The Smiling Heretic's Blog

Easter 6 :: The healing tree needs healing

2009 UK Trip  564 - Version 2

”and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” [Rev. 22.2]

At our clergy conference this week, we focused on justice for all creation, something about which many of you in our parish have been passionately involved. Though I have heard the statistic before, somehow this week it really struck me:

Every hour a portion of the Amazon equal to the size of a football field is lost to human development.

I am trying to wrap my head around that one. It is a daunting task. Over the course of just the last two hundred years or so, human “advancement” has reached the point where the effect we are having on our world in terms of loss of natural habitat, resources, and biodiversity is reaching a tipping point. In fact, some suggest that we are way past the tipping point.

Easter 5 :: Love

IMG 1702

It is unfortunate that lectionary texts often leave out important bits of information. So this week's gospel passage begins:

“When he had gone out…”

So who is this “he” being mentioned? Well, you’ve got to go back a few verses to find out. It is Judas. And in just a few passages prior to our reading for today we hear of Judas' role in the events leading up to Jesus' arrest, trial, and crucifixion. So…

“When he had gone out…” is when Jesus talks about his glorification. The moment is now. The presence of God is to be made visible to all in the events which are soon to take place: events which Judas helps set in motion through his betrayal.

This is nothing short of amazing. Here is Jesus, knowing that one of his friends is soon to turn against him, knowing that he will soon pay the ultimate price for showing people who God really is, knowing that others will desert him in his time of greatest need. And what does he then talk about? Love.

Easter 4 :: Various -ologies

Right 3

“I have told you, and you do not believe.”

I am not an alethiologist. [I don’t even know if that is a word!] Nor do I claim to be an epistemologist. [Now, that is a word!]. I can, however, claim to be an amateur theologian, as can anyone who engages in God-talk. [Yes, I’m thinking of you] But it seems clear to me that Jesus, in confronting the Jewish authorities of his day, is claiming to be all three. No small feat for a small-town itinerant rabbi.

Actually it is the authorities who are doing the confronting. They are trying to trick Jesus into saying he is Messiah, thus putting himself in hot water with the Roman political establishment. Throughout John’s gospel [and the others too, for that matter], we are told that the religious authorities tried to trap Jesus in his God-talk. By answering their queries with, “I’ve already told you, but you do not believe,” Jesus is refusing to take their bait. This kind of response had the effect of infuriating his interrogators, causing them to want to get rid of him once and for all. In the very next verse after this scene from John’s Gospel, they actually begin to take up stones to kill him.

Easter 3 :: Default Mode

Fish Fry 2009-06-29 16-16-12

“I think I’ll go fishing!”

The events of the past several days have utterly astonished Peter and his friends. The leader—the one-whom-they-thought-would-be-king—had been arrested, put on trial, found guilty, and was put to death. That would be enough to rattle just about anyone. But a few days after his death, this leader, Jesus, has shown himself to be alive, appearing to the disciples in their meeting place behind closed, locked doors.

So what’s the next logical thing for the disciples to do?

“I think I’ll go fishing.”

Sounds a bit crazy, doesn’t it? Well, kind of. But not really, once you look at the kinds of things we humans get involved with in times of stress or loss or change of routine.

We want things to go back to normal, don’t we? Something major happens to us—a change in job or a big move or working through the reality of a bad medical diagnosis—and it can all seem so overwhelming. How does one work through all this? You go fishing. Or work in the garden. Or read a favorite book. Or vege out in front of the TV. You do whatever helps you to feel normal.

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