Monday, December 31, 2012

Comments Compiled

In the for-what-it-is-worth department, 10 years of lectionary comments have been compiled into a table by chapter and verse at If you have an interest in seeing comments from three-years apart next to each other you can visit the table and marvel at how perspective and perceptiveness have changed (spiritual/psycho analysis will be gratefully received). [Note: New postings are still found here by date as the current Year C will not be added to these tables until the end of 2013.]

There is also a listing by church year of Friday condensations at - this is still under the cloud of possible revision of format, but the link should hold for at least the last three years of Friday musings. There are more beginning condensations scattered through the 10 years of jottings that may be added in as time and energy allows.

If there is a format that would be more helpful than these or improvements to either or both that might be made, please do leave a comment on the web, reply to the listserve, or send a note directly to me at wwhite(at)

Wesley White

Matthew 2:1-12

Epiphany - Year C

Who dares star-gaze? They will be called malingerers, day-dreamers. Yet to gaze afar is to also look critically for a fulcrum spot in the present. From afar folks may better see beyond their own culture and a new opportunity for an unfated future. Through spotting unknown stars they may better appreciate the mystery of a manger being about more than feed and water.

Still there is a cultural residue as the scholarly magi and our own blind spots seek in a castle for what can only be found in a manger. When stripped of our habits, our dreams see the underbelly of assumed privilege and power and we leave there by a different route. At last we remember again — revolution happens from the bottom up: period.

So dream a little dream — this one from Carly Simon: Let the River Run with its refrain:
     Let all the dreamers
     wake the nation.

How far will your dream, your gazing afar take you? Into halls of power and out again? Into mangers near and far? Deep within your culture and comfort or quite beyond?

Your response will be told in the gifts you bring and give away.

Friday, December 28, 2012


Christmas 1 - Year C

as usual
questions are engaged
a community thinks together

every year
a reunion of hearts and minds
rekindles soul energy

where else
would one be than at a revival
of tradition and possibility

understand this
increasing in wisdom
doesn’t happen accidentally

treasure this
a joy of learning is
a joy of living

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Colossians 3:12-17

Christmas 1 - Year C

Behind every manifestation of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience is a participation in love, no matter how reluctantly or dismissive. Love here is defined as that which holds everything together - it is the graviton of spirituality.

This last paragraph on gravitons from Wikipedia indicates some problems:
     ”Most theories containing gravitons suffer from severe problems. Attempts to extend the Standard Model or other quantum field theories by adding gravitons run into serious theoretical difficulties at high energies (processes involving energies close to or above the Planck scale) because of infinities arising due to quantum effects (in technical terms, gravitation is nonrenormalizable). Since classical general relativity and quantum mechanics seem to be incompatible at such energies, from a theoretical point of view this situation is not tenable. One possible solution is to replace particles by strings. String theories are quantum theories of gravity in the sense that they reduce to classical general relativity plus field theory at low energies, but are fully quantum mechanical, contain a graviton, and are believed to be mathematically consistent.”

Likewise, most spiritualities containing love suffer from difficulties of definition, interpretation, and implementation. We go along thinking we understand love and can either fit it into a definition or recognize it when we see it. Then along comes death and all of a sudden we can see love where we never did before or a love we thought we could rely on turns out to as frail as everything else.

Return again to this unsentimental definition of love: that which binds everything together in harmony. Don’t focus on the binding together but the result of harmony. You may want to browse again The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Psalm 148

Christmas 1 - Year C

Thank G*D.
With more than I have, I thank G*D.
We are where we are, with options yet available.
We are where we are, for the moment and a bit more.
Indeed, “thanks” is an appropriate response to the surprise of life.
Possibility has been risked and raised and won.

The above is from an experiential approach to Christmas or other thin event. It does vary from an assigned liturgy giving direction and interpretation to yesterday and today. How would you transform an apology for G*D into a paean of moving on? To not make an attempt at a translation is to get lost in the some shouldness of what Christmas ought to be without actually moving it into place as an on-going birthing leading us to a next plateau.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26

Christmas 1 - Year C

Presumably an experience of a surprise such as G*D incarnate in creation is not a once-for-all moment. An infant that is not stillborn, grows - hopefully in relationship to G*D and Neighb*r as well as in stature and girth. 

