What, if it were to take place for you this week, would fill your eyes and heart with tears … tears that could hardly stop, tears for all things lost, and tears of unbounded joy.
Age of Adeline
In the movie Age of Adeline a woman stops aging as a result of a car accident at the age of 29. This starts out to be the fulfillment of a dream that many of us may have: to live without the effects of aging. The movie follows her life as those around her age and she does not, as she is able to accumulate wealth that others simply cannot, for she has time and through the years an abundance of wisdom. She remains a young and beautiful woman inside and out as she accumulates decades of life with no end in sight.
Ah, to have it so. No arthritis, no forgetfulness, no impending death, no illness, no drain of one’s energy, no need to be impatient with life, but to be able to travel, to enjoy, to work, to read, to write, to create; all without the pressure of knowing it will not be so someday, for one will eventually lose the ability to do all of these wonderful things, yet one will live on.
Today we celebrate the Holy Trinity
Sunday is the only Sunday of the entire church year that we celebrate
a doctrine of the Christian Church. The doctrine of the Trinity is
the core doctrine of the Church. The doctrine that defines more than
anything else what is Christian and what is not.
The spectacular Doctrine:
Three Persons in one Godhead. So God is one God, but God is three.
Three yet one. That’s a paradox. What usually cannot be is: Three
describes one and one describes three.
Martin Luther spoke of the two sacraments, and then he would name Baptism and Holy Communion, and Marriage and Confession, and on he would go until he had named most of the seven sacraments of the Catholic church that he tried to reform, had booted him out, named him a nonperson who could be killed by anyone who wished, and it would not be murder, and who Martin Luther demonstrated it’s corruption as he corrected it and established churches similar but improved, sort of. Still filled with sinners, even if everyone is a God made saint.
That kind of numbering of the Trinity, Three in One, is not what Martin Luther was all about in naming the Sacraments. This is us being as clear as we can be about God who really is beyond any clear explanation.
know and affirm is that God and all of creation is at it’s core
The lessons speak about Trinity and
In our lesson from Proverbs Wisdom calls out to all who live, to know her. (As the original Hebrew ascribes gender to her): She is God’s first act of creation. She witnessed all God’s acts of creation and she was God’s delight as she delighted in God’s inhabited world and in the human race.
was written long before Jesus walked the earth, before the triadic
expressions of God in the NT writings, and before the doctrine of the
Trinity was formalized starting with the Nicene Creed of 325, revised
in 381, and settled under the leadership of the three Cappadocian
Fathers in its current form by the end of the fourth century. In
Proverbs we have a similar relationship between God and wisdom as
Arianism understood the relationship between God and Jesus; that God
created Wisdom and Jesus. This understanding was not accepted by the
wider church. It was supplanted first by the understanding that Jesus
is fully God, present always as one of the three persons of the one
God. The last piece of the doctrine to be settled was that the Holy
Spirit, often understood to include the OT traditions of Wisdom, was
also not a creation of God, but existed with God always, the third
person of One God, the Trinity.
Proverbs we see how significant it is that God delights in Wisdom and
how Wisdom delights in the human race. Creation is all about God’s
delight and God’s glory, all portions of what love is.
Psalm celebrates God’s glory, and presents that same glory in
lesser portion given to humans. It is stated that God has put all
things under the humans’ feet. Today we would understand that this
is not just dominion over, but responsibility to preserve, nurture,
and ensure the survival of. We would no longer embrace any idea that
we are to exploit creation for our selfish benefit to the detriment
of future generations or the future of creation. Which is also a good
portion of what love is all about, love for future generations and
for all of creation.
Gospel of John is chosen because in Jesus’ Farewell words, given
after the Last Supper and before his arrest, he gives words to the
trinitarian God; God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Today we might better express that as God the Parent recognizing
first the equality of all genders, second our innate limits when it
comes to knowing anything about gender for God, and third the
powerful impact our providing God a gender has towards gender
powerful and crucial point that John’s Gospel makes is that it is
God the Holy Spirit who continues to reveal to us more of the truth,
as we are able to bear it. There is a kindness in God’s approach,
revealing to us what we can bear; and we would expand that to say,
revealing to us what we can grasp, understand, and make use of. It is
always helpful to remember that God is not ever done teaching us
about the truth.
