A tree that the author’s family visits weekly.
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.
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
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.’
- spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant. wasteful,extravagant,spendthrift, improvident, imprudent, immoderate, profligate, thriftless, excessive, intemperate, irresponsible, self-indulgent, reckless, wanton
- having or giving something on a lavish scale.
generous, lavish, liberal, unstinting, unsparing, bountiful Continue reading
Wing and a Prayer, 2014, mixed media, L.J. Throstle
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
Wangari Maathai mural in the Lower Haight. Photo by Phil Dokas.
Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
By Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie
As I reflected on today’s readings, the theme they seemed to weave together is to begin Lent by reviewing our stories. With the First Reading, in which the writers of Deuteronomy are giving the reader a sort of Last Will and Testament of Moses, God’s people are reminded of their history and God’s presence in it. They are told to recount that history in ritual and celebration. We are also being reminded to reflect on our personal intergenerational stories. Who were our ancestors? How was God with them as they journeyed? How do their stories impact your story? How has God’s presence in all of our stories led us to where we are today: physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually? The First Reading reminds us to ponder these questions as we reflect on our stories. Continue reading
By Mary Ann Saunders
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.
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.