Except for our gospel this morning, all of our readings have to do with wisdom.  Solomon, invited to ask God for anything at all, asks for wisdom.  And God thinks this was the right thing to ask for.  Our psalm suggests that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom — again, seen as a good thing.  And in Ephesians we are exhorted to live as wise people.

Wisdom seems to be important.

And although our gospel doesn’t talk about wisdom, it is a reading from John’s gospel, which seems to develop the first creation story from Genesis — you remember that story, don’t you?  In the beginning God created.  And how did God create?  God created by speaking things into being.

And how does John’s prologue, John’s creation story start?  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being …”

The Greek word which we translate as “word” is “logos.”  And the logos is much more than just a spoken word. (more…)

Sometimes things cluster.  The Daily Office Lectionary from the Hebrew Scriptures for today is from Proverbs 25.  Verses 21 and 22 jumped out at me.  (It seems unlikely, after all these years, that I haven’t read this section repeatedly.  But I do not remember having read these verses before.)  Here’s the quotation:

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;
If he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
You will be heaping live coals on his head, (more…)

I don’t know that there is a disconnect between being wealthy and having a relationship with God.  I do know that there are a number of people who have experienced such a disconnect, for them, between wealth and their relationship with God.  St. Francis comes to mind.  “The Late, Great” Gert comes to mind.  But I think my late friend Nel managed to use her great wealth to forward her relationship with God by providing a ministry of hospitality.  (There was both a real humility, accepting all kinds of people equally in God’s Name, and a willingness to use her position in support of the legitimate needs of others in her case.)

Never the less, I cannot understand those who feel that faithfulness to God and wealth go hand in hand — particularly the pursuit of wealth. (more…)

This is the sermon I didn’t give this morning in Fort Bragg:

This morning, we hear the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.  Like many stories of Jesus’ life, this is a story about expanding the boundaries of who counts with God. (more…)

A lot of the daily office readings from the Hebrew Scriptures for Lent are from Jeremiah.  He began his work as a prophet during the reign of the reforming king, Josiah, and in these Dueteronomic reforms, the cult was to be centered in the Jerusalem Temple and justice was to be done for the widows, the orphans and the oppressed.  At first Jeremiah supported these reforms.  But over time, it came to be about a kind of cultic legalism, a personal purity, and concerns for justice for those in need fell away. (more…)

One of the blogs I follow is The Sarcastic Lutheran.  And she recently posted a sermon on Haiti and where God is in this picture in which she said:

This week’s events bring with them a lot of questions about God, and none of them have to do with parties.  One atheist blog I read this week sneeringly used the earthquake to make a case against believing in God at all.  The writer implying that he could not believe in a God who would inflict such suffering on so many people, which made me admit that according to that definition I must be an atheist too because I don’t believe in that God either.

She goes on to talk about the marriage feast as Cana and what kind of God Jesus shows himself to be.  If you are interested, you can find Nadia’s sermon here.

I’ve always had a bit of trouble with the story of Noah’s drunkeness (one of the readings in today’s lectionary).  The flood’s over.  He plants a vinyard.  He makes wine.  He gets drunk, and passes out naked in his tent.  His son, Ham, goes in and sees him naked.  This is apparently a terrible crime.  He tells his brothers.  This is admittedly a bit disrespectful.  Noah’s behavior is seemingly praiseworthy (from the point of view of the biblical writer).  Ham’s son Canaan is condemned to slavery for his behavior.  It just doesn’t seem right. (more…)

We heard God’s covenant with Noah and all living flesh today in our reading from the Hebrew Scriptures.  And at first I was contrasting, as I read about how Noah was given all flesh to eat (excepting the blood, the life, which belongs to God), I was contrasting this in my mind with the garden, where Adam was given all the plants to eat.  It was only after the fall that people were no longer vegetarians.  Eating meat was not part of God’s original plan for us.

And even here, the blood, the life, belongs to God.  Human life blood, if taken, is singled out for special retribution.  But all life blood is God’s.  It is all talked about together in the same context.  And God’s covenant is made with all flesh, Noah and his descendants and all living creaatures.

So, we can eat animals.  But their lives always belong to God.  They are in this sense sacred.  And their welbeing is part of our care as God’s stewards of creation.  They are not just for our use (and abuse) as we see fit.  They have their own place with us in our covenant with God.

And once again, from Roshi Doshi, something on the Magnificat (and the reality of suffering):

Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)

[This post was inspired by a question from Pastor Nadia this morning]

“He hath filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich he hath sent empty away.”

We sang the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) last night as part of Holden Evening Vespers at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. (more…)

This morning’s reading from the Hebrew Scriptures was I Kings 19:1f.  Elijah has just had the greatest triumph of his prophetic career.  Ahab let his wife Jezebel pick the religion of his country, the northern kingdom of the divided Isreal.  She was a follower of Baal.  Worship of Yahweh went largely underground.  In protest, Elijah called a drought upon the land.  Then he went off and hid.  First he hid accross the Jordan from his country.  But when the drought dried up his source of water there, he went and hid in Zerepath, a coastal town in Sidon, the stronghold of Baal.  Talk about irony! (more…)