Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pentecost 20 B - Psalm 90:12-17

Psalm 90:12-17
I don’t need to be a math major to know there are more days behind me than ahead of me 
so I’d rather not number the days I have left, thank you very much. Of course a heart of wisdom isn’t troubled by the passing of time because it understands each day is a gift and no one is guaranteed another when the current day is done. So the heart of wisdom awakes each morning grateful that it has been given a new dawn to greet. That is not to say the burden of each day is easy to bear when days are full of trouble and nights are wearied by weeping. But maybe the heart of wisdom is able to endure them all because the days of trouble are numbered and the future day of resurrection dawn is endless. So satisfy us this day, O Lord, with unfailing love that anticipates the eternal song of joy.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pentecost 20 - Amos 5:6-7; 10-15

Amos 5:6-7; 10-15
You can’t seek the good God desires without seeking the good that blesses others. That is not to say you don’t have your own “personal Jesus” (Depeche Mode) it’s just that God is personally concerned with more people than just you. Like a parent who desires competing children to not just play nice but deeply care for one another the fact that some of God’s children live in luxury while others live in poverty is upsetting to God. There are no easy answers to income inequality and we are less than honest if we don’t acknowledge that even the most generous of us have far more than we actually need. But God doesn’t deal in half measures and if Amos speaks for the Almighty the day of reckoning will be same sort of reversal of fortunes that Jesus preached about on more than one occasion. So what if we were not distracted or discouraged by the issues that are beyond our ability to deal with but instead provided for the needy in the “gate” we pass through every day? We can change the part of the planet we inhabit one person at a time and in doing so we will more fully love the God who fully loves the people we pass by in the gate.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pentecost 19 B - Mark 10:2-16

Mark 10:2-16
When the disciples ask Jesus about this matter he invokes the “thou shall not…” to what Moses allowed for so that the hypocrisy of the Pharisee test might be exposed. The secondary law that is a concession to the hardness of the human heart is easily coerced so that the “from the beginning of creation” purpose of God is corrupted. That does not mean the “from the beginning of creation” purpose of God is not in place when the one flesh of marriage is separated only that like so many other things about our present circumstance divorce is not what God intended. The second half of this week’s lectionary might seem unrelated but like the perfect law corrupted the human heart hardens the gift of the kingdom of God into something we put in a doctrinal box of human rules and regulations. So a little child is the image the Almighty chooses to take up so that the hardness of the human heart might be softened in the same way that Jesus takes little children into his arms and blesses them.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pentecost 19 B - Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12

Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12
If “in these last days” Jesus is the reflection of God’s glory and the very imprint of God’s very being” then God (in Jesus) was, for a little while, lower than the angels as well. By that I mean Jesus cannot taste death for everyone while the one Father who sanctifies remains distant. Even if we reduce the relationship of the inner workings of the mystery of the Trinity to something a little lower, like human parent and child, God experiences the death Jesus drinks. More to the point, it is not just any death that Jesus tastes. He does not die in his sleep. The cancer doesn’t get him. He doesn’t drop dead of a heart attack. It isn’t an accident. Crowned with thorns, stripped naked and nailed to wood Jesus’ death is as creative as humans can get when it comes to inflicting shame and pain on one another. And given that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, knew our nature from the beginning… (in subjecting all things to them God left nothing outside their control) it was not only fitting but really the only option that salvation for savages such as ourselves should come through suffering. And by that I mean Jesus descends into our corruption and rises above our much lower status so that we might ascend above and beyond our beginnings to become like the pioneer of our salvation. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pentecost 19 B - Psalm 8

Psalm 8
The “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name” is mindful of mortals. Within the human community the mighty generally ignore the lowly. There are exceptions, of course, but more often than not human beings are only mindful of themselves. Not so with the majestic name that is above all names. God in Jesus enters the human story as a baby born to an unwed mother in a country occupied by a foreign power. He is the opposite of what we would expect. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected, a man of suffering and familiar with pain, like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised and we held him in low esteem.” (Isaiah 53:2-3) David imagines God’s mindfulness as crowning mortals with glory and honor and giving them dominion over every living thing. Mortals crowned the majestic name with thorns and heaped scorn and abuse on that sacred head. But the glory of God was the cross (John 12:28) where God elevated mortals by being brought low. “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth…”