At no time do we posses the truth of God in its entirety. At best we have a good start. That is a powerful reminder that humility is always a good starting point and ending point for us. Which is also a good portion of what love is all about.
lesson from Romans is one of the enduring passages of wisdom, hope
and love that Paul provided to the Church. First that we are
justified before God not by what we do, but by the faith given to us
by the Holy Spirit. Second that what we value and can boast about is
not us, but God, and not our accomplishments, but God’s, and not in
our glories, but we boast about our sufferings.
we encounter what appears to be the upside down, and inside out logic
of God’s relationship to us and our relationship to our own
experiences. Who ever heard of boasting not about our successes, but
about what others have made us suffer! The Word of God though is
right side up, outside out, inside in. It is our thinking that is
topsy turvy. It is our taking over God’s place by thinking that our
successes are what constitutes real glory. No Paul makes it clear, we
followers of Christ know that our suffering is what we can boast
about, because suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces
character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint
us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the
Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
love begins with the Holy Spirit pouring love into us and it grows
through suffering that begets endurance that begets character that
is an essential portion of love, which the Holy Spirit pours into us!
all the generations of Christians, we have utilized the doctrine of
the Trinity to clarify that though we cannot know many things
absolutely about God, as the Holy Spirit continues to reveal to us
more and more as we can bear more truth, we can affirm
whole-heartedly that the basis of God’s own being is not as an
independent God. God exists in relationship with God’s self, with
all three persons together.
are created in God’s image, God intends for us to exist in
relationship as well, in relationship with God, in relationship to
each other, and in relationship to all of creation.
they involve suffering, endurance, character and hope supported by
love, our relationships with God, each other and all creation are to
be fundamentally relationships of delight; which is perhaps the best
portion of love.
All the things that we could dream
enjoyment of life’s opportunities and options.
(You can fill in examples or stories about each of these.)
The one thing that the doctrine of the Trinity affirms is THE EVENT of our dreams.
relationship of love.
be a life partner, a spouse.
companion, or a person with whom one can share one’s life’s work.
a reason that movies, books, poems, yearnings, and our hopes so often
land on falling in love.
life with all kinds of other strivings and measures of success.
life is made up of what we are: we are made in God’s image. We are
made for relationship.
lives are made to make sense only when we love.
not that we need to be ‘in love’ which is indeed a life changing
matter. We are made to love other people.
the people we like.
people, all the people around us. Even our enemies.
The meaning of life, not 42, or
chocolate: but love
What really is the meaning of life??! The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy presents it as the completely random and meaningless number 42. Some people say with taste buds delighted and a bit of energy renewed from the caffeine and sugar that it is chocolate.
death beds, almost everyone, who has opportunity to tells us,
reports, we will find no solace in the many things that we have
striven for and achieve or not.
Work success, wealth reputation, security, enjoyment of life’s
opportunities and options, nor anything else.
death beds only one part of life will gives us solace, comfort and a
sense of union with God’s universe. Only one thing will afford us a
sense that all is well, all is well, indeed all manner of things are
well. The one thing that will give us a sense of what God has had for
us all along is the love we have given to others, and the love we
Adaline Looses the Essential of
Life: to Love and be Loved
ideal life, where the ravages of age do not touch her, does not
progress so ideally. Because she does not age she suffers profound
losses. She loses the ability to keep her own name. She loses the
ability to develop life-long friends, not even pets. But most of all
she loses the ability to love and be loved; and most precious of all,
to face suffering and one’s impending death with someone she loves,
with someone who loves her. She has great opportunities to delight in
all of creation, but her tears that continue to increase in intensity
are of losing the meaning of her life; she is unable to love.
cinematic highlight of the movie arrives when she must decide,
whether to risk choosing to love, as she is able, even though she
will never grow old with the one she loves; even though if she is
found out, she will be treated as a specimen to be studied, probed
and experimented on. Can she, will she dare risk that suffering, in
order to finally be able to love someone?
Jesus’ Command: Be as God Created
us to be
Trinity Sunday we celebrate that God is a God of three persons in one
godhead. Which sounds paradoxical, but that is how it is with
relationships of love. We are people meant to love one another.
Jesus’ command to love our neighbour as ourselves, and even our enemies, is not a command that we need to follow … or else!
It is a command that we should follow if we want to not just to be happy, but because it is who God created us to be! As we love others we will be right with God’s universe and with God’s Will for us.
The words sincerely said: “I love you” do not just give us life, but withholding love from another robs them of God’s intent for them. So wherever you are in your life, know this: God the Parent, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, all three, in one voice that shakes the greatest molecule at the beginning and ends of the universe … God says most sincerely to each of us, “I love you.”
Now it’s okay to cry with tears that cannot stop, for both the suffering and pain of all that has been lost, for the pain of all that never was which should have or could have been, and with all the joy of all the love that has been, is and always will be. It’s always okay to cry those tears of loss and overwhelming joy. This is what being at Peace with God looks like!
For this God created us, to be delighted with one another, with all creation, and with God, three in one.
are we? Do we need to make a name for ourselves? Will we ever be
satisfied with God’s Word present among us?
created the universe.
