*I'm a bit behind. It's the whole nature of following the church calendar in real time while planning ahead to lead a worshipping congregation....*
This fourth and fifth week of Lent, my readings at home and for church weave in and out the Gospel narratives of Jesus' teaching, storytelling, new covenant living. I got blessedly stuck in the Beatitudes for two weeks, missing whole pages of readings reminding me the prejudice and favoritism-bent darkness still blinding me to the way of true religion. Yet, providentially, the Incarnate Christ taught me anyway. Taught me the outlandish behavior of the Christ asking a Samaritan woman for drink during a homily in St. Patrick's Cathedral a couple of Sundays ago. Imagine too the counter-cultural chutzpah of this mid-town Manhattan priest reminding his listeners the sacredness of marriage between one man and one woman for life. Many would say that this teaching is the epicenter of a bigoted worldview, no? Jesus the provoker, the agitator served living water to the relationship-parched social outcast woman. Out of all the responses in that village, not one person complained of bigotry. Only the sheer shock of a transformed life. Living water lived out in real life speaks for itself, yes?
What Matters More by Derek Webb
This week we move to Jesus' outrageous critique on wealth, possessions, stockpiling stuff that's not going to last longer than the dust of our bodies. He bandies about outrageous (and I'd guess, infuriating) metaphors about camels, needles, moths and rust. Instead of patting the guy on the back who had money and good manners (and could've probably footed the bill for at least a few meals on the road for the whole crew), Jesus sent him out with the ridiculous task of giving away all of his stuff to the poor before he could even consider following Him.
House of Gold by Patty Griffin
I selected music this week to help me to imagine not only the gut-twisting truths Jesus told his followers about piling up temporary wealth ["Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods -- who gets it?"], but also the tender offers He makes to meet all of our needs ["So don't be afraid little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom."]
6. Wayfaring Stranger, Emmylou Harris
7. Holy, Holy, Holy, Sufjan Stevens
8. I Sought the Lord, Leigh Nash and Megan Roderick
9. Jesus, The Welcome Wagon
Lastly, a musical meditation on the daily bread petition Jesus taught us to pray. (thanks Brett, for sharing this with me!)