Wild Lectionary: Invitation to Humility – Invite Grasses

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Children learning about biodiversity and native plants at New Life Lutheran’s summer gardening camp. Photo by Greg McCord

Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost,
Proper 17 (22)

Luke 14:1, 7-14
By Carmen Retzlaff

14:11 For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

14:13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.
14:14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

In Central Texas, one of the signs that a local naturalist has slipped over the edge, into the rocky and nerdy social territory,  is when they fall in love with native grasses. First they will just marvel at the indigenous bunch grasses. They’ll recognize a healthy grassland, where these compact plants take just the compact space they need, and allow for biodiversity, as opposed to invasive grasses, which blanket the earth and keep other things from growing. The grass-enamored naturalist will smile when they see patches of side oats grama or bushy bluestem, knowing how deep the roots extend into the clay and limestone, pulling precious rainwater into acquifers. They’ll be mesmerized by the sight of swaths of purple-tinged seep muhly. 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

Wild Lectionary: Leafy Branches Sunday – Domingo de Ramos

imagejpeg_0-5Palm Sunday, Year B
Mark 11:1-11

By Carmen Retzlaff

The Palm Sunday story in the Gospel of Mark says that

Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. (Mark 11:8)

The Greek (from Thayer’s Greek Dictionary) is:

stiba¿ß; stibas, stibados; a. a spread or layer of leaves, reeds, rushes, soft leafy twigs, straw, etc., serving for a bed; b. that which is used in making a bed of this sort, a branch full of leaves, soft faliage Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Awe

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Photo credit: NASA

Epiphany 5B
Isaiah 40:21-31

By Camen Retzlaff

Sometimes I am asked why the Bible, especially the Hebrew Bible, says that we should “fear” God, who is love. Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.

Have you not known, have you not heard?” says God in Isaiah this week. It is God who sits above the circle of the earth. We, the inhabitants of this planet, are like grasshoppers. God stretches a curtain of heaven for us, as a tent. God is reassuring here: this defeat, this moment in history, this war is not the big story. The story is so much bigger. God brings princes to naught and makes rulers of the earth like dead plants blown in the wind. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Our Mortal Bodies Are a Part of the Whole of Creation

IMG_6125Proper 8, Year A,
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost Lectionary 13

Romans 6:12-23

By Carmen Retzlaff

Many readers and hearers over the centuries have struggled with, or at least wondered about, Paul’s apparent condescension toward the physical body. It comes into question again in this passage from the letter to the Christian community in Rome. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Dry earth, Dry bones

IMG_3439.jpegFifth Sunday in Lent
Ezekiel 37:1-14

By Carmen Retzlaff

The hand of the Lord came upon Ezekiel, who was in exile from his homeland. “The prophet very rarely speaks of God’s face: he feels his hand,” says Abraham Heschel in The Prophets (Harper, 1962). In his vision, Ezekiel feels the hand of the Lord upon him, bringing him out and setting him in the middle of a dry valley, filled with bones. Continue reading

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

rainonland

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