A God Who is Very Different from the Almighty

AugsburgerFrom the conclusion of David Augsburger’s recent piece “Lent: Is God Like Jesus?” originally posted on The Mennonite blog. Read the entire Lenten reflection here.

“Christ is not only God-like, but God is Christ-like,” Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in Strength to Love (1963). The Christian gospel proclaims a God who is very different from “the Almighty,” the historic God among all the gods who is, by trusted definition, an omnipotent paragon of ultimate invincible irresistible power. The God of Jesus Christ, in Leonardo Boff’s phrase, is “weak in power but strong in love” (Cry of the Earth; Cry of the Poor, 1978).

God is like this gentle good gracious guest at Mary, Martha and Lazarus’ home, at Zacheus’ table, at Simon’s banquet, at Cleophas and spouse’s supper. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Roots and Stories

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Wangari Maathai mural in the Lower Haight. Photo by Phil Dokas.

Lent 1

Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
Romans 10:8b-13
Luke 4:1-13

By Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie

As I reflected on today’s readings, the theme they seemed to weave together is to begin Lent by reviewing our stories. With the First Reading, in which the writers of Deuteronomy are giving the reader a sort of Last Will and Testament of Moses, God’s people are reminded of their history and God’s presence in it. They are told to recount that history in ritual and celebration. We are also being reminded to reflect on our personal intergenerational stories. Who were our ancestors? How was God with them as they journeyed? How do their stories impact your story? How has God’s presence in all of our stories led us to where we are today: physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually? The First Reading reminds us to ponder these questions as we reflect on our stories. 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

Bright Sadness

indexA litany for Lent, to be read while “How Can I Keep From Singing” is played in the background, after which the congregation sings one or more verse of the song

by Ken Sehested

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the season of Lent is described as a “bright sadness.”

In the sadness that surrounds our lives, our community, our world, we give thanks, nevertheless. More is at work than we can see. Continue reading

What Resurrection Means

LyniceOur Last day of the Lenten Journey.  [S]he is risen indeed.  From Rev. Lynice Pinkard of Oakland’s Seminary of the Street, in an interview with Sun Magazine in 2014.

We’re not going to do this work — of bringing people together, of stemming the tide of ecological abuse, of dealing with income inequality — without having something inside us change. Before I even get to my interaction with you, I need to examine my own self-interest. That’s what resurrection means to me: being able to rise above self-interest and the interests of your group. For me resurrection is about laying down our weapons and getting up off our assets. Resurrection is not merely about whether Jesus is dead or alive, in the tomb or not. In Romans, the Bible says the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead can quicken our mortal bodies to life. We can leave our cemeteries, abandon the deadness and the death-dealing nature of our lives. We can rise above the life-limiting forces that hold us down. For me, that’s resurrection: crossing over from self-interest to true solidarity.