On the seventh day God rested and declared it was all
good. God created
us with such
potential: the potential to reach for the stars, the potential to
love one another, ourselves and even our enemies. Our power of
imagination to see what is not and strive to accomplish things new
and wonderful carries us from one generation to the next. We can
share the breath of beauty, the wind of hope, and the fire of the
future with one another.
also gave us freedom, so that we have the
potential to reject the gifts God gives us. The
goodness of life is fragile. There
are so many ways for life to go wrong. We
can choose to dive into
the depths of darkness, to hide our false pride and
our self-centered arrogance, to wallow in
the despair that
generation after generation. We can
to addictions and armed conflict, to abuse
and terror that causes PTSD in its victims, to Gaslighting, bearing
false witness, and even
murder. We have
the potential to destroy all of life
on earth, but the real destruction are all
the avenues we create for life to implode on itself.
sat at the table in her favourite restaurant, enjoying the familiar
smells that reminded her of the news she had received here. Years
ago, on this very spot she’d opened her letter of acceptance into
university, the first one in her family, ever. That shaped everything
about her life, now a Doctor of History, a professor emeritus, a
famous author. Later that same day years ago she’d received the
other news that formed her life and was bringing it to an indecent
early end. She had MS. She had lived with it for so long, many years
in a wheelchair, but now her systems were slowly giving out. Her name
given to her at her baptism is Jane.
the lesson from Genesis we read how the people came together to build
a marvelous city and a tower that would reach the heavens, in order
to make a name for themselves. They also distrusted God’s rainbow,
and wanted security from any future flood. God comes to bless the
people with confused speech, with different languages, so that their
prideful project will halt. Divided the people disperse far and wide
to inhabit the earth. Ever since, we create divisions and conflict
more easily than we build healthy communities. We have built more
than a tower of Babel as our fossil fuel consumption produces more
pollution than the earth can tolerate, resulting in violent climate
change. Our civilization is built on time bombs that destroy people.
George and Emily
and Emily walked the beach, they’d grieved the addiction of their
daughter for an eternity, grieving the birth of grandchildren, each
lost to foster care. Now they’d received the phone call they’d
feared. Jenny had overdosed on drugs yet again. This time she had not
recovered. Their names are George and Emily and they gave Jenny her
name at her baptism.
Languages A Gift
we recognize the power of languages. They keep us apart and distinct.
Yet when we live in a second language, we experience not just
different grammar and words. We experience more of the world that God
created good. Different languages carry different pieces of the
marvels of this creation which we can barely fathom in a full
first Pentecost the disciples proclaimed in their own language the
wonders of God’s work for everyone. God inspired the listeners to
hear the disciples in each listener’s own language. As at Babel God
confused the language of the people to save them from their pride, so
at the first Pentecost God overcame the language barrier in order
that people could hear and understand each other and the Good
News of what God had done in the life, death and resurrection of
was born in Jena, in East Germany. A Christian, at great cost she had
dedicated her life to serving Christ. Working with youth she
excelled, until jealous gossip was started about her. Under intense
pressure and unearned shame Greta slowly lost her confidence, then
her sense of self, and finally her sense of reality. She succumbed to
a half living state of senseless babble that sometimes erupted into
excruciatingly painful clarity about what had been done to her, and
how helpless she was. Her name, given to her at her baptism, is
Greta. She remained Greta even as she lost her mind to the horrendous
cruelty of gossip that pretends to know reality beyond God’s
Clarity in Miracles
the disciples we always want God to be more clear. The words are
plain enough. Yet God rarely leaves it to just the words. The signs,
the miracles, that accompany the Good News are remarkable. We may not
recognize what God is doing, but we always hope that in the end all
will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well,
for God created the universe and said it was good.
first Pentecost so that people could not miss the miracle of the Holy
Spirit given to God’s children, God marked the disciples with
tongues of fire.
of the distinct gifts God gave humans is Fire. It is powerful, both
for good and for evil. God spoke to Moses from a burning bush, guided
the people through the wilderness with a pillar of flame, and will
cleanse us at our judgment with God’s purifying fire.
we have breathed these past weeks, the result of climate change
brings more wildfires, and more smoke that covers vast areas,
inhibiting life in so many ways. Humans are not the only ones
affected by wildfires. The smoke reduced the available solar power, a
nuisance at least for those whose electricity is produced by solar
power. The greater loss was to the plants whose basis of life depends
the face of life so challenged, God finds ways to bless us, with
Sam and Allicia
and Allicia both lost their childhoods to wars of terror and
genocide. In their teens they each survived the squalor and hunger of
refugee camps, their families having all been killed. Sponsored as
immigrants in their late teens by a Lutheran congregation in
Edmonton, they met, shared the struggles of finding their way, fell
in love, were married and are expecting their first child this
summer. With different mother tongues they communicate in Canadian
English. Their names given to them at their baptisms are Sam and
Allicia. They have chosen names for their first child at its baptism,
in memory of their families lost.
we reach for the stars, to make a name for ourselves, to succeed at
what we attempt, even to make life more than it is, there is no name
that we can make for ourselves greater than what God has already
given us. With tongues of fire God has marked us, anointed us, and
Three Confirmed, we stand with them
these three, Tristan, Connor, and Aysiah, were marked with
the cross in their baptisms, and now they
stand as young people, maturing, beginning to accept responsibility
for their own being, so
we each were marked. At
the right time we also stood
on our own to respond to the gifts that God gives us, promising to
receive, abide in, act out of, and grow into the people God calls us
to be. Today we
still stand, not on our own as if our faith
were merely personal or private. Rather
we stand as one
faith community united
by the fire of the Holy Spirit. As
we stand with one another in love, so we
stand with these
three young people. Their names, given to them in their baptisms, are
Tristan, Connor, and Aysiah.
