Showing posts from August, 2017

Preparing for Shalom

The High Holy Days are Coming! The High Holy Days are Coming! It has a been a week. High Holy Day preparations are ever-increasing in urgency and yet we found the time to stop and look at the sun. With the proper glasses, of course. Friday morning I attended the weekly shvitz minyan, which is gentle yoga/stretching with Hebrew chanting and learned something rather lovely. Friday was the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul. Elul is the month of spiritual preparation for the High Holy Days and is beautifully summarized by a verse from Song of Songs. You see, the letters that spell out Elul are an acronym for a verse from the Song of Songs 6:3: "Ani l'dodi v'dodi li" or "I am for my beloved and my beloved is for me". [which comes pretty close to an accurate Hebrew translation of my church's motto: "love. be loved."] The above card was made by the rabbi who led the shvitz class. At the bottom you can see the word elul

The Lectionary Says There's No Place for Racism

Isaiah 56:1,6-8 Psalm 67 Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32 Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28 White supremacy has no place on this earth. Anti-semitism has no place on this earth. Nazism has no place on this earth. For the Bible tells us so--especially in this week's lectionary passages, which are so perfect for a response to the burst pustule that is the shame of this country. We cannot let shame win. We have let it win in this country -- and in my country of birth (Australia) -- for far too long. I knew, early on, that I didn't want to be racist, bigoted or a misogynist, but I lacked the bravery to speak out against it and for that I am deeply sorry. In recent anti-immigrant conversations, I shone a light on the inherent racism of it, telling people that I am an immigrant, I have been through the system, but is it okay that I am an immigrant because I'm a safe white lady? Can someone be racist and not at the exact same time? I wonder now at how many times I un

The words I needed to hear this week...

1 Kings 19:9-18 Psalm 85:8-13 Romans 10:5-15 Matthew 14:22-33 It has been a bit of a week, to put it mildly, with two so-called world leaders engaging in a nuclear-themed pissing contest and with unashamed racists marching in the streets and driving through peaceful counter-protesters.   While reading through the lectionary choices for today, my eyes settled on the following words, and in a form of lectio divina, kept returning to them again and again.   from Psalm 85:10:   Mercy and truth have met together; * righteousness and peace have kissed each other. and Romans 10:8 (also Deuteronomy 30:14):   “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart”   But the way to these words was not easy. At the end of the first reading into today’s lectionary section, Elijah is told by God that 7,000 faithful Israelites will be spared, but the rest destroyed.   It’s the kind of comment by God that would give an End-Timer a hard-on.   (Sidebar: OK, thi

Transfiguration: The kingdom of heaven is revealed

Exodus 34:29-35 2 Peter 1:13-21 Luke 9:28-36 Psalm 99 or 99:5-9 In last week's reading, the kingdom of heaven was hidden: a mustard seed invisible in a field, a speck of yeast, a buried pearl. This week, the kingdom of heaven is in plain sight: and it's too much for mere mortals.   In our Exodus reading, the Israelites and Moses' own brother run away at the sight of his radiant face after he comes down the mountain from his chat with God. They are only able to look upon Moses' bare face for short periods of time when he shares with them messages from God. The rest of the time, Moses is veiled, his face concealed, hidden, for it is too much for the people to live with. "It" being the reflection of God's glory, or, as I like to think of it, overwhelming divine love. In Luke's gospel, Peter, John and James witness Jesus' face change and his clothes become dazzling white. Radiant. That and the descending cloud of God and God