Wild Lectionary: The Very Edges of Your Field

wheat.jpgSeventh Sunday After the Epiphany

“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am YHWH, your God.” (Lev 19.9-10)

By Wes Howard-Brook and Sue Ferguson Johnson

More than any other biblical text, the book of Leviticus claims to express the direct voice of YHWH. Of the 160 uses of the phrase, “I am YHWH” in the Hebrew Bible, 49 uses are in Leviticus. And yet, the book may be among the least respected or understood scriptural texts. It is to this very chapter in Leviticus that Jesus turns when asked about the greatest commandments. Just a few verses down from the quote above we find: “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD” (Lev 19.18; cf. Mk 12.31). Indeed, not only Jesus, but also Paul and James—made into opponents of each other in the post-Reformation culture wars—cite Lev 19.9 as central to discipleship (Rom 13.9; Gal 5.14; James 2.8). Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Direct Laction

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The abandoned land from our Direct Laction in Camden, NJ

Sixth Sunday After Epiphany
by Andrea Ferich

And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? For when one says, ‘I belong to Paul’, and another, ‘I belong to Apollos’, are you not merely human?

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labour of each. For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.     -1 Corinthians 3:1-9

A few years ago I lived for a decade in the Delaware River Watershed in Camden, NJ in an abandoned and contaminated landscape. Amidst the industrial collapse we planted orchards and took literal and symbolic action to reclaim the landscape. The reading from 1 Corinthians calls to mind the watering, the planting, the miracles and milk that were poured onto the land. Here is an excerpt from our “Direct Laction” to reclaim the land with milk, land that was not ready, nor suitable to grow food. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: An Unordinary Time

Trees - Reddish Knob.jpgFifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 58:1-12

By Valerie Luna Serrels

We enter this week’s story through a blind spot. The people who historically have awakened to and connected to God, find themselves unable to see, disconnected from God, one another, and the land. This blind spot invites us to reflect on the ways in which we too are unaware and disconnected. Unaware of which world’s code of conduct we abide. What religion we practice. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Holy Fools

holyfoolimagewquote32.jpg4th Sunday after Epiphany

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

by Tevyn East and Jay Beck, excerpted from Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice

The Catholic Feast of Fools was a day for liturgical dramas that dissolved church hierarchy, celebrated becoming a “Fool for Christ” (1 Cor) and enacted the Magnificat’s call to turn society upside down (Luke 1:52–53). This feast day was later suppressed by authorities lived on for centuries within medieval folk culture. Europeans eventually brought many such religious festivities to the New World under the common label “carnival.” Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Under the Cover of His Tent

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Great American Backyard Campout photo credit: Chattahoochee Nature Center

3rd Sunday after Epiphany

One thing I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent: he will set me high on a rock.
Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.  -Psalm 27:4-6

By Sarah Thompson and Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, excerpted from Watershed Discipleship: Reinhabiting Bioregional Faith and Practice

Sarah: Connecting people to land connects us with one another, enabling us to re-knit kinship ties that were broken by enslavement. In the Diaspora, Black folks have had a primarily extractive relationship with the land, and later in industrial factories. We were seen as people whose worth was in our productive capacity, but beyond that, as disposable. It is easy to understand, therefore, why we have had an extractive relationship with one another, and use a lot of disposable things. But this cycle is spiritually devastating. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Dove Descending

dsc_1465-lowresBy Ted Lyddon Hatten

John 1:29-42

John the Baptist saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove.

Doves/pigeons (they are the same, like canine/dog) hold a central place in our most sacred stories. From Noah’s ark to burnt offerings, these birds are easy to see if you have eyes that see.

Pigeons are easy to see in most major cities and have a reputation for being unclean. But for the poor, the outcast, and women of the ancient world, doves were the only way to be made clean. Pigeons purchased for pocket change were beheaded and burned by the Temple priests. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Water is Life

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Photo caption: water protectors in the Cannonball River Photo credit: resistmedia

Baptism of the Lord
January 8, 2017

Laurel Dykstra, priest in charge of Salal + Cedar, a watershed discipleship community in Coast Salish Territory near Vancouver BC, and Steve Blackmer, priest at Church of the Woods in Canterbury, NH discuss the readings for January 8.

Steve: There’s so much here but what stands out to me is water, living, real water.
Laurel: What do you mean by “real water”?
S: Real water as opposed to tame water that is contained in the font, sometimes even covered up with a lid, the water itself is tamed and the act of baptism is tamed. But this is actual flowing water. You can imagine Jesus—not a casual surfacing but a splashing, bursting forth! In the psalm the voice of the LORD over mighty waters, powerful and present there’s a sense of divine power. It makes oak trees writhe, that is not a tame God but something wild and untamable.
L: Let’s look at the readings verse by verse. Continue reading