Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Feast of the Holy Trinity Year B - John 3:1-17

John 3:1-17
The truth of “God so loved the world…” is diminished if we add conditional clauses that limit the ability of the wind of the Spirit to blow wherever it chooses. In the same way we demean the sacrifice of “he gave his only Son” by insisting that the Spirit wind of God’s love must blow everywhere for everyone. We do not know the magnitude or the limitations of God’s mercy although to insist on a verbal confession of a personal relationship and a particular way of being baptized would seem to usurp God’s prerogative to do whatever God pleases. And if the life of Jesus gives us any clue it would seem that the only people who should be concerned are the very religious people – in Jesus’ day Pharisees and Sadducees and teachers of the law. The good news for those of us who are blessed to believe and those who do not is that the wind of the Spirit blows where it will and if the cross is any indication of God’s intent it will be a mighty merciful wind indeed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Feast of the Holy Trinity Year B - Romans 8:12-17

Romans 8:12-17
I will admit I’m in hock to the flesh and cannot conceive a payment plan that will get me out of debt anytime soon. Based on Paul’s struggle in the previous chapter “I do not understand what I do…” (7:15 ff) my guess is that Paul was paying down his debt his whole life as well. But putting to death the deeds of the body is not as much about freedom from the flesh as it is trusting that even while we are in the flesh our cry “Abba! Father!” is heard no matter what. Like paying a mortgage on a house we get to live in even though the bank holds the note. But unlike human lenders the Lord doesn’t evict us if we miss a payment and truth to be told the permanent dwelling is already deeded to us as well because of the down payment Jesus made on our behalf. So we are debtors but in debt forever to Christ and gladly so.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Feast of the Holy Trinity Year B - Psalm 29

Psalm 29
Hills skipping and mountains bucking are not that pleasant when one is in close proximity. In the same way we prefer our forests leafy green as opposed to stripped bare. But the Lord enthroned above the flood is imagined by the psalmist in ways that strike terror into human hearts so that God’s glory is matched strength for strength with the little g gods who are compelled to ascribe to the Lord the glory due God’s name. For our part we count on God’s voice to be reduced to a whisper when our name is called so that the God who bursts forth in lightning blasts might bestow on us the blessing of peace.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Feast of the Holy Trinity Year B - Isaiah 6:1-8

Isaiah 6:1-8
The call story of the prophet Isaiah is filled with fanciful details that defy explanation. The hem of the Lord “high and lifted up” fills the temple which must mean the rest of the Lord is seated on the patio? Why do the seraphim need two wings to hide their faces and two wings for their feet when they only need two to fly? And burning coals do serious damage to lips so that one might forgo forgiveness for lack of lip balm. All of that is to say the vision is like a dream and full of bizarre imagery to elevate the high and lifted up Lord beyond this mortal coil and usher us into the mystery of God who is beyond knowing. “Woe is me!” is the proper thing to say in the sight of such power. Which means the enthusiasm of “Here am I. Send me” should have waited for a moment to hear what follows. "I’m sending you to people ever hearing but never understanding; ever seeing but never perceiving. Make their hearts dull, their ears heavy, their eyes shut until their cities are laid waste." To which the more appropriate response might be “Woe is me” if not for the faithfulness of the Lord who upholds those who are sent and preserves those who willing. Here am I. Send. Me. Even so. Oy Vey.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Feast of Pentecost Year B - John 16:1-15

John 16:1-15
The Spirit as Advocate contends for us to prove the world’s ways will not be the way for us. That is because the Spirit convicts the less than satisfactory definition of sin as the things we do proving that what is made manifest in behavior always begins in belief. But then those who think right often do not act in right ways which means righteousness “being made right with God”  can only be directed from God towards us and not vice versa. And judgment is reserved for the one who is the parent of lies and deceives us at every turn even if “every single one of us (has) the devil inside” (INXS) Jesus may have many things left to say that none of us can bear but this much is true, the “God so loved the world” Jesus makes it possible for the world to welcome the truth telling Spirit who will reveal the love of God while exposing deceitful ways.