Thursday, July 24, 2008

liking this text

This week's gospel passages are favorites of mine. (And, the passage from Romans is pretty darn fabulous, too, but that's for another time...)

I love Jesus' attempts to describe the kingdom of God. He reminds us that it's fresh, new, wild, and hard to explain.

"It's like a mustard seed," he says, reminding us how tenacious, wild and powerful in a grassroots-kinda-way it is. Like beautiful flowers growing up through sidewalk cracks. My friend, Stephanie, took this picture when she came across these daring flowers on a tour of the community gardens she's helped build in Omaha.
But before you get too stuck on this image, he continues:

"It's like some yeast," giving life to everything around it.

"It's like a find so spectacular you'd sell everything you had to buy it."

This week, when we gather at the Water's Edge for worship, it'll be our chance to help name and describe the kingdom. We give thanks for signs of it all around us, and for how what each of us has seen of it can help others understand more.

We also get to celebrate the baptism of two young sisters, which is pretty darn exciting. See you there.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

guiding light

This summer, our worship is becoming a bit of a workshop, as we look at the "stuff" of our worship and put our hands to making it, together. This week, we're looking at scripture.

And, our Psalm is a great introduction.

I like the idea of God's word being a guide for us. Scripture collects stories and poetry and contains God's very word. From it, we're able to get light to see our way.

Trouble is, it's not as simple as a guide that tells us exactly what to do on any day and time (except in general terms, like that we should love God and neighbor in all that we do). It doesn't tell me, for example, whether or not I should be doing something more important than writing this blog entry.

So, read and pray with it on our own, and we get together as a church community to do the same. This week, we'll gather to read some great stories from the Bible. A story from Genesis of our ancestors (who, as it turns out, had as crazy of family stories as we do now), and a story that Jesus tells to try to tell us all something about God.

I take these stories seriously, believing that doing so requires that we do our best to really engage and seek understanding of the complex and mysterious truth they tell.

I hope you'll join me as we enter these texts, and help me uncover the life and meaning they're offering us today, as we continue their story. We do so with great hope.

See you Sunday!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

a day off

I suppose I'm especially attentive to the idea of "rest" because I'm looking forward to tomorrow's holiday; I'm looking forward to spending the day poolside, with good food and friends.  

So, I'm drawn to the last verses in this week's reading from Matthew

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I'm struck by how oxymoronic (is that a proper word?) this sounds: take my yoke and find rest.  Pick up my work and be refreshed.

I think it's not by chance that Jesus uses the language of hard, physical labor in his invitation.  This is not a message for the elite, but for the laborers in our midst.  (Or, at least, its an invitation for all of us to become laborers.)

An invitation to take up a new way of living and working and naming what's important to us--a way that is, somehow, life giving even as it requires we give our whole selves.

What an incredible sort of work to be involved in: one that gives life. 

Perhaps that's one reason we gather in church--to help each other keep our lives focused on that work.