Are you dreaming dreams of the kingdom to come? This week’s text is highly parabolic, telling how Christ’s return will happen. I’m feeling the Word of God to be unapologetically prophetic this week both in the truths that need to be told and in the allegories that I need in order to tell them.
I am particularly struck by Amos, where the question of justice in the text, burns at me in a week where another horrible shooting has taken place. How will justice roll down like waters? What role does the Prince of Peace have to play in Justice? If justice is done does that lead to peace? Or do we humans have it all upside-down. Is the reality that through peace all justice will be done? And what is justice anyway?
In Hebrew justice means righteousness. So the passage stating that righteousness and justice will flow together is a natural statement. But, I don’t know what righteousness is, too often its confused with being right. Too often, we want to be righteous for God, so we can be right all the time. I know enough about both God and humans to know that can’t be how it works.
I do know that the words about the emptiness of “festivals” and “solemn assemblies.” I hear the same resistance against “Thoughts and Prayers” as a standard respond to tragedy.
The best summation of why was tweeted by @kadeewsmedley
I talk religious talk.
But I’m glad when my atheist friends demand more than God-talk in the midst of tragedy.
I do too.”
Then there is Matthew 25, a disturbing text about how those who were foolish miss out on the bridegroom. Keep Awake, the text tells us. The leaving out of half of the brides, saddens me. However, I do understand the need to avoid complacency, to not accept things as they are, to continue to trim the wick and do the work to keep the light going, for I do not want to live in darkness.
Neither do I want to be asleep at the wheel. I want to be awake to the world around me, being woke has taken on some keen political tones, most of them having to do with justice. Can we be aware, awake and keep our lamps lit? What keeps your wick going, in the dark times? Is it the stars of God’s promise? Is it the waters of the living God, flowing out like justice? Is it the still, small voice that comes in sheer silence? Is it the joyful noise of angels and jubilation and children? What keeps your lamp lit, for you have to keep it going, and it is more than self care, it is the work of living into hope. Otherwise, we are captured by the dark.
Maybe that’s what Joshua 24 is about, how to stay out of the darkness. Why was this review of the same law that was given to Moses. Things have not changed here, but obviously a review is necessary. The use of the word “witnesses” strikes a chord with me. Why is the witnessing necessary, here at this point? Joshua is an interesting text paired with these others.
And Psalm 70 guts me, because there are people seeking my life in school, movie theaters and churches. How do we balance this wish for protection with the reality that life is fragile? How do we think through our prayers to God, and our assertions based on faith, with the real violence that humanity perpetuates everyday? Who should be ashamed and why?
The depth of the texts for this week, prove that God’s word is still breathing fiery truths into our souls.
Let us know how you are wrestling with the RCL this week.
Katy Stenta is a solo pastor at a tiny church that is bigger on the inside in Albany, NY for use over seven years. When she is not dreaming up projects and ideas, some of which creep into the church, she plays with her three boys-boys or goes and visits her husband at the library, while he works, to read.
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