing an invitation into larger living, which realm will not be affected as you engage yourself with a new level of conscience and consciousness? Yes, every part of life is renewed. You can catch a part of this as you reflect on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s official day, today.

Repentance as empowerment toward a common good is worth looking at. In particular, how this dynamic works within your life and, in general, within the life of the world.

Friday, January 13, 2012

no denying deceit

Epiphany 2 - Year B

in days of old
Nazareth was questionable
so close to co-optation
by Roman opulence
in nearby Sepphoris

today we ask what good
could come out of Washington, D.C.
or Wall Street wealth obsession
or Main Street job needs
or your freedom

it is a question of deceit
so many are filled to the brim
and to hear it is not important
is a most important word
for Nathanael and all

where Jesus comes from
is a big deal in his day
this significant political question
needs more than a log cabin
or fig tree or halo

wherever Jesus is from
he reveals G*D
wherever you are from
G*D is revealed
by an honest question

back and forth
Jesus and Nathanael
have one epiphany
after another
and invite you

Thursday, January 12, 2012

1 Corinthians 6:11-20

Epiphany 2 - Year B

1 Corinthians 6:11-20

There are two competing values going on here. One is about Jesus and one about G*D.

Jesus has become a certifying authority. Here we get into atonement theologies. Here we find liturgy and ritual with baptism. Fore and aft, these technical diagnostics wrap around a conversation about unity with G*D.

G*D is a living tension between all possibilities and the limits of choice. While having many choices ahead of us, we are limited in those actually available to be implemented. And even within this more limited field we find our choices to be revealing of our deep desire. Here we find a reuniting of body and spirit beyond any creedal power or institutional authority.

The simplest proposition here is, “Anyone united to G*D is one in spirit with G*D”. This basic is also the most complex in its application. Have we honored Jesus by affirming “we have been bought” or is this a prostitution of our unity in G*D? Have we glorified Christ by being baptized or prostituted ourselves to ritualized language about baptism?

Eventually we come back to re-connecting body and spirit, ourselves and G*D. Jesus and Christ, similarly connected, are one model by which we catch a glimpse of what it means to love G*D with our mind and heart, our actions and stillness, our uniqueness and unity.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

Epiphany 2 - Year B

Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

Hooray, G*D knows me, through and through.
Hissss, I don’t know myself, hints aren’t sufficient.

Hooray, G*D is omniscient.
Hissss, I don’t have a clue about why I am.

Hooray, G*D knit me together.
Hissss, I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Hooray, G*D is still with me.
Hooray, I am still with God.

At some point we experience a shift from Hissss to Hooray. It seems to come in unexpected times. Nathanael met this change with the image of a fig tree. Samuel had his conversion in dream-time. One older, one younger. (Both are males, but that’s standard for patriarchal source material and not a requirement.)

All of a sudden we see, with G*D’s eyes, our unformed substance and join G*D in calling it forth, saving us both, maturing us both, bringing both of us to wholeness and health. In the end there is no way to continue putting ourselves down for the presence of G*D to be seen. Like it or not, G*D also needs to see already formed and still unformed substance through our eyes. If G*D is to be glorified, so must we and all be glorified - this goes beyond a mutual admiration society.

As G*D investigates our life, let us investigate G*D’s life. This is an eternal learning and a worthy road to travel.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20)

Epiphany 2 - Year B

1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20)

When life outside our experience clamors for attention, we find we are formless and void, we have no database in which to encode data.

Samuel didn’t have it. Eli didn’t put it together the first time around. Blessed be persistence that refuses to let us have the out that Scrooge tried - “an indigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato.” No, eventually we have to put down our explanations, so finely honed, and say to the universe, “Huh?” and “Here I am.”

To finally acknowledge a mystery is to paint a target on your mind and heart that the mystery be birthed in you - that you will live out your revelation.

May you lift from the ground all the revelations that have fallen about you and toss them to the sky. So is trust evidenced and gained.

