Thursday, January 31, 2013

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Epiphany 4 - Year C

Left over from yesterday's comment: Even as I think of refuge as a location of safety it’s origin is as an action - a fleeing, as in fugitive. There used to be cities of refuge, but the real trick was an ability to arrive at them. Once there the possibility of being made new was a possibility. Without this newness the only expectation was that of imminent death, being wanted: dead or dead.

If you are interested in a song about refuge you might try this one from Abigail Washburn, the first of three songs on this tiny concert.

= = = = = = =

To the point today is a question of what stands behind every gift. Paul indicates that our renewal, our city of refuge, the journey of flight from being trapped by our gifts is found in a mystery of “love”. Charles Wesley later described G*D as, “thy nature and thy name is love”. In today’s commercialized world, love is a most transient and misused state of being. We love everything so much that the word becomes but a puff of breeze, a vanity.

Our very gifts cloud our vision. We see through them as a hammer can only see nails. And so the recognition of gifts not our own become lesser gifts. This, in turn, lessens our gift. A function of love, here, is to see through a larger lens how all gifts, all part of the body, play together. It is not that love stands head and shoulders above faith, hope, or a specific gift we have, but it becomes a ground against which present connections are revealed. This is not faith based on past experience or hope of years to come. This is simple connection with on-going creation as revealed in calling each part by name and that name be claimed - light, dark, earth, sea, creatures, clay. This is beyond desire (no gain), beyond force (patient), beyond advantage (kind), beyond success (truthful). When we finally flee the partial, we settle deep into an embrace where there is no I and Thou. And, black hole-like, we emerge as refugee love with new trust/faith and new expectation/hope.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Psalm 71:1-6

Epiphany 4 - Year C

A place of refuge is a staging area for a revolution.

May your place of refuge be strong enough to encourage you to stroll out naked to revel in our common humanity beyond the control of any wicked, unjust, and cruel behavior encountered.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Epiphany 4 - Year C

Before you were born there was a community awaiting your gift to further connect us and push us beyond our current limits.

This reality keeps being blocked by a sense of an independence that can never allow interdependence to be recognized for fear that it will limit us (scarcity model - there is too little of me to go around) rather than expand us (abundance model - I am more when you are more and vice versa). So we self-censor lest we recognize our need of others.

This is not the least of it, however. We are also so quick to jump on the bandwagon of blame. We will censor unto death those who remind us of the interrelatedness of life and love.

While it doesn’t help to have an irrational sense of overweening power over nations and kingdoms, we can remind one another of the long-term benefit or harm of our current responses to that which happens. Be not afraid to speak of interconnectedness. Don’t claim you are just one. You are one part of a very large body turning toward the morning, no matter how slowly or jerkily, and your vision and voice do make a difference in how well we turn.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Luke 4:21-30

Epiphany 4 - Year C

—> Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.

Well, who asked scripture to have a bearing  on life? If this is what we are being called to do, we are not willing to engage. We would be willing to pay for you to share with us gracious words that apply to those who are not present. We are not willing to have ourselves revealed to ourselves. As a result, after due consideration, it is apparent that the only appropriate response available to us is that of rage. So let us help you to the edge of town where you might accidentally be jostled over the platform edge and onto the third-rail of rocks below.

Such a technocratic response has and continues to go on. Self-justified rage and rational final-solutions are happening everyday. This emphasis upon advantage weakens our common bond, day-by-day, until there is nothing left but butter at the base of a tree.

—> Today your hearing fills scripture anew.

An alternative to dragging the past into the present and projecting it into the future as ordained for all time, is to listen again without the ears of accumulated prejudice. If we were to hear that prophets, categorically, are not accepted, we might begin to listen beyond the status quo. Prophets are by their nature of the people they wrestle with. And, even though of the people, stand beyond them as their vision is of a yet-hidden door or crack in a wall that is unguarded by the principalities that have risen to power. With this vision a choice needs to be made about willfully sitting in our own mess or moving on.

