June 6, 2020

The Image of God

Happy are those who consider the poor; the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble.
—Psalm 41:1

The psalms make me sound like a broken record. But perhaps that's because the psalms themselves sound like a broken record. Here, once again, we hear the psalmist advocating for the poor. Since I've covered this topic (and how I think my own nation—especially the part of it calling itself "Christian"—is falling far short) from my own literal reading, I'll turn this time to John Calvin, whose interpretation differs, but is no less valid, interesting, and applicable to my life.

Calvin maintains that, rather than a literal interpretation of "consider the poor" as referring to poverty, it is better to think of how quick people are to judge the afflicted: People get what they deserve, they often say. In other words, I am to "consider the poor" precisely because I am too quick to dismiss the afflicted as being responsible for their own state. This is precisely the sort of "consideration" Jesus was calling for in his response to

June 5, 2020

Pastoral Prayer for Trinity Sunday

Holy are you, God our Maker;
holy are you, Christ our Savior;
holy are you, Spirit and Sanctifier.
Surrounded by the communion of saints,
you live in community—
three yet one, diverse yet united.
Be a model for us of how the church must live;
be a model for us
of how our communities must be healthy,
of how, in ourselves, we must be whole and holy.

God our Father, Mother, Creator, and Protector,

Poor and Needy

As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God.
—Psalm 40:17

Verses such as this one are so common in the Bible—especially the Psalms—that I fear traditional Christianity has grown so weary of them that they're simply ignored. Instead of having a Christian ethic guided by these frequent calls to economic justice, conservative Christians appear to be fascinated by the rare verse that condemns certain behaviors, regardless of whether or not their understanding of those behaviors is the correct one or their translation an accurate one. As a being created in God's image, however, I need to hold myself accountable when I read of God's priorities and who it is that God takes notice of.

And this is important when I think about how different our society—indeed our world—would be if I paused to ask myself, "Does God spare a thought

June 4, 2020

Octavia E. Butler

Octavia Butler (1947-2006)
Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought. To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears. To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool. To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen. To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies. To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery. ♔ Octavia Butler, Parable of the Talents (1998)

An Invocation for Trinity Sunday

Holy, holy, holy is God, our sovereign Lord,
who was, and is, and is to come!
Before your unfathomable mystery, O God,
all eloquence of form and language is facile.
We cannot encompass you, for you encompass us.

So we fall silent,
and let the child deep within us be content
in the knowledge that we are known, wanted, and loved
by One infinitely greater than we shall ever be. Amen.

from Common Order, Church of Scotland