SCRIPTURE STUDY: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

LINKING LITURGY AND LEARNING: SCRIPTURE STUDY TODAY. Hunthausen Hall TBD ; 12:15 – 1:15 pm.

NOTE Room Number Change! For the first few weeks of this quarter we will be moving our meeting throughout Hunthausen Hall. Look for Dr. Taylor!

Today we are look at the Scripture readings for next Sunday,  February 3, the Fourth Sunday in Epiphany.  Links to sites for Roman Catholic, Episcopal, and Protestant reading choices can be found here.

Text Study Worship & Liturgy Announcements

WEEK OF PRAYER 2013: January 25, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013, DAY 8:  Walking as children of the earth

             Awareness of our place in God‘s creation draws us together, as we realize our interdependence upon one another and the earth. Contemplating the urgent calls to environmental care, and to proper sharing and justice with regard to the fruits of the earth, Christians are called into lives of active witness, in the spirit of the year of Jubilee.

Reflection

             I received a gift the other day. It had been a difficult day. I’d had a couple of encounters which led me to question whether my work was acceptable. I began to hear some very familiar tapes play over in my mind, tapes that convey one very powerful message: 

            “I am just not good enough. I need to prove that I am good enough.”

            Do you know these tapes? The things we tell ourselves when we forget to whom we belong.
            I was starting to retreat into myself. I didn’t want to be around others, a little passive aggression on my part perhaps….and then I received a gift.
            My phone sounded and there was a text, “Get to churchhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” it said “I’m here…..”
            It was a kid from youth group. There were other people at church, but she wanted me to be with her. As I looked at her words I recalled how very fond I am of this youth. Then I remembered how she and the rest of the group have taught me over the years that they love me just for being me, for showing up for them. They don’t measure my worth by how successful my work is thought to be. Here was this girl asking me to show up, and in the midst of all of my insecurity, I knew I had no choice, so I went. 
            I showed up and we hung out. We talked and laughed as we got dinner ready for rest of the group. “Come be with me – I’m here,” was all she said. Her ease in asking for what she needed and her desire to just have me around reminded me that we are deeply connected and I am loved not for what I do, but for who I am. Insecurities over my worth started to become less important.
            We are children of the earth, deeply connected just because we are part of this creation.  We need each other. If we try to prove our worth to ourselves or to others through the success, whatever that might mean, of the things we do, we will simply never be satisfied. There is always more to do, always something else to prove. In this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity it is worth considering how this dynamic plays out in the relationships between our churches. As we try to prove under our own steam that one way of following God is better than another, we cannot get to the peace God wants for us. 
            When we strive for value in this way we overlook the gifts we have already been given. As children of the earth we already have all we need. We are part of a creation with enough for all: enough Grace, enough resources, and enough room for all. And we are called and claimed by a God who powerfully desires to be with us and heal us through the things of this earth, through the sharing of our gifts and our lives. 
            In our deep connection to each other and to creation, God calls us to show up, to listen to each others’ stories and to the stories of the earth, to give thanks for each others’ gifts and the gifts of the earth, to recognize the needs around us. And as we respond, regardless of how secure we feel, we are reminded that we are each already good enough – beloved children of the earth, beloved children of God.
            Thanks be to God.  

Maggie Breen
Master of Divinity Student
Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry

Prayer

God of life, we thank you for the earth, and for those who care for it and bring forth its fruits. May the Spirit, the giver of life, help us to recognize that we are part of creation‘s web of relationships. May we learn to cherish the earth and listen to creation‘s groaning. May we truly walk together in the steps of Christ, bringing healing to all that wounds this earth, and ensuring a just sharing of the things that it brings forth. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen. 

Questions

  1. Today‘s readings invite Christians into a deep unity of action in common concern for the earth. Where do we practice the spirit of the year of Jubilee in our life as Christians together?
  2. Where, in our Christian communities, are we complicit with things that degrade and exploit the earth? Where can we work more together in learning and teaching reverence for God‘s creation?
Guest Reflections Week of Prayer 2013

WEEK OF PRAYER 2013: January 24, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013, DAY 7: Walking in solidarity

            To walk humbly with God means walking in  solidarity with all who struggle for justice and peace. Walking in solidarity has implications not just for individual believers, but for the very nature and mission of the whole Christian community. The Church is called and empowered to share the suffering of all by advocacy and care for the poor, the needy and the marginalized. Such is implicit in our prayer for Christian unity this week. 

Reflection

Abuna Elias Chacour, Archbishop of the Melkite (Greek Catholic) Church of northern Israel, saw his family’s land taken away from them during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 1948.  Clear about his identity as a Palestinian, Arab, Christian, Israeli, his ministry began with a modest church placement in Galilee.  From his early days as a pastor living in his car, Archbishop Chacour has built from the ground up the Mar Elias School, serving 4,000 children from pre-school through high school. While the school is Christian and Muslim, Druze and Jewish; the common denominator is equality and respect.  “Peace is the result of the quality of relations,” says Abuna, “between people of different religions and backgrounds.”  “And acceptance of the other is the root of reconciliation.”  Their approach is inclusive love.  “We invite students in, not as guests, to share in the greatness that God has given to us.”  The school is one of the highest in academic achievement in all of Israel.  Moreover, the school has transformed the landscape of a small village in Galilee into a place of light shining in the darkness of what is for many a second-class citizenship status.  Archbishop Chacour’s walking in solidarity with the children through the vision of addressing the simple need of a school has taught more than a generation that God’s shalom prevails in all manner of circumstance.
Abuna goes on to say that solidarity, as expressed by the Beatitudes, is straightening up and walking humbly.  Rather than a passive resignation, walking humbly means living the Beatitudes forthrightly in this time and place.  Finding those who are incarcerated, or ill, or out of legal status, or homelessness, or jobless and walking alongside them with a “firm perseverance” (Pope John Paul II), is the very definition of solidarity.  Staying present and allowing the “other” to teach us leads us to the fruit of such a stance: transformation of hearts and ultimately of the city.  The ecumenical church acts to serve God by taking the narrative of God’s kin-dom of justice and peace and giving it laser focus in its priorities.  In listening well, we are reminded that it is the children who are at the center of God’s reign (Mark 10:30-37).
After the recent tragedy of the murders in the Connecticut elementary school, solidarity with our children takes on new urgency.  What if the criteria for gun legislation were based on how children would be affected and not the risks of the consequences of upsetting the gun lobby?  What if the children said, “For our sake, give us the best opportunity to learn without arming teachers or administrators or security officers?” What if we stood in solidarity with these children and built a society on the basis of these relationships?
Walking humbly in solidarity means taking risks, confident in God’s abundant grace to be with us.  We are co-conspirators, breathing new life into relationships and seeing where the Spirit will lead.   The apostle of non-violence, Archbishop Chacour, teaches us that in walking together with those who are sometimes considered “other” while claiming who we are as equals, relationships are reconciled and the seeds of peace may flourish.

Michael Ramos
Executive Director
The Church Council of Greater Seattle

Prayer

Triune God, in your very life you offer us a unique pattern of interdependence, loving relationships and solidarity. Unite us to live our lives in this way. Teach us to share the hope that we find in people who struggle for life all over the world. May their endurance inspire us to overcome our own divisions, to live in holy accord with one another, and to walk together in solidarity. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen. 

Questions

  1. Who in your community stands in need of the solidarity of the Christian community?
  2. What churches are, or have been in solidarity with you?
  3. In what ways would more visible Christian unity enhance the Church‘s solidarity with those who stand in need of justice and kindness in your context?
Guest Reflections Week of Prayer 2013