If you are interested in pondering this further it might be asked what will cut the Gordian knot found in Kafka’s Door of the Law or what kinetic force holds together the light and the dark, the being touched by the world or the touching of it. Both of these videos are too long for such a condensed blog as this, but so it is today.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Epiphany 3 - Year C

unroll your spiritual heritage
back and back
and back some more

track back to your grounding
so far back that past
is connected with now

this is a deep source
of good news
for one and all

particularly good news
for all as it ends
the privilege of one

in refinding this gem
we refine our family tree
and mine further ago

older and older gifts
come out like a sun from night
yawn and stretch and glow

until dominion nurtures
a whole body
gifted and giving

flowing out from the deepest well
swells suffering joined
and rejoicing honored

a body of G*D
aEdVaEm intertwined
leading back to G*D

indispensable hearing
eat and drink well
send portions to the poor

this ancient word
so easily ignored
endures - scroll on

Thursday, January 24, 2013

1 Corinthians 12:12-31a

Epiphany 3 - Year C

Some like to talk about “Christ” as a focus of unity. All the various gifts come together in baptism in Jesus’ name. There is no casting out one gift, one human identity. All are one in Christ. Other traditions name other organizational models of unity. 

Wherever one falls on the hierarchy of apostles to tongue talkers, followers of a unity based on “Christ” follow one who claimed an even older vision as his job description. So, religious conservatives and liberals and nones, as wonderful as your speculations might be, how are you doing with the poor. Talking about them or living among and as a poor person does? What excuses of working “for” them from a distance are you using? How are you doing with those who are captive in any number of ways from political exiles to the drug addicted to those bound by their culture to those whose brains are wired differently than most to __________? How are you doing with other engagements with the realities of class differences and other ways we divide people out of community?

Regardless of theology, how do the hungry and thirsty fare when you are around? If they are no better off, “Christ” is not your unity. Is this or is this not the year to actually make a move toward activating a gift of greater connection to undergird and organize your specific set of gifts (yes, your entire constellation of gifts, not just a biggie of a limited list). This scripture passage is not for diagnostic purposes but a call to action. If you take a spiritual gifts inventory and identify your key gift, but have not joined it with the gifts of others for the common good of all, you are a prideful gong tooting your own horn and not caring a whit about mixed metaphors much less continuing a creation of community.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Psalm 19

Epiphany 3 - Year C

Listening to the Universe (“Lord”, if you like) clarifies how short-run desires have long-term disasters associated with them. While doing one’s best to take a long-view does not assure good short-term decisions, it usually has a beneficial effect.

There are better outcomes by looking long, both fore and aft, and thus better results or “reward”s. Even so, unbidden and unseen errors creep in (some from looking long through short-lens glasses and some from focusing so long we miss an opportunity long prepared for or an opening in anticipation of a next step or two). And so the words of our mouth and meditations of our heart could use a liturgy to raise our consciousness and conscience.

Try this daily for the rest of Epiphany and see what light dawns.

A spirit of life is within me:
     Keep me from stupidly forgetting
grounding good news in reality
     Keep me from stupidly forgetting
being present with the poor
     Keep me from stupidly forgetting
keeping solidarity with captives
     Keep me from stupidly forgetting
removing blindfolds
     Keep me from stupidly forgetting
revealing discrimination
      Keep me from stupidly forgetting
naming belovedness everywhere
     Keep me from stupidly forgetting
sowing and nurturing gifts
     Keep me from stupidly forgetting
today in anticipation of tomorrow
     Keep me from stupidly forgetting

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10

Epiphany 3 - Year C

We can get very ritualistic about special days. Yesterday was both an American presidential  inauguration public ceremony and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Back much further was Ezra/Nehemiah Day.What is not so easily kept in mind are the movie credits that scroll after people leave the theater. We get what we came for and presume we are entitled to all the work of so many to provide it. So we are entertained and leave. You might want to try staying all the way through the credits as a spiritual discipline of thanksgiving through a witnessing of names.

The elided verses in today’s reading remind us of the mundane (someone built the presentation platform) and the sublime (there were interpreters, translators, to help folks understand what was in that strange and wonderful book of yore). Carpenters and linguists, what a combo, each played their part.

