Wednesday, February 24, 2021
I've recently become a bit fascinated with this saint. I've done a smidgeof research, and I can't tell what, exactly, he's the patron saint of.
If I was in charge, I'd make him the patron saint of people who must wait for recognition. Would I make him the patron saint of people who must wait for recognition in the workplace only, or in any situation? Is that process of waiting so different?
I have this on the brain because I work in a place where our local job ladder is very short. We have lots of folks who have been working for the organization for ten years or more--when there's a job opening, we can't promote them all. And once a person has been promoted, it might be years--decades even--before there's an opening above.
I imagine that the circle of Jesus was similar. There's the inner circle, the twelve, chosen early. Then there's a massive outer circle. Who would have dreamed of the incidents that led to a job opening in the inner circle?
Of course, as a woman, I will always wonder at what Gospel revisions went on in the early church. Was the inner circle really that tight? Was it really only twelve? Was it really only men? We know that Jesus had a sympathy towards women that was uncommon for his time period. Would he really have excluded them from the inner circle?
Then I think of the logistics of being one of the twelve--all that travel, all those difficult circumstances. Maybe it was kinder of Jesus not to call women to be part of the inner circle. If you go back to the sayings of Jesus, it's clear that he doesn't see hierarchy in the same way that humans do--he clearly mocked the idea that some disciples are more chosen than other.
So, would Matthias have even seen his appointment as a promotion? Maybe it's just our later proclivity to make lists that sees this development as a promotion. Of course, there is that passage in Acts that seems to show that the disciples shared our proclivities toward hierarchy and list making.
I think of Matthias, patiently waiting, following Christ, never knowing the outcome. In that way, he's the patron saint of us all. We follow Christ, not knowing whether we'll be chosen for some superhuman greatness, or whether we'll be called to stay put, quietly ministering the people around us. Some of us believe that God has a plan for us, while others believe that God will use us where we are, like a master weaver. Some of us believe that the universe is essentially chaotic, but we are not excused from God's mission of Kingdom building. Some of us know that we cannot possibly comprehend any of this, and we know that we are lucky that God does not depend on our puny imaginations.
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Sunday, February 21, 2021
Saturday, February 20, 2021
We talked about approaches to seminary: full-time or part-time, onground or online. She said that the seminary she went to insisted that she come to be at the seminary full time, so she did. We talked here and there about how seminary had changed through the decades--and how it hasn't. Now there's more room for part-time students at seminary in a way that there wasn't when she was doing her degree.
The interview lasted about an hour, and it was more like a conversation I might have with a friend, a newer friend with similar interests. She encouraged me to stay in touch with her, and I plan to do just that.
Friday, February 19, 2021
Thursday, February 18, 2021
First Reading: Genesis 9:8-17
Psalm: Psalm 25:1-9 (Psalm 25:1-10 NRSV)
Second Reading: 1 Peter 3:18-22
Gospel: Mark 1:9-15
We begin Lent back in the country of baptism. Once again, we hear the story of the baptism of Christ. Didn't we just cover this material a few weeks ago?Indeed we did, and it should remind us of the importance of this sacrament. It gives us a chance to notice what we might not have noticed before.
We see that baptism doesn't protect Jesus from the trials and tribulations that will come. In fact, he is driven into the wilderness, tempted by Satan, and I assume that the time with the wild beasts was not easy either. For those of us who think that if we just pray properly, God will give us what we need, we should reread this passage again. Who is this Spirit driving Jesus into the wilderness? Is this Job's God making an appearance again?
This Gospel is not one that you would hand to non-believers to convince them that they'll have an easier life as a Christian. Look at the end of the Gospel lesson: John the Baptist has been arrested. We can't say we haven't been warned about what might happen to us when we do God's work in the world.
But we're not excused from doing it. The Gospel ends with Jesus continuing his mission, preaching the gospel of God. In the face of certain persecution, Jesus has work to do.
Lent is at hand. The season of Lent begins by reminding us that we are dust, and all too soon, we'll return to dust. You can call yourself a creature made out of the ruins of stars (true!), but you're dust all the same. The lessons of Lent reinforce this message.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
My pastor asked me if I wanted to do the meditation for Ash Wednesday, and I jumped at the chance. I knew it would be pre-recorded, and I knew that I've been enjoying my approach of recording segments and seeing how to stitch them together. I like that the process pulls on my poetry brain. I like trying to think of ways to make the message new.
This year offers additional challenges. There's the standard challenge of having heard the message already: Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Some of us might say, "We hear this every year. Blah, blah, blah, dust, ash, rust, smash."
But this year, with Ash Wednesday coming after a year of these reminders of our mortality, how do we make the message new? This year, after a year of watching all we've built implode, explode, decay, and disappear, how do we create a message that touches on these themes but doesn't leave us clinically depressed?
Here's one of the video segments that tries to do all of that:
I confess that I don't know if I've been successful. The video sermon is too big to put in this blog post, but you can go here to see it.
When I went to my YouTube channel to get the link to the sermon to post, I was surprised to find that the video had 53 views, far more views than any other video I've posted to the channel. How did people find it? What Google searches brought them to my little video sermon on Ash Wednesday?