Well, you remember how at Christmas
the two fairies down our street
wrote "Bah, Humbug!" on their front door,
using rhinestones in Olde English script
(You know how they are!)?
Well, I just learned that last week
the one who teaches art at the college
told a group of students at a Christmas party
that Jesus was born
without benefit of heterosexuality
and less than nine months
after Mary and Joseph were married!
There really ought to be a law
against such scandal!
If we don't stop them soon,
they'll probably claim
God loves them! [– Louie Crew Clay]
Jesus says we will be judged by two overarching commandments:
- Love God with your minds.
minds” is the part too easy to forget or duck.
- Love your neighbor as you love yourself.
When we will pray “Our father,” as Jesus said we should, be warned: Jesus got into quite a lot of trouble for doing just that. When he healed a person on the sabbath, fine, upstanding religious leaders scolded him for working on a day when all work is forbidden. “In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work, to this very day, and I too am working.”
No matter how seriously you take Scripture, expect someone else to hit you over the head with it. In fact if no one is trying to hit you over the head with Scripture, you probably should ask whether you are taking Scripture seriously at all.
God often addressed Ezekiel as “Son of man”, four times in Chapter 37 alone: “Son of man, can these bones live?” “Prophesy upon these bones . . . Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man.”
God is a Lenten disciplinarian, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” “Son of Man!”
God cuts us down to size not to destroy us but to prepare us as vessels for living water.
I recently asked my friend theologian Tobias Haller, “Am I correct in saying that few if any Seminaries don't offer courses to train prophets?” He replied: I think it is true that there is no course dedicated to training in this particular ministry. I am not sure what the syllabus would look like! However, I found CPE to be particularly helpful as it focuses on things that I think are important to a prophet: listening, seeing, and when ready, speaking clearly and bearing witness to what the prophet has seen and heard. Anything that gives one a clearer vision of oneself and others, and the courage to tell the truth, is a plus. But that's hard to bottle, let alone build into a curriculum.”
Nevertheless, I bid you to prophesy, sons of a woman and a man, daughters of a woman and a man. Speak the truth to power; take risks for the poor, for the sick, for prisoners and refugees, for all at the margins, say to the these bones: live. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” You are but dust, but God has chosen you, earthen vessels, to bring the living water Jesus brought to my spiritual ancestor at the Samaritan Well.
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be Christ's witnesses not only in my hood, Samaria, but to the uttermost parts of the earth. Even if you have to break temple rules, be sure that the news you bear, like that of Jesus and Ezekiel, is genuinely good, not condemning the world but saving it, breathing eternal life life into it. Expect surprises, especially when you discover that that the “uttermost parts of the earth” often are
across tracks right in your own town.