Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Turn and Wonder: On Our Kids Beginning Kindergarten

Every morning, as I watch our #Twinado walk from car to school entrance, I am reminded of just how many hours they will spend with classmates and educators. 

2,400 days and 16,758 hours to be exact- not including snow days, sick days, and early dismissals. 

Then, as I drive away, I say a few prayers. I also give a wave and drop a word of thanks to those faculty standing at the crosswalk who make sure our kids are safe and have the space to learn and grow into the people they were created to be. I even fight a few tears, reminded both how quickly time has gone and how much of parenting involves entrusting our children to the love and care of others.

This last part is especially difficult. 

So I pray again and again that God’s Spirit would hover over the sacred chaos of their education years. 

Turn and Wonder

You turn and you wonder
what might lay ahead
in the classroom
bus ride home 

16,758 hours of possibility
to learn
to discover
to fear
to struggle
to encounter others

Each day a canvas
each moment a drop of paint
bright colors
dark shadows 
a gallery in the making
who you are and yet to be

You are loved
to love
we say as you walk out the door
into the care of others
sisters and brothers 
new friends and neighbors

Ask questions
then ask another 
each mystery not to be solved
a nudge forward
to what has yet to be uncovered

You are not alone
will not define you
you were made in an image
unable to be assessed

Remember this 
when you see her seated next to you
gain a glimpse of the child alone
could be you
looking for a friend 
welcome and belonging 

You are just beginning
faster than we imagined
more brilliant than we could have hoped
unfinished still

Turn and wonder again
each day  
every day
You were created for this
for tomorrow

and every day to come.

Friday, August 26, 2016

#PresbyIntersect Goes Lectionary in Ordinary Time: Storified Conversation on Intersection of Luke, Hebrews, and Jeremiah

Over the last eight weeks or so, there has been a group of Presby nerds, ministry practitioners, ecumenical leaders, and a mosaic of faithful people eager to engage in conversations related to the intersection of faith, life, church, and where and how the church is called to bear witness in the midst of an increasingly polarized world.

#Presbyintersect is the room where it is happening and foodie photos are on the house.

In recent weeks, #presbyintersect has engaged topics that range from the reality of police brutality to trauma informed ministry of presence, power dynamics in church and society to fishbowl conversations with allies, advocates, and activists. This week, Fernando Rodriguez QuiƱones and I facilitated conversations on the Revised Common Lectionary for this 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Spirit did not disappoint, as Jeremiah, Hebrews, and the Gospel of Luke provided more than enough intersectional conversations that hinged on the living and active word.

For those of you looking for a quick wrap-up of the conversation, check out this week's Storify. Then join us next Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. EST.  I may even post a picture of a good drink on the house.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Threatened with Resurrection: Julia Esquivel’s Prophetic Poetry Much Needed for Today

Every now and then you stumble on something and someone you know others have read, but wonder what took you so long to encounter for the first time. Last night was one such night.

As I read Julia Esquivel’s poem, They Have Threatened Us with Resurrection,” I could not help see her lyric as pertinent for our time and various places 36 years later. In light of the endless streams of stories of despair and senseless violence (as if there was any other kind) near and far, the Guatemalan poet and theologian offers us a reminder that the greatest threat to our despair and the powers that be is the hope of the resurrection and the inability for death to ever have the last word. This was something Esquivel knew first hand, as the activist, poet, and minister was on the frontline of justice movements in the midst of political unrest and genocide in her beloved Guatemala in the middle portion of the twentieth century. Esquivel would ultimately be forced to flee her country in 1980 and find exile in, among other places, Mexico, Nicaragua, and a monastic community in Switzerland. Read more about this radical and revolutionary saint here.  

Rather than butcher the beauty of the poetry through paraphrase and preface, read a portion of it below or the full text here. The poem comes from Julia Esquivel’s larger collection, Threatened with Resurrection; Prayers and Poems from an Exiled GuatemalanAnn Woehrle, trans. (Elgin, Illinois: Brethren Press, 1994). As many preachers and teachers have already discovered, I am sure there will be need to revisit this piece come Easter. 

"They Have Threatened Us with Resurrection" (an excerpt)

It is something within us that doesn't let us sleep,
that doesn't let us rest,
that won't stop pounding
deep inside,
it is the silent, warm weeping
of Indian women without their husbands,
it is the sad gaze of the children
fixed somewhere beyond memory,
precious in our eyes
which during sleep,
though closed, keep watch,

Now six have left us,
and nine in Rabinal,
and two, plus two, plus two,
and ten, a hundred, a thousand,
a whole army
witness to our pain,
our fear,
our courage,
our hope!

What keeps us from sleeping
is that they have threatened us with Resurrection!
Because every evening
though weary of killings,
an endless inventory since 1954,
yet we go on loving life
and do not accept their death!

They have threatened us with Resurrection
Because we have felt their inert bodies,
and their souls penetrated ours
doubly fortified,
because in this marathon of Hope,
there are always others to relieve us
who carry the strength
to reach the finish line
which lies beyond death.

They have threatened us with Resurrection
because they will not be able to take away from us
their bodies,
their souls,
their strength,
their spirit,
nor even their death
and least of all their life.

Because they live
today, tomorrow, and always
in the streets baptized with their blood,
in the air that absorbed their cry,
in the jungle that hid their shadows,
in the river that gathered up their laughter,
in the ocean that holds their secrets,
in the craters of the volcanoes,
Pyramids of the New Day,
which swallowed up their ashes.

They have threatened us with Resurrection
because they are more alive than ever before,
because they transform our agonies
and fertilize our struggle,
because they pick us up when we fall,
because they loom like giants
before the crazed gorillas' fear…

...Join us in this vigil
and you will know what it is to dream!
Then you will know how marvelous it is
to live threatened with Resurrection!
To dream awake,
to keep watch asleep,
to live while dying,
and to know ourselves already