While yet in Christmastide, within the proverbial 12 Days of Christmas, we hear about the imperative of growth. Our tendency may be to revere the traditions of Christmas when the challenge before us is that of reinventing it beyond rote.

Samuel grew. Jesus grew. And you? Or, put another way, have you stopped? How do you know?

Here’s a thought experiment for you. Instead of considering atonement to be about the cross, what if it is about a manger? To grow up “blessed by G*D and popular with the people”, as The Message has it, are we not talking about an at-one-ment? Evaluate this proposition: Atonement is incarnational, not crucifixional.

Titus 2:11-14 & Hebrews 1:1-12

Christmas Eve/Day - Year C

Christmas Eve Titus 2:11-14
Christmas Day Hebrews 1:1-12

Where did the gift of surprise and choice go so quickly. The gospel lessons are poetry and story. By the time we get to the epistles we are confronted with the didactic and doctrinaire. Christmas moves from a particular to the general only with a great deal of danger to its own integrity.

We hear about incarnation being a source of atonement, “God has appeared, bringing salvation to all”. This act of G*D soon gets shifted to the crucifixion, “[Jesus] gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity”.

What begins with the fulfillment of a promise to our ancestors, becomes, all too quickly, angels not announcing G*D’s work but “worshipping” some idolatry of an eternity beyond flesh and blood birth and life.

Be careful what gets ingested along with all the sweet carols of Christmas. Is it just a set up for a later atonement or sufficient for such in its particularity?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Luke 2:41-52

Christmas 1 - Year C

Here is another creation story, birth story. Instead of going for registration, Jesus goes for Festivities and finds in them a larger story than they knew they carried.

Wherever you search for someone dear to you, you will find them searching for themselves even as you search for them. Of course you return the favor while being searched for.

No wonder searchers don’t understand, even as they draw near.

Now to carry this insight into the rest of a new year. We all search for and are searched for. Remarkably in these infinite searches, what is found has more in common than in difference. Here then is our covenant for the year: that we will treasure one another. Blessings in letting your treasure show and the treasure of others be honored by you.

Luke 2:1-20 & John 1:1-18

Christmas Eve/Day - Year C

Christmas Eve Luke 2:1-20
Christmas Day John 1:1-18

In those days the word was with G*D/Emperor Augustus.
All the world should be acknowledged as G*D’s/registered as Augustus’.
Joseph/John/Shepherds were sent as facilitator/witness/announcer of a new Word.

In these days we are still caught between Love and Power.
Many claims are made upon us and in our name.
A choice remains about facilitating, witnessing to, and announcing the best we know.

Choose well this night, this day.

Friday, December 21, 2012

a christmas before christmas

Advent 4 - Year C

disquieting news
doesn’t call for resignation

questions unresolved
seek interpretation

even afar from circles intimate
we seek our wise woman

and find their wisdom
deeper in than expected

future calls to future
it’s alright come out and play

blessing is sung
to and through us

mercy as far as eye can see
justice through and through

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hebrews 10:5-10

Advent 4 - Year C

Did Jesus offer his body any more than did Mary? We get weird around military deaths and laud and load them with automatic bravery and sacrifice, even calling it ultimate sacrifice.

How might we rebalance our vision of G*D somewhere between a possibility laden creation and a last day reduced to judging? It might have something to do with understanding how bodies bring forth life. Which is more Mary’s forte and Jesus’ teaching. It is only later that we hit on a deathly cross being of more importance than a feeding trough birth. [Image receiving communion from a manger rather than an altar - This is my body. . . .]

Luke 1:46-55

Advent 4 - Year C

Confirmation of an experience is helpful. Remember back to verse 29 — Mary was deeply troubled by being pregnant. By verse 34 she was questioning, “How can this be” or “Why”. Some form of resignation came in verse 38, “Let it happen”.

Within days Mary set off for Aunt Elizabeth’s. Everyone needs a confessor beyond their immediate “family” (a spiritual director from a different tradition is almost necessary). Here, again, Mary found love without expectation hedging it in.

Given this journey it is no accident that Mary’s song is both uplifting and challenging. Her phrasing soars and her content is prophetic. Isn’t this also the way we respond after giving and/or receiving support based on glimpsed but yet unseen abundance? So give; so receive; so sing.

