Wild Lectionary: No Peace in Heaven, No Peace on Earth

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Vincent VanGogh’s Starry Night

Liturgy of the Palms Year C
By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. (Luke 3.1-2)

Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! (Luke 12.51)

As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38 saying,
“Blessed is the king

who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
and glory in the highest heaven!
(Luke 19.37-38)

In imagining ways to hear Scripture from the lens of “wild lectionary,” we tend to jump to details of life on earth: water, trees, animals, mountains. This focus on earth is challenged by this week’s passage from Luke, as Jesus and his disciples enter Jerusalem for what we’ve come to call “Holy Week.” For Luke tells us that “the whole multitude of disciples” proclaimed as Jesus came down the Mount of Olives, not “peace on earth,” but “peace in heaven.” What can they be thinking? What is the relationship between heaven and earth when it comes to making peace? Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Affection vs. Effectiveness

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A tree that the author’s family visits weekly.

Lent 5C
John 12:1-8

By Ragan Sutterfield

The current level of atmospheric carbon is just above 411 parts per million–a level that is catastrophic and rising. While little has been done, the efforts of most institutions both governmental and non-governmental have treated the problem like a math equation. Cut fossil fuels by X amount. Increase forest carbon sinks by Y. Problem solved. But the problem has not been solved any better than the problem of a person who counts calories but does not trust in the goodness and value of their own body. We have failed to recognize that carbon is not the problem; that it is only the symptom of an underlying disease of our habits and hearts, a matter of our affections more than arithmetic.

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Wild Liturgy: Coats and Branches

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Poverty Weed at New Life Lutheran, Dripping Springs Texas

By Judy Steers

“They brought the colt to Jesus, threw their cloaks on it and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’ “
Luke 19 36-38

I’ll reveal my age perhaps when I relate the story of Palm Sunday in the church where I grew up.  The day beforehand, the women of the altar guild would gather with their daughters (we were all between 9 and 15 years old) to practice the art of turning large bundles of green palm fronds into crosses. We would make probably a couple of hundred and put them in water to keep fresh until the Sunday morning. The best branch was saved to be displayed behind the cross at the high altar. The palms came to us in large shipping crates, wrapped in damp cloths.  It felt like an honoured task, and I can still hear the satisfying scchickkk sound of the woody edges being split and peeled away from the supple inner part of the palm leaf which was pliable enough to bend and fold into shape. I had never of course seen a palm tree and it was mysterious and exotic to handle these stiff, pale green fronds.  There is a huge nostalgia in this, and I taught my own children and many Sunday School kids over the years to make them. 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: The Boy with Epilepsy- Listening Again

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Wing and a Prayer, 2014, mixed media, L.J. Throstle

Lent 2C
Luke 9:28-43

By Lucy Price

Matthew, Mark and Luke all contain seizures and demons in the same sentence and some even translate the word to epilepsy. Lunatic and moonstruck are closer to the original translation, but in any case growing up in the church as a person living with epilepsy, hearing the story of the boy brought to Jesus for healing left me with a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Fully Human, Fully Divine, Fully Trans


frogBy Mary Ann Saunders

Exodus 34:29-35
Luke 9:28-43a

For me, as a trans woman, the Transfiguration feels deeply personal.

It’s not just that the word transfiguration simply means “a change of form”—which is something I know quite a bit about—nor is it simply that my experience and Jesus’ experience are consistent with the natural world. Creation, after all, is full of transfigurations: tadpoles become frogs, seeds become plants, some fish species change sex, caterpillars become butterflies (this last itself being a popular metaphor for gender transitions). We now even know that genetic information—supposedly immutable—can change over the course of our lives.

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Wild Lectionary: Whose Power and What For?

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7th Sunday After Epiphany
Genesis 45:3-11, 15

By Rev. Miriam Spies

Some commentators read this passage as a moment of reconciliation and forgiveness between family…or a story of redistributing food and wealth based on need, but the misuse of power and thinking we know the mind of God has harmful effects for Joseph’s family and for generations of people to come.

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