Wild Lectionary: There is No New Water. Living Water is Life-Giving Water.


Water after a rain on the New Life Church land

Third Sunday in Lent
John 4:5-42

By Rev. Carmen Retzlaff

In Central Texas, we think a lot about water. The Texas climate is famously described by meteorologists as, historically, “drought with periods of flooding.” And so it seems. After seven years of droughts in which water wells dried up in our area, the nearby Blanco River flooded the small town of Wimberley and towns downstream in 2015. With this view of water in mind, I read the story of Jesus’s conversation with the woman at the well as a story about water. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Love Flows Like a River

The Third Sunday in Lent
John 4

By Sue Ferguson Johnson and Wes Howard-Brook

John 4 is like a kaleidoscope. From one angle, it is a story about Jesus’ gender-inclusive invitation to dis-cipleship. Turn it slightly and you can see Jesus seeking to heal a hostile history between Samaritans and Judeans. From yet another angle, it speaks to the question of authentic worship. Continue reading

These Voiceless Ones

JuliusDay 15 of our Lenten Journey through Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech.

So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?
A Lenten liturgy from Exodus 17:3-7 and John 4:5-42 from Atlanta-based UCC pastor Julius Jessup Peterson (photo above):

Call to Worship:

Leader: We are called in this time to remember and to anticipate.

People: We can’t see through the fog around us, we are without water, and the fruit of our land is filled with disease.

Leader: We are called to remember that salvation is liberation from the fear of death, and sin is separation from you.

People: Violence has divided us, neighbor against neighbor, loved one against kin, we have lost our way. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Sermon: On Not Taking Up Crosses

transfigurationRev. Rebecca Stelle, Church of the Covenant, Lynchburg, VA
Sunday February 26, 2017
Matthew 17:1-9

I adored Gordon, my spiritual teacher and mentor, and I would have willingly followed him up a mountain. But if instead of saying, “Becca, we are going to be developing new forms of church life through which the Spirit can end poverty,” Gordon had said, “Becca, I will be arrested, suffer torture, die at the hands of church leadership and then rise again on the third day,” I can’t imagine what my reaction would have been. Without a context for that kind of comment, my adoration would not have translated to comprehension, and certainly not to collaboration.  I’m glad he didn’t say it. Continue reading

Lent: A Confusion Before the Cross: Confronted by the Powers in Prayer

seasonsExcerpt and reflection from Bill Wylie-Kellermann’s Seasons of Faith and Conscience: Explorations in Liturgical Direct Action

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘We shall not live by bread alone.'” And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and God only shall you serve.'” And he took him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘God will give angels charge of you, to guard you,’ and ‘On their hand they will bear you up lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'” And when the devil had ended ever temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.    (Luke 4:1-13)

And he came out, and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation,” And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground. And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:39-46)

Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: A Way Without Fear


Victoria Marie (blue) at the Break Free from Fossil Fuels action at the Burnaby Mountain, Kinder Morgan tank facility.

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
(many churches observe the Transfiguration this Sunday)

Isaiah 49:8-16
1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Matthew 6: 24-34

By Reverend Dr. Victoria Marie

Today I’m just going to touch on a few points in the Gospel reading in the hopes that they stimulate more thoughts and questions for all of us. To set the stage, look at the unrestrained resource extraction, our addiction to fossil fuels, and the consumerism that threatens to consume us and the earth. Yet, we all have to earn a living and unfortunately, some people have no other choice but to work for industries and systems that are killing us. We have been drafted into a system where we are trying to serve God but are enslaved by wealth; quite a dilemma! Upton Sinclair wrote, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Continue reading