Micah 5:1-5

Advent 4 - Year C

Sometimes we are simply stuck and cannot get out to a comforter with perspective. When everything has been tried and there is no where else to turn, the last resort is an appeal to the future. May something be born out of this failing!

Our anticipation of Christmas is better oriented to failure than to success. We have done everything we knew to do and it came up short. This recognition is prelude to a wonderful surprise, unanticipatable. To make lists and check them twice is antithetical to the surprise of real Christmas that occurs every day. A new incarnation rises from an abysmal defeat. Without prelude and against expectation, peace breaks forth to affront the principalities and powers who will do all in their power to run the cycle another time.

At some point the bullies will get it. Keep a symbolic Bethlehem alive in your time and space.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Luke 1:39-45

Advent 5 - Year C

There are times in life when we are mobilized to react with haste. Had John Wooden been available as Mary’s coach, he would have counseled, “Be quick, but don’t hurry.” After her haste Mary comes to John’s ancestress, Elizabeth, speaking as Yoda, “Quiet she is, trusting full.”

The odds are that this was not the first time fetus John had leapt. So let’s take a little focus off an apology of coincidence and put it on a gift of insight or discernment. May you be quick to spread a blessing. It will land where needed.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Philippians 4:1-13

Advent 3 - Year C

Broods of vipers are not only found in outsiders seeking to come in, but within a flock as well. Euodia and Syntyche are archetypes of every church split. Having been so close when some slight difference is magnified into a bright line of division.

Given that such dissension is not unusual and even can be helpful in moving everyone along, who is this unnamed “loyal companion” called upon to assist Euodia and Syntyche? Having inhabited the role of intentional interim minister, I see this anonymous one as a patron saint of interim ministry.

With the work being outlined as the 5 tasks of an intentional interim: returning folks to community through a reestablishment of a common vision [(1)remembering who we have been & (2) determining who we want to be], redefining gentleness [(3)a key leadership trait], practicing prayers of  thanksgiving [(4) reconnecting with an experienced antidotes to divisive worry], and having peace stand guard at hearts and minds [(5) preparing space for a next generation]. Intentional interim Ministers do this work of salving distressed congregations through G*D who strengthens and beautifies.

Even as Advent has both a backward glance and forward glimpse of a larger picture than a pointillist’s present stroke, so, with Euodia and Syntyche, we remember past cooperation and look for a more mature consolidation of community.

Isaiah 12:2-6

Advent 3 - Year C

An interesting phrase: “G*D has become my salvation”.

Compare and contrast that with another statement: “G*D is my salvation”.

If salvation is connected with some form of wholeness, might we say, “G*D and I are becoming whole together”? What shifts in our addressing life if salvation is a process rather than either an accomplished end to be remembered or some result to be anticipated. This makes Advent more process oriented than focused on some external mechanism having left the stars and arrived at our humble abode. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Zephaniah 3:14-20

Advent 3 - Year C

“Judgments removed here! Get your judgments removed here!” This would be a winner of a marketing campaign. Zephaniah is one testimonial for this way of wrongs being set right, whether they were initiated by you or against you. Our imaginary fears based on gleeful judgment could then be set aside.

Yes, this is supposable. Who wouldn’t want their shame to be turned into praise and renown?

Well, it turns out that there is no business like denial business. We seem to prefer continuing to be judged and to judge ourselves most harshly. Relying on external judgment turns out to preferable to taking responsibility for the consequences of not changing the present. Likewise, having been socialized into a niceness that cannot be lived up to every hour of our day has made us guilt addicts.

It may be that we have had our eye on the wrong prize. Having fortunes restored is not a large enough vision to pursue. Rather there is a more compelling picture available when we deal with being in the midst of our story and knowing that we are not alone [17a]. Before we know it we are in medias res of a story with no beginning. The outcome is not any more certain but the journey is less lonely.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Luke 3:7-18

Advent 3 - Year C

Living expectantly is a good thing. We can do so from a positive or a negative position. Whether expecting the worst or the best, our expectations do change our engagement with the world around us.