Our name: potential as love
today we share with them the name God has given us all. There is no
greater name. It is not a name we could make for ourselves.
It is the name that God gave us in our baptisms and shares with us
each day. God names us God’s children.
language of our name is not limited to one of the diverse languages
that God gave us to propel us across the earth, to inhabit it and do
well by it. The language of our name is love, in all its rainbow
our love for one another we best reflect the One who abides with and
in us, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. It is in our love for our
enemies that we dance with the miraculous power of life which
the Spirit pours down on us in the form of flames of fire.
we do what it takes to love one another, though the world roils with
conflict, abuse, and destruction, we rest in the abiding presence of
the Holy Spirit. We have no cause to be troubled. Nor do we suffer
the greatest enemy: the denial of evil’s potential. Nor do we need
to fear flood nor fire nor anything, for God is at work to keep evil
in its place and God in God’s place … and to keep
us on earth with and for each other.
name given to us in our baptisms is children of God. We are
the inheritors of the miracle that brings life to be with a word,
with a breath, with a breeze, with a fire.
One language, one gathering, making a name making a name for themselves:
God helps them avoid disaster: nothing will stop them! Not even them destroying the planet or at least life on it. God saves us by ending it, prayer answered: NO! God comes to see the city, the tower, and God is alarmed? Displeased? Not said: just God ends it: confuses languages and scatters them.
Divisions vs community
Divisions over conflict is EASY, building community despite differences is the challenge, the miracle that shows God is at work with us!
Confuses Gramma [r]s
God confuses their language, into different words, sounds, gramma(r)s, they leave off the tower building.
HS with ability to hear and understand, unites people from every language into the church, All hear in their own language: not glossolalia! But clear speech beyond language barriers!
All that it is: God’s presence, God’s guide in wilderness, mark of humans, gathered at campfire safe from animals who fear fire, fire that purifies by consuming dross, as judgment purifies us of sin, by consuming it with fire. Fires burn, destroys: revenge of the earth to climate change by burning fossil fuels beyond our share. We’ve built more than than the tower of babel. We’ve setup the earth to turn on all the life on it, us included. Fires: prevented fought down, now the fuel available is generation’s worth, burns all at once and the sun is blotted out. Solar power: winter 1.2 to 3 maybe 4 amps. Now in mid day 15 easy. But with fire’s smoke, down to 3 or 1 or less. Solar power, the basis of photosynthesis; the growth of plants, upon which the chain of food is built, from smallest life forms, to plants, to small bugs, to small animals to larger animals to largest to the most dangerous: humans.
Prophesy of Joel:
All will prophesy, sons and daughters, slaves men and women; old men will dream dreams (usually stop because there is no hope that the dreams can be fulfilled or seen through, a surrender of the world to the younger generation) but here: old men dream and set to being the fulfillment of dreams, God’s dreams.
blood, fire, smoky mist, moon to blood, Lord’s Day before the Lord’s glorious day!
Call upon him and all will be saved!
John 14:8-17 [25-27]
We will never be satisfied, but we continually hope. Even when what we ask for is right in front of us, we ask for more.
DO help us believe that Jesus is God is the Holy Spirit is Jesus … is working in our midst Ask, I will give. But so much asked for and not ever yet given. Be careful what you ask for, sometimes Jesus gives us what we ask for: we ask for foolish things, impossible things, things that will hurt others, and Jesus answers NO. Other times Jesus gives us what we ask for and we do not recognize it.
Love and Obey
Love is to obey Jesus’ commands: to love your neighbour as yourself and your enemy!
Lawyer in court – Advocate – Of New
God gives advocate (lawyer in God’s Court for us), who will be with us forever, though Jesus goes away. We see HS, the advocate, the Spirit of Truth! Able because God is in us, HS in us World cannot receive him, does not see him, New, always present Jesus tells us, so we will know, but the Advocate will be with us, reveal new things, make us see new things, remind us of Jesus!
No worries Mate
Do not be troubled, do not be afraid (Fear is the greatest enemy), anxiety gets people to behave in bad ways.
1. Thoughts Towards an Outline
the season, the ban, the power, the saving power – distinctively human the destroying power, wildfires, smoke, solar blocked, photosynthesis, stopped, dross, judgment where sins are burned away like dross, leaving us pure, ready for the New Jerusalem. Spirit Ruah, breath, spirit into inert forms →life, inspiration, spirit means vivified, and for God’s good purposes.
