Monthly Archives: February 2017

Write Your Own Post

For a change of pace, why not write your own blog post instead of reading someone else’s. Not sure where to begin? Following are some beginning questions to ponder.  I’d love to hear some of your stories.

  • What is before you now, stirring within you, nudging you, wanting to come to life in and through you? Are you embracing or resisting it? Where do you find support for your journey in faith as you wrestle with these stirrings?
  • What brings you hope and joy? How do you incorporate that hope/joy into your life? 
  • What angst brings you to tears? Can you explore those tears without fear? While fear often produces anger, does your anger get transformed into a passion leading to redemptive action?
  • As you examine your continuing faith formation (including your involvement – or lack thereof – in church) what hesitations present themselves? what possibilities? Where do you find hope and the permission to make those scary decisions that are hope-filled and leading to a more abundant life?
  • Over and over Yeshua is recorded as saying, “Fear not!” How does “fear not” get into our bones, into the gristle of our lives? What has been (or might have been) helpful in your formation as you discover / access / attain the vulnerability of falling into (God’s) grace? of living out of a bedrock of trust and hope?
  • How have you experienced the challenge to embrace living into a “new” way that understands your life as an integral part of the connection and interactivity of all creation – from Higgs boson to the most distant galaxy? How does that connectedness of all invite you to both responsibility and enjoyment?

Imago Dei

Nicholas of Cusa

“It is the whole universe, not the little human speck of it, that is made in imago dei. … The universe does not resemble a God who stands outside it; it resembles God only insofar as it embodies God, everywhere in the unreserved equally.”  
(quoted in Keller, Cloud of the Impossible, p. 118)

 

Active Fermentation

2 Corinthians 5:6-10, 14-17

There is a confidence that builds in us as we learn to listen to the insistence of God (perhaps), that unheard inner calling. That confidence is also known as faithing. Faithing is flip side of calling. When we sense that insistence, we become accountable for our response – a response which makes God present in the world. This pattern (Insistence generating Response becoming Presence) is crucial, for God exists in name only unless we act in God’s name, thus manifesting God to the world. And what is the nature of that manifestation of God (perhaps) — it is simply the spreading of the effects of the Way Yeshua lived and taught, the presence of the commonwealth of peace and tender justice. During his earthly existence Yeshua did remarkably well. We see the messianic hopes of Israel unmistakably present in all that he did and taught. We are confident, therefore, that the creation has turned a corner. The commonwealth is already present, like yeast in bread dough.

Symbol of God’s Presence

2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10

The tribes of Israel came to David. “We are your kinsmen. Saul was our king, but you are the one whose military leadership preserved our nation and we want you to be king. We believe that it is a calling in the name of God (perhaps) that you should be our shepherd.” There and then, at Hebron, a covenant was established between David and his kinsmen making David king. At the time David was 30. He ruled from Hebron for 6 1/2 years before moving his capital to Jerusalem. From there he ruled for 33 years, making his reign last a total of 70 years. Jerusalem was built up during his reign and became known as the city of David. David’s power and prestige continued to grow, and he became a symbol of God’s presence with the people.

A Choice!

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 

You have a choice to make — life or death, prosperity or adversity. It is that insistence which I have experienced and which I pass on to you, a deep inner calling in the name of God. Perhaps. Follow the Way which is described in the commandments and decrees and ordinances in the name of God (perhaps) and you will live the insurrection life that challenges the systems of this world and moves toward a new kind of life — perhaps even life in the land of milk and honey. It is a choice between a life of blessing in the name of God (perhaps) or a cursed death lived under the specter of empire, and not only for you but for your descendents. The calling comes in the name of God (perhaps); attend to that insistence and let your response be as audacious, outlandish, and faithful as was the response of our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Living Water

Reflections on Thirst for God (after reading Reuben Job)

Whenever you have experienced great thirst, you have subsequently been aware how refreshing water can be. When the Samaritan woman ran into Yeshua at Jacob’s well, she was just trying to quench her physical thirst. Encountering Yeshua, however, she experienced something far deeper — namely, a thirst for connection with divine mystery and meaning. Yeshua was responding to that deeper calling.

