Earth Day – The link between Easter and Pentecost

VenturaBeachBy Ken Sehested

Pacem, pacem, pacem in terries

Easter’s focus is always sharper when allied with Earth Day. We sing, properly, of being wayfaring strangers. “A wandering Aramean was my ancestor” (Deuteronomy 26:5) is among the oldest testimonies of fate and faith. An alternate translation—“A Syrian ready to perish was my ancestor”—brings added poignancy to the text.

We are indeed strangers; but not foreigners. In common usage these two words seem similar. Biblically speaking, though, the theological difference could not be greater. Continue reading

Act Together…By Moving Upstream

EcoFaithBy Robyn Hartwig, for EcoFaith Recovery’s Practices for Awakening Leadership

Community Dimension: We nurture relational cultures, identifying common interests and public issues affecting our communities, so that we are ready to act together to promote justice and healing for the whole community of creation.

From childhood through adulthood, the faith communities I have belonged to over the course of my life have been good at certain kinds of “acting together.” We are good at worship which is certainly a kind of public action. We are great at potlucks. Jello salads and hot dishes used to be some of the favorite offerings when I was growing up, but with well over a hundred people having participated in Simply in Season small groups within my current faith community, salads with locally grown vegetables are now much more common. We are also great at collecting socks, coats, care kits, blankets, discretionary funds, and food for those in need. We collected over 10,000 pounds of food during one Lenten food drive! Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Sheep are not sexy

10599554_10152591711770351_5785986799088242268_nFourth Sunday of Easter (B)
John 10: 1-18
By Matthew W. Humphrey

Sheep are not sexy.

Many biblical commentators struggle with language for this most archetypal figure, oftentimes casting them in unfortunate ways.  In a brief review of the 9 commentaries on the Gospel of John, which contains the reading this week, I counted no less than 6 which noted that sheep were “stupid,” “dumb,” or “dirty.”  (And, equally surprising, all noted how the role of Shepherd in the ancient world was one of ill repute.)  Perhaps that is correct, but if sheep are dumb it is in the same ways as you and I.  Namely: they seek out their own self-preservation, reacting to circumstances and perceived threats, often making rash decision based on incomplete knowledge.  Sheep lack depth perception, meaning they see shadows and pools of water as mysterious threats to be avoided.  (I don’t know about you, but I often lack vision too.)

Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Universal Restoration

IMG_1921.JPG

Vikki Marie and a St’at’imc Bear Dancer praying for healing and protecting wild salmon.

Easter 3(B)
Acts 3:1-21

By The Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie

The liturgical season of Easter is the only time that our readings are all from the New Testament. During this season the first readings are from the Acts of the Apostles. Today’s reading from Acts is another occasion where our Roman Catholic Lectionary differs from the Revised Common Lectionary and omits scripture verses. This textual omission significantly changes the meaning and therefore our understanding of the scriptural message.

Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Thomas, Bodies, Touch, and Violence

2327423832_33fd64bd8d_oEaster 2(B)
John 20:19-31

By Laurel Dykstra

“Doubting Thomas” it’s the name we call someone who demands hard evidence, who won’t accept what we say or who doesn’t share our beliefs.

There are all kinds opportunities in the church use that name against someone. All sorts of differences in the beliefs of faithful Christians: angels, auras, miracles, marriage, dinosaurs, women disciples, Adam and Eve, Noah, what prayer is, what happens during a sacrament, what salvation means, what parts of the creeds we say with confidence and, perhaps most pertinent here, how we understand the resurrection. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Wonder and the True Easter Lily

skunk_cabbage.jpgEaster, Year B
Acts 10:34-43
Isaiah 25:6-9
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
John 20:1-18
Mark 16:1-8

By Jessica Miller

Across the northeast of North America at this season, a wonder is happening. The flowers of Symplocarpus foetidus have begun emerging and blooming from swamps and wet places. These true Easter-lilies—members of the same family of the Calla ‘lily’—are more commonly known as skunk-cabbage. Varieties of the plant also grow in Japan, where the red robe-like blossoms resembling a monk’s hood have gained it the name Zazen-sou, or Zen meditation plant.

Continue reading

Ecological Stations of the Cross

IMG_1214

Tanker in the Burrard Inlet near the proposed end of the Kinder Morgan Transmountain pipeline

This liturgical resource was assembled by members of Salal + Cedar (www.salalandcedar.com) and Earthkeepers (www.theearthkeepers.org) two Christian environmental groups on Coast Salish Territory, lower mainland British Columbia who host an Ecological Stations of the Cross each year during Holy Week. Stations of the Cross are a Good Friday tradition of prayer and contemplation on images depicting the events from the time that Jesus is sentenced to death to his burial. We walk outdoors at a site slated for the expansion of a tar-sands bearing pipeline and draw connections between Jesus’ suffering and the suffering and betrayal of creation. The traditional passion narrative from John (18:1-19:42) moves from the betrayal and arrest in the garden to Jesus’ burial. Our stations include action, poetry, song and contemplation when we read from John we use the word Judeans (a more accurate and less anti-semetic translation) instead of “the Jews.”  Themes include: repentance, culpability, betrayal, complicity, empire, suffering, compassion, power/powerlessness, death, lament, longing despair, hope and hopelessness, outrage.

Coast Salish Territory
Water Station (overlook)

Come all you who are thirsty, come to the waters. Isaiah 55:1

And Jesus, knowing that all was now finished said, “I thirst.” John 19:28

Here where Fraser River, the Sto:lo, flows into the Salish Sea, where parts of our region are temperate rainforest, our reservoirs are full and we consign gallons of clean drinking water to the sewers with every flush –we can forget, or even ignore, those who thirst. Continue reading