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: The Riff Raff, the Bedbugs, and the Signs

23-PovertyMascotsProper 18(23)

Exodus 7-12

By Laurel Dykstra

Now you know and I know, that lice, mice, roaches, bed-bugs, and rats are no respecters of persons. They invade the house of Pharaoh, the houses of his officials, and of all his people (Exod 8:21, 10:6); they infest the luxury hotels and the welfare hotels. But when the special shampoo costs eight dollars a bottle, and a visit from the exterminator $125, those that can—pay, and those that can’t, or whose landlord won’t—scratch.

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Wild Lectionary: “Fire in the Earth: Burning but Flourishing”

imagesThirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 17 (22)

Exodus 3:1-15

By Rev. Matthew Syrdal

“There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it was not consumed… “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your shoes, for the place you are standing is holy ground.”

And we know, when Moses was told,
in the way he was told,
“Take off your shoes!” He grew pale from that simple

reminder of fire in the dusty earth.
He never recovered
his complicated way of loving again

and was free to love in the same way
he felt the fire licking at his heels loved him.
As if the lion earth could roar
and take him in one movement…
-all poetry excerpts from David Whyte, Fire in the Earth

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Sermon: Power of Names

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My Grandma Bea, me, my mom, and my sister Lucy

Preached by Lydia Wylie-Kellermann at the Day House Catholic Worker
August 27, 2017

Exodus 1:8-2:10
Matthew 16:13-20

As I read the opening piece of the text from Exodus, it feels like I am reading a script from the white men who marched on Charlottesville two weeks ago.

It begins with the Pharaoh naming his fear that the Israelites are becoming too numerous and powerful. He is scared they will out-number and over-take him. He orders that they be forced into labor and when that doesn’t work, he orders murder.

It echoes of the treacherous low-wage labor forced on undocumented folks living in constant fear.

It echoes of a prison industrial complex holding captive more black men today than were enslaved in the south. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Joseph—God’s Agent or Agent of Empire?

Field Egypt Farmer PeopleEleventh Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 15(20)

“God has made me lord of all Egypt…” Joseph, son of Jacob (Gen 45.9)

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.” Paul of Tarsus (Rom 8.19)

By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

A decade or so ago, we spent two years of our monthly Saturday teaching/retreat series with the book of Genesis. Folks eagerly engaged Genesis’ anti-city perspective and its all-too-human characters. But when we got to the Joseph story, several rebelled angrily against our starting characterization of Joseph, son of Jacob, as a self-absorbed, manipulative power seeker, who “succeeded” by teaching Pharaoh how to manage famine for personal profit. What is it about Joseph that leads so many to want to see him as a heroic expression of faith? Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: The mixology of Faith and Fear

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Erazo-Paris Family Archives, circa May 1969

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 14 (19)

1 Kings 19:9-18 & Matthew 14:22-33

[Elijah] answered “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” 1 Kings 19:10

26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Matthew 14:27

By Priscilla Paris-Austin

Faith and fear seem to reside right next to each other in our world. I don’t know about you but I find this to be true in my family story over and over again. While the two seem incompatible, as I look back I can see how closely they are aligned, one driving me to the other, or moving me through its companion, until I find my way back to God’s enduring and steadfast love.

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Wild Lectionary: Kingdom Like a Seed

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wild mustard (public domain)

Eighth Sunday After Pentecost
Proper 12(17)

Matthew 13:31-32

This week’s Wild Lectionary offers two different but complimentary takes on the seed parables.

The first is a host of resources –devotions, bible studies, children’s curricula, adult education material etc. prepared by A Rocha Canada for churches that are new to engaging with creation care. The free downloadable materials are focused on Good Seed Sunday, celebrated the Sunday after Earth Day, but are also relevant for the Season of Creation and this summer stretch of Year A in the Revised Common Lectionary where we visit the seed parables in Matthew.

The second offering is excerpts from an essay by Jim Perkinson: Continue reading