This is my personal blog. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the congregations I serve.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Standing Rock Reflection.2


When I was at Standing Rock, one of the main events was when 500+ clergy gathered around the Sacred Fire for a formal repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery.  This Doctrine is Pope Alexander VI’s 1493 theological rationale for colonialism.  It basically means that the newly discovered continents and their inhabitants were fair game for any kind of predatory exploitation that a Christian nation wanted to exercise.  It is the root reason why companies today think they can do whatever they want with the land and people, especially Native land and people.    
The fact that this pernicious doctrine was promulgated by a Christian leader, adopted by Christian States, rationalized and exploited by Christian churches, and continues to enrich many Christian people is a big problem.  It automatically puts Christians on the side of the petrochemical industry and the government and militarized police they have bought.
The church’s rejection of the Doctrine of Discovery has to be more than making denominational statements and burning pieces of paper.  The same 2016 Presbyterian General Assembly that voted formally to renounce the Doctrine of Discovery, also voted not to divest from the fossil fuel industry.  This means that while I was standing on one side of the barricade blocking highway 1806, my denomination, for all its indignant and righteous words, had its/my money on the other side, with the pipeline builders.  We talk all post-colonialism and anti-imperialism, but our investments continue to underwrite gross injustice and ecological degradation.  Instead of paying attention to the implications of our repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery, MRTI chose to cynically manipulate the GA process in the name of Big Oil.  This makes us disgraceful hypocrites.
At some point we as a denomination are going to have to put our money where our mouth is.  Otherwise, all our wonderful talk and inspiring visuals about inclusion and justice will be revealed as little more than window-dressing.

           

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Eucharistic Prayer for Advent.

Invitation to the Lord’s Table

This is the holy meal of the future
where we share now
in the life of the One-Who-Is-to-Come,
Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God-with-us.
It is a foretaste of his coming to make all things new.
It is a sign of the way God transforms us from within.
In this sacrament
the One who becomes flesh to dwell among us
becomes our flesh, 
and we become him,
sharing in the divine nature.

This is the Lord’s table.
Our Savior invites those who trust in him
to share in the feast which he has prepared.

Communion Preface

Open our hearts, O God, to your coming.
Broaden our vision to embrace your whole creation.
For at this table we see from the perspective 
of your promised Kingdom of peace,
where violence and inequality are banished,
and all races and nations, families and tongues,
gather in joy.

Sanctus

And so we lift up our hearts, O God,
joining with all your people
of every time and place
in the angels’ song of grateful praise.

Holy, holy, holy….

Eucharistic Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer

God of tomorrow:
daily we pray for the coming of your Kingdom,
when debts are remitted,
wealth redistributed,
reparations made,
and the earth and her people
enjoy a blessed sabbath rest.

You created the universe 
by your overflowing love,
and you declared it all very good.

Your unstoppable love
continued to overflow
until the time came
and you emerged among us
as one of us
in Jesus Christ.
You invite us to place our trust in him
and share in the life of eternity.

As the ultimate expression of love
Jesus gave himself up
to death on a cross
for blasphemy and sedition,
identifying fully with our brokenness and shame.

And your love finally triumphs over death
in his resurrection
revealing our true nature and destiny.
Your love now continues to overflow,
spreading your life over the whole world,
by the power of the Holy Spirit
with, within, among, and around us.  

Send your Spirit, O God, upon us, your people 
whom you call out from the world and gather together,
and upon these holy gifts,
of bread and the cup,
fashioned from the fruits of the Earth,
revealing here and now 
the living and saving Presence of Jesus Christ
with us, within us, around us, and among us.

Let this meal be our medicine,
healing our souls and bodies,
opening our eyes to the truth of your love,
shining in all the world.

O God,
like a mother who will not forget her nursing child,
you love us forever.
And so we are bold to pray in the words Jesus taught us,
saying: Our Father….

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Evergreen Liturgy.

Evergreen Liturgy.

We come to the time of bare trees.
Branches shaking stiffly in the pale air 
and whistling in the cold wind.
The leaves have turned brown and dried up,
falling to the earth,
disintegrating into the soil. 
The trees have gone dormant,
their life hidden within,
waiting for the stronger light of resurrection.
And yet some trees refuse to go into the cold unadorned.
Some trees brazenly shine a continued hope 
into the barren, gray landscape.
Some trees stubbornly stay green
even into the dead of winter.
Some trees refuse to surrender
to a hostile season.
God has placed these trees among us as a sign.
A sign of life.
A memory of warm abundance and joy.
A sign of hope.
An anticipation of spring.
A sign of abiding.
A bold act of resistance.
We call them “evergreen.”

The Light shines in the darkness
and the darkness did not overcome it.
The green persists in the cold
and the cold does not overwhelm it.
The icy darkness of bigotry, vulgarity, hatred, exclusion, and fear
cannot overcome Christ’s warm light of compassion, justice, peace, and welcome.
In the face of a harsh season:
some stay green.
In this season of waiting
as the darkness deepens
as the colors drain from the world
fading into the grays of winter:
We lift up the evergreen.

Pine, fir, cedar, holly, ivy, juniper, hemlock, 
spruce, cypress, rhododendron.
We give thanks to the Creator
for the witness of the evergreens.

We carry springs and branches to the Communion Table.

God of Life and Light:
you fashioned this Earth in love
and placed among us in nature
reminders of your abiding Presence.
Your life shines through your creation
and every living thing points to you.
Your Word echoes in everything you breathed into being.
So today we lift up in recognition
our sister and brother evergreen trees
whom you place among us
as a reminder
that in your economy
nothing is ever lost.
Life always remains.
Love always wins.
Keep us ever green as well, O God,
ever witnessing to the power of your verdant love
shining in all you have made.

Amen.