Language, the basis of communication, but more, the basis of thought! New language, new thoughts, new history new manners: 2nd language: a world opens up when one lives in it. Computer languages: a whole new world opens up, but it is not filled with people, but imaginations made statically moving, reading conjures up the creative imaginative mind. TV rests the mind and slowly atrophies thoughts and creativity; computer interactions with games, deepens the narrowing of the thought, away from others, to chips. Everyone knows chips are not healthy, not potato chips, not chocolate chips, though tastey; neither computer chips alone. But as a tool, as an avenue to other people, to expand imagination in writing and conceiving uses, ways to be used, ways to be helpful to others: first text to talk: allow blind woman to continue significant work in the community (PR),
Reaching to the Heavens
Reaching to the Heavens, the dream of humans since we peered at the stars outside the safety of the cave. Space travel.
Conflict and Differences
Conflict and Differences : Blessed by God, caused by God to save us from our own selves. Limits on name for ourselves: God’s blessing
Working out the bugs
There are some bugs to work out, of course, these are just rough thoughts scratched together.
I have a wise old friend who told me her story, so similar to another I know as well, too similar for both not to be listened to, believed, and heeded. It is a story how the darkness overcame her and landed her in the darkness from which there was no escape, no matter what she tried. It nearly ended her.
The small light in the darkness saves many. The darkness is made by lies that engulf, sink, and consume the will for joy. Who indeed cares for the truth? Is it little, too little perhaps, to ask that the truth be spoken, heard and listened to? A young girl saw her mother cry silently without words not knowing what was happening. … the guest did as he wished with no fear for if anyone objected then or later complained death would come quickly. And so many times, a different guest, a repeat guest, a different guest. The young girl was ordered to ready the house for the guests so that they would be pleased, moving so quickly to run from the terror. She left behind any thought that she was a person, other than one that made everything ready for the guests. Until this daughter was taken in turn, too young, and taught the small pleasures that are possible, of sorts. In that moment the lies began, and they overtook reality, the horrible reality, that nothing could make right. The darkness is made by lies that engulf, sink, and consume the will for joy. But the darkness, somehow for this little girl, is still lighter than the void that took her soul. Who cares for the truth? It is no joy to know, but the truth does make a few things understandable, even the lies.
So why ask or hope for truth? Through all of time girls and boys have hoped that there would be a place for them in the world, not just a pit of worthlessness, but a path through the sun, through the rain, through the cold, through the heat, through the storms, and in the calm evening breeze on the lake. Why ask if truth is a factor? Cannot one just live with the lies? Cannot one live with the fiction that demeans some in order to eliminate them, and leave more space on the path for others? We have been doing it forever as humans, why not just let it continue? God. God loves. God loves all. So all will be well. All will be well. All manner of things will be well. And we will be the ones to make it well, for all. That is why the truth is important! The truth, bright, blazing truth of Christ, takes all that is not well, makes it brilliantly clear what it is, horrendous and terrorizing, and makes it also well.
The other night, as the evening darkness began to colour the world in blues and oranges, a small beaver swam by going south out from its home in the creek,
and alerted to my presence on shore slapped an alarm and dove to safety leaving the rings of golden shimmer against the night between the trees.
And came back to the surface further on its journey, out in the deep.
The beauty of the night deepened and shone as a few stumps left by the earlier beaver stood watch as the horizon climbed over the shore into the little light that remained.
While just a tinge of light still touched the shore, the beaver came back, heading home for the night, leaving a wake behind that danced in the blues and in the orange-silver-golds of the set sun. Ahh, the night was set right and I headed back home as well …
but no, the beaver was still out for more yet this evening, going back away from, not towards home.
I did then head home, to sleep well, no guests.
Under the care of the Spirit that makes all things well.
Light Truth Joy
It is at sunset as the light begins to close the day, that we see how the light, the goodness of the light persists always to bring us to face, see, hear, and heed the truth, for then the watchful Spirit inspires us to be able to know profound joy.
The sun that daily sets … and rises new again each morning. This friend came to see her darkness, to embrace it, and to set it aside with truth telling and truth listening and truth sharing. Which inspired a number of people to embrace their past, of darkness and ill, and to allow God to redeem it with love for themselves.
There is a path for everyone, or rather a path for each of us, not that it exists until we walk forward, but it unfolds under our movements forward in life toward the end, which is not death, but the ability to love, truly love, with all the sacrifice that entails.
