Wild Lectionary: Pentecost

20190221_073837Pentecost, Year C
Acts 2

By Wes Howard Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

“In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young people shall see visions, and your old people shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2.17)

Late this past winter, we had to remove a big, old spruce tree from the south side of our little house here in the Issaquah Creek watershed. The City had replaced a sewer line adjacent to our house a few years earlier, and it had severed a major root of the tree. We knew it was only a matter of time for that old spruce. It finally gave up and down it came to protect our house from the risk of it falling on the roof. Continue reading

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

Anti-Semitism and Hypocrisy at the Top: a Jewish response

OmarBy Wes Howard-Brook

Three, young, powerful, brash women of color have come down upon the Capitol and left the old while folks there sputtering in their wake. The most well-known—so much so that she already can be recognized by her initials, AOC—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY)—has blown the doors off Congress by daring to offer her “Green New Deal” vision. The other two are both Muslim women, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar. Tlaib and Omar have strongly promoted the international “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction” campaign to pressure the Israeli government to withdraw from West Bank settlements. 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.

Continue reading

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

Review of Dianne Bergant, A New Heaven, a New Earth: The Bible and Catholicity

bookBy Wes Howard-Brook

Readers here of the “Wild Lectionary” series hardly need to be convinced of the Bible’s deep concern for all of God’s good creation. Our shared journey through the Scriptures from the perspective of Earth and her creatures has brought forth beautiful, poignant and powerful reflections on our own broken relationship with creation and the path to mutual healing.

But as we also know, humanity as a whole continues to run roughshod over the planet as if the constant alarm bells of record-breaking heat, storms and drought were not audible over the din of commerce and headphoned distractions. People who identity as “Christians” often lead the charge of climate denial and rejection of God’s love for creation. For such people, Dianne Bergant’s solid, steady, gentle overview of the Bible’s message of ecojustice may be just what is needed to shift perspective enough to join the movement to transform and to heal our relationship with creation. Continue reading