Imagine a movie is being made of your congregation, your community, where would you show up in the credits? This may be where the enduring strength of religion lies, each person doing their part with their gift. Religion begins to slip when the credits are shortened to the pastor and/or board. A community begins to falter when the mayor and/or council becomes director and no one else need be mentioned. In yesterday’s inauguration, President Obama had a couple of refrains. One refrain pertinent to this passage (particularly verses 4 and 7) is “We . . . the people.” The conclusion of that speech points to the work needed to hear an ancient book in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah:
     My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride. They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope. You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time, not only with the votes we cast, but the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideas.
     Let us each of us now embrace with solemn duty, and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.
Without verses 4 and 7 we lose touch with the power to do more than have a book or founding document become rote after generations. In Epiphany we are called to bring our gifts to a party organized for action. Toss your gifts into the common pot and see how they are strengthened and how they strengthen.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Luke 4:14-21

Epiphany 3 - Year C

If we just followed the lectionary it would be easy to mistake the setting here to be that of following a wedding in Cana with new wine. Rather this pericope follows a temptation scene in the wilderness.

This is not a significant difference as everything is connected to everything, but it might be asked if it makes a difference if one’s authority is based on a sign such as turning water to wine or a sign of not turning stones to bread? If there is not much difference then Mary can be seen as every bit a tempter at Cana. It is probably good practice to ask where a temptation is sneaking into every situation. This doesn’t mean we will be up to resistance (re: Satan) or compliance (re: Mary). But asking does increase the odds of recognizing a temptation and deciding to follow or not.

Regarding the affirmation Isaiah and Jesus and You and I can make about where we are headed — this often comes after a time of clarifying what we are not going to go. A culling of a variety of powers and privileges lends authority to our organizing principles.

It is instructive to consider what is tempting you from engaging with poor (presence is good news) or those captivated or blinded by one idol or another. It is likewise helpful to add advocacy to presence to move proclamation to action so symbolic oppressed might actually be freedom and the favor of belovedness might be experienced. Odds are our blockage is either accommodation to cultural norms or the fear of losing something felt to be an entitlement (place/class/etc.).

May your job description shine brightly and be a gift where you are.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Tribute

Epiphany 2 - Year C

just when you think
folks have been recruited
plans have been laid
there’s another call

we are invited 
to step outside
our expectations
to detour

the expectations
of others loom large
and we choose
mutual concern or no

o - we might dither
look for more information
but ultimately
we choose

to choose a detour
and then to deepen it
can feel like a betrayal
of recruits and plans

to choose a detour
and then to deepen it
can open a shortcut
confirming recruits and plans

and so we choose
to make Thunderbird
or Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon
and are defined

water to wine
magician work
good wine
moves us on

so many calls
so many gifts
alloted activated
for common use

let us pause in life’s pleasures
raise a glass of good wine
sup sorrow with the poor
and bid hard times go

Thursday, January 17, 2013

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Epiphany 2 - Year C

I haven’t said recently, “Let Jesus be cursed”. In fact I don’t know that I have ever said it. I certainly don’t intend to say it.

I have, from time to time, conveniently put Jesus out of mind. I have played one thing he said off against another. I have used my gifts for my own purposes rather than some degree of common good.

And the difference between the saying and doing is exactly the degree of hypocrisy in my life. How about you?

After such a generalized confession let’s get down to a seemingly small point — gifts are allotted to and activated by G*D. If you want to say Spirit, that’s fine. These gifts appear to be distributed in mysterious ways that we too easily chalk up to some spiritual plan.

Of interest here is a sense of continual shifts in gifts as call after call comes. Sometimes that is a re-call (no not a recall, a re-call) and we deepen the arena in which we are gifted and called. Sometimes our gifts and call broaden from one arena into another and we put one call down to pick up another.

This is prima facie evidence that gifts and call are living entities. As the spirit chooses, we claim, gifts and calls are allotted and activated. There is no room here for such discriminatory legislation to deny to a whole class of people what is clearly given - a gift and a call. For forty years the United Methodist Church has denied this piece of biblical wisdom, that gift and call need to be evaluated on a basis beyond whether or not a person is affectionally oriented toward a person of their same gender.

