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

van-gogh-the-starry-night-1889

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: Seraphim, seed people and fish folk, oh my!: celebrating God’s kaleidoscopic web of life

circle of life

Circle of Life, Zane Saunders, 1993 Creative Commons

Fifth Sunday after Epiphany C
Isaiah 6:6:1-13
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Luke 5:1-11

By Wes Howard Brook and Sue Furguson Johnson

This week’s readings reveal life springing forth from sky, sea and soil: seraphim speak to Isaiah, fish are netted by Simon Peter, and images of fleshy seeds of resurrection flow from Paul’s mouth (in the section of 1 Cor 15 that follows the lectionary passage). And if we listen a bit more closely, we can hear the usual lines that distinguish one creature from another blur and cross: Jesus promises that Simon will fish for people, while, for Paul, humans bloom and fruit like flowering trees. What might these criss-crossing images teach us about the intersectionality among living beings, in this realm and in the realm beyond the veil? Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Word of God in the Wilderness

hill country of Judea.jpg

Photo Credit: Hill Country of Judea by Ferrell Jenkins

Advent 2C

Luke 3.1-6

By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

Just as the CNN and MSNBC cameras turn their lenses to the president and his people, God’s Word comes to an obscure group of folk whose hope is elsewhere.

We who read the pages of Radical Discipleship hardly need to be told that our hope is not in Trump or the Democratic Party or any of the professional purveyors of the imperial status quo. So it is not surprising to us to hear that in Luke’s time, the Word of God was heard not in Rome or Judea or elsewhere in the corridors of worldly power but in the wilderness.

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Wild Lectionary: Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!

shaggy manes

shaggy manes

Proper 23(28) B
21st Sunday after Pentecost

Mark 10:17-31

By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

This week’s Gospel from Mark is a familiar one, in which a rich man comes to Jesus seeking the path to inheriting “eternal life.” As Ched Myers noted three decades ago now (!), the key to the story is the “ringer” command Jesus adds to the familiar ones from Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 6: “You shall not defraud [Gk, apostereō].” Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Imperial Logic and Creation

cows enslavedProper 5(10)B

1 Samuel 8:4-20, 11:14-15
Genesis 3:8-15

By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

Then Joseph said to the people, “Now that I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh, here is seed for you; sow the land. And at the harvests you shall give one-fifth to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones.”  They said, “You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be slaves to Pharaoh.” (Gen 47.23-25) Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Transfiguration

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Fresh buds on Tiger Mountain

Transfiguration B
Mark 9:2-9

By Sue Ferguson Johnson and Wes Howard-Brook

“Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves.” (Mk 9.2)

It has been a long, wet, grey, dark winter so far here in the Issaquah Creek watershed. While we have been spared the intense cold and massive snowfalls visited upon our sisters and brothers to the east, the relentless “parade of storms” from the Pacific Ocean (as local weatherfolk like to call it) can wear away at even the most committed pluviophile. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Holy Land

Mt Erbal caves

Mt Arbel Caves

Advent 3B

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Luke 1:46b-55

By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

Just north of Magdala in Galilee stand the cave-pocked cliffs of Mt. Arbel. Twice in a hundred years, Roman soldiers shot fire into the caves to destroy Israelites who refused to give in to imperial rule. The first occasion was the imposition of Herod as king in 40 BCE, while the second was during the Roman-Jewish war of the mid-60s CE.

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