THE RIVER OF GOD’S DELIGHTS

The River of God’s Delights

Psalm 36:7-8 — New Revised Standard Version
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights

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© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved
The other evening
Cherie and I took the far way home.
We were in Cloverdale for dinner
and decided,
because the Summer Bridge was in,
we would take that route home.
We made two crossings
of the Russian River:
one at the First Street Bridge in Cloverdale,
and the other, of course,
at the Summer Bridge.
And oh the people,
WOW!
Inner tubes,
canoes,
kayaks!
Happy people!
Laughing people!
People hurrying to
the water’s cool delights.
And I thought of God.
And I thought of the wonders I have seen,
felt, breathed, held,
dove into,
swam in,
and floated in.
Rivers, creeks,
ponds, lakes.
In meadows,
valleys,
and mountains.
Water:
warm, tepid,
freezing cold
with chunks of ice floating in it.
And I thought of God,
again,
and how God offers so many delights
if we will only dive in and soak them up.
I remember the first time
I trusted the water enough
to relax
and let it hold me in its surface tension
and I floated and I bobbed,
held in relaxed peace.
And I think of God,
again,
and how there is a godly tension
that would hold us
and delight us
if we would but fall back
into it and
float in it
and allow and trust God’s buoyancy
to hold us
in that
river of God’s delights.

 

A CASH-ON-THE-BARREL-HEAD GOD?

Matthew 10:40-42 — Amplified Bible

 “He who receives and welcomes you receives me, and he who receives me receives Him who sent me. He who receives and welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous, honorable, man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives to one of these little ones [these who are humble in rank or influence] even a cup of cold water to drink because he is my disciple, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.”

A CASH-ON-THE-BARREL-HEAD GOD

© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

I am not so sure about this:

that what we are about

is to get some kind of reward.

I’m not sure at all.

Prosper theology,

what I call

gimmy theology

Is based upon texts such as this one.

We gotta get our reward.

And if we do the right things,

God’s gunna make us rich.

And yet it is more than all this

do-this-for-God-and-get-rich-quick

stuff.

I believe that prosper theology

as presented

by TV evangelists and various

church-growth promulgators

is wrong to both

preach and to practice.

It is wrong because

Our relationship with God

is not about money

or appeasing a

cash-on-the-barrel-head

God,

but about spiritual growth.

I think we have misunderstood

God’s way of working since the gitgo.

God doesn’t care whether or not

we have full bank accounts.

God doesn’t care if we have nice

cars, houses, bar-b-ques

and take really special vacations

or even whether or not

we are drop-dead-gorgeous.

What God desires

is for us to be godly, kind, nurturing, to all

and especially to those who have less than we do.

God cares about justice,

not wealth,

about relationships,

not winning,

and certainly more

about the state

of our souls

than our bank accounts.

So, how is your soul doing today?

NO FEAR…

In my little church family all are welcome regardless of whatever… Just thought I’d fly this flag and post this for those who don’t know.

Matthew 10:26-31
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Matthew 10:26-31 — New Revised Standard Version
So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

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A recurring theme in scripture is
“DO NOT BE AFRAID!”
Yet… yet,
we remain afraid.
We continue to fear —
the unknown, change,
what we cannot control,
discomfort,
loss,
pain,
but mostly fear itself.
To all this fear
Jesus preaches a sermon,
and well,
you know how much attention we all pay to
sermons?
Huh…?
God tells us not to fear.
Prophets tell us not to fear.
Jesus tells us not to fear.
Still we fear.
Don’t kid yourself about it, either.
Fear saturates us.
Sometimes
it keeps us safe.
Sometimes
it saves our lives.
Sometimes
it holds us back
from our dreams.
Sometimes
it keeps us secure
in ways that stultify our souls.
Sometimes
it inhibits our capacity to love
fully.
And yet we are called to love
fully —
as Jesus loves,
as we are loved by God.
This text is not about anything
other than loving.
Jesus’ disciples,
us/you/me/we
are being told
to spread the love of God
and not worry about
consequences.
Calling us,
always inviting us,
to open our hearts to love.
Asking us to let what Jesus tells us
in the secret recesses
of our praying hearts,
to be told in the light of day,

and not to fear…

FAITH, FATHERS & MENTORS

Transformation Detail #13 — Mentors

Romans 5:1-5

© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

 

We’ve all had someone who fathered us—

Some stayed.

Some didn’t.

Our father may be one

worthy of our love,

the subject of our devotion,

the model for how we live,

our worst

most violent nightmare,

the nightmarish

nemesis of our night terrors,

(this text suggests we have faith

in one who sacrificed his son — right?)

or,

someone stuck somewhere

in the uncomfortable middle.

Fathers:

someone we may never have met

and only know through stories,

or teachers

who showed us the right way

to do

almost everything

we do that we do well.

Still,

father or not,

many of us have had a person

in our life

who picked up the pieces,

or the slack,

or walked with us in places

where a father could not,

or would not.

I have had several such people in my life.

A few have been men,

rugged and bold and skilled and exacting.

