The vineyard of humanity, especially in our time and especially on this particular plot of ground, certainly looks to be a ruined mess, all broken walls and broken promises. Instead of justice, there is mass incarceration of people of color. Instead of equality, there is a racial rage whose end is white supremacy. Instead of peacemaking, there is the rattling of nuclear-tipped sabers. Instead of economic opportunity, there is devastation for the working poor. Instead of love there is the demonic drone of automatic weapons above the screams of the wounded and the dying. Meanwhile the politicians reach for their towels, to dry the hands they have washed of all of that.
It’s the Good Friday feeling. When your marriage comes undone. When your beloved partner lies rotting with cancer. When your company implodes. When your brave son or daughter is blown apart in a senseless war or splattered on a windshield by a drunken driver. It’s what the abandoning and abandoned disciples felt that day, back there in Jerusalem, looking up at a broken, tortured and dead body, hanging on a tree trunk, the dirt below reddened with blood.
The season of Lent offers us an opportunity to begin our own journey from Ur to Canaan, or to begin it again, even if we have been on it all our lives. Lent is not about fasting from chocolate or wine or red meat for forty days. Lent helps us discovering a way of leaving everything we have, on a long journey through a desert or on dark and dangerous streets. If we are faithful to that journey, we will come to know how it is for the people who have nothing, for whom being born is just a brief and painful time before dying. On that journey we can be reborn with eyes that can really see the world and how it can be made whole.
Simon Peter wanted forgiveness, but he could only find it in getting on with the mission.
In Honor of the Ordinationof Dianna LaMance DeaderickandPatricia Marie Gotautasto the Sacred Order of Deaconsin Christ’s One Holy Catholic and Apostolic ChurchActs 7:55-60 Psalm 31:1-5, 15-161 Peter 2:2-10 John 14:1-14 He looked up to heaven and saw what no one else could see: Jesus, standing by a golden throne, in the empty blue of the Palestinian sky. It had … Continue reading The Fifth Sunday of Easter Year A: Waiting Tables
Acts 2:14a,22-321 Peter 1:3-9John 20:19-31They slipped through the alleyways, after the sun had set, each from different directions. They were careful to keep their keffiyah pulled forward, over their faces. They were certain that every centurion recognized them, every policeman was following them. They spoke to no one along the way, ten silent shadows, fearing … Continue reading The Second of Easter Year A: Bearers of Forgiveness
Exodus 12:1-4, 11-14 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 John 13:1-17, 31b-35 In his bestselling book about the 2008 world financial crisis, The Big Short, Michael Lewis weaves a compelling tale of the small group of people who were paying attention when the rest of the world was rushing like a herd of Gadarene swine, possessed by devils, … Continue reading Maundy Thursday: Shorting Jesus
What Should I Do With Jesus? Matthew 21:1-11Isaiah 50:4-9Philippians 2:5-11Matthew 26:14- 27:66No one could remember who started the chant. Later, some people said it was one of the Galilean women, in town for Pasha, the old women, who rock back and forth when they pray, in ancient dance with the Spirit. Others said it was one … Continue reading A Homily for Palm Sunday Year A
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7Romans 5:12-19Matthew 4:1-11We imagine him out there, sitting in the shade of some overhanging crag, wrestling with a fallen Angel. We tell the story as if it were all so obvious that his opponent was some red demi-god with a forked tail and pitchfork. But we misread the Gospel when we imagine it … Continue reading A Homily For The First Sunday in Lent Year A: Into Temptation
It was April 1945. The women of Ravensbruck whispered the rumors that the war was nearly over. All the years of hard labor, of torture and terror, would soon be behind them. American troops were advancing on Berlin from the west and the Russians from the east. Any moment now, they would be saved. They … Continue reading Ash Wednesday, Year A, March 9 2011 –A Reward in Full