Monday, January 09, 2012

John 1:43-51

Epiphany 2 - Year B

John 1:43-51

You want to buy a field? Can anything good come from that sort of investment. Invest, instead, in a bank too big to fail.

You found the fulfillment of Moses and the Prophets in Nazareth? Really, Nazareth!

How easy it would have been for Philip to walk away from Nathanael, but he took his conversation all the way to Missouri - “Come and see.”

How easy is it for you to walk away from a discouraging word? Do you have a next step in a conversation that will eventually lead to such an invitation as Philip’s?

Beyond this example of persistent evangelism, it is instructive to reflect on Nathanael as we do upon Thomas, another doubter. You might be interested in a book by Jennifer Michael Hecht Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson.

What is the basis of your belief? If not your friend Philip, why this Jesus claiming to have seen you under the symbol of a fig tree (any good magician could come up with this little praise of being honest, straight-forward, and patriotic)?

Another key ability to participate in life has to do with being able to move our belief as new occasions come along. One tendency is to keep believing the same thing in a new setting and failing to come to grips with a significant variation that would deepen or modify first impressions or beliefs. Blessings on keeping your beliefs up-to-date with your experiences.

Friday, January 06, 2012

from below

Epiphany 1 - Year B

beginings elude us
always in medias res

what’s next is elusive
still being shaped by now

year by year
we yearn for good

is it light qua light
light related to dark

naming is elemental
shaping perception

peeping from the deep
we grin with the wind

dream on

Epiphany - Year B

Herod’s time lingers
G*D continues presence
available to glimpses of the wise

the Herod’s of today
sleep uneasy with fears of overthrow
dancing in their heads and before their eyes

the next usurper could come from anywhere
such universalism can never narrow vision
to know what the ancients knew

the least expected place
is exactly where the next birth
of a prophet of justice begins practice

in anticipation of downfall
co-opted co-conspirators live by secrets
and expect enough fear that everyone will

failing to listen to better dreams
Herod loses track of alternative ways
condemning himself to be an eternal villain

which sets today’s choice
not in energy expended - miles traveled or
extravagance of gifts proffered to the surprised

aboriginal dream time
erupts again into our usual fog
shaping past that tomorrow be reshaped

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Acts 19:1-7

Epiphany 1 - Year B

Acts 19:1-7

Were you aware that disciples are waiting to be found?

The boundless that you are in touch with can draw them out of themselves and keep them journeying toward that which they sense but have not heard for themselves.

When a next step in their journey becomes clear, there is rejoicing - theirs and those they will share with. They will speak with one another in newly acquired revelatory language. They will speak with others in tones of ancient and future prophets claiming justice and mercy for outcast and the manger-poor.

This makes learning sound more delightful. Where are you listening for the boundless that your bonds may be loosened and new community formed? If you catch even a glimmer - follow.

Ephesians 3:1-12

Epiphany - Year B

Ephesians 3:1-12

Is there a mystery in your life that would make you stand for the sake of someone ordinarily seen as outside the love of G*D? In this capitalist country it might be for the 99% or those with inadequate health insurance. In this patriarchal and narcissistic country it might be for same-gender marriage or immigrants.

Paul’s mystery would not let him go. Is it related to some “thorn” or “revelation”?

Paul’s mystery insisted, like an eagle with its claws in the back of his neck, on facing and sharing the “boundless”.

Paul’s mystery is every much as significant as tangible gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

And your mystery is too. May you face and share the boundless with the bound.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Psalm 29

Epiphany 1 - Year B

Psalm 29

This psalm is commonly considered a prayer for rain. A good rain in season is a source of strength and well-being which eases all matters related to peace between folks. Were such a rain to be timely across a wide stretch, some of our seemingly innate competition and desire to conquer all else might relax enough to catch the value of each other.

It is, of course, all too easy to flip this back into an unhelpful hierarchy. Does G*D really need all the ascription, the laud and honor given for the purpose of bribery? Doesn’t a G*D larger than violence find this crediting to cut a deal all rather sad?