Many have been women,

gentle and kind and patient and strong and knowing.

(I have actually been taught

more about

how to be a man

by women

than by men.)

All have been

wise.

All have been

exactly what I needed.

Today I want to honor and thank

those men and women

in our lives

who took the time

to help us find our way,

who showed us

how to become

the men and women

we are and we have yet

to become.

And then,

the question:

for whom are we fathers and mentors?

Whom do we teach?

Whom do we hold?

Whom do we lead?

THE THREE THAT ARE ONE

All Things Containing Sacredness

Matthew 28:16-20 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

2 Corinthians 13:11-13 Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

Julian of Norwich When he made us God almighty was our kindly Father, and God all-wise our kindly Mother, and the Holy Spirit their love and goodness; all one God, one Lord. In this uniting together he is our real, true husband, and we his loved wife and sweetheart. He is never displeased with his wife: ‘I love you and you love me,” he says, ‘and our love will never be broken.  [Julian of Norwich (c. 8 November 1342 – c. 1416) was an English anchoress and an important Christian mystic and theologian. Her Revelations of Divine Love, written around 1395, is the first book in the English language known to have been written by a woman.]

© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

In the church calendar

this is Trinity Sunday,

an arcane and strange notion

is the idea of the Trinity.

Much theological, philosophical,

and intense wrangling

has gone into this concept.

The notion that God is three,

but still one,

is as specious to me

as is the idea that

Jesus is comprised of two separate,

yet one united nature.

Theologians state that

God’s various parts are

Father/Mother,

Son/Daughter,

Holy Spirit.

Jesus is fully, completely, solely

human and divine.

These claims work as metaphor,

but theologically they can get reified and

become boxes and categories

to contain and control

God.

Ways to make God less

fearsome and mysterious.

Ways to separate ourselves and categorize

and dehumanize

others,

and by extension,

reasons to fear and hate and exclude.

Then we get Julian, with her images of the divine as

wife, sweetheart, lover, husband,

all relational, all united,

and I suspect for Julian, conjugally so,

and with great pleasure in the uniting.

The Fathers, Patriarchs, Bishops of the church

found ways to divide what is holy.

Julian and many of the church mothers

found way to melt, meld,

what is human and what is divine

into a familial one.

I like that God is lover and sweetheart

and husband and wife,

and what is sacred is all of it  —

ALL MEANS ALL —

God, Earth, Frogs, Ducks, Crickets, Snakes,

Spiders, Rocks, Grasses, Trees,

You, Me, Us, Them…

ALL MEANS ALL.

Sacredness abounds!

RE-READING

1 Peter 3:13-22

© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

I find this text

strange, awkward, and

legalistically unintelligible reading,

to say the least…

Baptism saves us?

Dirt from the flesh?

Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts?

Concepts I’ve never actually fully understood.

1st century, Greco-Roman- Near-Eastern metaphors at their finest.

So many ministers,

laity,

denominations

base their understandings

of God

on these

and other arcane notions of

how

they think God works.

Still, re-reading,

there is wisdom in this text.

We are given insights

into the struggle

of the early church

that relate to our own time.

We have had people

try to intimidate us

because we believe

differently than they.

Many of us

have been made to feel afraid

because of

something we have spoken out

against —

racism, homophobia, economic justice.

Try speaking in favor of

love over hate, or

the overwhelming power

of a peaceful heart

in a conversation justifying

self-protection

and war and violence

at any cost.

Interspersed with the

obscure theological concepts

is a strong message of blessing.

While it is never a good thing to suffer,

we are told that if

it is to happen

it is better to suffer for

doing good than for

doing bad.

The point

being that there is blessing in the one

and only suffering in the other.

The writer of this text offers blessing and hope,

but in ways hard to grasp by 21st century minds,

Yet for us,

what is it that offers us courage

in our own time?

Where do we find our strength

in our own time?

How does God/Christ/Jesus/Spirit

bless us

as we proclaim the love of Jesus to our world?

Do we proclaim

the love of Jesus

to our world?

GODDING

When God Happens

Acts 2:42-47

© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Hearts burning within.

Hearts aflame with God,

with hate, with forgiveness.

Grace in action,

or what Carter Hayward calls

“godding”, making God present —

for others, for ourselves.

Stephen paid a price,

his life, for godding.

The saying popular right now is,

haters gonna hate,

and while it is true,

we also need to know that

lovers gonna love and

godders gonna god.

There’s more of us,

really.

The Sixties slogan,

make love not war,

for me has morphed into,

make God not fear.

How will we make God this week?

How will we change ugly situations

into situations filled

with God and grace?

AND what price

are we willing to pay to do that?

There are costs for this:

pride, ego, self-righteousness,

being the odd, weird, misunderstood one,

being ignored.

Godding costs,

but it also rewards.

How can you say that being

God’s presence

in our world

is not worth whatever cost?

When we are faced

with anger and hate

and what is ugly

remember to god —

let God be present and seen.

Light has shown in our darkness

let us be that light for others.

Go forth this week and be God,

have courage…