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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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

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

Irma and La Tuna, Charlottesville and North Korea: The Voice Under the Voice, Still Unheard

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Detroit, Michigan: Six sold-out shows to open up the new $800 million Little Caesar’s Arena

Dr. James Perkinson, Ecumenical Theological Seminary (Detroit, MI)

The signs of our time shout! Harvey hammers Houston and the entire Gulf Coast camps out in a boat or a grave. Then comes Irma with Jose and Katya in Her wake, raking an entire peninsula with rebuke. While fire ungraced with gendered traces of naming, blisters the west. All on top of Charlottesville, itself evoking Trump, chopping restraints militant and policing, channeling a large chunk of the dominant demographic of the country! As I write, Kid Rock readies his concert of hate in downtown Detroit, as front for the Ilitch family take of Motown turf, faking concern, raking in tax dollar support, celebrating white vituperation in the gala opening of a new ice hockey stadium at the core of an 82 % black city. Little Caesar indeed! But what do all of these events have to do with each other? How might a community aspiring to some measure of humanity and morality “hear” what these events sound out? I do not yet even dare to say, “Respond.” Continue reading

Join Us Into Your Movement

CircleBy Joshua Grace, a report from Circle of Hope

Philadelphia, PA

At Circle of Hope, we have the advantage of being small (over 50 cells – circles of 10), medium (5 congregations of 100-200 people), and large (we get together several times per year). Some of our expressions happen when people form Compassion Teams (we have 20 right now) that lead the church in an effort according to the passions, gifts, and limits of the folks who lead. Our most recent Love Feast, where people from all cells and congregations gather, was an expression of the Holy Spirit breathing life into all levels of the body. Continue reading

A Surprising Moment of Wonder and Gratitude

thumb_IMG_0336.JPG_1024By Kyle Mitchell

*This is the second post in a series on Wednesdays exploring components of a mealtime spirituality.  

Cleveland, Ohio

One of the most treasured traditions that I took from growing up in a Christian family is the mealtime prayer. Even now when I go back home for holidays, I know that we’ll gather in a circle before the meal, grasp hands, and ask who’s turn it is to give thanks. My 6-year-old nephew summed it up pretty well last time when he prayed, “Dear God, thank you for everything. Amen.” Continue reading