Wind Chimes: 5 Mar 2013

The wind in kind of different today. It’s a prophetic sound in the chimes today. What do you hear?

“Unless you repent …” a sermon to consider

Pilate, that tyrant, has killed some Galileans at worship, a tower has collapsed in Siloam and killed 18, folks around Jesus at the time asked him to comment, and he did, but it wasn’t what they expected. Jesus’ final words of comment includes this gem, “unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.” Michael K. Marsh, an Episcopal priest serving in the Diocese of West Texas, opens up these words of Jesus and gives us much to think about and then, quoting one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, poses a question to us.

A couple of excerpts:

Imagine that one day you call or come by the office to tell me that your son is getting a divorce, that your best friend has just been diagnosed with cancer, that your mom has died, or your husband just lost his job. You would not be happy if my response was, “Unless you repent….” Your next phone call or visit would probably be with Bishop Lillibridge. “Can you believe what he said? How could he say that to me? What are you going to do about this?”

Let’s just be honest about this. Jesus’ words are not all that helpful. They offer no consolation, explanation, or comfort. “Unless you repent…” is not we want to hear. Sometimes, however, it is what we need to hear. Today’s gospel is not about pastoral care. Jesus, to state the obvious, is not acting as a pastor. He is being pure prophet.

Find out what else Michael said. Discover the question being posed by Jesus now coming to us in the poetry of Mary Oliver. I definitely commend Michael’s words as we journey through Lent. PLEASE, read the entire sermon Tyrants Act and Towers Fall, Choose Life (Luke 13:1-9) by  Michael K. Marsh. And, yes, answer Michael’s question for the glory of God and the welfare of God’s people.

DivLine360x12

Wind Chimes: 11 Dec 2012

Night descends upon the wilderness

John went into all the region around the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins …

Luke 3:3 NRSV

Even in the dark the chimes sound. Hope? Love? Homecoming? Presence? Peace? Listen. What do you hear?

Wilderness

Each one of us could tell a story about the wilderness. … Our stories would be ones of struggles, ups and downs, highs and lows, stories of being lost and overwhelmed, stories of stumbling, falling down, and wondering when, how, or even if we will get up again.

So begins a homily by one of my favorite preachers, Michael K. Marsh, an Episcopal Priest serving a parish in the Diocese of West Texas. Later he reflects,

The word of God and the wilderness always go together. There’s something about the domesticated places, the illusions of power and prestige, the distractions of the city that separate us from the word of God. The word of God did not come in the empire of Tiberius, the governing of Pontius Pilate, the ruling of Herod, his brother, Philip, or Lysianias, or the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas. The word of God comes in the wilderness. That was true for John the Baptist and it is true for us.

Name any wilderness of your life and there will be a corresponding word of God.

I believe you will recognize (perhaps even experienced) the wildernesses he names. i encourage you to read his meditation/homily: A Welcome Word in the Wilderness.

Today I have added a link to his blog: Interrupting the Silence in the side panel. It is my hope that you will find the blog a welcome resource in studying the lectionary and maturing in your journey with Christ.

Think about it

It is much easier, I think, for God to get through our defenses when we’re in a wilderness. —John Lionberger

From an interview of the Rev. John Lionberger on PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly 12/11/2009

Soacer40x20

Links to online Advent Calendars

Each of these has a different approach. Find one that helps you “prepare the way.” Find one that helps you focus on God as you make your way into the loving arms of God.

Trinity Wall Street Online Advent Calendar

Busted Halo Online Advent Calendar

CREDO Online Advent Calendar

“Black Friday” began the “Shopping Season” and retailers are relentless in keeping us focused on buying often and buying more. “#GivingTuesday” (11/27/12) was an invitation to give and use our “buying power” in a way that benefits others for more than just a day.

I intend to keep that invitation in front of us throughout the “Shopping Season.” I believe  that It is always the right time to be generous. If you haven’t participated in “#GivingTuesday” how about today? ~dan

Today’s give-a-gift-to-help-others idea:

  • Camp Stevens —  every summer the staff of Camp Stevens (our Episcopal Camp and Conference Center in Julian, CA) leads wilderness trips into the Eastern Sierras. I have been privileged to take part in these trips. And, yes, it is easier for God to get through to you in the wilderness. Your gift will help others, especially the young, begin to discover this truth.

Looking for other give-a-gift-to-help-others ideas?
Go first to Charity Navigator for those ideas
and for an evaluation of how your dollars will be spent

divider line

Image: James Brown and posted by Indian Country Today Media Network on Facebook

Wind Chimes: 25 Sep 2012

[Jesus said], “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:8 NRSV [1]

Introducing Wind Chimes.

A wind chime and sun catcher in North Carolina
Photo by jscalia (click the photo to see more)

When a wind chime catches the wind (even the whisper of a wind) it makes music, it interprets the wind in ways that are always the same and always changing. In regular posts I will share links to news (religion news), reflections and meditations (related to our Sunday readings as often as possible), prayers or prayer starters, resources to help you keep learning and growing (spiritually), and whatever else I come across.

More importantly: I want to incorporate links to items you find interesting as you read, listen, or consider doing the work God has given you to do. You may use the Comments section to leave the link or you may email the link to me for inclusion in Wind Chimes.

Here is the first sampling of the music made by the Spirit. What do you hear?

Room Enough, A Place for Everyone — a sermon based on Mark 9:30-37

“Who is the greatest?” Behind this question is a deeper issue. It is a question of space and place. Is there a place for me in this family? In this church? In this business? Is there a place for my religion, my politics, my race, my lifestyle in this society and culture? Is there a place for my people, tradition, and history in this land? Is their room for me? [Read Room Enough]

3 Quotes. Jesus. Children. Fleas.

Then ]Jesus] took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” Mark 9:30-37 NRSV

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer [2] 1906-1945

You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation. —Marian Wright Edelman [3] b. 1939

A Commentary on James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a by Professor Sandra Hack Polaski

After several chapters of warnings and vivid illustrations of the consequences of living contrary to the plan of God, James moves in this passage to describe the good life and give some positive guidance for pursuing it. [Read Professor Polaski’s Commentary on WorkingPreacher.org for 9/23/12]

________________________
[1] Here is how the Common English Bible (CEB) translates John 3:8 — [Jesus said], “God’s Spirit blows wherever it wishes. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. It’s the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” The footnote in both the NRSV and the CEB indicates that the Greek word at the beginning of the verse can be translated as either wind or spirit.

[2] Widely quoted on the internet and attributed to Bonhoeffer, but I have been unable to find the original source. If you know the original source of this quote would you let me/us know using the comments section? Thank you.

[3] Widely quoted on the internet and attributed to Marian Wright Edelman, but I have been unable to find the original source. If you know the original source of this quote would you let me/us know using the comments section? Thank you.