Wild Lectionary: Heaven and Earth, Sun and Moon, Mountain and Cloud

Burnaby Mountain on the Kinder Morgan Trans-mountain Pipeline Expansion route.

Notes for Lent 2, By Laurel Dykstra

Genesis 12

In these four verses two words, rough synonyms, eretz and adamah, are used for land

  1. 1 Eretz is used twice in this verse to speak of Abram’s native country, territory or perhaps property. It is linked to his people, his kin.
  2. 3 Adamah (same root as Adam) is used for the earth—the known world, and in contrast to v. 1 it is linked to all families.

Abram’s migration is one start point for the Hebrew’s troubled relationships with land: migration, conquest, deportation, occupation, refuge.

Psalm 121

  1. 1 A song of ascents, this ascent up to Jerusalem, or to the temple, is echoed as the Psalmist says “I lift my eyes to the hills –from where will my help come? Is this a rhetorical question? Are the hills where god lives?
  2. 2 God is credentialed as creator, who made—“heaven and earth” –eretz again.
  3. 5-6 To be cared for by God, to be kept, is shelter from the elements from sun and moon.

The faithfulness and care of the divine is imagined in terms of human relation to natural elements.

Matthew 17

v1. Again the high mountain. Jesus like Moses goes up a mountain

  1. 2 Jesus is transfigured, not transformed. He looks different to his friends because they see him as he really is. Sometimes when we are a parent, or in love, or just lucky, we receive the gift of seeing someone as their true shining true self.
  2. 4 Peter, who lives under Roman occupation, responds to this profound spiritual experience, to revelation by claiming it as homeland, he wants to pitch a tent and stay on the mountaintop
  3. 5 As in Exodus, God is on a mountain, there is a cloud, a voice. And on the mountain the voice echoes the words of love from the bank of the river, “This is my son…”
  4. 6-7. The synoptics all have the Transfiguration but only in Matthew do the disciples hide their faces in the earth, the dirt and are brought back to themselves when Jesus touches them.

Laurel Dykstra, curator of Wild Lectionary is priest in charge of Salal + Cedar a watershed discipleship community on Coast Salish territory, lower Fraser watershed.

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