Mary saw a gift and a call in Jesus and put him in a position to acknowledge and act on both. Water not only revealed belovedness, but water revealed better wine than could be expected - a party reveling in community and relationship could be extended.

It might be said that the sign here is not water to wine, but the revelation of a gift and call not previously activated. When this sort of integrity is shown, we are speechless and simpy stammer out that some great thing must have passed by here (listen). In the midst of your wearlness may you still sing your gift, your call.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Psalm 36:5-10

Epiphany 2 - Year C

Verse 5: Your steadfast love (belovingness) extends to the heavens.

Verse 10: But limit that to those who “know” you, who are “upright” in heart.

This movement from the constant to the provisional happens all too easily. One process through which this occurs is the escalation from flattering a king/G*D to sick sycophancy. This losing touch with reality poses problems of being able to clearly see the situation we are in and how to deal with it constructively. Our temptations are then to take over and judge who knows G*D and is upright in their heart or to become passive, waiting for a deus ex machina to arrive from up there somewhere.

Epiphany is an attempt to clarify what is before us. All too often we take a simple revelation of belovedness and turn it into ritual, judgment, or partiality otherwise known as prejudice. For now let’s take this section of the psalm as a warning that we not see more than is present (a weak G*D needing our flattery or a strong G*D that gives up on belovedness in favor of judgment).

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Isaiah 62:1-5

Epiphany 2 - Year C

Indeed, no one can keep silent. Every breath is a political statement. We are helping or hindering the future each moment along the way. The intensity and duration of our intention is beside the point. Simply being is speaking loudly.

Parents of the children massacred in Newtown, Connecticut are not going to rest in parenting those who were killed and those still living, are not going to put down their promise to keep children safe.

Here are 3 links of the best coverage to date about this engagement. This is political action at its best. Do note, however, that every decision to rest or not to rest is a political action. This is neither a good or bad reality, it is simply the way it is. So be thankfully, gracefully, and boldly political.

If you would like to help turn forsakenness into delight but don’t know where to begin, go to the Sandy Hook Promise and bring it to your community until something else becomes clear as your call to be intentional about assisting in the transformation of the world. [Note to United Methodists: political action is discipleship for the transformation of the world, you are just doing yours through the lens of Jesus while others are using a different lens.]

Monday, January 14, 2013

John 2:1-11

Epiphany 2 - Year C

Jesus meets his disciples as one follower brings another to experience what they have witnessed. A short while after (a proverbial three days) this new band is invited to a wedding and Mary has her last recorded words, “Do whatever he tells you.”

What Jesus says is, “Belovedness is everywhere.” Water was turned to Baptism; Water is now turned into Wine. Just so suddenly are two primary sacraments presented in John.

In the beginning was belovedness.
All things are made through belovedness.
Light and John and Baptism and Disciples and Wine, all belovedly made.

  • Missing a light at the end of your tunnel? Look for belovedness here and now.
  • Wondering about your identity? Humbly proclaim more is already here.
  • On a quest for meaning? It is nearer than breath, ready to be revealed.
  • Lacking community? See more in others than they see in themselves and risk having more seen in you than you can now see.
  • Feeling a deficit of resources? Our fear of scarcity is self-imposed, when sharing occurs wine freely flows.

These matters are revealed to servants, not stewards/masters. This is not a miraculous sign or wonder. It is a simple picture of how the world can work when our desire is for experiences of shared belovedness. Who needs hope, identity, meaning, community, resources in this day? Someone in your family, neighborhood, political boundary, elsewhere on this beautiful blue dot in an immense universe, or yourself?