Expectations are motivational and perhaps a more discriminating reflection needs not to be between worst and best, but whether an expectation is based on something approximating reality so that we are not just operating habitually in a glass-half-full or half-empty manner. Can we expect either or both the worst and the best, not just one or the other, and begin to see which better fits a particular situation?

John is recorded as mostly being a worst-case motivator. As we move toward another shift in consciousness, my hope is that we not get stuck with wrath as our major source of energy to change. What about being motivated by love — as in love G*D, Neighb*r, S*lf, One-an*ther, and En*my? This seems to be more where John points as a revelation or recognition of an energized spirit even as he seems stuck on bad news as his way to get there.

So what is on your horizon? Disaster? Good Fruit?

Sunday, December 09, 2012


Advent 2 - Year C

order up
forgiveness prepared
feasted upon

pay up
repentance offered
generously tipped

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Philippians 1:1-11

Advent 2 - Year C

What are the limits of grace and peace. They are for the moment offered to the folks at Philippi. What about the churches listed in Revelation 2-3 and the warnings given to some?

If you are interested in being a messenger of creation-wide health, you may want to tack this prayer up and begin to memorize it as deeply as you can.

My love is intended to abound more and more, both in experience and understanding, that with clear conscience and compassionate conduct I will value that which really matters. My intention is to be rich in the harvest of justice that has ripened within. Amen [Meaning: this will please me, my Neighb*r,  and whatever of G*D that can be known]. 

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Luke 1:68-79

Advent 2 - Year C

G*D blessed through forgiveness. This passage suggests that such forgiveness was only mediated through an authorized route. Those who went before only had a promise of mercy extended to them. We, however, are the ones who experience this freeing.

All those who would rather live with a promise of mercy instead of that promise’s fullfillment - raise your hand. I trust that included you as living in a promise is no easier or harder than living with mercy that brings a clarifying light to keep us from excusing ourselves because we are confused or whose feet are mobilized to dramatize a way of peace in a time of no-peace. I trust you would have also raised your hand had the question been about a preference to live in merciful forgiveness. As has already been posited, they each are worth a hero’s quest.

To be clear-headed is no easy task. To trust what you see to be reality-based is not easy. And to follow where peace beckons is not only not easy, but very difficult.

Note: Usually a Psalm is found on these Wednesday postings. This is an insight into the energy level of a Psalm. Where a prophecy is occuring, it can easily take the form of a poem, either patterned or free-form. Even the most prosaic of prophecies is poetic. Listen to how prophesy rolls off the tongue no matter what its form or content.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Malachi 3:1-4

Advent 2 - Year C

Judgment needs a press secretary to spin the need for judgment. Knowing that the only outcome expected from Judgment is that we don’t measure up, we are tempted to believe there is no out from Judgment. At best it is a refiners fire that removes those parts that don’t measure up, even if that means there isn’t much left. Somehow or other cutting off pounds of flesh is supposed to make us better. Presumably once the soul has been disected out it will only reproduce after its own kind.

There are a lot of questions about a model that disavows choice and time. Somehow only good choices will be made. Somehow, in a moment of judgment, all is made clear so good choices are the only choice available.

So we prefer waiting for judgment rather than be proactive in building the kind of community that will honor, understand, encourage, and challenge its individual parts as well as itself through opportunities to further mature.

It would help if we were to remember that an anticipated messenger is none other than ourself and our neighbor. Proceed to attend to the message you are passing on.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Luke 3:1-6

Advent 2 - Year C

At the direst of times a word is always present: “Forgive—this is the preparation needed for a new creation.”

In this scripture we hear it in the midst of occupation by an empire. In the midst of other empires, including the current one, this same word can be heard. Each and every time, though, there is an argument over the mechanism authorizing forgiveness. In this case a process of baptism and repentance are the necessary ingredients for a meal of forgiveness. There are those who claim the mechanism necessary for the result. Really?

In the presence of an American empire that threatens with a variety of powers from nuclear to economic, a word of forgiveness is still present as every sea rises and every coast recedes, weather patterns shift and drought and rain change places. Whatever the way in which forgiveness might take place, it moves us closer to wholeness and health.

To preemptively give up a claim of privilege is a way of forgiveness. This takes years of practice and comes with no guarantee of technically swaying the present. Forgiveness is the advent season of healthy living. It has happened all along and is done in preparation of this and a next opportunity.