All in Weekly Lectionary

The Dog Passage

Matthew 15:21-28 goes a little like this:

Canaanite woman asks Jesus to heal her daughter, Jesus ignores her, Canaanite woman persists, Jesus basically calls her a dog, Canaanite woman points out that dogs get scraps, Jesus is impressed, and heals daughter of the Canaanite woman.

Pardon?

This was the gospel passage for the Lectionary today. People have to preach on it. I taught it a few year back in Sunday school. It's a crazy passage. Going over this passage the first time, then the second time, and then the third time, I was fairly flabbergasted.

I Write This from the Boat

I don't know if I could really do it. In my heart of hearts, I hope I would. If white supremacists marched into town, would I stand in their way? Would I boldly andnon-violently protest their hatred? If Charlottesville happened in Nashville, would I stand arm in arm with my brothers and sisters of all races?

Showing that solidarity is what Jesus calls us to do. There is no doubt about it. Racism is a scourge and a lie. It has taken the lives of countless people and held down exponentially more. Its evil is alive and well in this country. Watching Virginia today has stomped on my heart. Yet then I remember that so many African-Americans see this ugly side of the country every day. More than that, I know that I have benefitted where others have not because of this ugly side.

I hope I would do the right thing. God, I want to do the right thing.

Wrestlepalooza

Dusty: Welcome back to Wrestlepalooza א! Joe, this event has been nonstop, bone-crushing action!

Joe: That’s right, Dusty. The crowd is still going bonkers after the Nephilim destroyed EVERYONE in the Steel Cage Match!

Dusty: Well, those half-human, half-angel giants are not to be messed with! But even that catastrophic beatdown will be nothing compared to the upcoming Main Event!

Joe: That’s right! It’s Jacob “The Heel” Isaacs versus his brother Esau “The Red Storm” Isaacs! These two have a history and it’s full of bad blood.

Still With Me

"Oh Lord, You have searched me and known me."

That can be a terrifying statement. It seems pretty innocuous at first. God has searched us and known us. That's what God does; knowing is one of the things the Divine just does. But then I consider the reality of God searching and knowing me. Not the front that I put up. Not the version of myself with my best foot forward. Not Writer Chris. Not Youth Minister Chris. Not even Husband or Father Chris. Sure all of those are part of me.

But the me that God has searched and known contains a tangle of insecurities, failures and screw-ups too numerous to mention, a heart that wants to follow God, but often veers from that path in a single beat. I read that first verse and sometimes I am flooded with every mistake I've made, every person I've hurt, every bit of myself that I wish were better in some way and I feel like the stoner at high school who feels nervous when the drug dogs come around. Please God, don't search me.

Together

My headspace is a complicated place right now. Today is Pentecost; the day we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. It's considered by many to be a sort of birthday for the Church. It reminds us of the ties that bind the disparate threads of Christianity together. We all started in that room.

At the same time, I'm processing another terror attack in London. Whenever something like this happens, it splinters everyone into factions. There are people saying we need to profile minorities more. Folks use the attack as a catalyst to argue certain political platforms. There individuals aghast at all of this and saying we need to pull together and others calling those people snowflakes. Such an atrocity divides, strikes fears, incites rage, and all of that is exactly the goal of such an evil act.

Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise (Matt. 28:16-20 & John 20:24-29)

I remember wet socks. Whenever I think about my baptism, wet socks are the first thing that jumps to my mind. Socks completely submerged in water feel funny. But beyond the socks, I remember the white robe. I remember the darkness outside the sanctuary because it was an evening worship service and I was only used to seeing daylight through those windows. I remember my family sitting in the front pews and the pride on their face. I remember wading in the baptismal pool out to my dad; pride on his face. I remember being buried with Jesus in death and going under the water and hearing my dad say, “Raised up to walk in newness of life.” I was seven years old and I was as sure of God’s love as I was of those wet socks and the love of my family. I am not as certain now of that as I was when I was seven and yet here I am.

Baptism has been on my mind this week. The Matthew passage was selected as the text because upstairs today over two dozen fifth graders are being baptized. Baptism has also been on my mind because it seems like nearly every time I’ve gone outside the past few days, the weather has tried to drown me. So it’s the week after Easter and we remember baptism and new beginnings and Jesus giving his followers this Great Commission. It’s a celebratory day. So why did I undercut a cute-ish baptism story with an admittance of doubt? Well, I am following the lead of Matthew and the tradition of the church at large.

Good Cop, Bad Cop

GC: Let’s walk this through one more time, Mr. Johns.

J: I have already told you everything that happened.

BC: Oh, he’s already told us everything that’s happened, O’Houlihan. (pounds the metal table with his fist) If you told us everything that happened, we wouldn’t still be in here you little punk!

GC: (pulling his partner back) Shefshesky! Take five! Listen, Johns, I’m sorry about my partner. He’s under a lot of stress. We got this Jesus guy running around makin’ our job more difficult.

J: How’s he making things difficult?

GC: Ya see, word on the street is he’s healing people. People who can’t walk, people who can’t hear, people (motions to Johns) who can’t see…

God, reorient me to Your Way

God, reorient me to Your Way
May the things that tempt and entice me
Be goodness, justice, righteousness, and charity
May these forty days of Lent
Burn off my selfishness
Like the blistering desert sun
May I walk with Your Son
May I follow in his footsteps
May I listen to his voice
When the accuser's voice calls out
May I respond with Your nourishing words

Fiat Lux

Let there be light. Let the darkness be punctured. Let the night come to an end. Let the new day dawn. Let the sun burst up from the horizon. Let its rays warm the earth. Let its heat touch our faces. Let the light travel through windows and dance on our walls. Fiat lux. Let there be light.

"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard."