Genuine Hospitality

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Creative Commons hospitality” by Yutaka Seki is licensed under CC BY 2.0

1 Corinthians 10:14   So, my very dear friends, when you see people reducing God to something they can use or control, get out of their company as fast as you can.  (MSG)
[Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary LanguageColorado Springs: NavPress, 2002]

Interacting with people of other traditions
   religious or cultural
      can be tricky
no more so in our day
   than in Paul’s
   except that
      the issue now is not
      food salvaged from sacrifice
         sanctity or hospitality
instead it’s
      xenophobia or hospitality
      purity or compassion

One right-wing pundit
stated the case quite clearly
it’s not about illegal aliens
it is about all immigrants

The land whose national, cultural identity
has been formed and re-formed
   by generation after generation
      of immigrants
is now too sophisticated
      mature
      good
      pure
      comfortable
   to receive the ‘unwashed’
is no longer the land
      of hope
      and promise

Begone you Hispanics
      Somalis
      Sudanese
      Liberians
Begone you Germans
      Irish
      Italians
      French
      Swedes
      Japanese
      Chinese
      ..

Let’s get back to the pure rootstock
let’s give America back to the Lakota Sioux
      Cherokee
      Shawnee
      Apache
      Twighttwee
      Pawnee
      Omaha
      Miami
      Ojibwe
      Sac
      …

Perhaps, just perhaps,
      there is a better way
   perhaps hospitality can overtake animosity
      compassion can replace hatred
      vision can supplant bias
      love can dislodge antipathy
      human decency can crowd out idiocy

      justice can oust oppression
      insistence and calling in the name of God can transform..

without hope and promise
   the Commonwealth of God’s Peace and Justice
      is just “pie in the sky”
without insurrectionists
   willing to put reputation and life on the line
      the Commonwealth is just a pious dream
with too many people of faith
   who for too long have been too quiet and
      the Commonwealth will remain locked in the pages of scripture

When insistence insists, persistently
   when calling calls, constantly
   when invitation invites, in perpetuity
   when nudging nudges, naggingly
when all this happens
   in the name of God (perhaps)
then, something new begins to transpire
   when gun-toting protesters are invited
      into the mosque to see Moslems at prayer
      something radical can materialize
         hearts and minds can be changed / transformed / softened

Ultimately, the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice
   is not a strategy for change
      not a tactic for transformation

      not a program for renewal
      not a plan for a complete do-over
it is, however,
      the promise of changed hearts and minds
      the hope of transformed relationships
      the anticipation of transformed behaviors
      the expectation of a complete do-over

WHEN people of good will
         genuine faith
         gracious hospitality
         generous compassion
         gregarious vision
   join together
      that will, faith, hospitality. compassion, and vision
      infused with courage, audacity, fortitude, and spunk
THEN the Commonwealth will appear
      briefly
      momentarily
      a foretaste of that which is to come
         which never comes
      the possible
         which is impossible
      the impossible
         which is possible
THEN the Commonwealth will appear
   as the table of eucharistic thanksgiving
      stretches around the world
      in the joyous celebration
         of World Communion
THEN the Commonwealth will appear
   as Jews and Buddhists
   and Christians and Moslems
   and Hindus and Taoists
      acknowledge their common resistive nature
         to oppression and domination
         to violence and war
         to prejudice and malice
and peace and justive will fill th earth

The Weak Force of God

God Insists
Photo by Warren Brown, CC BY 2.0

Philippians 2:5-7 5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God,did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,7 but emptied himself,taking the form of a slave,being born in human likeness. (NRSV)

[Scripture quotation from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

“God, although in the form of God, did not think existence something to be exploited, but emptied himself of existence, and took the form of insistence, humbling himself and being content ith weakness, with the weak force of a call which comes upon us in the form of a slave.” (John Caputo)  

Reflection

We made Yeshua and God something to be exploited. That which we created as the super-existent God of strong theology and the equally strong and divine Yeshua were so, so far from the truth. God does not exist as a strong super-being; instead, what exists is insistence, the weak force of an unheard inner calling that continues to nudge us toward a response.

Yeshua was one of those who attended to that insistence in the name of God. Perhaps. As a result, he lived and taught a radical Way of living that turned empire upside-down and inside-out. He called it theKingdom of God. He proposed an approach to human community that turned normal expectations upside down and inside out.

The 1% at the top (the wealthy, the prominent and privileged, those in control of what has become the normalcy of civilization, those maintaining empire and its trappings) find themselves at the bottom of the barrel with the weight of the 99% pressing in upon them. The 99% who have historically found themselves to be, in the estimation of empire and the 1%, the least, the last, the lost, and the left out are finding themselves to be in a position where abundant life can be actualized, where the good life can actually be lived, where justice and salvation work for the well-being of all in society. Care, compassion, peace, justice, human decency, and love become the storylines, the normalcy of civilization.

It is no surprise, given this radical reversal (which Yeshua actually lived and taught), that we should attach the name Messiah (Christ) to Yeshua. Yeshua lived it and was executed for sedition. Now the insistence, the calling falls to us — to you and to me.

When we hear the name of Yeshua do we bend the knee (that is, respond with a life that repeats what Yeshua lived and taught) or do we continue to worship at the altar of empire in collusion with the 1%?

A Ferment Within

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Creative Commons 1 John 4:12” by Tito & Eva Marie Balangue is licensed under CC BY 2.0

John 6:35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life.” (CEB)
Galatians 4:6 Because you are sons and daughters, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” (CEB)
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

Yeshua is a channel,
a source for getting to the Source.
Yeshua is the yeast
that ferments the bread inside me,
bubbling up in my deepest being
an insistent longing
which can be heard as call
in the name of God.
Perhaps.

