Drinking the spirit

27 March 2011
Third Sunday in Lent
Lent 3A (RCL)

Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 95
Romans 5:1-11
John 4:5-42

The Gospel reading is very rich. At the level of narrative, it works well: a woman, out at the well at noon, not the usual time for women go to the well — indicates her shame (five husbands, etc.), yet Jesus is willing to speak with her, and ask her for a drink. Of course, I don’t like the way the story (at the level of narrative) ends — we no longer believe because of what you said, but we have heard for ourselves. Dissing the woman once more.

But Continue reading “Drinking the spirit”

Movin’ on

20 March 2011
Second Sunday in Lent
Lent 2A (RCL)

Genesis 12:1-4a
Psalm 121
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
John 3:1-17

The passage from Genesis is cryptically short. If I were Abraham, I might ask God to stop showing up in my life: promises and challenges go together. God tells Abram to leave his country, his kindred, and his father’s house and go to a land that God will show him. There is no destination laid out before hand, no Google map. Just go. Continue reading “Movin’ on”

Tending the divine

13 March 2011
First Sunday in Lent
Lent 1A (RCL)

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
Psalm 32
Romans 5:12-19
Matthew 4:1-11

God put the human being in the garden to till and tend it. The human being desired the knowledge of good and evil. We want to sit in judgment on God’s world, deciding what is good and what is bad. Interesting, since God had already declared everything God had made to be good. So, on what criteria do humans judge things to be evil? We decide things on our own criteria, rather than the mind of God. Because of that, we got kicked out of the garden, and for ever after have to earn out bread by the sweat of our brow. I suppose one could read this as a coming-of-age story. When we get old enough to know the difference between right and wrong, we learn we are going to die, and are going to have to work.

When Satan tempts Jesus, he tells him to turn a stone into bread: to short circuit the process of tilling and tending the garden. We humans get impatient. We want to solve our problems by magic: by new technology, by power, by the knowledge of good and evil. Jesus refuses to fix things by a shortcut. Later, when he feeds the 5000 and the 4000, he uses resources at hand, rather than turning stones to bread. He also refuses to test God with a show of power, and refuses world domination. He opts for the patient tending of God’s creation.

God has declared the whole creation good. We are called to tend to the good in creation, patiently to draw forth the goodness already here, to bring out the best in others, to help them meet their own needs. God has asked us to tend to the divine in the world, not to pass judgment on it.

Shining with God’s glory

6 March 2011
Last Sunday after Epiphany
Last Epiphany A (RCL)

Exodus 24:12-18
Psalm 2
2 Peter 1:16-21
Matthew 17:1-9

It’s too bad we’re not reading a passage a little earlier in 2 Peter. 2 Peter 1:3-7 reads, “His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and power. Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire. For this very reason, Continue reading “Shining with God’s glory”