Wind Chimes: 29 August 2013

divergent-paths

“It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path,
but it’s another to think yours is the only path.”

A Facebook Post by
Spirituality & Practice

This quote reminded me to re-read a post made by a new desert friend, Paul Kowalewski, who posts regularly on The Desert Retreat House. Paul’s post Buddha Christ spoke about his journey on ‘the way.’ He tells people now that he is a “Christian Buddhist.”

“The disciple is to walk on a path leading to the discovery of one’s own ‘Buddha nature,’ one’s own ‘Christ nature'” according to Paul (and I agree).

And what does this “way” look like?

Do unto others as you would have them do to you. (Jesus)
Consider others as yourself. (Buddha)

If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also. (Jesus)
If anyone should give you a blow with his hand, with a stick, or with a knife, you should abandon any desires and utter no evil words. (Buddha)

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. (Jesus)
Hatreds do not ever cease in this world by hating, but by love. (Buddha)

Just as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me. (Jesus)
Whoever would tend me, he should tend the sick. (Buddha)

Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own. (Jesus)
The faults of others are easier to see than your own. (Buddha)

Go. Read Paul’s post, Buddha Christ. On your journey: who has walked with you? Who has taught you? Who has enkindled faith, hope, and love as you make your way home?

DivLine360x12No one owns the sounds of the chimes, they simply dance with the wind and play, delighting those who pause to listen.
What do you hear?

Wind Chimes: 27 August 2013

For us Christians, healing and liberation are inexorably tied together. For Jesus, healing is always an act of liberation. For his followers, liberation for some involves healing for all.

Gary Hall
Dean of the National Cathedral

In his sermon on Sunday, August 25, 2013, (The Very Rev.) Gary Hall addressed his congregation and everyone of goodwill who has ears to hear. Anticipating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington by those involved in the Civil Rights Movement, Gary not only asked us to take a closer look at our lukewarm response to civil rights but promised, as Dean of the Cathedral, to lead the way to more liberating/healing actions by and with the staff and people of the National Cathedral

…let us not delude ourselves. The Episcopal Church, as a denomination, participated in both overt and tacit segregation. Today 86.7% of American Episcopalians are white. The Washington National Cathedral staff, congregation, and chapter are overwhelmingly white. We are at once the cathedral church for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and the most visible faith community in the nation’s capital. Yet we have a largely non-existent record of involvement or investment in the other three quadrants of the District of Columbia. How can we, with integrity, presume to “speak truth to power” about racial justice when we are, in fact, implicated in the very structures of injustice? How can we call others into righteousness when we are ourselves caught in a web of sin?.

Weaving together the text from Jeremiah 1:4-10, the text from Luke 13:10-17, a text from Matthew (Mt 7:1-5) about judging, eyes, and specks, and logs, and the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from 1963, Gary summarized and then made a pledge:

Friends, what we have here is a very big log in our eyes. Our problem is not the racism of any one individual, because racism is not only personal. It is also interpersonal, institutional, and social. This fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King’s speech and the march that occasioned it demands that we take an inventory of ourselves yes personally, but also interpersonally, institutionally, and socially. What does it mean to belong to an 86% white denomination when, by 2040, there will be no one majority race or ethnic group in America? What does it mean to call ourselves the “National” Cathedral when we confine our ministry to the whitest and most privileged quadrant of the District of Columbia? How can we live into the dream articulated by Dr. King when the evils we face in 2013 are so much more insidious than they were in 1963? The enemy back then looked and acted like Lester Maddox and Bull Connor. The enemy today looks and acts very much like you and me.

We here can do little to nothing about the Supreme Court, the Florida legislature, our own Congress. We can, however, together look to ourselves. On behalf of Washington National Cathedral, I pledge today to initiate a process of cathedral self-examination, renewal, and reform, seeking to explore the racism inherent in our worship, ministry, staffing, and governance. Read Gary Hall’s Sermon of August 25, 2013

I invite you to read his sermon. Listen carefully for the Spirit, the same Spirit involved in the call of Jeremiah, the healing moment in the life of the unnamed woman healed by Jesus long ago, and the words and ministry of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Spirit is not done speaking and not done working with folks like you and me.

