Archive for May 5th, 2018

Luke 4:16-30: From Death Comes Life  

Ireena Eleonora Worthy: A cedar grows from a log in Fairy Lake, British Columbia, Canada

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Not even death can separate you from Love, and from death comes Life. Rest in this awareness. (Rohr, A SPRING WITHIN US 137)

This week we have reflected on The Common Wonderful, the amazing gift of God’s self to us, the presence of Spirit’s love within, the promise of Christ presented to us each day as we rise, and resting with us each evening as we retire. In his book of reflections, YES AND . . ., Richard Rohr lays out tools for us so that we might move away from a dualistic view of life and toward a unitive one. He helps us to understand how we might, like Jesus, live both in this world while not being of it.

“Jesus consistently ignored or even denied exclusionary, punitive, and triumphalistic texts in his own Jewish Bible in favor of passages that emphasized inclusion, mercy, and honesty. That becomes self-evident once you are told and begin to look for yourself. He had a deeper and wider eye that knew what passages were merely cultural, self-serving, and legalistic additions. (YES AND . . . , Rohr xi)

Perhaps we cannot quite believe God’s deep generosity. Maybe Christ’s gift of self is more than we can take in. Does the Spirit’s fidelity and persistence somehow threaten us? Why do we struggle against this common wonderful gift of union? Are we too comfortable with the old quarrels, and too familiar with lines drawn hastily in ancient sands? We might learn more from Jesus if we look at what he does not cite from scripture along with what he does. Again from Rohr.

“Looking at which Scripture passages Jesus emphasizes (remember, the Hebrew Bible is his only Bible!) shows he clearly understands how to connect the “three steps forward” dots that confirm the God he has met, knows, loves, and trusts. At the same time, Jesus ignores or openly contradicts the many “two steps backward” texts. He never quotes the book of Numbers, for example, which is rather ritualistic and legalistic. He never quotes Joshua or Judges, which are full of sanctified violence. Basically, Jesus doesn’t quote from his own Scriptures when they are punitive, imperialistic (“My country and religion are the ‘only’!”), classist, or exclusionary. In fact, he teaches the exact opposite in every case. This is hard to miss. And our job as Christians is to imitate Jesus!” (www.cac.org  Rohr)

Life from death in Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, USA

We tussle with the idea of loving our enemies. We argue about doctrine and dogma, and measure everyone – including ourselves – against rigid yardsticks of long-held practices. We become accustomed to our stiff necks and stony hearts; and yet Christ continues to call us to union in the Spirit. Still God searches for each of us – the lost sheep. Still God pardons, mends, heals, redeems and transforms.

Today let us give away our burdens so that we might discover our names written on God’s hands. Let us be patient in Christ’s time rather than ours as we move through the span of our lives. Let us settle into the stunning reality that we already possess the gift of eternal life; and let us share this good news as we open to the common wonderful that we hold together in Christ.

images from: http://www.newt.com/wohler/events/2008/hawaii/volcanoes-np/ and http://www.neatorama.com/2012/09/18/From-Death-Comes-Life/ 

Richard Rohr, OFM. A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016.

Richard Rohr, OFM. Yes and . . . Daily Meditations. Cincinnati, OH: Franciscan Media, 2013.

More from Rohr’s www.cac.com February 9, 2015 post: “Jesus does not mention the list of 28 ‘thou shall nots’ in Leviticus 18 through 20, but chooses instead to echo the rare positive quote of Leviticus 19:18: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ The longest single passage he quotes is from Isaiah 61 (in Luke 4:18-19): ‘The Spirit of the Lord has been given to me. He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, and to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord.’ But Jesus plays fast and easy, as they say, and quotes selectively! He appears to have deliberately omitted the last line—‘and the day of vengeance of our God’ (Isaiah 61:2b)—because he does not believe in a God of vengeance at all.” (https://cac.org/jesus-used-scripture-2015-02-09/)

When we compare different translations of these verses, we discover the futility of vengeance, and the beauty of God’s Common Wonderful.

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