Ex 20:1-17 is one account of the commandments which Yahweh (the LORD), the tribal god of Israel, gave to Moses. Not that the true God was ever just a tribal god. God is beyond all human conceptualization and our consciousness of God has developed over time.
(Gen 22: 1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18) Abraham heard Godâ€™s call and was willing to sacrifice Isaac; however, God intervened once God saw Abrahamâ€™s obedience. This is a fireside story about Abrahamâ€™s great faith. It is also a story telling the Israelites not to engage in child sacrifice like some of their neighbors. We know in the fullness of Godâ€™s revelation that the sacrifice God wants is humble and contrite hearts. Hearts ready to love God and love other people. Continue reading
Children in Somotillo, Nicaragua
Ched Myers really breaks this passage (Mk 9:14-29) open. Ultimately, it is a story of faith/doubt and unbelief. The disciples doubt their power. The father doubts their power. He is desperate for relief for his son. Jesus here is casting out the demon of unbelief which beset disciples then and now. Jesus connects prayerâ€”one of the three Lenten practices we will useâ€”to faith. Prayer is â€œthe power of belief.â€ Myers says, â€œTo pray is to learn to believe in a transformation of self and the world, which seems empirically impossibleâ€”as in â€˜moving mountains.â€™â€™ (11:23). What is unbelief but despair, dictated by dominant powers, that nothing can really change, a despair that renders revolutionary vision and practice impotent. The disciples are instructed to battle this impotence, this temptation to resignation, through prayer.â€ Myers goes on to say that we must all struggle with the â€œdemons that mute our prophetic voice. Continue reading
This olive tree is in this picture is in the Garden. From the Garden, you can look down across the Kedron Valley and see the old walled city of Jerusalem. On the other side of the Mount of Olives (now separated by the WALL) is the city of Bethany. Jesus wept in Bethany over the death of his friend Lazarus. Near the Garden of Gethsemane is the Dominus Flavit Chapel built in the shape of a tear drop. It was here that Jesus also wept. He wept because Jerusalem did not know the God of Peace.
God calls Abraham to leave families, friends and country. God will lead him to a different place. Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up the mountain. He takes them to a different place as he is transfigured before them.
Life is a journey. Peter has a different idea. Let us build tents here and stay where we are comfortable. Today Peter would say, â€œJesus, let us stay in our comfort zone.â€ God does not like comfort zones. God is constantly calling us forth to new life, new adventures, new ways of seeing and being. Continue reading
The readings for the first Wednesday in Lent focus on Jonah. I have The Inclusive Bible which comes in 4 volumes. I finally found the book of Jonah in the Prophets volume. And rightly so. Jonah was prophet. He initially tried to shirk his calling and ended up in the belly of the whale. He was well aware that he might have to pay the price for proclaiming the word of God.
Johan finally enters the sinful city of Nineveh. He simply said, â€œOnly forty more days and Nineveh is going to be destroyed.â€ To his utter amazement, the people and their rulers heeded the word of God and repented. They came to their senses. They prayed and fasted. They repented. Continue reading
Reading James H. Coneâ€™s book, God of the Oppressed, has stirred some reflections. Coneâ€™s basic thesis is that we cannot talk about God independent of our own history and context both past and present. He also says that God is bigger than our talk about God. As Jesse Manibusan says in one song, â€œGod is bigger than you and me.â€ Continue reading