DivLine360x12“Healing, freedom, liberation” are the sounds ringing from the chimes today.
What do you hear?

Wind Chimes: 19 August 2013

Brothers, I ask you to bear with this message of encouragement … .

Hebrews 13:22
New American Bible Revised Edition

We have been reading in the Letter to the Hebrews the past few Sundays (in August 2013). The author calls his work a “message of encouragement” (other translations use “my word of exhortation”). Whether a message of encouragement or a word of exhortation the author clearly wants to support and affirm and challenge his hearers to keep their focus on Jesus (see Hebrews 12:1-2) and move forward into an uncertain and uncontrollable future as did our ancestors in the faith: with trust in God who over time has proven to be trustworthy.

Of course, this encouragement, or exhortation, is also a word worth hearing in our day. Highlighting the seriousness of this ancient encouragement and our modern situation is this word from the former Archbishop of Canterbury:

‘Persecuted’ British Christians need to ‘grow up’, says former Archbishop Rowan Williams. Christians complaining of persecution in Britain need to “grow up”, the former Archbishop of Canterbury has said, as he argues feeling “mildly uncomfortable” is not comparable to real suffering elsewhere.

Read the entire post in The Telegraph (Aug. 15, 2013)

Further illuminating his words are reports and stories of the burning of churches in Egypt, Christians living in caves and fear on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, the difficult lives of Palestinian Christians in the Gaza Strip, the very uncertain future of Christians in Syria, and the tenuous circumstances of Christians in China. These are life and death situations and the response of faith may indeed be difficult and the discouragement that anything can change for the better must be overwhelming at times. To these Christians the words of the author of Hebrews must come like a balm to heal and make strong and give hope.

So, to be verbally abused in England or in the United States for being Christian; even to be ridiculed for trust in God (when evil and painful situations abound) or to receive the vehement incredulity and head-shaking dismissal from those who conclude that there is no God is minor by comparison (just ask Rowan Williams, or me). Yet, such is our situation and the author of Hebrews speaks to our situation, too (seen in its proper global perspective, of course).

What are your struggles and how is the ancient word in the Letters to the Hebrews a word of encouragement? How might we “be with” our brothers and sisters in Christ whose persecution, whose situation, is far more pressing, and even life-threatening? Leave a comment and continue the conversation.

DivLine360x12“Stay with it, stay with it” is the song of the chimes today.
What do you hear?

Wind Chimes: 15 August 2013

I will listen to what the LORD God is saying, *
for he is speaking peace to his faithful people
and to those who turn their hearts to him.

Psalm 85:8
in the Book of Common Prayer

Memorial Marker for Jonathan M. Daniels
Memorial Marker for Jonathan Myrick Daniels in Hayneville, AL

Yesterday, August 14th, the Episcopal Church remembered Jonathan Myrick Daniels, a seminarian killed in Alabama during the Civil Rights marches in 1965. Jonathan struggled with God’s call. He wondered to what (kind of ministry, place of ministry, people to serve with) God was calling him. He returned to seminary:

Conviction of his calling [to ordained ministry] was deepened at Evening Prayer during the singing of the Magnificat: “ ‘He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things.’ I knew that I must go to Selma. The Virgin’s song was to grow more and more dear to me in the weeks ahead.”

Today, August 15th, the Episcopal Church commemorates Saint Mary the Virgin (a Holy Day in the Episcopal Church celebrated every August 15th). Together, her “Yes” to God and Jonathan’s “Yes” to God have the power to inspire our own “Yes” to God. What an amazing mystery it is to share God’s story in our own lives, even as Mary and, much later, Jonathan did.

DivLine360x12“Yes” the chimes sound; “Yes” again and again
What do you hear?

Wind Chimes: 12 August 2013

“Jesus said, ‘Recognize what is in your sight, and that which is hidden from you will become plain to you. For there is nothing hidden which will not become manifest.’” 