Were we to image G*D in another way, we might begin with freeing G*D from our picture of sitting enthroned over the flood. This has a feel of captivity to it that is unbecoming a G*D capable of finding belovedness and light in the most surprising of places - deep darkness and a belated Jesus or any one of us.

Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14

Epiphany - Year B

Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14

It is the king’s responsibility to uphold and administer justice. It is a president’s place to do the same. Likewise for a bishop, pastor, lay leader. And for the just anybody’s not so far listed, they too have a responsibility for justice processes.

The yearning for, searching for, attempting, implementing of justice is constituent with long-term common good.

We keep short-circuiting justice with economic and political models that eventually meld together, each subverting the other through unquestioned support of the other. Soon there is no check or balance available to keep the poor from becoming poorer even as prosperity for all is available. The needy stand as sign and significance of a lack of pity, compassion, community. As oppression and violence are put into legal place to ensure economic/political power, we look to justice leaders only to find them absent.

It is not just the king that needs a reminder about the interconnected web of life and the respect and honor due each one. This is a reminder to all that justice depends on each of us to raise the questions and to risk standing with the poor and those who have no helper.

On Epiphany may we give even better gifts than gold, frankincense, and myrrh. May we offer our heart and energy to justice on behalf of manger-laid people everywhere.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Genesis 1:1-5

Epiphany 1 - Year B

Genesis 1:1-5

There was deep darkness. There was only deep dark - darkness so deep that darkness itself couldn’t be seen.

What is to be done? Drop a stone and listen for a clink? Sort of. Blow and whistle into the dark until it cannot hold and breaks apart. Lo and behold, there was light all along, but not sun light - formless, void.

This is a scene of high drama taking place under the stars that knows lunar months and solar years well attested in scripture. Here there is no astrological correspondence for a seven day week. We might look to numerology and all that we have claimed that “seven” means, but that is also problematic. Why not seven 4-day weeks instead of four 7-day weeks per lunar cycle?

If this recounting of calling forth light rather than finding it and naming it, is from the Priestly line, we might see this whole process as one of beginning a blessing of all that is, night and noon, and becoming our call to bless. It becomes the light the comes up out of the water, dark water, baptizing water, living water.

May you see numinous light and shape it to practical light. May your numinous light be named with your name.

Isaiah 60:1-9

Epiphany - Year B

Isaiah 60:1-9

Arise, shine - your light has come, so emulate it.

The light of creation came for its own sake, but not for that alone. Creation’s light also arrived in anticipation of all that was to come. The gift of life is not just as a chip off the old G*D block, but to live as though G*D.

Lift up your eyes: see and be seen; see and be radiant.

Don’t be misled by the gold and fankincense commonality. The connection goes deeper, to light shine from without and within. Be blessed by light and bless with it.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Mark 1:4-11

Epiphany 1 - Year B

Mark 1:4-11

Alakazam! John appears.
Shazam! And you also.

John proclaimed.
And you also.

Abracadabra! Jesus arrives.
Hocus-pocus! And you also.

Bethleham is past.
River Jordan is now.

Your past is past.
Your time and space is now.

Secret spirits are loose.
Catch one by the tail and never let it go.

There is no end to belovedness,
no limit to pleasure.

Put potential to work through joy.
And you also.

Matthew 2:1-12

Epiphany - Year B

Matthew 2:1-12

As one who loves, what is your secret longing?
Consider yourself “fated” to go for it and go ahead.
The Magi will be glad for your company along “another road”.

- - - - - - -

When You Wish Upon a Star
by Leigh Harline and Ned Washington

When a star is born
They possess a gift or two
One of them is this
They have the power to make a wish come true

When you wish upon a star
Makes no diff'rence who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do
Fate is kind

She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true

When you wish upon a star
Makes no diff'rence who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do
Fate is kind

She brings to those who love
The sweet fulfillment of their secret longing
Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true