By Ragan Sutterfield
I have a small garden in my front yard, a smattering of plants, haphazardly planted–perennials and annuals, flowers and herbs and vegetables, “weeds” that I’ve welcomed and cultivated for their benefits to the soil and small wild things that make my yard their home. I water infrequently and mulch heavily–a plant must do well here or I take it out for something that won’t be too much trouble to grow.
Second Sunday After Pentecost
By Victoria Loorz
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Psalm 139:6, 13-14
These are the words of a human in awe, trying to respond to an ecstatic encounter…with a reality much larger, an ineffable beauty… It is an open-hearted exclamation of joy, evidence of a moment of mystical glimpse into What Is that can only be expressed through poetry and singing and jumping up and down howling at the moon. These are the words of an ancient ancestor experiencing something from a totally different worldview, experience, culture, orientation than mine, and yet…and yet it deeply resonates. Buildings and jobs and culture and landscapes and governments have evolved and changed. But the embodied sensual ecstasy, the explosive awakening that happens when you are able to somehow have magical eyes that see, a heart that feels, a peek into what Jesus was talking about when he said “I’ve come to bring LIFE and not just life, but LIVES LIVED FULLY ALIVE life.” (John 10:10)…THAT never changes.
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
Womb 2 Kovil BG Photo Credit: Fillipov Ivo, Creative Commons
Epiphany, Year B
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18
By Ragan Sutterfield
E. Stanley Jones once wrote that if there is an instinct in the human heart to conceal there is also a deeper instict to reveal” (Victory Through Surrender). And yet, our culture keeps from authentic disclosure. We are invited, instead, to a kind of performative exposure, a way of revealing that also hides. We want to be known and seen but we do not trust those who might see us. We are afraid of what might happen if we are known, fully, authentically. So we manufacture disclosure on Facebook, hoping that in the commiseration of comments or praise of likes we will achieve what we are afraid to risk through a real openness. It is disclosure at the surface rather than at the depths.
Photo by Victoria Loorz, taken during the Thomas Fire near her home
December 10, 2017
A voice cries out: “In the wilderness, prepare the way of the LORD…
…and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed…waiting for the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? … But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. Continue reading
Photo Credit: Laurel Dykstra
Proper 28(33) A
Pentecost + 24
By Ragan Sutterfield
I have been spending my mornings in the woods lately, a short hike before I begin to work on the tasks of the day. As fall finally arrives here in Arkansas the juncos have returned, twittering as they flash the white of their tails, and the long metallic notes of white-throated sparrows echo in the understory. Each step along the trails comes with a crunch, not only of the newly fallen leaves, but also of the acorns, cracking orange against the gray shale of the hillsides. Continue reading
Photo by Wendy Janzen Grand River, Southwestern Ontario
Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
Proper 13 (18)
By Wendy Janzen
“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters…”
Canada is a land of abundant fresh water. Ontario, the province in which I live, contains one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water. Ontarians love our lakes and rivers.
This summer has been a wet summer here. I’ve hardly needed to water my vegetable garden, and my small patch of lawn is still a lush green from the regular, soaking rains. Some rains have come with too much rain falling too quickly, causing streams and rivers to overflow their banks. Continue reading