The Gospel of Thomas (c. 60-175 A.D.)
in A New New Testament

The Four Evangelists by Jordaens Lovre
Four Evangelists, Jordaens Louvre (c. 1625-1630)

Are you ready to be stretched a little? A lot? Is it possible that other ancient texts can lead to a deeper understanding of the ‘official’ biblical texts used by Christians of various denominations? A council of scholars and teachers came together under the leadership of Hal Taussig to produce A New New Testament:

Is the New Testament missing a few books? In a move that may seem heretical to some Christians, a group of scholars and religious leaders has added 10 new texts to the Christian canon.

The work, A New New Testament, was released nationwide in March in an attempt to add a different historical and spiritual context to the Christian scripture.

Some of the 10 additional texts—which have come to light over the past century—date back to the earliest days of Christianity and include some works that were rejected by the early church.

The 19-member council that compiled the texts consisted of biblical scholars, leaders in several Christian denominations—Episcopal, Roman Catholic, United Methodist, United Church of Christ and Lutheran—two rabbis and an expert in Eastern religions and yoga.

Read the Religion News Service introduction to this effort. The article (dated March 28, 2013) includes the names of those who helped in the project.

The article points out that “not surprisingly not everyone admires the project.” Read the article, read all (or parts) of A New New Testament and let us know what you think. Continue the conversation here.

DivLine360x12There’s a restless, searching, rhythm in the chimes today.
What do you hear?

Wind Chimes: 1 July 2013

“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. … For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Galatians 5:1, 13-14
Read on Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Revised Common Lectionary provided a very rich fare on Sunday, June 30th. I bring the wind chimes out of storage to keep the music (of the Spirit) going into this new week. Here is a sample of a commentary on Sunday’s reading from Galatians (Chapter 5, verses 1 and 13-25):

Paul makes the strongest possible emphasis on the “you” plural address. Again he frames the sentence with words describing the addressees: “You all,” “brothers,” “You all have been chosen for freedom.” He repeats the confident assertion of 5:1 by making personal and direct and clear, that “you all” have been chosen for freedom indeed, but Paul moves on very quickly to define the freedom.

It is not a wild, abstract freedom from restraint. Paul’s freedom does not create the culture we have become — at least not in his mind or on purpose. Paul proclaims the freedom with the passive voice of having been chosen by an implied agent, God. To be chosen by God for freedom, to have been freed by Christ is to have been freed from the dire results of life lived apart from God. It is also a call into freedom that in some ways mirrors God’s own, that is a freedom dedicated to serving others in love.

I encourage you to read the entire Commentary on Galatians 5:1, 13-25 by Sarah Henrich on Working Preacher.

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You must love your neighbor as yourself

Leviticus 19:18

The chimes are moving freely again. The sounding of the chimes reminds me of love.
What do you hear?

Wind Chimes: 28 Apr 2013

“I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you,
you also should love one another.”

John 13:34

Today (4/28/13) we listened to these words of Jesus from the Gospel of John. Getting home I found this post by Brian McLaren:

I compiled this list of “one-anothers” in the New Testament, a primer on a basic social practices. Not a bad curriculum!

  • “…be at peace with each other.” (Mk. 9:50, 1 Thes. 5:13, 1 Pet. 3:8)
  • “wash one another’s feet…. serve one another in love.” (Jn. 13:14, Gal. 5:13)
  • “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34; 15:12; 15:17; Romans 13:8, 1 Thes. 4:9, Heb. 13:1, 1 Pet. 1:22, 1 Pet. 3:8, 1 Pet. 4:8, 1 Jn. 3:11, 23; 1Jn. 4:7, 11; 2 Jn. 1:5)
  • “Be devoted to one another with mutual affection.” (Romans 12:10)

Brian has quite a list of ‘one-anothers.’ See for yourself. Then comes the challenge: to live (act) like we understand, believe, and cherish these words.

DivLine360x12

It sounds like the chimes have heard the Good News and are singing, “Love one another,” over and over (until we have the melody), “Love one another.”

What do you hear?