My friends, you may recall on a recent Sunday (September 3rd) the scripture lessons steered me, as they often do,to waxing a bit about church. In the Epistle that morning, Paul comforted us, saying “love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor.”(Romans 12:9-10).The gospel lesson from Matthew, though, gave us a more challenging message: If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25)…
Being chosen by God is generally considered to be a good thing.
After all, when God is on your side, you must be pretty powerful, right?
But as these stories suggest, it is not that simple.
We’ve been telling ourselves that everything is fine – that the insurance policy is paid up, that the EMT’s are well-trained, and that our hospitals are top notch… but we have secretly suspected that something may not be quite right. And when a gun appears, we are stricken with flash of certainty – everything that society has done to create the illusion of safety – all of it, it turns out, is utterly useless.
“Is the Lord among us or not?”
This may be THE question. It is the BIG question! This is the question of faith… . It is the question of human history.
At our church’s August Chicken Barbecue all generations of folks helped –including me. I helped Ken Bacon by filling pitchers with cold water. Owen Houghton and I cut up watermelon (he taught me how to cut off the ends). I ‘shot the breeze’ with Archie Coll and Kathleen LaRou at the fire pit. Every few minutes Helen Coll would sing out that it was time to turn the chicken. At length, I settled down with a gang of corn shuckers–a crew of folks that ranged in age from 12 (or thereabouts) to 95. Community!…
We experience the eternal within the temporary, and we are filled with wonder! This is the poetic moment. The prayerful moment.
It is precious.
Someone off camera yells “Go, Go, Go!” And group of people splash out into the water. They take hands, forming a human chain.
The Pharaoh had power. He had armies. He had the rule of law.
What did Moses’ mother have? Bulrushes. Bitumen and pitch.
by Matsuo Basho (translated by Alan Watts)
Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night; What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies. Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand, dare seize the fire? And what shoulder, & what art, Could twist the sinews […]