On our own, we conclude ….

Chapter 8

Good Monday Morning to this week 9 of 2020

Thinking and speaking about compassion and mercy I came across this passage from Walter Brueggemann speaking on generosity. I’ll leave you with this, as this week emerges out of the shadows:

Walter Brueggemann, 11.03.1933  an American Protestant Old Testament scholar and theologian.  He is known in modern progressive Christianity and argues that the Church must provide a counter-narrative to the dominant culture or forces of our time.

On Generosity

On our own, we conclude:
there is not enough to go around

we are going to run short
of money
of love
of grades
of publications
of members
of years
of life

we should seize the day
seize our goods
seize our neighbor’s goods
because there is not enough to go around

and in the midst of our perceived deficit
you come
you come giving bread in the wilderness
you come giving children at the 11th hour
you come giving homes to exiles
you come giving futures to the shut down
you come giving easter joy to the dead
you come – fleshed in Jesus.

and we watch while
the blind receive their sight
the lame walk
the lepers are cleansed
the deaf hear
the dead are raised
the poor dance and sing

we watch
and we take food we did not grow and
life we did not invent and
future that is gift and gift and gift and
families and neighbours who sustain us
when we did not deserve it.

It dawns on us – late rather than soon-
that you “give food in due season
you open your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

By your giving, break our cycles of imagined scarcity
override our presumed deficits
quiet our anxieties of lack
transform our perceptual field to see
the abundance………mercy upon mercy
blessing upon blessing.

Sink your generosity deep into our lives
that your muchness may expose our false lack
that endlessly receiving we may endlessly give
so that the world may be made “Easter” new,
without greedy lack, but only wonder,
without coercive need but only love,
without destructive greed but only praise
without aggression and invasiveness….
all things “Easter” new…..
all around us, toward us and
by us, all things Easter new.

Finish your creation, in wonder, love and praise. Amen.”
Walter Brueggemann

Wishing you a week of abundance.

Philemon

 

The excited commotion and scramble

Chapter 7

Good Monday Morning to this week 8 of 2020

Zacchaeus, scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his luck, delighted to take Jesus home. Luke 19.6 MSG

Scramble and commotion are related words, both very often used within the context of Israel and the teachings and parables of Jesus.

Scramble; to move somewhere quickly and in a way that is not graceful, to move something upwards, make one’s way quickly or awkwardly up a steep gradient or over rough ground by using one’s hands as well as one’s feet.

Commotion; a sudden, short period of noise, confusion, or excited movement

Other terms of seen: To be in haste, see the commotion, a growing disarray, the cluttered, there was a bustle or scuffle, commotion and hurry, scramble and stir.

Zacchaeus scrambled up and down from the sycamore tree.

The Sycomorus,  the fig-mulberry, having fig-like fruit and leaves like the mulberry. A strong tree with great branches, and are easily climbed. That a man of this chief publican’s dignity would have resorted to such a manoeuvrer suggests his foresight, energy, determination, and ingenuity.

Curiosity carried Zacchaeus to scramble up the tree , in haste he scrambled down the tree, being called by name was great reason to do so quickly, past the commotion, the love and invitation of Jesus brought him down and to his house. There he received his guest Jesus joyfully! This joy is significant and showing a previous yearning for this encounter.  The internal revolution of Zacchaeus was as perfect as instantaneous,  receiving the free and full forgiveness of his sins, a justifying righteousness, an abundance of grace.

I’m getting a few words and ideas here for us, for myself, this morning:
Curiosity, scrambling, excited commotion, invitation, being called by name, receiving in joy, forgiveness, abundance.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Beatitudes

This beatitude gets the heart of the matter, echoes and rings in my ears as I sit here contemplating this wonderful short story out of the life of Jesus.

As we scramble to the busy schedules of this week, let’s remember the joyful commotion of being met my Jesus in our homes and being called by His name!

Wishing you a wonderful start to this week.

Philemon

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reframing

Chapter 6

Good Monday Morning to this week 7 of 2020

Philippians 4:12 “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Reframing is a technique used in therapy to help create a different way of looking at a situation, person, or relationship by changing its meaning. Also referred to as cognitive reframing, it’s a strategy therapists often used to help clients look at situations from a slightly different perspective.

Reframing is seeing the current situation from a different perspective, which can be tremendously helpful in problem-solving, decision making and learning.

Reframing is helping you or another person to more constructively move on from a situation in which you or the other person feels stuck or confused.

The aim of reframing is to shift one’s perspective to be more empowered to act – and hopefully to learn at the same time.

Many times, merely reframing one’s perspective on a situation can also help people change how they feel about the situation, as well.

Many Christians today experience a frustrating and confusing disconnect between the story of Scripture and the story of their lives.

