This Sunday, as we continue our year long journey to understand the emerging possibilities beyond our spent Christendom,
both in our Sunday gatherings and during our annual meetings. May we be bolstered by courage and surrounded by garce
Psalm 131, Tree of Life version, The TLV is a new Bible translation, produced by Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars, which highlights the rich Hebrew roots of the Christian faith
Adonai, my heart is not proud,
nor my eyes lofty,
nor do I go after things too great
or too difficult for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul--
like a weaned child with his mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, put your hope in Adonai
from this time forth and forever.
in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Two pieces of music we will be singing this week. Be Still My Soul, the musical version of our psalm. And Lord of All Hopefulness, a visitor's request.
We continue to look through the lens of the emerging worldview of 2019, using our foundational scriptures to rediscover our faith in new ways. This week we ponder the fifth commandment, which, on face value seems simple enough. But if you have learned anything over the last few weeks, you will know that nothing, when it come to matters divine and matters human, is simple. Rich. Deep.Mysterious. Complicated. Yes.
Exodus 20: 12 NRSV
Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
The honouring of our earthly parents - no matter who they are or what they may have done or not done - is essential to a life well-lived. There is simply no getting around this.
And similarly, the honouring of our heavenly parents - and you may call them God or Allah or Mother and Father or Earth and Sky or whatever you choose - is also of paramount importance if we are to live in any kind of peace in this universe.
Honour stands outside all knowledge and claims faith in the goodness of life
- even though all around us may point to darkness.
This is not naivety.
This is faith.
Psalm 22 - Why Have You Forsaken Me?
It is a truism that there are moments when our human parents have failed us, not been there when we needed them.
And it is true that we have only been greeted by the silence of god when we were most in need of comfort.
Continuing to honour them, never the less, is continuing to honour the life we have been given to live.
For it is by their grace that we do so.
And this collection of wonders from the ever amazing offerings of prayers and politics, a weekly collection of thoughts and images sublime. http://www.prayerandpolitiks.org/
COME AND SING WITH US.
Singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson has been wrestling with his faith and the expression of it for his whole life. And
fortunately for us, he has shared that struggle, and triumph, in his music, that we may all know we are not alone.
Rabbi Abraham Heschel's seminal book, The Sabbath, defines for us the miracle of this wondrous day. Often quoted, much lauded, this poetic work offers to the Protestant tradition a new understanding of the astonishment that is a
'cathedral in time.'
“He who wants to enter the holiness of the day must first lay down the profanity of clattering commerce, of being yoked to toil. He must go away from the screech of dissonant days, from the nervousness and fury of acquisitiveness and the betrayal in embezzling his own life. He must say farewell to manual work and learn to understand that the world has already been created and will survive without the help of man. Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth; on the Sabbath we especially care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul. The world has our hands, but our soul belongs to Someone Else. Six days a week we seek to dominate the world, on the seventh day we try to dominate the self.”
We tend to think of the Sabbath as a time set aside for can'ts. We can't do this and we can't do that.
By this viewing, we see the decalogue as a punishment, not a gift. But in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, properly understood, Sabbath time is the most sacred of divine offerings. The keeping of Sabbath does not refer so much to a day of the week - you may choose any day or time to practice it - but rather to an atmosphere in which everything is delightful. It is a place of numinosity - super saturated sacredness - where everyone wishes the best for the other, where joy is the measure of the day, and all is seen through the eyes of love. And here, we are nobler, more Christ-like than we are ordinarily able to be.
The essence of the Sabbath is completely detached from the world of space. The meaning of the Sabbath is to celebrate time rather than space. Six days a week we live under the tyranny of things of space; on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time. It is a day on which we are called upon to share in what is eternal in time, to turn from the results of creation to the mystery of creation; from the world of creation to the creation of the world.”
The SHALVA BAND from Isreal, who are finalists in the Eurovision talent contest, take the keeping of the Shabbat seriously, bowing out of the televised program rather than work on their sacred day. Have a listen to them and be amazed.
Trinity United Church will be celebrating with the baptism of Scottlyn Isabel Lorraine Poynter and you are all invited to come with your blessings
and stay for lunch, courtesy of the Crewson Clan.
“There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord. Life goes wrong when the control of space, the acquisition of things of space, becomes our sole concern."
"On the Children" by Khalil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's
longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you,
yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward
nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that
His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
'"What 'kills' in religion is not only, or primarily, the exclusionary deed, the aggressive and proselytizing stance, the crusading attitude and act, but the underlying doctrine that functions both as inspiration and justification for all such actions. A religious community that believes itself to be in possession of 'the Truth" is a community equipped with the most lethal weapon of any warfare: the sense of its own superiority and mandate to mastery."
Douglas John Hall, The Cross in our Context
You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. Exodus 20: 7
When we think about the third commandment – don’t take the Lord’s name in vain - generally, we slap ourselves on the wrist and say, that’s right, you really have to be more careful about your language. And maybe that is so, we toss the name of God around as if it were a play thing, not realizing of course, that like all things sacred, it can, in fact, be a weapon of mass destruction which when released will cause untold damage. So, yes, of course, we should be careful with our language concerning all things divine, but really, we should just be more careful of our language period, because, well, if we live and move and have our being in God, all things are sacred, and how we speak about them, consider them, matters.
The theme of certitude, and our need to abandon it, returns again with our look at the third commandment, or as I prefer to understand them, the third gift of understanding.
We can never know the full essence of God, which is why throughout sacred scriptures and all other intelligent writings concerning the divine, similes and metaphors are used to describe God.
To worship the metaphors is idolatry.
To absorb them, imagine them, lean into them,
Bestselling author Lauren Winner explores provocative and often overlooked metaphors for God, such as a laboring woman and the "one who smells."
And for those of you who enjoyed being challenged by Peter Rollins - I did - here is a longer interview where he discusses the thought that is behind the emergent, or emerging
churches in our western context.