Good wine is for now. Cheers!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

a dove descends

Epiphany 1 - Year C

filled with expectation
we look for external forces
to bring Jerusalem

another is coming
with fancy brand-name shoes
to slam dunk our salvation

some other we is bound
to claim our stuckness
and claim our allegiance

surprised am I
when instead of wholeness
I’m dashed

filled with expectation
I look for internal authority
to change entrenched systems

bootstraps are meant for pulling
just one more tug will do
well perhaps one more

I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and 
Doggone It, People Like Me!
look out world, change is here

what could possibly go wrong
I’ve repented and forgiven
go me

filled with expectation
waiting proceeding
waters break

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Acts 8:14-17

Epiphany 1 - Year C

Again a distinction between the outward sign (baptism) of an inward grace (spirit). This gives rise to recognition of Christmas and Easter Christians as well as Anonymous Christians. There are additional questions to be raised about being baptized as a group (Samaria) in distinction to baptism as an individual. How public or private can baptism be envisioned? Is it an eternal sign always affirmed and defended or more practically acknowledged in some situations but not others? Arguments about baptism as an expression of faith or a prerequisite of effective evangelism continue.

And so a secondary question about the efficacy of prayer after baptism, as well as that of prayer prior to baptism. How does prayer fit into hearing and accepting? Into spirit reception?

This gives rise to questions about tertiary signs as well, such as the imposition of hands. If a bishop should have their hands blown off by a mine (as so many still do today [mourn mightily]) would the touch of an arm stump allow a similar completion of a circuit from said bishop to prospective ordinand? It is so easy to get side-tracked into formalism and repetition of the past. [Reminder: Peter and John were not bishops and there was a bit of a gap between Bishop John Potter/John Wesley and Francis Asbury - not to mention other unorthodox carryings-on that have been incorporated into the hagiography of our day.]

These four verses paint pictures that spark more questions than they resolve. This is a good thing. 

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Psalm 29

Epiphany 1 - Year C

Psalm 29 has a whole series of images regarding power and control. Somehow or other G*D’s power and violence is to be a source of our peace. 

This is the equivalent discontinuity that William Lloyd Garrison was reported to have talked about in the opening  segment of The Abolitionists on PBS and here paraphrased: Liberty built on a document that allows a marginalized and discriminated against 3/5ths people to be property cannot long endure - its internal contradiction will be its own downfall. From the teacher’s guide to this program we read: As John Jay wrote in 1786, “To contend for our own liberty, and to deny that blessing to others, involves an inconsistency not to be excused.” [Here is a link to a piece by Garrison about his understanding of abolitionism and a video segment dramatizing it

How is it, again, that G*D can “peacefully” enslave some for the benefit of his flatterers? This internal contradiction eventually leads to the rise of the “Nones”.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Isaiah 43:1-7

Epiphany 1 - Year C

1) You are beloved: it is elemental to your being, no matter your length of life.

2) You were formed and the former can reject you or redeem you: it’s about the former, not the formed, based on claimed eternity.

Are you going to go with statement 1) or 2)? This choice isn’t just semantics or an illusion based on foreground/background alternation.

Problem: How did I get to be so blessed that a claim of first-cause would lead a creator to give equally created others or whole nations in return for me? This locks me into a relationship of shame that I would need redemption and a great contortion to swear fealty to my big brother manipulating things from afar.

Problem: To claim that we are made for someone else’s glory evidences a great lack of “we”ness or revelation of “our” image. This grand beginning of community extended and welcoming folks to a party becomes a patronizing patriarchy. Reduced from being a responsible party to having no authority breaks whatever potential relationship of growing together there might have been.

When between a rock and a hard place, there is more contentment in belovedness than there is comfort in being an object subject to the timing and whim of another. This suggests a theology of belovedness lives deeper than one of redemption. If so, atonement is constituent of creation, not subsequent to it.

The above seems a bit much. It might easily fit into a charge of over-reaction except that the season of Epiphany is all about over-reaction. We might call it the Magi Syndrome — taking one piece of information in one country or arena of life and extrapolating it for another country or all of time. Hopefully you still have a bit of the Magi in you that will carry a sense of connection past usual boundaries.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

Epiphany 1 - Year C

Ah, baptism, held so dear by the church as a branding of the soul! Baptism, a sacrament of privilege and power, a sign of belonging to the in-group.

Truth be told you can pour all the water in the world or immerse to the depths of the ocean, but without belovedness awakened there is nothing but baptism’s shell.

