By Dee Dee Risher
Like each of you, I am spinning and dancing in the flux that is COVID-19.
My city, Philadelphia, is on lockdown, people asked to go out only for necessities or to the doctor. Every day I have gotten news of loved older ones exposed or friends who have COVID-19, schools and colleges closed, information overload. I’ve cancelled retreats and trips I have looked forward to for months, reeled home one college student from across the globe. I’ve been anxious about what the virus will do in Project HOME’s 900-resident community of formally homeless and vulnerable people, concerned and sad about life experiences cancelled, uncertain about how long it may go and how bad everything may get. You probably have a similar list of things falling, failing, the world shifting a bit under fear and responsibility.
A great opportunity for radical disciples as Lent approaches on our calendars. This free webinar starts at 8pmEST on Mon, February 24. Register HERE. It will be led by Rev. Anne Dunlap, Faith Coordinator for Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).
The Lent 2020 lectionary readings from the Gospel of John are challenging for Christians trying to counter anti-Jewish/anti-Semitic interpretations of these stories. The choices seem stark, and the enemies seem clear. What alternative readings could there be that do not perpetuate dangerous interpretations that have been – and continue to be — the excuse for violence against Jews and others? Continue reading
From 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
Wangari Maathai mural in the Lower Haight. Photo by Phil Dokas.
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
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
Palm Sunday, Year B
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
A 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
By Dee Dee Risher
After forty days of desert walking
out of the clean baptism waters
of the Jordan, still he
remembered how it was:
to float, to be pushed into the cool deep blue,
to come out caressed
by the words:
Beloved. Blessed. Continue reading