“Pied Beauty”

In our conversation last night about beauty we read Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, “Pied Beauty”. While I love the entire poem I am especially struck by the final phrase. What would your faith look like if beauty was a central tenet of it?

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; 5
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 10
Praise him.

Making Space … Abraham’s Visitors

rublev_trinity_iconHospitality takes center stage in this week’s Old Testament reading from Genesis and our Gospel reading from Luke. Each reading depicts normal people providing hospitality to the Lord. In Gen 18 it is not made absolutely clear who Abraham is speaking to but many hold that the “Lord” to whom Abraham spoke was a Christophany. An appearance of Christ prior to his incarnation.

The passage from the Luke highlights the hospitality Jesus receives in the home of Mary and Martha. This is post-incarnation. In the midst of Christ’s ministry he stops to enjoy the hospitality of these sisters in the presence of friends.

How have you experienced hospitality in unexpected ways? What are some examples of others “making space” for you?

Easter Follow-Up and Thanks

images-11Believe it or not this weekend marked Wheatland’s fourth Easter celebration. Each year has been very memorable and this year is no different. Beginning with a Passover Seder on Thursday night and culminating with our Easter morning brunch on Sunday. Let me say thank you to the Tash family for leading our Seder and thanks to the Jittawaits for hosting the Seder meal in their home. Let me also express my thanks to the Vitosh clan for hosting the brunch at their home. There were over 60 in attendance and 30 of them were children!

Something to celebrate: Sunday morning Juliana V. and Ethan R. were baptized during our Easter morning celebration. While those two were baptized in the portable baptistry the rest of us were baptized by the rain. Watching young people take simple steps of following Christ is inspiring to all of us, both young and old.

Remember that Easter is not just a day but a season. From Sunday the 12th until Pentecost, 50 days, we are in the midst of what is known as Eastertide, the season of the Resurrection. Like Easter day itself, this is a time of celebration, marking our joy in the resurrection of Christ.

Continuing the Conversation … from Oct 4

C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, bemoaned the dangers of a train of thought that he called, “Christianity and…”.  Such thinking saw people clinging to descriptions like the following:  “Christianity and the New Economics”, “Christianity and the New Ecology”, “Christianity and the New Math”, etc. In our time these titles might sound like this, “Emerging/ent Christianity”, “Right-wing/Left-wing Christianity”, or even, “Spirit-led Christianity.” Continue reading

Continuing the Conversation … from Sept 20

Is your blood pressure too low? As a remedy, let me recommend watching more 24 hour news programming, reality TV, and the stock market ticker. Oh, and by the way, accept all that is said as the way it is and always will be.

Even thinking about this stuff above gets my blood pumping a bit. Life is a bit crazy, the world is not completely in the control of sane, honest men, and the way we live will be significantly changed. But none of this is the final word.

Living according to God’s wisdom means listening to God’s story (or as politicos often say nowadays “narrative”) as it pulsates through Scripture and the lives of his people, the church. As we pay special attention to Israel’s journey with God, Jesus’ words and life, and the fits and starts of the early church we hear and see God’s wisdom emerge. God’s wisdom is not just an amplified version of our own but something altogether different. Most of the time God’s wisdom is going to be in stark contrast to that of the world. For example:

Prevailing Myth: I’m gonna live forever or at least look good trying! (Death, suffering and struggle are to be avoided at all costs. I deserve more!)

God’s Wisdom: I resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (There has to be a death. First, Jesus then ours.)

Prevailing Myth: Upward mobility is the mark of success and vitality. (Bigger, better, more is the American way and what I have coming to me.)

God’s Wisdom: But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak thins of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of the world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

One final thought: Why do we go to church? One reason, of many, is so we can remind one another of the bigger and better story that we live by. The bigger and better story that tells us, in myriad ways, that God’s foolishness is greater than man’s wisdom. Not only that but God’s wisdom looks different.