Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lectio on an unusual verse which may be useful to us in our community-making

Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank. (Exodus 25:9-11)
Lectio. Seventy. They saw God, and they ate and drank.

Meditatio. I came across this passage earlier this week while reading The Cure of Cain by Ragina Shwartz, and I had to grab a bible to make sure she wasn’t making it up (though I’m sure I’ve read it before because I’ve read Exodus). The Cure of Cain is a book on the violence inherent in “monotheistic” identity formation; in it Shwartz offers this passage from Exodus as an alternative to exclusivist versions of collective identity formation in which “the cutting covenant has cut people off, from one another and from their God.” Though I wouldn’t necessarily agree with Schwartz’s definition of “monotheism” (the book is challenging), I am grateful that she has highlighted this passage and grateful for her commentary on it: “‘[T]hey gazed on God, they ate, and they drank’—three words that offer no hint of the violence of the covenant curses, but are prefaced instead by the explicit rejection of violence. Exodus tells us that just looking on God should be fatal—‘no man can see the face of God and live’—but the story says ‘He laid no hand on these notables of the sons on Israel: they gazed on God.’” I am grateful, moreover, for God’s gracious fellowship with us.

Oratio. God, to see you, not alone, but in a community of earth’s people: We want to eat and drink—on mountain tops and in our daily walks—in peace and communion with you and with each other.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Children's Children are the crown of the aged....

On Thursday I had the wonderful privilege of helping my daughter-in-love as she delivered her first child, our first grandson. It was love at first sight, and one of the most moving moments of my life. As I reflected later on Samuel James' birth, my mind inevitably traveled to Bethlehem. I felt such gratitude for God who, in order to communicate with and redeem humankind, voluntarily took on human flesh. He intentionally chose to make Himself vulnerable, and to go through the wholly undignified birth process to demonstrate His love. And that was only the beginning....

Susan Price

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Community Commitment

Since it is January, we are due to renew our annual commitment to the community. But we are presently rethinking and rewording who it is that we are (see "Revise Our Rule, etc?"). I don't think we really can sign on to the community when we don't yet know what the community will be. I think it would strengthen our community and the process of reworking our community document, though, if at this time we could make not one-year commitments but, say, two-month commitments to the process of rethinking our "rule."

The commitment would be to participate in the discussion about the rule in good faith--to continue (or join) as a member for that time. Once we have decided what the community document will say, perhaps in March, we can then sign on or not ("open hand" policy) for a year.

I've posted a page on our community wiki for these short-term commitments to the process of discussing the community. Please go there, read the "pledge" statement (comment if you think it needs to be revised), and, if you would like, add your name to the list.

Paul Corrigan

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