Wild Lectionary: Planted and Watered

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Author with Forest School Students

Easter 7(B)
Psalm 1

By Laurel Dykstra

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.

The image of large well-watered trees growing larger is used in scripture as a symbol of human prosperity, abundance, and flourishing for individuals (Psalm 92:12-13) and nations (Ezekiel 31). Often the type of tree is unnamed but a significant number are cedars. In an arid landscape shade as a luxury, an association amplified by the biblical equation of cedar wood with wealth. 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.

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40 Birds of Lent: Final Count

Laurel1By Laurel Dykstra

While the word Lent comes from Middle English, quadragesima, the Latin word for the season means fortieth referring to the fortieth day before Easter. And while this resonates with a host of biblical wilderness forties—the 40 days of the flood, the Hebrew’s 40 year sojourn in the desert, Moses’ 40 days on Sinai, Elijah’s 40 day journey to Mt. Horeb, Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness—the actual number of days doesn’t quite add up, so different traditions have different metrics, (don’t count Sundays, Lent ends on Maundy Thursday) in order to get to 40. I love the biblical associations but the 40 Birds of Lent involved some cheating to make the numbers come out right.
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40 Birds of Lent: Nesting Season

Nest2By Laurel Dykstra

Lente in Middle English means springtime, which means a kind of lovely irony is built into Lent, at least where I live on Coast Salish Territory. The church’s season of fasting and austerity falls during nesting season so while we smear our heads with ashes and forswear chocolate, facebook, and alcohol, our feathered friends are setting up housekeeping and getting it on. The bird songs of spring are about defending territory and announcing sexual availability. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Purge Me with Hyssop

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 8.43.44 PMLent 5B
Psalm 51:7b

By Laurel Dykstra

The psalmist says “purge me with hyssop” –clean me with a scrubby aromatic plant.

Mediterranean Hyssop— Hyssopus officinalis is a pungent-leafed bush with blue flowers that is used medicinally, mostly in teas as an expectorant, antiseptic and for cough relief. But the qualities that the bible ascribes to Hyssop: it grows in walls, can hold moisture, has a long, stiff stalk, has a purgative effect, appear in no one plant. Other suggested candidates for biblical Hyssop include caper, Syrian oregano, and za’atar a word which Palestinians use for a family of aromatic herbs (and the ubiquitous condiment made from their dried leaves). Continue reading

40 Birds of Lent: Water

Barrows Goldeneye

Barrow’s Goldeneye

By Laurel Dykstra

I woke up this morning humming:

Water heals our bodies
Water heals our souls
When we go down, down to the water
In the water we are whole.

Wood Duck

Wood Duck

The song I learned in water ceremonies at Standing Rock, is the chorus of Coco Love Alcorn’s song The River. It’s not so surprising that these were the words in my head as I spent the better part of yesterday morning singing them outside the gates of Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine Terminal—the intended shoreline destination for transferring Tar Sands bitumen from the proposed Trans-mountain expansion pipeline project to ocean-going tankers. Beside the water of the Burrard Inlet on unceded Coast Salish Territory we sang as trees were limbed and cut in anticipation of a tunnel through the mountain. Continue reading