Wild Lectionary: Affection vs. Effectiveness

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A tree that the author’s family visits weekly.

Lent 5C
John 12:1-8

By Ragan Sutterfield

The current level of atmospheric carbon is just above 411 parts per million–a level that is catastrophic and rising. While little has been done, the efforts of most institutions both governmental and non-governmental have treated the problem like a math equation. Cut fossil fuels by X amount. Increase forest carbon sinks by Y. Problem solved. But the problem has not been solved any better than the problem of a person who counts calories but does not trust in the goodness and value of their own body. We have failed to recognize that carbon is not the problem; that it is only the symptom of an underlying disease of our habits and hearts, a matter of our affections more than arithmetic.

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With a heavy heart

51018208_1652852181527529_5162391080217346048_nBy T. Tackett

Dear beloved family,

I write this with a heavy heart. In the last couple months we have lost a lot. The towns are flooded. The cities are on fire. The air is thick, toxic, and unbreathable. Most of the water, if there is water, is not potable.  Which leaves us thirsty and breathless.

We have lost a lot of people. All by murder in my opinion. If not by direct assassination, then by the insidious hand of the systems that be.

In these times of resistance and working towards radical transformation; grief and trauma collect in creases of our being. There is no way around it. Battle wounds become battle scars, which become evidence of our fight.

In our work, we are often reminded that grief is a call to action, yet it is difficult to move forward without fully understanding what is happening to us, to our children and to the outcome of all life on earth. It feels all to much. The pain. The burden weight on our soul, trying to sink us. We try to listen, but the sound of our hearts breaking is just to loud.

Don’t get me wrong, most of us understand death, we have had intimate relationship with it. But from this death, life often begins anew. So here in this deep grief we are met with life again. And in this new life, we bare the grief of our old life; a death which we have not yet accepted, and a death which hurts our hearts to bare.

I have always held the belief that we can change this world and we can heal ourselves in the process. But this is hard. This is painful. This is unthinkable. It has never been done before and at the same time it has been done for generations. These two truths are not opposite or contradictions. They are of the same and live within each other.

It was Charity Hicks, one of the great martyrs of the Detroit Water struggle, who called us to “Wage Love”. This idea is not a passive act, but a call to be courageous. A call to heal, but  not forget. To remember our grief. To hold it in our pursuing of justice. And to also remember one can not do this alone. That the possibility and opportunity to heal lays in the foundation of the beloved community. And that every member of the beloved community never truly leaves us. Even in death, They live in the home of our hearts and that in each step towards justice, they continue to walk with us forever.

I finish this letter to say that It is together we will continue to fight, it is to together we will grieve and it is together, we will live again.

In struggle and love

Your brother,
-T. Tackett

T.Tackett is a Community organizer, Activist ,Water Protector, and Land Defender. Born and raised in the Great Lakes region.

 

 

Wild Liturgy: Coats and Branches

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Poverty Weed at New Life Lutheran, Dripping Springs Texas

By Judy Steers

“They brought the colt to Jesus, threw their cloaks on it and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’ “
Luke 19 36-38

I’ll reveal my age perhaps when I relate the story of Palm Sunday in the church where I grew up.  The day beforehand, the women of the altar guild would gather with their daughters (we were all between 9 and 15 years old) to practice the art of turning large bundles of green palm fronds into crosses. We would make probably a couple of hundred and put them in water to keep fresh until the Sunday morning. The best branch was saved to be displayed behind the cross at the high altar. The palms came to us in large shipping crates, wrapped in damp cloths.  It felt like an honoured task, and I can still hear the satisfying scchickkk sound of the woody edges being split and peeled away from the supple inner part of the palm leaf which was pliable enough to bend and fold into shape. I had never of course seen a palm tree and it was mysterious and exotic to handle these stiff, pale green fronds.  There is a huge nostalgia in this, and I taught my own children and many Sunday School kids over the years to make them. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: The Prodigal Parent

Lent 4C
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

By Carmen Retzlaff

Luke 15:30 But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him!’

Luke 15:31 Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.

Luke 15:32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.’

prod·i·gal
adjective

  1. spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant. wasteful,extravagant,spendthrift, improvident, imprudent, immoderate, profligate, thriftless, excessive, intemperate, irresponsible, self-indulgent, reckless, wanton
  1. having or giving something on a lavish scale.

generous, lavish, liberal, unstinting, unsparing, bountiful Continue reading

KICKED & PRODDED by the SPIRIT

Descending, Front CoverBy Oscar Cole-Arnal (Oz)
A review of Descending Like A Dove: Adventures in Decolonizing Evangelical Christianity By Tommy Airey

As of April 4, 2018 I have lived a half century pilgrim’s existence hounded, kicked and prodded by the Spirit through weird and wonderful emissaries thereof.  Of course, she had to act this way, precisely because I am of that abominable character best described as a white old fart privileged male—you know that demographic who helped give our world the gifts of Donald Trump and Doug Ford.  So I say to the Spirit and her visitations to me—bring em’ on and more of the same.  Yes, as a young Lutheran pastor well on the road to pastoral and academic success in my first pastorate near Pittsburgh, my world became upturned by martyr’s blood, not my own, but that of Martin Luther King Jr.  With his shed blood pouring from Memphis into my heart, my family and I vowed to disdain our privileges and realign our lives after his model.  So we became civil rights and antiwar activists, strong supporters of Cesar Chavez’ boycott—going to jail, facing baton-wielding cops, having anonymous life threats and ending my paid vocational career in Waterloo, Ontario teaching Church History at the Lutheran Seminary there.  Since retirement, I remain active in a local group called the Alliance Against Poverty. Continue reading

Sermon: An Oak, a Fig Tree, and a Burning Bush

oakBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann, homily at Day House Catholic Worker on March 24, 2019

Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15
Luke 13:1-9

It took me a while to get my hands deep enough into this Gospel to feel the unsettling force. At first, the reading seemed simple. The disciples ask Jesus about current events in their time, about people who had been killed, and asked if it was their own fault. Jesus declares with clarity, “NO! But if you don’t turn away from sin, it will happen to you.” This logic didn’t seem quite right to me.

Reading the text within a circle of community earlier this week, allowed the current events of Jesus’ time to morph into our own. Continue reading