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Our Many Gendered God

This week at Trinity Lutheran, we'll be thinking about issues of gender and the ways we still need to transform our society.  I've b...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Meditation on This Sunday's Gospel

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The readings for Sunday, May 30, 2010:

First Reading: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31

Psalm: Psalm 8

Second Reading: Romans 5:1-5

Gospel: John 16:12-15

Today's Gospel reminds us of the mystical approach of John. I find the language almost tough to wade through. It makes me turn to the other readings for today. And I find a mystical theme running through all the readings today.

The chapter from Romans reminds us of our calling. Talk about suffering and endurance and building character--that's the kind of talk we might expect on a Sunday morning! Yet the more I read it, the more it seems to take on a mystical character too. We don't know exactly how these transformations will come, but come they will.

The verse from Proverbs is even more curious. It is here where we meet the first of God's creations, Wisdom. Imagine what a different understanding of the Trinity we might have had, had our early Church Fathers paid more attention to this passage. Wisdom seems to have existed long before the Holy Spirit, who seems a late addition to the Divine Package. What if the three parts of the trinity had been Creator, Wisdom, and Savior? Would there have been a 20th century Pentecostal movement if we had ignored these passages about the Holy Spirit, in the same way we ignore the passages about Wisdom most of the year? To be fair, some of the more Orthodox churches do embrace this Wisdom aspect of God more fully than we do here in the West.

In truth, there are many aspects of God that we could focus upon, but we don't. If you read the whole Bible, you get glimmers of the maternal side of God. How would life be different if we prayed to Our Mother, Who Art in Heaven? There are passages of the lamenting of a God who seems to be absent, and I understand why we don't come back to those throughout the year. We yearn for a God who is powerful.

We live in scary times, where the news of this week brought us a ramping up of tension on the Korean peninsula. We live in strange times, where atheists release scores of furious books, and American churches align themselves with African congregations. Prosperity gospels are preached from the pulpit, and yet the gulf between the super-rich and the poor widens every day. We've been warned of global warming that will swamp our coastlines with rising tides, yet this year, we're seeing oil wash upon our shores. We see bizarre political candidates make inroads (and be elected), no matter how zany their ideas. We yearn for someone of true vision and stellar character, someone to lead us out of this morass.

Jesus made us promises, and they still hold true. The spirit of Truth leads us. Granted, it's easy to be led astray, to be seduced by the passions of the world. But we know our mission--Martin Luther said that faith should move our feet. Where do your feet want to move today?

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