The most beautiful of liturgy and prayer might be sung by angels or chanted by saints, but without belovedness awakened there is no baptism.

If I have the most blessed baptism, but have not belovedness . . . .

To go into all the world, baptizing, is to announce and awaken belovedness. Baptize when requested, but always, always, announce and awaken belovedness. This is an appropriate response to people’s expectation of something better in the midst of another fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

stars and dust

Epiphany - Year C

we look and squint and peer
ahead and around
trying to spot tomorrow

all too often we project today
in and out and about
until new is only repeated old

Magi point a difficult way
over hill and dale
testing hypothesis and theory

connecting stars with power
upstairs and down
we see change but don’t

in a royal setting royalty is 
over and again
king can only beget king

when at first we don’t succeed
ever and anon
we read our tea leaves another time

if continuation is not the only story
now and then
dare we risk an alternative

deeper than crowned privilege
through and through
soul rises like persistent grass

starshine twinkles until we smile
off and on and on and off
our star stops here

gifts are divested and invested
each and every
to build another road

dust off your inner-Magus
abra and kadabra
live for the joy of a better way

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Ephesians 3:1-12

Epiphany - Year C

Paul as a child of the Magi (who knows whom they “visited” along the way):

Mystery was made known to me by revelation. Generations before the Magi, interpretation of mystery was not known. Now it is known that even before his birth the Gentiles knew of someone beyond kings, power, and privilege. This knowledge is worth a long and dangerous journey.
As a descendant of the Magi, I, too, have been given a gift — grace to share — no one is outside the boundless experience of grace. My responsibility for my gift of grace is to share it that it not remain a secret. A mystery continues, why did it took so long for us tackle service, offering one’s self, which opens a bold and confident access to creation and G*D.

As a seeker, a descendent of the Magi, a spiritual scientist, what gift is revealed in you and through you? Are you willing to give it away?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14

Epiphany - Year C

Give to each justice, wholeness.
Each of us are called to engage others as if we were both poor, 
   extending the mercy we have received.
Then mountain tops will not be removed, but roots will filter rain.
Then the cause of the poor will not be pre-judged as lazy.
Then the seasons will bind the generation.
Then water cycles will nourish land and sea.
Then care and peace will flourish.

Of course this can all get truncated by looking to my tribe to be at the top-of-the-heap. It is always good when oppression stops unless it is stopped by self-oppression. Those who have been designated winners and losers can always try to privilege or excuse themselves and return to dividing-the-spoils.

Reclaiming a place-at-the-table is not the same as claiming a priority among the others. Magi honor others — this may that be our model for interacting between cultures and classes within cultures.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Isaiah 60:1-6

Epiphany - Year C

Isaiah 60:1-6

What is this “glory” that revives a community? Here is an overly simple response — an ability to look up and look around.

We tend to be so focused on survival needs (sometimes beyond survival, as in climbing some proverbial ladder to success that always needs a ladder extension) that our nose to the grindstone precludes an ability to look up. These are in some sense mutually exclusive and any contortion to have them be simultaneous only hurts. Imagine the old workaholic mantra actually being accurate: “Keep your feet on the ground, your head above the clouds, your nose to the grindstone, your shoulder to the wheel, your finger on the pulse, your eye on the ball and your ear to the ground.”

Basic to keeping up with the continual changes of life is an ability to look up from our preoccupations and expectations and to look around at the consequences of our past decisions and evaluate what still needs doing. This looking will clear our cobwebs (clouds), allow persistence in the face of discouragement (grindstones), inform where force can be applied to an appropriate lever set on a fulcrum again a blockage (wheels), evaluate the health of a whole system in the face of a temptation to dissect (pulses), attend to details that bring a vision to fruition (balls), and attend to what is coming as well as what is already present (ground of being).

Starting anywhere else than looking up and looking around turns clouds, grindstones, wheels, pulses, balls, and ground into a hammer that sees everything as a nail. These all play their part but are only parts to a larger, more unified process.

Wisdom, down through the generations, counsels appreciation of verses 4-5:
look up—>look around—>thrill and rejoice—>abundance is present—>share—>proceed.