An excerpt from Rev. William Barber’s address presented before the 74th Union for Reform Judaism Biennial convention on December 6, 2017.
We are here tonight, and 62 years ago would have been the fifth day of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Today, when the prophetic actions of Rosa Parks like Shiphra and Puah in the Bible, chose to challenge the Pharaoh of Jim Crow. She sat down and birthed a movement on a stage that produced a prophet like Moses named Martin. She sparked a nonviolent revolution. Continue reading
By Kat Friesen
Come, you whose lamps are blazing,
and come, you whose lamps are dim.
Come, salty ones, and come,
you whose lives are feeling bland.
Come worship the One who was, and is, and is to come,
our God who restores our lamps with oil,
our God who renews our saltiness,
so that together we may be a city alight with praise,
a city that makes known the Glory of the Lord!
God who sees the needs of the oppressed,
We confess that our piety, our prayers and our habits are empty without justice.
God who hears the cries of the workers, of the homeless, of the hungry,
We confess our fear of risk, our fear of being made vulnerable
in the face of so much need.
Assure us again of Your healing in our weakness,
of Your abundance in our sharing and in our receiving.
Comments on this week’s Gospel text (Mark 13:1-8) from Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus (1988), the commentary from Ched Myers, celebrating 30 years of prophetic utterance.
The images Mark uses in 13:7f.–wars, famines, earthquakes–are all virtually generic to apocalyptic literature. One need only consult contemporaneous apocalyptic literature such as John’s Revelation, 4 Ezra, the Assumption of Moses, or the Qumran war scrolls. At the same time, these events could be correlated to contemporaneous history. “Rumors of war” aptly characterizes and describes the way in which news regarding the seesaw political events of 68-70 C.E. would have circulated around Palestine. Was the siege coming? Were the Romans withdrawing? “Kingdom rising against kingdom” might have referred to the wavering fortunes of Rome in 67, embroiled in a civil war and fearing a Parthian invasion. Major natural disasters were also part of contemporaneous history, such as the famine (which hit Palestine especially hard) of the early 50s C.E., or the earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that destroyed Laodicia and Pompei in 61-62 C.E. Both Mark and his opponents could–and did–appeal to the “plurivalent” (multi-referential) nature of apocalyptic symbolics in making their respective cases. Continue reading
26th Sunday after Pentecost
Hebrews 10:11-14, (15-18), 19-25
By Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie
Today’s homily, like most of my homilies, is not merely to preach to you but to call myself to account. It is part of my ongoing aim to preach a message of hope in these times, when the life of our planet and peace in our world are under threat.
From the Center for Prophetic Imagination, working to live in a world where all walls of alienation are torn down and all people live justly with each other, with the land, and with the Spirit of Life. Sign up HERE to receive their weekly email updates!
Usually, we talk about the Risen Christ around Easter. But it is perhaps more fitting to explore the significance of the Resurrection on a day like today, the day after the election, when our collective imagination has been transfixed by party politics and we begin to ask “now what?”
Perhaps the juxtaposition between electoral politics and the Resurrection of Jesus seems jarring. Bear with me. Continue reading
By Talitha Fraser
the gold loses its lustre
a warm reflection
but these are
sacred and ordinary things
fabric, candleholders, cross
they aren’t imbued with any
special strength of their own
how then shall I love You?
the dust motes suspended
in light from the window
they are golden too
and the fine
sunlit hairs of my arms
they are golden too
let me love You on
the ordinary and extraordinary days
let me love You in
ordinary and extraordinary ways
let me love You
Comments on this week’s Gospel text (Mark 12:38-44) from Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus (1988), the commentary from Ched Myers, celebrating 30 years of prophetic utterance.
The last episode in the temple is a story of a widow being impoverished by her obligations to the temple cultus (12:41-44). Long mishandled as a quaint vignette about the superior piety of the poor, Wright has shown that Jesus’ words should be seen “as a downright disapproval and not as an approbation”:
The story does not provide a pious contrast to the conduct of the scribes in the preceding section (as is the customary view); rather it provides a further illustration of the ills of official devotion. Jesus’ saying is not a penetrating insight on the measuring of gifts; it is a lament….Jesus condemns the value system that motivates her action, and he condemns the people who conditioned her to do it.