April 4, 2017
Can these bones live?
It's a question that storytellers have been asking for as long as there have been stories? And may claim that we know the answer to this question "in our bones."
The stories of Lent are full of people who when faced with confusing or frightening situations tend to focus on questions of blame and vilification?
But the stories of old, the stories of our faith, want us to ask instead: Where can we find life? What does it look like? What does it ask of us?
Join us for Aftertalk on Sunday right after worship where we will think together about these questions and others that might be stirred for us in worship.
Ezekiel 31:1 - 14 † Psalm 130 † John 11:1-41
March 29, 2017
Why is it that the blind one seems to see most clearly in this next Lenten story from John? What is the gospel writer suggesting with this?
Have a look at the stories linked here:
1 Samuel 16:1-13 † Psalm 23 † Ephesians 5:8-14† John 9:1-41
In this day in which we all seem to be children of a sort, playing with our red and blue bubbles, perhaps there is a good question here for us. What does it take to be taken by this gospel and the salvation it draws us toward that seems to always stretch us beyond our settled systems?
The crazy drama that unfolds just may be one of the funniest slapstick passages in the scriptures. And like most humor, it has a bigger, life-giving purpose to help us breathe so that we can take a second look at the world as we think we know it. Take the Pharisees... Please. Their logical contortions would put any gymnast to shame. How these "hearings" seem to parallel a little too closely some of those currently underway in the other Washington.!
And yet, how are we like the Pharisees who so struggle so mightily to fit this healing into their system that they end up as the truly blind ones by the end? Or do we sometimes resemble the parents--selling out one who belongs to them for fear?
And then consider this blind one and the serenity, wit, and clarity that seems to only grow as the story develops and chaos all around ensues. What's going on here? What's the story for us?
Join us Sunday as we spend a little time with this story and our stories. Right after worship.
March 19, 2017
"From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages..." So begins the Exodus reading! Let's just say things don't go swimmingly from there, but the story does speak to the process, the stages that the Spirit draws us through as we become more aware of the presence of the Holy in our lives.
Exodus 17:1-7 † Psalm 95 † Romans 5:1-11 † John 4:5-42
We can see this happen in the story of the woman at the well in John, perhaps similarly as to the way it happened with Nicodemus last week, although the details, the challenges, and the questions are a bit different. Comparing these two stories, in fact, might just have something to teach us about our current, let's call them (red and blue) color challenges. Where we sit, what we trust and what we don't, our connection to locations of power or privilege shape what we hear, how we believe, what work we have to do to allow the presence of God to shine through and break our hearts and our lives open. And that breaking open just might enable us to hear one another again.
February 5, 2017
And So It Begins...
We can't even get two chapters into Genesis without a few lies. So it begins for us "dust creatures." But all is not dark! In fact, the light is coming. Lent means "to lengthen." It refers to what's happening for us in the Northern Hemisphere (sorry Christians in the southern latitudes--it looks like we thought it all was about us up north!) as the days grow longer and the light increases. And increasing light is not just about our trip around the sun, it is about illumination, growing understanding that comes by way of self-examination, reflection, humility.
"You are dust." So comes the reminder of Ash Wednesday. But it is good. We're limited. Life is short. We are connected. It is always good to check yourself, Self-knowing, openness lead us to life and to life-giving ways. Think of it this way. The Lord put the man and the woman in the garden, according to Genesis 2:15, this after declaring them at creation "very good." Very good.
The only thing that changes in Sunday's Genesis story is that they become aware they are naked. God knew, and wasn't ashamed. Lent invites us to be intentional about stripping away what keeps us poor. What we cannot accept in ourselves we cannot accept in others. What I don't love in myself, I can't love in another.
Lent is a journey to freedom..
Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7 † Psalm 32 † Romans 5:12-19 † Matthew 4:1-11