by Remy Remmers
Content Warning: talk of abuse/domestic violence
Inclusion is a divisive issue. We have seen the impacts of this in church life recently. Who should be included to what level should some people be included? Are they righteous enough? Did they deserve it. Did they work hard enough for it? Jesus not only included sinners, but shared meals with them. Lived in community with them. Naturally this caused some grumbles. Some “well-meaning” comments to make sure Jesus knew exactly who he was associating with (and who he should be associating with). Jesus, instead of handling their criticism head on in a calm matter to bring them to the “proper” conclusion, tells a passive aggressive parable in response.
Now I’m going to read this parable in a different way than you’re used to. Prepare yourselves. It’s going to get queer:
by Elle Dowd
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
The prophet Isaiah asks this in verse 2 of our lectionary reading for Lent 3. Isaiah could just as well have written these words today. In our current context of Late Stage Capitalism in the United States, we have been sold a false narrative time and time again. This narrative tells us that our worth is in what we produce. That we must grind, hustle, work ourselves to death. That any moment we rest or take time for ourselves or our relationships is a waste of productivity, and we should feel guilty about it. And when we begin to feel that guilt or we begin to feel unease at our lack of fulfilment, Capitalism is there to cure what ails us by writing a prescription that says, “CONSUME.” If we just work longer hours on less sleep, we can earn that bigger bank account or smaller body and FINALLY be happy. Capitalism creates a structure of overwork that makes us miserable, and then swindles us by telling us the way to cure our misery is to buy our way out of it.
by Rev. Carolina Glauster
At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to [Jesus,]“Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”
Does it surprise you to hear that God has feelings? Not just feelings, but many feelings, and all at once. Feelings including some we sometimes think of as “negative” emotions. How does it make you feel to hear in this week's gospel the words of a Jesus who feels anger and sadness and longing, who is stubborn and discouraged and tender and determined?
by Rev. Elizabeth Rawlings
Deut 26 1-11: Gratitude. Recognition of where you got things
Luke 4: facing the parts of yourself that call you away from who you really are
After my now ex-husband left me, I fell into pieces (as one does when their life falls apart swiftly without warning). However, I was a few days away from my approval interview (the final step in the candidacy process in the ELCA) and a month away from finishing my internship. I would soon be searching for a call and was anticipating becoming an ordained minister, the culmination of around 15 years of work, wandering, struggling and waiting. Years ago, while in my second year of seminary, my father died and that falling apart led me to leave the candidacy process and seminary altogether. I could not, I would not, let that happen again.