Of Deserts, Drunks and Too Much Doing

Kim RedBy Kim Redigan, a reflection on Exodus 16 for the St. Peter’s Episcopal community in Detroit

Today’s reading from Exodus is one to I turn to often. Not because it brings me comfort or consolation but because it so often mirrors my own spiritual condition. I am so like the disgruntled Israelites cursing Moses and Aaron for leading them away from the known, the familiar, the place of their oppression and into the desert where they would have to confront their own personal and communal demons. They are my people – I know them and their circuitous journey well.

For the past several months, I have been wandering in the desert of depression and grief related to some tough inner work that is part of my recovery. Although, I have been sober for 28 years, I reached a point last year where it was either grow or go. It was either stand up to the pharaohs of the past and say good riddance to Egypt or sit around a campfire ringed with barbed wire and eat to my heart’s content. All of us come to these turning points in our lives when we have to make the choice: Will it be bring on the Egyptian dessert or bring on the desert? Will we opt for fleshpots or what feels like famine? Oppression or liberation? Continue reading

Mark as Manifesto

BindingWe continue our every-Sunday-celebration of the 30th anniversary of Binding The Strong Man, Ched Myers’ political reading of Mark’s Gospel.

Mark’s Gospel originally was written to help imperial subjects learn the hard truth about their world and themselves. He does not pretend to represent the word of God dispassionately or impartially, as if that word were innocuously universal in its appeal to rich and poor alike.  His is a story by, about, and for those committed to God’s work of justice, compassion, and liberation in the world. To modern theologians, like the Pharisees, Mark offers no “signs from heaven” (Mark 8:11f). To scholars who, like the chief priests, refuse to ideologically commit themselves, he offers no answer (Mk 11:30-33). But to those willing to raise the wrath of the empire, Mark offers a way of discipleship (8:34ff). Continue reading

A Prayer for Sacred and Wondrous Child Warriors of Mother Earth

LylaBy Lyla June Johnston (right), a Diné singer, writer, and activist specializing in intergenerational and inter-ethnic healing, as well as Indigenous philosophy. This is a prayer she posted to social media on July 27, 2018.

Dear creator, may you help me and may you help the people of the world to release their fear and replace it with faith and compassion. May you help us to seek and find joy in this life. May we find bravery in the midst of so many shadows dancing in the mind. May you give us the strength to cry, and the courage to bear our hearts to the river and to the sky that we may bring all of those fears and worries we buried deep inside and lay them down on the bosom of the earth where they may heal. Let us not be afraid to feel and not be afraid of being afraid for a time. Let us come with our truth and come with our beauty. Help us to remember that we are beautiful sacred and wondrous child Warriors of Mother Earth. Give us the opportunities and the skills we need to give life and to protect life. And most of all give us peace when others present us with war. Give us love when others present us with hate. Give us smiles and laughter when others present us with petty lies. Give us the strength to pray for those that we respect the least. And give us the opportunity to plant seeds in the dirt that some day might grow into beautiful gifts for the next generation. Let us live our lives in such a way that our great-grandchildren look back and see that in the face of so much hardship we were brave and we were kind and we were loving.

Holy Work

Katie CannonA compelling charge from  the late-and-still-very-present Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon (January 3, 1950 to August 8, 2018):

…it’s an abomination for those of us that hear, to be as smart as we are, trained as we are and to not know how to make it clear and gettable for anybody who wants know what we know. Theology is holy work, it’s a sacred vocation. It is our job to make it available to the masses of the congregation. To anybody who wants to be able to read what I know, I should be able to write so they can get it.

Wild Lectionary: Fleshy Bread

Sea of Galilee from TiberiasProper 14B
August 12, 2018
John 6.41-51

By Wes Howard Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (Jesus, John 6.51)

As we enter this shocking passage from John’s gospel, it might not seem at first very “wild” or earthy in the tradition of “Wild Lectionary.” Metaphorical bread from the sky hardly seems connected with the flowing life of rivers, forests and animals that is the focus of this series. Yet as we listen closely to the imagery of this Gospel, we may be surprised to find that Jesus’ Word about “bread” is more earthy than it appears at first glance. Continue reading

The Immigrants’ Creed

ImmigrationBy Jose Luis Casal, excerpted from The Book of Common Worship: 2018 Edition. © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press.

I believe in Almighty God,
who guided the people in exile and in exodus,
the God of Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon,
the God of foreigners and immigrants.

I believe in Jesus Christ, a displaced Galilean,
who was born away from his people and his home, who fled
his country with his parents when his life was in danger.
When he returned to his own country he suffered under the oppression of Pontius Pilate,
the servant of a foreign power. Jesus was persecuted, beaten, tortured, and unjustly
condemned to death.
But on the third day Jesus rose from the dead,
not as a scorned foreigner but to offer us citizenship in God’s kingdom. Continue reading