“Countries are just human lines in the sand.” As I look at Matthew 18:15-20 my tweet regarding the DACA situation in the United States–where the dreamer immigrant children might lose their protection–is echoing in my head. Whatever we bound on earth  is bound in heaven. What are these lines we draw upon one another? Too often we draw lines and claim they are for protection, but really they are lines of privilege. The lines to define who is in and who is out. Boundaries are real, but they are also human-made. I wonder what heaven is like with boundaries.

I’m also thinking of how do we call other Christians into account? This last year or so I’ve had to make certain my sermons are not just angry or scared rantings, but actually have something to say that can be heard, and still contain the good news. I need to tell the truth so transparently, that it sings for itself, and does not need frills.

How do we call those Christians who are afraid of immigrants into account and tell them the truth, without tippy-toeing.

How can I respond to the likes of Joel Osteen’s church? and when they finally open the doors to the flood victims, do they deserve credit? blame? How do we live into Christ in these relationships.

How do we respond to the Nashville Statement? With a counter statement? With a  Protest?

Over and over again, I’m struck by the fact that all boundaries are relational. Whether they are physical, political or emotional, they are based in relationship. Maybe that’s why the passage ends in Jesus’ assurance to be present whenever we are together, reminding us that God is witnessing the negotiation.

Moving over to Psalm 119: 33-40 I am reminded that Christianity is a practice. Religion just means practicing. We are practicing love, practicing the kingdom. The rules are present, but only to help us practice. The structures are so that we can reach true faith and true love and true religion.

In this Psalm where all the wisdom of the Bible is trying to be spelt out, especially as the school year is beginning,  I’m reminded of how the alphabet is the building blocks of reading. How many subjects and basics we have to be taught in school before we can reach the goal of critical thinking. Faith is this way to, we are practicing our religion so that we can gain a full on faith. I think of Kenda Dean’s Book Almost Christian where she explains that we all play at or practice Christianity sometimes, and that does not take away from our faith but serves as a the building blocks of faith.

We are students of God, and need to be continually open to the teachings of Jesus. This is hard for me to do sometimes, because somedays it takes all I have just to keep the basic rhythm. Sometimes the daily-ness of life is too much to handle. And yet, I know that being open to God would help the mundane daily tasks, that practicing getting the children ready for school, getting myself to work, cleaning the house, all of this becomes meaningful when I can practice it in faith. Some days this is easier than others.

How are you all doing? Are you thinking about boundaries and rules or something else? 21150462_1568018326592708_3213842063898688879_n.jpg

Moonbow, will-o’-the-wisp, the Northern Lights, “poison wind”, and other atmospheric phenomena painted by Josef Gabriel Frey in 1878: https://buff.ly/2gvg6Un


3 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary

  1. Boundaries! Relationality! I’ve been immersed in these issues, and who needs to look for sermon illustrations, when we are surrounded by them.

    My take has morphed into a series with the RCL texts in Romans and Matthew, tied together by the Edwin Markham quote: “He drew a circle that shut me out, heretic, rebel, a thing to flout. But love and I had the wit to win. We drew a circle that took him in.” (from memory, so forgive any variation 0-;).

    Last Sunday was “After We Draw the Circle” — challenging us to think longer term about how we DO love inside that circle with someone who has made no change toward me, just because I decided to be inclusive. Questions! Not answers, I’m afraid.

    I’m continuing the geometry this week with “Circles within Circles” with a focus on how subtly we begin to migrate to PLU’s (people like us) within that larger circle love drew. I plan to pivot here to what that looks like in a world-view of abundance vs. scarcity. When we feel our own “comfort” at risk, the circles begin to constrict.

    That set’s us up well for the following week’s focus on forgiving and being attuned to where each person may be on their spiritual journey, levels of intellectual understanding, etc. My theme will be disagreeing in community (with references back to this week’s Matt. text on conflict in the church). Sermon: “Concentric Circles” — analogy of the ripples between circles as the rough times we experience as we outgrow a life perspective and wrestle with what we are moving toward.

    Jonah will be great fun the following week — complaining! Intersecting circles — bumping up against others and the different ways the boundaries of our little circles can absorb, repel, embrace, or dissolve in the bumps. Whew! Helped me tremendously in gelling this flow to share it here!

    Somewhere in here I think we have to sing “‘Tis the Gift to Be Simple” — turning, turning, till we come round right.” On a roll here!


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