One day last week I was sitting with two prominent theologians from Saint Michael and All Angels discussing various topics of faith life when we stumbled onto the topic of being fed. Now, in a conversation with two prominent theologians from Saint Michael, I was not quite sure that I was ready to answer such heavy questions. How do you begin to say what it is that feeds your faith life as you go about the task of daily living? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you answer that question in front of two people that have been doing a lot more thinking and praying about faith than you have – if for no other reason than you might be a few years younger than either person sitting in front of you?! Needless to say, I was in something of a quandry. I was faced with a VERY important question and in front of, as I have said before, two prominent theologians from Saint Michael. So what exactly is a person to do when faced with such a heavy question? Stall. Big time. With lots of ums and ahhs as you attempt to collect your thoughts. Don’t worry – you will only lack eloquence for as long as you are talking. I am sure they never noticed. Continue reading
Today’s gospel reading is something of a haunting passage to be reading in a week that is darkened by the senseless violence of a single man that held such hatred for African-Americans that he felt it necessary to go into a church, sit for an hour with a group of faithful disciples, and then to kill them with the precision of a firearm. And we think that we are beyond the conversation of racism and prejudice in America….perhaps not.
The gospel reading this morning starts with the disciples and Jesus journeying to the other side of the sea. For Mark’s first-century readers, they would have picked up on the clue that Jesus was going from Jewish territory and into Gentile territory. Jesus was, simply by going to the other side, breaking huge cultural norms and taking the good news of the gospel beyond the grey clouds of the storms of the first century. Instead of simply remaining in his own territory and consorting with the “proper” folks in the Jewish lands, he dares to go into a territory that has a different culture and is inhabited by people that are looked down upon. The storm in Mark’s narrative this morning is a metaphor for many different storms that were present during Jesus’ time, and Mark is using it as a way of illustrating how Jesus intended break through those storms in order to take the love of God out to all of God’s children. The story is not simply a story about the power and authority that Jesus has over creation, as exemplified in the calming of the waters but also is about God’s action in human history to reconcile humanity back to God. It is a story that is meant to propel us into the wild world in order to share that same love with other people. It is a story about the reconciliation of God to God’s people, and it is a story about our own attempts to be reconciled to each other. Continue reading