If  Jesus is the redeemer of all things, how does faith in him reframe every aspect of our lives? How does Christianity connect to the whole of who we are? Is Jesus relevant in an increasingly complex world? These are the types of questions many of us wrestle with today.

Think about the past week. Recall some of the different places, activities, and situations you were involved in. Where did you see your faith making a difference? Where did you feel his presence? Where did you not feel connected to him? If he feels uninvolved, it could be that the multifaceted dimensions of your life and the demands placed upon you are stealing your connection with Him?  And if that happens, is faith relegated to just another thing in we have to juggle.

How do we reframe?

Who am I, why am I here, what do I do? Where do I go, what’s important in life, what’s real and what’s an illusion; what’s true and what’s false,” and on and on. Jesus with the disciples on the road to Emmaus a good example of two followers that had lost sight of the true or the whole story. They were confused; blinded to seeing Jesus—in fact, they didn’t ever expect to see Jesus again. Did they forgot the part where Jesus said He would rise again on the third day or were they just deeply dissapointed? And so they desperately needed Jesus to once again open their minds to the true and whole story of what he accomplished. Luke 24.32 Passion Version:  Stunned, they looked at each other and said, “Why didn’t we recognize it was him? Didn’t our hearts burn with the flames of holy passion while we walked beside him? He unveiled for us such profound revelation from the Scriptures!”

The setting for many to find faith is in and through worship, which includes Scripture, proclamation, and sacrament as the breaking of the bread as the story then continues: Stay and have supper with us …  That is also where the faith of all is sustained. It is the place where Jesus continues to reveal himself. The Christian faith is born and nurtured where people share in worship through word, gesture, water, bread, wine, and mutual care, the smile, the clasp of another’s hand, perhaps even an embrace. It’s the Emmaus story for today,  one of movement, containing nine verbs describing movement. The two men “are going”, Jesus “came near and went with them”, they “came near”, Jesus “walked ahead of them”, “he went in to stay with them”, “he vanished from their sight”, and “they got up and returned”. Some of the verbs tell of movements made by Jesus; others tell of the two men. Either way, both Jesus and his followers are on the move. But it is not movement for its own sake. The moves being made have a purpose, one of fellowship (communion) with Jesus and others.

Where is your Emmaus Road this morning? What types of complexity and fragmentation characterize your life? Where is your personal reframing taking place?

Wishing you a blessed week!

Philemon

Unsheltered?

Chapter 5

Good Monday Morning to this week 6 of 2020

Six days later, three of them did see it. Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain. His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. His clothes shimmered, glistening white, whiter then any bleach could make them. Elijah, along with Moses came into view in deep conversation with Jesus. Peter interrupted, “Rabbi, this is a great moment!. Le’ts build three shelters …
Mark 9: 2-5 MSG

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Ps 91

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble .. Ps 45

In you oh Lord I have taken refuge .. Ps 31

There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day,
and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain. Is. 4.6

Let me dwell in Your tent forever;
Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. Ps 61

shelter, a hut, a tent, a dwelling…  a basic architectural structure or building that provides protection from the local environment. Having a place of shelter, of safety and of retreat, i.e. a home, is commonly considered a fundamental physiological human need, the foundation from which to develop life. Equally significant is also the metaphorical shelter, beliefs, convictions, values and traditions.

Dallas Willard also refers to an “interior castle” of the human soul, a shelter with many rooms, and they are slowly occupied by God, allowing us time and room to grow.

Jesus born at a stable, temporary yet sufficient shelter for his birth, therefore He knows much of earthly shelters in his life, even more about the spiritual: In deep conversation with Elija and Moses he’s called out by Peter; “Rabbi, this is a great moment!. Le’ts build three shelters …

Just then a light-radiant cloud enveloped them and from deep within the cloud, a voice: “This is my Son, marked by my love, Listen to him!”

Did Jesus really have an unsheltered life? The cloud enveloped him, deep in conversation with Elija and Moses, he is engulfed, surrounded, covered, overshadowed by the presence of God, as the deeply affirming words are spoken: My Son, marked by my love!

The Almighty God, He Himself is the shelter, and in His shelter, He keeps us safe from danger and harm engulfing us with His presence.

The psalmist in Psalm 31 begins with the words,  in you, O Lord, I have sought refuge, this,  his portrayal of the role of Yahweh. The idea of taking refuge may well derive from the common experience of finding protection in the hills.  The verb denotes the confident seeking of security, rather than a flight of desperation. This communicates dependence on Yahweh as opposed to the trust in their own ability. The object of deep desire and refuge is emblematic of the person who places complete trust in God with taking cover in his shelter.

Safeguarded by the shelter of the Yahwe I wish you a blessed week!

Philemon