Updated: Jun 5, 2018

Prose or Poetry?

May 4, 2018

In this past Sunday's sermon, I invited you to think about the difference between a battery and an extension cord.  I asked what difference it would make in your life if you thought of yourself less as a battery "feeling drained" and in need of "recharging," and more of an "unplugged" extension cord in need of being "tapped into" or "abiding in the limitless source of love, joy, peace, patience, and generosity: the power of God. 


Now I invite you to think about the difference between prose and poetry.


Many of you were here three Sundays ago when our guest adult forum speaker Rabbi Danny Zemel spoke.


One of the things Rabbi Zemel said was that while he loved the Jewish liturgy -- the prayers recited in worship -- he disliked the way those prayers were presented on paper.


Jewish prayers, like much of Holy Scripture -- were written as poetry, not prose.


But, in order to save space and paper, when those prayers (and much of our scripture) gets laid out or presented on paper, we warp poetry into prose.


And unfortunately, whenever you turn poetry into prose, you disfigure it; you damage it.

What is wrong with a lot of Christianity has to do with Christians' tendencies over the centuries (and in our own day) to turn the poetry of Scripture and Jesus' life and teachings and our creeds into prose, until that which originated as wild, original, mysterious, expansive poetry has been degenerated into domesticated, repetitive, predictable and limited prose. 


But as I hope to explore further on Sunday, 


Part of our calling as Christians in 2018

is to rediscover 

the wildness, 

originality, 

mysteriousness, 

and expansiveness 

of God's Holy and Life-giving Word 


as that Word 

is most fully revealed 

in the Body of Christ: 

Jesus,

and you and me. 


See what I mean? 


See you Sunday, 


John 


Updated: Jun 5, 2018

April 27, 2018

Let all around us be peace

I've long been fascinated by the fact that there's such a thing as a "performative statement."

According to good ole' Wikipedia, "performative statements or utterances are "sentences which are not only describing a given reality, but also changing the social reality they are describing."


In other words, there are certain sentences where the very act of saying them changes reality. 


Examples? 

Instances like, when the chair person of a meeting bangs the gavel and says, 

"The meeting is adjourned." 


Those aren't "just words" -- the very utterance of them (if they are spoken by the right person at the right time) actually accomplish something: they end the meeting! 


Other examples of words that actually DO something (again when spoken by the right person at the right time), 


"Play ball!" 

"You are under arrest." 

"I do." (Take this man/woman to be my husband/wife.) 

"I resign." 

"I accept your apology." 


And to us people of faith, we'd add things like, 

"Let there be Light." (What God said/did in creation, in Genesis)

"Be silent, and come out of him!" (What Jesus said/did to an evil spirit in Mark 1:25)


Here's what I invite you to think about/do now: 


Listen to a prayer, song or hymn (try  this YouTube video* and let the words be not merely words, but performative utterances for you, as you hear and sense 


Peace

before you, 

behind you, 

under your feet. 

Peace within you, 

over you.

Let all around us be Peace - (and the love and light of Christ).  


See you Sunday, 

John 


*song/hymn by contemporary composer David Haas, Copyright 1987, published by GIA Publications.

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