Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Pentecost 2 C - Psalm 96:1-6

Psalm 96:1-6All the gods of the peoples are small g idol gods. It’s a bold statement to make in a pluralistic culture where many would say the new song to be sung is any song not sung so loudly as to make religious waves in the secular sea. But if we believe there is only one big G God who alone is worthy of a new song then we have no option but to sing it as the only song there is. But even as an exclusive song it is not a song of conquest, as much as I like Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus and Onward Christian Soldiers. No. The new song that is our salvation was a lullaby first sung in a stable by an unwed mother to a new born who just so happened to be the Big G God come down on earth to dwell. The new song that is our salvation was sung by the same baby grown to be a man as an invitation to pick up a cross and follow. The new song that is our salvation was sung as mercy and kindness and healing – your faith has made you well. The new song that is our salvation was sung as a challenge to rule bound religion – the Sabbath was made for you; not you for the Sabbath. The new song that is our salvation was sung as a lament, my God, my God why have you forsaken me? And finally the new song that is our salvation refused to be silenced by death and broke the grave's stranglehold on humanity once and for all. So if we are to sing the new song we have to sing the old song which reminds me of one my favorites – I love to tell the story.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Pentecost 2 C - 1 Kings 8:22-23, 41-43

1 Kings 8:22-23, 41-43
In the verses the lectionary leaves out Solomon wonders if God whom “the highest heaven cannot contain” will be found in the sanctuary built by human hands. Solomon’s plea and prayer is that when people gather in the holy house God will be present. But more than that Solomon prays that God will be merciful so that sin will be forgiven and sin’s consequences mitigated. When the heavens are shut up and famine inhabits the land, when plague and pestilence and blight consume the people’s strength, God will see the plight of God’s people and provide. We no longer associate a single place as the location of the Divine presence but there is something to be said for a house that is a home.  And as it turns out we’re the ones that need a house that we can call God’s home so that we have a place to go when troubles grow too great to bear alone. 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Feast of the Holy Trinity Year C - John 16:12-15

John 16:12-15
I was once asked when the Holy Ghost disappeared from the creed and the Holy Spirit appeared. I said I’m not sure when but I know why. In Hebrew the word attached to the third person of the Trinity is Ruach, in Greek Pneuma or breath. Spirit seems to capture that idea better than Ghost but Holy Breath might be better. In the beginning Holy Breath hovered over the chaos and called forth the creation. Holy Breath animated humans formed from dust. Holy Breath inspired words in the mouth of the prophets to convict and correct so that the vision of redemption and return could be realized. Holy Breath cried in a stable and from a hill. Holy Breath stepped out of the darkness of death and through locked doors to breathe on disciples hiding in fear and confusion. On the day when the waiting came to an end Holy Breath like the rush of a wind spoke through fisher folk and tax collectors in languages unlearned. To this day the Holy Breath breathed scripture (2 Timothy 3:16) “calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies and keeps us in the one true faith.” (Luther) And wherever and wherever the one holy catholic (small c = universal, invisible) and apostolic church steps into and lives out of the truth as guided by Holy Breath, the Father Son Spirit is glorified.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Feast of the Holy Trinity Year C - Romans 5:1-5

Romans 5:1-5

The second article of the faith tells the story of the One not created who was before time began and yet chose to let go of glory and empty himself to be found in human likeness. This is where the Trinity gets tricky and the creeds only state the "what" leaving humans to figure out the "how", which is where we get into trouble. But if the unbroken unity of the Trinity is love for the children of creation then Father Son Spirit are equally engaged in the work of redemption, though it would appear that the Son does the heavy lifting. In the person of Jesus the One uncreated becomes weak to save the weak, becomes sin to save sinners, and surrendering his life forgives his enemies. The image of an angry God now appeased by a human sacrifice, albeit God in human flesh is not what Paul means by being saved from the wrath of God, for God’s love is proved by the death of Christ and wrath and love cannot coexist. God is the only actor on the stage of salvation. While we were ungodly, while we were weak, while we were sinners, while we were God’s enemies, God died for us, ahead of us, instead of us so that by the life of God the love of God might be poured into our hearts through the Spirit. This One in Three and Three in One, Father Son Spirit, dwelling within us produces hope that does not disappoint by enduring suffering and reflecting the character of Christ, which is love.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Feast of the Holy Trinity Year C - Psalm 8

The unity of Father Son Spirit cannot be divided and yet each member fully present in the other is also distinct. Attempting to say something about each One in Three while preserving the Three in each One is a tip toe through the tulips of heresy, but I will press on, gingerly! In the time before time began the One who was not created called forth the heavens and the earth setting the stars like jewels in the crown of space. From infinite imagination the One who was not created called forth living beings weaving them together with the fabric of the earth. When all was said and done and very good the One who was not created formed in the image of the Infinite Imagination a creature both beautiful and terrible. Given our drive to exercise dominion over all things, including the One who imagined us, God would do well to be mindful of mortals for God’s own sake. That might not be so far from the truth. The first article of the faith names the One who created the heavens and the earth as God the Father Almighty. It is the parent in the Infinite Imagination that is mindful of the children created in the image of God. Love for the child will move that same One who was not created to inhabit mortal flesh and be crowned with glory and honor, not in the heavens, but on a “hill far away.” Love for the child will move that same One who was not created to inspire the mouths of babes and infants and the young and the old to sing Alleluia when the enemy and the avenger, death itself, is swallowed up in victory. The One in Three and Three in One is bound together by love for the children both beautiful and terrible until and for the day when the children of the Infinite Imagination are perfected in the eternal future. O God, our God, how majestic is your name!