When the Blessed One had said these things, he greeted them all, saying, "Peace be with you! Bear my peace within yourselves! Beware that no one lead you astray saying 'Look over here!' Or 'Look over there!' For the Child of Humanity is within you! Follow it! Those who seek it will find it. Go then and proclaim the good news of the realm. Do not lay down any rules beyond what I determined for you, nor give a law like the lawgiver,. lest you be confined by it." When he had said this, he departed.
I'm Steve. I'm something of a spiritual nomad. I belong to an interdenominational church (UCC, Disciples, UMC, and PC). I'm also a member of the Soka Gakkai International. I've also been influenced by Paganism and Hinduism, so I'm all over the place. "Double-belonging" doesn't quite capture it for me.
I enjoy non-canonical scripture, as well as reading scripture from all sorts of different traditions.
I'm glad to be here.
Reflections on Easter Worship
1. Welp, it wouldn't be an Easter Sunday if something didn't go wrong.
2. Wow, I've never seen a church give an Easter sermon to the student pastor/intern. Knowing our student pastor, she'll handle it just fine.
3. She did, but that feeling that this sermon isn't for me, which is also fine.
4. The conquest of death is as bad theology as substitutionary atonement, and I'm kind of tired of hearing it.
This is the first time in a while Easter has felt like Easter.
One year ago the pandemic was starting.
Two years ago I was frantically trying to get in touch with a friend in Sri Lanka to see if he and his family were okay. I was also going through a lot of personal emotional stuff that made everything difficult.
Now, this year, it feels like emerging from Winter into Spring.
Today's card is the 10 of Wands. Usually my response is "oh no! Burden! Burnout! Aaaa!" But today I'm optimistic that this is a positive message that I'll slowly and patiently bear my burdens through the day and not be crushed by them, that the workday will not ruin me today. The last couple of days of teaching have been exhausting and overwhelming. Today will be better.
We're called to care for each other and share the stories of how once upon a time people stood against empire and the people are still here and that empire is gone and some day this empire will fall as well.
And people will still be here. And from those stories we'll learn how to live again.
And, in the midst of all this, every time without fail, the true church is born again. There are always those who see the hypocrisy and contradictions and say enough! There's always the prophets, dreamers and voices crying in the wilderness.
In every age they return. And we are called to learn from this. To live the best we can, help others however we can, have faith that one day peace and justice will reign.
We are called to care for ourselves and each other in the midst of it all.
The message of Christ so often gets twisted into this cruel entity called Christianity, supporting cruel people who do unspeakable things to others. This is nothing new. A movement that started so revolutionary, in such opposition to the empire of the day, to the false gods of oppression, has been replaced by the same spirit of that same empire. Many churches serve Moloch and Capital, not Christ. They accept Trump as holy, and sacrifice children at the border.
This is nothing new.
Sometimes I feel the need to reset...
It is too easy to get caught up in the world, in the rise of fascism, in the plight of the poor and oppressed, in our own helplessness in the face of it all. I find the rage begins to consume me, and bleeds into every other aspect of my life. My work, my relationships, and my spiritual life all suffer.
I think about Psalm 137. "How can we sing the Lord's songs in a foreign land?" Living in the country of my birth so often doesn't feel like home.
Make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is sorrow, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive, and in pardoning that we are pardoned, and in dying that we are born to eternal life.
M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary NYC, Congregationalist Christian (United Church of Christ) and Nichiren Buddhist (Soka Gakkai). Queer, ex-Catholic, and heterodox af.
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