Finding Light in the disappointment, walking the path together.
Easter Year C
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
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, 2 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
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.
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.
Circle of Life, Zane Saunders, 1993 Creative Commons
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany C
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
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