June 2, 2019 Be One: Love your enemies Easter 7 The story setup
Nice Ice Left Over Hostiles In the movie, the Hostiles, set in 1892 starting from New Mexico a small band of soldiers and their charges, their enemies, ride across the wilds of the west north to Montana. In 1876, just 14 years earlier General Custer made his last stand in the Battle of the Greasy Grass. Before and after that battle both the army and the Indians, (or indigenous warriors we might better refer to them now) engaged in warfare as despicable as ever. Soldiers, non-combatants, women and children were captured, raped, tortured, and killed without reason. The captain in charge of this little band moving north had lost his wife and children to the Indians, learned their languages, joined the fighting against the Indians, killed, slaughtered and revenged death upon death. He lived out his hate under the auspices of the army and he did it better than most. Arriving at a fort in New Mexico with captured Indians, he receives new orders. Orders he cannot stomach. The captain is ordered to escort and protect his enemy, a chief, along with his family, who’ve been held captive 7 years in New Mexico, back to the chief’s home ground in Montana. There the captain is ordered to release his enemy, to give the chief back his freedom. This chief is responsible for the death of the captain’s family. He has engaged in slaughtering settlers, among them women and children, as well as scalping and torturing his victims. He has revenged the killing of his people as effectively as the captain. The captain can hardly believe his orders. He rebels and refuses, threatening to resign his commission. Then it’s pointed out that he will not be allowed to resign. Instead he will be courtmarshalled and stripped of his pension. At that, against every angry bone in his body, the captain begrudgingly accepts his orders. He obeys. As they ride across the wilds of the west north to Montana the captain puts his male prisoners, the chief and his son, in chains. The chief is old and riddled with cancer. He will soon die, which is the reason his request to be allowed to return home is granted.
The view south as we move north Similar stories nonfiction setup There are so many stories like this one. The movie is fiction. But is a fictional story filled with truth. There are so many non-fiction stories like this one. M&B Mizen In May 2008 16 year old Jimmy Mizen from South London was brutally attacked and killed by another boy. His parents could hardly believe it. http://paxchristi.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Elements_Love-Your-Enemies-Stories.pdf Gee Walker In 2005 by two racist thugs torturously murder Anthony Walker, 18, with an axe. His parents could not believe it. http://paxchristi.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Elements_Love-Your-Enemies-Stories.pdf
It may seem ordinary but … Bishop Pierre-Marie Théas In 1944 one evening in German occupied France, Bishop Pierre-Marie Théas preached a fiery sermon against the persecution of Jews and deportation of French men as forced labourers. The following night he was arrested by the Gestapo. He was sent to a detention camp at Compiègne from where most prisoners were transported to concentration camps in Germany. http://paxchristi.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Elements_Love-Your-Enemies-Stories.pdf The normal course: There is no life lived without being hurt by others. Our normal and natural response, built into us by millennia of survival instinct, is to allow hurt to grow into anger, and terrible hurt to grow past anger into rage. Over time, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, we instinctually allow anger and rage to grow into determined revenge. Revenge may become polite comeback. But, fuelled by hatred, our anger becomes vicious payback, just reckoning, and even, in the extreme, murder or even mass murder. We find polite comebacks and even vicious payback short of killing to be somehow expected and acceptable.
Stand Tall in the Dark God’s Doch To that acceptance God says a strong DOCH! But let me put that in a context that will perhaps help us understand exactly what God does with our natural urge towards revenge, polite or vicious, or even outrageous. Intro to Doch As we celebrate the last Sunday in Easter we remember that on Easter, God changed everything. On Easter God undid the laws of causality and set all of us free: God took death and turned it to life; God took despair and turned it into hope; God took the emptiness of consuming and turned us to value each tiny piece of creation. God took everything that breaks us, dosed it in Light and made it into a salve of holy healing which makes us stronger, more compassionate, and more loving than we were before. In the words of Rev. Dr. Anna Madsen, who presented Grace to us at the Study Conference in Canmore a few years ago, God took the world God created good, which we broke bit by bit and said “Doch!” Now if you – like me – don’t know German we need a translation or really an explanation of Doch. Doch, D O C H, has different degrees of intensity. Doch can mean simply ‘Not so’: If I say: “His shirts are wrinkled” and you respond “Doch, he ironed them.” It’s just a few degrees different. Or Doch can be a voracious protest against what is previously stated. It’s a change of many degrees. When a person suffering alone from mental illness cries out in fear of what will come, We say “Doch! We will learn to stand with them, to give people with mental illness what they need to be able to stand tall and function well and live among us!” Or taken to the extreme, Doch can mark a change in the universe. It can be God turning us or the world around 180 degrees. God created the world good, but we broke it, which could be the end of our story! But God says “Doch, Doch, Doch! My Son, Jesus redeems the world.” God constantly changes our paths, by just a degree or by 180 degrees and we end up in completely different places. God’s doch shepherds us. Most people grow up and find their way into a vocation, a career, a job or series of jobs; Doch the prophets, in other words all of us children of God, are called even before we leave the womb to the task of proclaiming God’s Good News with our choices, actions, and lives. This job is not easy or safe, DOCH, God calls us to turn as many degrees as it takes to challenge the throngs of people that have turned away and call them back to God … as many degrees as it takes. It can be dangerous work, fraught with risks. Aber (Ahh Bear) Doch, We, the people of God, will not live afraid of what can be done to us, for God is with us.
