Religiosity

If I am zealous in faith
but do know not peace,
I am a dangerous firebrand.

If I kneel before the LORD
but cannot stand beside my neighbor,
I am a self-righteous Judas.

If I preach “Christ is near”
but shame those who cry to Jesus,
I am a false and jealous prophet.

If I shout out God’s praises
but refuse to resist injustice,
I am a faithless narcissist.

If I build glorious altars
but do not tear down dividing walls,
I am a godforsaken disciple.

Faith is not a solo experience or a self-serving endeavor. Faith cannot love God and hate a stranger. Faith is not simple or perfect or grandiose. Faith holds mystery, knows pain, and practices curiosity. Faith worships and welcomes, waits and works. Faith dwells in love, walks in peace, and joins in hope.

Reflecting on the lectionary texts for
the 10th Sunday after Pentecost (A),
patterned after 1 Corinthians 13

Rhetorical (Lent 29)

Does the sun still shine?
[Hold on, let me go stand outside.]

Do the tides still sway?
[I’d have to put my toes in the ocean.]

Does joy still bubble in laughter?
[When’s the last time you told me a joke, God?]

Does Hercules still saunter on the horizon at night?
[Let me go diving for Leviathan while I’m at it.]

Do the robins still rise early?
[I try to ignore them.]

Am I not still God?
[Yes, LORD.]

When you are anxious, is my power diminished?
[Of course not, LORD, only my faith.]

When your way is unclear, does that mean I too am lost?
[I can’t really speak for you, God, but probably not.]

So tell me again, does the sun still shine?
[You know it does, O LORD.]

on John 11:7-9

Parables (Lent 28)

Five for two,
sparrows for pennies.

One for ninety-nine,
lost lamb for the entire flock.

Lifetime security for a daily gift,
a barn full of grains for a breath of life.

Ultimately: worry for faith,
a wardrobe for a lily’s glory.

Merciful God,
save me from myself —
from spending foolishly for
what cannot be bought;
for failing to trust in
your faithfulness.

on Luke 12

Yesterday Today Tomorrow

In prayer,
we say the name
that gives us hope:
JESUS.

In song,
we raise the name
that brings us peace:
JESUS.

With shouts,
we cry the name
that brings us healing:
JESUS.

You who are the same
yesterday
today and
tomorrow
stay with us and love us
yesterday
today and
tomorrow
through seasons of change
of heartache of struggle of love
yesterday
today and
tomorrow
through tears and praise
and lament and delight
yesterday
today and
tomorrow
be who you are forever and always.

We long to be made new,
we are desperate to leave the past behind us,
but you have brought us this far and
you have promised to continue.
Stories and experiences
shape us like ancient stars shape the night sky,
so do not teach us to turn our backs
on what has been but to listen
for stories of what may be.
Teach us not to start over in fear
but to wade in every water and to walk
through every wilderness with the patience
of hearts that trust you.
Teach us not cynicism but curiosity
so that our souls might sing gratitude
and our tongues speak prophecies
of your love and glory
for as long as we have breath to give.

To you, the One who is worthy,
to you in whom the angels delight,
to you alone at the beginning and the end,
to you we bring our prayers and our whole lives this day. Amen.

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals