Wild Lectionary: Judgment and Joy

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Photo credit: Laurel Dykstra

Proper 24(29)
20th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 96

by Calvin Redekop

I love to return again to the Scriptures, to those visions seen by the prophets and apostles and singers of Israel about the “peaceful reign of God.” There is a strange concatenation of judgment and celebration in some of the Psalms, especially Psalms 96 to 99 and 104. Psalm 99 beings, “The Lord is king; let the people tremble!” In many Christian circles it is today politically incorrect to speak about God as king, as reigning, as judging, and instead God is portrayed as a morally nondiscrimination, indulgent Santa. Such and attitude represents the deliberate denial of a theme that runs through the Bible from beginning to end. “The Lord is king,” and one of the functions of a king was to be a judge, to dispense justice.

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Sermon: Wedding Feast

index.jpgBy Joshua Weresch
Sunday of Week 28 in Ordinary Time

I really don’t like today’s Gospel reading about the wedding banquet, from Matthew, chapter 22, but I am going to preach on it anyway, because it’s not about what I want but about what you need. I think we both need to hear this reading because it’s hard and difficult and—like the teacher said, tongue-in-cheek, when the student asked what they were doing in class that day—we are ‘working hard and suffering greatly, because life is pain’. I don’t like the reading because I don’t want to think that there are those who are not welcome to the feast, simply because they aren’t rightly dressed or don’t fit in whatever way. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: We Despised the Pleasant Land

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Fort McMurray Alberta Tar Sands, Kris Krüg CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Proper 23(28)
19th Sunday after Pentecost
Psalm 106

By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

When you tell the story of your, your family’s, or your community’s journey, what role does the land and its nonhuman creatures play?

Central to God’s promise to ancient Israel was a land to call their own, both as a people and as local families. In this week’s reading, Psalm 106 presents one of several biblical summaries of Israel’s relationship with YHWH, the land and its peoples. It is framed by “praise YHWH,” although the core of the psalm laments the people’s constant disobedience and forgetfulness. Throughout the psalm, the land is close at hand, beginning with deliverance from Egypt via the Red Sea, and continuing into the wilderness struggles. Continue reading

Sermon: Fig Cakes, Tamales, and a Heap of Raisins

tamalesBy Joyce Hollyday
Circle of Mercy: October 1, 2017, World Communion Sunday
1 Samuel 25

We held a sheep-shearing day every spring at Swan Mountain Farm, where I used to live. Mark, the chief shearer, always started with the rams because, he explained, they “come with handles.” Mark grabbed Charlie by the horns and wrestled him over on his side. Charlie, like all the sheep, began that morning as a massive ball of fluff, as wide as he was tall, his wool discolored a dingy brown by dirt. By the time the clipping was done, he was a skinny thing, and the thin layer of wool left on him was shockingly white. As soon as he could get his feet under him, Charlie escaped into the pasture. Mark then repeated the process with Chip. And when he ran into the pasture, the two rams, not recognizing each other with their new haircuts, aimed their horns, charged at each other, and butted heads repeatedly. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Until there is room for no one but you

kContinued from yesterday’s reflections on the lectionary for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost

Isaiah 5:8-23

By Ched Myers

Isaiah articulates the contemptible socio-economic disparity in Israel. A series of prophetic “woes” (howy) commences in verse 5:8 that extend through 5:23, and the first one summarizes starkly and succinctly all that will follow. The image of  “joining house to house and field to field” specifically refers to the phenomenon of “latifundialization,” the economic process by which large landowners increase their holdings by foreclosing on indebted small farmers. Theologians Urich Duchrow and Franz Hinkelammert point out that the 8th century BCE saw history’s first wave of “privatization” spread throughout the Mediterranean world, including Israel: Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Ecological Theology of the Vineyard

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Old millstone, Palestine

Proper 22 (27)
18th Sunday after Pentecost

Isaiah 5:1-7
Matthew 21:33-46

By Ched Myers

The 18th Sunday after Pentecost this year comes on the heels of the “Season of Creation,” a contemporary liturgical and lectionary movement celebrated during the four Sundays in September prior to St Francis of Assisi Day (4 October). Today’s haftorah—Isaiah’s famous “Song of the Vineyard”—continues this vein of ecological theology. Continue reading

The Primal Story Line: Peace, Respect & Reconciliation

VernAnother short and sweet book review-summary from legendary pastor Vern Ratzlaffposting up on the Canadian prairies, pouring his heart and mind into anti-imperial theology and soul-tending. 

Instead of Atonement. Ted Grimsrud, Cascade, 2013.

Grimsrud does a double theological treatment: of penal theory and of atonement theory.

Penal theory. The difference between retributive and restorative approaches to retaliatory justice. Continue reading