When I attend to Yeshua and his Way,
I find myself being sustained
manna in the wilderness
water from flowing streams.

That nourishment fuels my desire
to follow in the Way
to be a citizen
in the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice.

Such is the ‘stuff’ of eternal life
not increased quantity of time
(life after death)
but increased quality of personhood and relationship
(life during life).

Abba”
not some distant, far-away God
but God in the moment
not some external, detached God
but God within
not a God of lightning and thunderbolts
but God who is experienced
as an unheard inner voice
insisting, inviting, nudging,
calling, drawing

Abba”
fresh movement within
hush my hunger pangs

fill my cup to overflowing
that I may be your presence
wherever I am present
in the meantime.

All in the Mystery of God

SeekingPsalm 42:1-2     1 Just like a deer that craves streams of water, my whole being craves you, God. My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God. (CEB)
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

 

Search, pursue,
hunt, explore…
seeking, I am found.

Fluent, eloquent,
verbal, persuasive…
speaking, I am immersed in silence.

Flee, retreat,
dodge, depart…
fleeing, I am returned home.

Sometimes God speaks
in the silence of an inner voice
that insists, invites, nudges, calls.
Sometimes I whisper a word
in response to that inner voice.

At other times
after a manifestation of thoughts
God (while remaining anonymous)
speaks a word through another person.
Sometimes, I utter a word from God
in response to another’s manifestation of thoughts.

At all times, God speaks through love.
Sometimes, I even murmur a word of love.

“Heaven and Earth Will Pass Away”

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Creative Commons Dr. Wayne Dyer Heaven on earth is a choice we must make, not a place we must find” by BK is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Mark 13:31 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will certainly not pass away. (CEB)

[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

 

Heaven and earth will pass away.”
What a remarkable statement…

When we are young,
we live as if
earth will never pass away
In our older years,
we hope that heaven will never do so.

When wisdom intrudes,
we begin to reassess 
earth (life as we know it)
will pass away
each of us will die
nothing we can do to change it;
heaven (life as we wish it to be)
will pass us by
each of us must choose
what we will do or not do to change it.

The key is to stay alert
attentively waiting for
an insistence
an invitation
a calling
in the name of God.
Perhaps.

When that insistence comes
and we make it a part of our lives
the gates of heaven and earth open to us
knowing good and evil becomes a reality
we become citizens of
the Commonwealth of God’s Peace and Justice…
the fig trees bear fruit
and clap their hands
and salvation dawns within.

A Different Kind of Parade

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Creative Commons Wellington Santa Parade (8)” by Kristina D.C. Hoeppner is licensed under CC BY 2.0

When someone we love dies,
it is hard to let go
difficult to experience them
in a new way

It is difficult after Good Friday
to allow the Palm Sunday parade
to become a different kind of parade
to go on as the Easter journey
   where my beloved now lives within me
where I become the bearer of the
 hopes and dreams of the one I love

the impossible possibility

 

Tears

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Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain

Jeremiah 9:1    O that my head were a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people!
2 Timothy 1:4   Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy.
[Scripture quotation from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

 

Tears, copious tears
streaming down my cheek
tears of anguish
tears of frustration
tears of anger
tears of sadness
flowing freely
into the hollow
at the center of my soul

That gap in my being
that abyss
that rift
can never fill to overflowing
my neediness inexhaustible
pangs of distress unlimited

The new day dawns
the robin sings
the rose blossoms
all without why
while my WHYs pile up

Do I arise this day
to jump into the pit of my dolor
or do I choose to experiment
a day without why
trusting that my responses
to the realities of the day
will be enough
faith unto faith
trust into trust
not running from my inner anguish
nor being seduced and overcome by it
living into it
living through it
living

Nothing More

We are love,
We are one,
We are how we treat each other when the day is done.
We are peace,
We are war,
We are how we treat each other and nothing more

Will the Hills Burst into Song?

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Creative Commons Ecology Society Economy diagram Environment background” by Travelplanner is licensed under CC BY-3.0 US

Psalm 98:8 Let all the rivers clap their hands; let the mountains rejoice out loud altogether

Isaiah 55:12 Yes, you will go out with celebration, and you will be brought back in peace. Even the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you; all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]

Musings

On that day when
waters are not flowing freely
overcome with industrial waste
the brooks will no longer babble
the rivers will not clap their hands…

On that day when
the landscape is stripped bare
so that the earth will give up
its hidden treasure
the hills will no longer
be able to burst into song…

On that day when
the forests are all clear cut
to build custom homes for the rich
the trees will not be able to applaud
the arrival of a new day and
the mountains will be in despair…

On that day when
the last meadow lark’s song is heard
and the flowers no longer smell as sweet
the creation will groan in travail
a premature death rattle…

On that day there will be
no music
   except a dirge
no laughter
   except a cynical sneer
no spectrum of colors
   just black and white
the sun may not rise

Is there another day
waiting in the wings
a day when you and I 
will sing with the hills and the mountains

will join the applause of the rivers and trees
will celebrate as the creation?

Is there a day when
climate deniers will ask
   to be taught by scientists
industrial polluters are willingly
   investing in clean energy
styrofoam users will
   devote themselves to the green revolution
whaling ships will be
   drydocked forever

If that day is tomorrow
we will have walked out on the future
we will have forfeited our destiny
we will have opted out of responsibility
once again

If that day is to come
it can only be today
we will have to walk into our present
   accept our responsibility 
   and claim our destiny
   as co-creators who embrace the earth

      as we seek justice for it

If that day is to come
it must be our day
in the name of God.