The View is wide and wild Emotions not to control, but motivate us There is too much hurt in every single life. Now we cannot stop an emotion. Try to just stuff it down and it’ll just go somewhere crazy on us. But we can choose what to do with any and every emotion that comes our way. We can let it run loose and effect our words and actions OR we can choose to align our choices and actions with our priorities and goals in life. Since our No 1 Priority is to be and do the Good News, then we soon learn, often the hard way, that letting loose with even a bit of revenge, yet alone with outrageous vengeance, and being the Gospel to other people are mutually exclusive. Most emotions own us for about 90 seconds. Our feelings should not be stopped. But we don’t have to hang on to them for even hours yet alone weeks or years. Furthermore raw action should never erupt out of our emotions. DOCH. Our actions should always be a choice of our heart and mind and body, so that we live according to the goals God calls us from the womb to strive toward. Emotions, carefully chosen, can motivate us towards God’s calling for us.
Emotions seem to loom over us, but we can choose how to respond
Themes all Easter In today’s Gospel Jesus prays, “I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” Last week we heard an earlier part of Jesus’ prayer put it more simply. We are to love one another as Jesus loved us, so that by our love the world will know us as Jesus’ disciples. Story of Paul and Silas In the first lesson for today, Paul and Silas heal a young girl who was possessed by a demon. The owners, who were making money with the demon’s ability to tell the future, have them arrested, flogged, and imprisoned. An earth quake hits the city as they sing and pray. The doors are broken open and the chains unfastened. Instead of escaping, Paul and Silas urge all the prisoners to stay put, thus saving the life of the jailor. That jailor is so impressed with the unusual manner that his life is saved that he believes the Gospel that Paul and Silas proclaim. He and his household are baptized.
A view through a grid; Still Christ’s Light Shines Golden
God’s Doch God’s constant DOCH is ‘at all costs, love even your enemy.’
Story resolution Hostiles In the movie the Hostiles, as they ride across the wilds of the west to Montana the captain encounters God’s Doch. As they stop where the chief has returned home and will breathe his last breath in the wild mountains of Montana, the captain says that, though they have each fought against the other, and each has lost so many friends to the other, when the chief dies a piece of the captain will die with him. In obeying the orders he cannot stomach, the captain eventually gives his enemy his last breath in freedom at home, no longer as an enemy, but as a friend. The captain recognizes the gift of life, even in his enemy, as they ride across the wilds of the west to Montana.
In the wild … there is the Light
What about us? As we encounter the terrible ravages of evil that leaves us so wanting for life, can we recognize the gifts of God even in our enemies? Can we give them life at their last breaths, as friends, because God has made us, all of us, while yet sinners, children of God?
Similar stories nonfiction resolutions In the real life of so many people, this is exactly what they chose. Gee Walker After Anthony Walker’s murderers were sentenced Gee Walker, his mother, said: “I cannot hate. I have to forgive them. … Their minds must be very tortured. … Hate is what killed Anthony.” http://paxchristi.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Elements_Love-Your-Enemies-Stories.pdf
No Matter, Let the Light Shine
M&B Mizen After her 16 year old son was killed, Jimmy Mizen’s mother Margaret said “I just want to say to the parents of this other boy, I want to say I feel so, so sorry for them. I don’t feel anger, I feel sorry for the parents. We have so many lovely memories of Jimmy and they will just have such sorrow about their son. I feel for them, I really do…. People keep asking me why I am not angry but I say …There is too much anger in the world…. it was anger that killed my son. If I was angry I would be the same as this boy.” On the first anniversary of his murder Jimmy’s father said, “today, for us, was a message of peace, a message of change that we have been gradually working towards over [a] year. … This affects everybody. If somebody is killed in your local park or in your local shop, then this affects you. We didn’t just get here overnight…. If the will … is for it [here and now], we can change.” http://paxchristi.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Elements_Love-Your-Enemies-Stories.pdf Bishop Pierre-Marie Théas Bishop Théas was imprisoned for ten weeks with Protestants, Jews, non-believers, trade unionists, young resistance workers, and French officers. When some prisoners asked for a day retreat he preached about forgiveness, and suggested they should pray for their captors. This provoked outrage. Théas replied, “My friends, I cannot proclaim anything except what the Lord said: Love your enemies. No more, no less.” http://paxchristi.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Elements_Love-Your-Enemies-Stories.pdf
The extreme story, resolution Cartier and Nixon When former Vice-President Hubert Humphrey died hundreds of people from across the world attended his funeral. All were welcome, but one – former President Richard Nixon, who had recently dragged himself and his country through the humiliation and shame of Watergate. Eyes turned away and conversations ran dry around him. He was being shunned and ostracized. Then the current president Jimmy Carter walked into the room. President Carter, not of Nixon’s party and well known for his honesty and integrity, moved toward his seat, until he noticed Richard Nixon standing all alone. Carter changed course, walked over to Richard Nixon, held out his hand, and smiling genuinely and broadly embraced Nixon and said “Welcome home, Mr President! Welcome home!” Newsweek magazine reported the incident including the words, “If there was a turning point in Nixon’s long ordeal in the wilderness, it was that moment and that gesture of love and compassion.” Source: Reported in Maxie Dunnam, The Workbook on Living as a Christian, pp.112-113 https://storiesforpreaching.com/category/sermonillustrations/love-for-enemies/
Whatever comes our way, God’s Light will shine!
