Wild Lectionary: Sheep, Gazelle and Rock

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Psalm 23

By Laurel Dykstra

On this Good Shepherd Sunday, our annual engagement with the repeated biblical assertion that both kingship and divine-human relations resemble sheep husbandry, the lectionary illuminates two key aspects of the emerging Wild Church Movement. Connected to both Watershed Discipleship and Contemplative Ecology, Wild Church is nothing more than Christians who intentionally worship, or seek to experience holiness, outside of buildings. In forests, deserts, city parks, beaches, urban vacant lots we reassert the strand of our tradition where wilderness is the place of divine encounter. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Raised for the Great Turning

Easter 3C
John 21:1-19

Bring some fish you have caught and come and have breakfast

By The Rev. Marilyn Zehr

This week I loved reading the resurrection story of barbequed fish and bread on the beach through Joanna Macy’s three narrative lens of business as usual, the great unraveling, and the great turning. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Thomas, Bodies, Touch, and Violence

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Hold Fast by Thor (Creative Commons License)

Easter 2(B)
John 20:19-31

By Laurel Dykstra

“Doubting Thomas” it’s the name we call someone who demands hard evidence, who won’t accept what we say or who doesn’t share our beliefs.

There are all kinds opportunities in the church use that name against someone. All sorts of differences in the beliefs of faithful Christians: angels, auras, miracles, marriage, dinosaurs, women disciples, Adam and Eve, Noah, what prayer is, what happens during a sacrament, what salvation means, what parts of the creeds we say with confidence and, perhaps most pertinent here, how we understand the resurrection. Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Disappointment as Easter Hope

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Finding Light in the disappointment, walking the path together.

Easter Year C

Luke 24:13-35

A café in Toronto is to us, what the town square was to locals and travelers alike in villages in first century Palestine. Taking a quick detour from my compulsive list of daily activities, I deke into the café at the corner of King St. East and Jarvis. Filled with other delightful misfits and strangers I find solace in their company. As I snuggle up onto the only remaining seat on a bench with my earl grey tea, a young woman smiles at me.

Breaking news at the top of the hour is alarming: “The former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould and the former Minister of Indigenous Relations Jane Philpott have been removed from the Liberal Caucus!” My neighbor and I begin to talk. A woman at another table is moved by our animated conversation: “What has happened?” she presses. Seemingly the only three in the café that know the events of late, our debate begins. We agree, at the heart of the “SNC-Lavalin” matter is not just a personal misunderstanding, but rather the power of corporations to define the overarching political and economic landscape above public interests. I am ever more incensed with the reality of corporate power when the news continues with the coverage of Canada’s climate change. The report is “beyond grim.” It warns that Canada’s climate has been warming at roughly twice the rate of the rest of the world!  In Northern Canada, it’s even higher.” As our communal lament continues, a man with his back turned to us as he leaves, snaps: “I am tired of this conversation they should just move on, this is the way the world is.” His aggressive afront is disheartening, even as he leaves without the respect of listening.  It’s the deadening silence from so many others who remain fixed to their phones though, that fuels my disappointment more. Continue reading

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

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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: Affection vs. Effectiveness

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A tree that the author’s family visits weekly.

Lent 5C
John 12:1-8

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.

Continue reading

Wild Liturgy: Coats and Branches

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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