The desire for connection with divine mystery and meaning seems to be universal, as if our very creatureliness has been formed around that desire. It almost seems imprinted through our DNA. In the rush of daily living, it is easy to ignore, deny, or bury this desire under multiple layers of distractions. And yet, when we face the significant ups and downs of life, that desire becomes manifest in us once again… it is an insistence that we experience inwardly that makes us aware that companionship with that calling, that insistence, that nudge, that invitation, that still small voice within, is our life-blood. It is at these moments that we are aware that life lived outside of this insistent calling is not a possibility that we can easily sustain. We have been created to hear and follow this calling in the name of God (perhaps) just as much as we have been created as ones who must have water to survive.

Today we still look to Yeshua for living water. Joining together in companionship with Yeshua and those who have chosen to follow in the Way he lived and taught is the very thing that will quench our thirst. Like the Psalmist, we thirst for connection with divine mystery and meaning. The good news is that Yeshua’s Way will satisfy that thirst.

Praise! Praise!

Psalms 146:1-10         Praise insistence in the name of God. Perhaps. Praise! Praise! I will sing the praises of God’s insistence, that unheard inner calling that we simply cannot escape. I do not put my trust in empires and politicians. They are of little help. But I do trust those who wait and listen in order that they might hear the quiet voice of insistence that shouts inwardly, awakening us to the conditions of the oppressed. As I hear that divine insistence, the calling that comes in the name of God (perhaps), I know that we are being beckoned toward the commonwealth of peace and tender justice. May the despondent be set free from that which imprisons them; those short-sighted freed from their blindness; the ones who are burdened with heavy loads helped to stand straight and tall; strangers shown deep rich hospitality; orphans and widows be cared for. All this while the wicked are hoisted on their own petard. May the commonwealth of peace and tender justice become the normalcy of civilization until the end of time.

We place the name of God on our best hopes for the world. Ironically, we know that it is the vitality of our loving care that makes a difference in the world and makes God present to that difference. When we go astray, insistence in the name of God (perhaps) shows us the way to return to full, rich life. We know that human institutions falter, so we stake our hope on the insurrection of the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice. That hope takes on reality when kindness is shown to those lost, ill, oppressed, disregarded, or trodden down by any and all forms of adversity. That kindness is the hallmark of the Way lived and taught by Yeshua. At the time of his death Yeshua cried out with a sense of forsakenness. When we hear that forsaken cry echo down through the ages we are reminded (actually it is much stronger than that — we are insisted upon, called to reach out to those forsaken in life)…  it is then that we  know that the Commonwealth of Peace and Justice is founded on “the preferential option for the poor (and forsaken).” Yeshua has shown us the Way. Therefore we praise all that insisted him and us.

Bonding with the Creation

To know the inner heart of the mystery of Creation — instead of insisting on the the existence of a detached Creator — is joy and enchantment and peace. Once we have bonded, in this manner, with the Creation itself, we will always know the imprint of that mystery upon our selves. To know that we are made of stardust and that we human beings have been given the privilege of being part of the universe’s capacity for self-awareness is as much a cause for joy as it is the occasion for deep responsibility. However we stay in touch with this awareness and remain bonded to the created order, we will find that our lives are filled with gladness and purpose and there is a depth of love that resonates between us and every part of the created order for we know who we truly are.

Prayer for Purity of Heart

Prayer     

God, who calls us to all that is good and just, nudge us, beckon us, invite us with such insistence that we find the courage to walk the Way with integrity, that we attend to the wisdom of Yeshua as a guide that levels the playing field so that we participate in a vital Christianity that seeks out the least, the lost, the last, and the left out. Let your insistence  marshall the forces of our strengths as well as calling us to use gifts that we never knew we had or that we have been afraid to exercise. Above all, we pray that our responses to your insistent calling will arise out of purity of heart which is, as Kierkegaard said, conforming our will to the truth that resonates with your audacious act of kenosis — that is, that we might give away our very selves for the sake of the world. Let it be so!

Do What is Faithful and Fair

2 Corinthians 8:1-15

Just to let you know, neighboring churches have shown abundant generosity. They shared much in the face of great affliction — giving beyond their means. They should be a model for you. You have demonstrated faithfulness, wisdom, and understanding. Now, to complete the picture, you can demonstrate an abundant stewardship as an act of compassionate caring for others. Like Yeshua, you need to make an accounting and compare your ample means with the needs of others. I don’t want to coerce you, so I simply make this request — do what is fair and faithful.