MLKing Martin Luther King dared to suggest that Blacks should have the same civil rights as other Americans. For all he stood for King received death threat after death threat, he was maliciously accused of being a communist, his house had been bombed, and he was jailed over 20 times. Yet in his essay, Loving Your Enemies, he wrote: “To our most bitter opponents we say: ‘We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process and our victory will be a double victory.’” https://storiesforpreaching.com/category/sermonillustrations/love-for-enemies/ and http://paxchristi.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Elements_Love-Your-Enemies-Stories.pdf Jesus Jesus says to us, love one another as I have loved you. Love even your enemies. Us Following Jesus as his disciples is complicated, challenging and sometimes calls us to things we can hardly stomach. But still through words from each other and in so many other ways the Holy Spirit guides us to see Christ loving even our enemies, as we journey through the wilds of our lives, even when our greatest enemy is ourselves.
Whatever, However, Whenever God embraces us, even when we are our own enemies the Light still shines beautifully for us.
Having chosen to use the Alternative
Gospel from John:
Jesus’ Story and Love, contrary to common practice, included Women.
And Jesus Love Heals; thus we heal one another.
Acts 16:9-15 – Lydia
if you judge me to be faithful, come and stay with me. Response of
faith: to provide what is needed: hospitality for travellers, for
homeless. Now common? Enough, but in those days, accepting a woman as
one of the disciples was a rare act of equality.
matter our traditions, our culture norms, our expectations; Jesus
love reaches all people.
are to love as Jesus loves us,
to love those whom our tradition excludes from consideration.
Psalm 67 – Let all stand in Awe!
Revelation 21:10, 22–22:5
The city, no more night, only
the healing of the nations
New Jerusalem, in the City of God, An exclusion: no unclean, only
those written in the Book of Life
other light needed than the Light of God, no night, no darkness, no
abominations, nothing unclean.
chaff will have already been burned away.]
produces fruits and leaves, the leaves are for the healing of the
Gospel (alt.): John 5:1-9 Heal one
as Jesus healed even on the Sabbath
travails last and last: this man’s for 38! years!
during that time no one has helped him.
a heartbeat Jesus heals him, even though it is the Sabbath.
acts to restore health without regard for expectations and artificial
limits (which do not provide health in following them.)
Love one another as Jesus Loves us means HEAL one another, even if the stink of rot has surrounded the illness or circumstance of sin for decades, for generations even!
Previous Post for
Themes of Each Sunday in
one theme for this entire Easter:
another as I have loved you. Jesus’ single command that encompasses
everything else that is God’s story of love, encompassed in the
life of Jesus, (so that we -finite creatures- can comprehend what God
-infinite divinity- wants us to know.)
Jesus is the Good Shepherd, We are
called to love one another as Jesus love us:
We are to be Good Shepherds to
is able to bring the young girl and Lazarus back from the dead, so
Simon Peter is able to bring Dorcas, Tabitha, back to life after she
can be as life giving as Jesus’.
Handle with care!
needs for life, abundant life, of a sheep, (green pastures, still
waters) the good Shepherd provides for us.
the dark valley of the shadow of death (the greatest evil) I need not
fear, the shepherd’s tools: rod and staff, comfort us.
along with my enemies! My cup runs over!
and mercy shall follow me all my days. I dwell eternally in God’s
are those who will survive the Great Ordeal, the silence of Beale
Street in every generation. They will be gathered at Christ’s
will be washed white in the blood of the Lamb!
food, water, no scorching by sun, but water of life, and tears wiped
the Jews, want to know plainly, though Jesus has told and done
enough. Like doubting Thomas we want to put our hands in Jesus’
side and feel the nail marks in his hand, but that is not enough. The
HS must transform our hearts, teach us to know Jesus’ voice.
and sheep and shepherds and gathering in and gathering to go out to
green pastures and still waters.
will never perish, die but not perish! No snatching, not from God.
Jesus is God, one and three persons.
to know plainly, though Jesus has said and done enough, and
there is no more that would help us.
trying to argue the existence of God, futile. Every argument for or
against God’s existence begins with a presumption that is equal to
the conclusion of the argument.
transforming our hearts. The
gift of faith, the growth of faith, the exercise of responding to
the Good Shepherd, 23rd
and repeated in Revelations:
from destruction and all loss
are to exercise that same love for one another
brings Dorcas back to life,
as Jesus did with talitha cum, and Lazarus.
love, as Jesus’ Love, is a life changing thing.
Label Volatile Potential Handle
with Care Negative Potential:
always, what can be so positively powerful, with a slight twist, a
few degrees off from original, and there can be as much destruction
as there could have been profound positive change.
is so tempting, looks like Jesus the shepherd, just not.
looks so tempting, looks like good life, it is not.
with Care Positive Potential:
life, but in the lack of exercise, leave
needed of giving life (being the good shepherd
for one another), of degrees of destroying life, of
withholding means destruction.
Day, possibly use stories as above, of mothers in action giving life?