Thursday, July 4, 2019

How much prophetic energy can be imagined by the People of God in order to reform the church? by Mary Eileen Collingwood, ARCWP

Last month, NCR published letters to the editor responding to an article by James Carroll for The Atlantic calling for the priesthood to be abolished. NCR published a response from Fr. Donald Cozzens that asked just how much corruption we can tolerate in the church before we leave. Below is a letter in the on-line issue of NCR by Bishop Mary Eileen Collingwood, a member of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priest. 
Mary Eileen writes: This question can be countered with a more positive one: How much prophetic energy can be imagined by the People of God in order to reform the church?
Prophets of old were called out from their very ordinary lives to proclaim by their words and actions the fundamental change of heart that must occur in order to realize our creator's vision that all may be one. And that prophetic calling set them apart from the current structures of their times. 
The Roman Catholic Women Priest Movement has envisioned such a kinship. We love the church and are energized to witness to the prophetic changes that are needed to reform the church. This is a proactive approach, one rooted in a distinct calling requiring courageous action, clear vision, and holy contemplation. 
We embrace circular leadership where no one has power over another. All decide on issues and policies that affect the membership. Bishops are elected to perform a function, not to establish lordship. Member-led inclusive faith communities are formed where the ordained serve the People of God. All are welcome to the Eucharistic table, extending the practice from the early church to the present day. 
Our calling is to live what we profess and envision — to live what the spirit has empowered us to become. It is prophetic. As of old, future generations will reap the rewards.
MARY EILEEN COLLINGWOOD, Hudson, Ohio. 
Mary Eileen Collingwood has served for over 40 years in church ministry. With an MA in Theology from St. Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology in Wickliffe, OH, she served as DRE, Coordinator for Marriage Preparation, Pastoral Associate, Director of the Diocesan Pro Life Office and on various boards and councils. Mary and her husband, Rich, continue to be blessed with seven children and are grandparents. Weekly celebration of Eucharist, administering the sacraments, pastoral counseling, and supporting women in ordained ministry is her calling and passion. Mary was ordained a priest in Brecksville, OH on May 24, 2014 and a bishop in Philadelphia, PA on September 24, 2015.

Vatican 'hid art that showed female priests' - Sarah Mac Donald - Irish Independent


Sarah Mac Donald
There is "overwhelming evidence" that women served as clergy in the early years of Christianity - and some of the evidence was deliberately hidden by the Vatican, according to ground-breaking new research.
Experts in theology and the early history of the Catholic Church heard Dr Ally Kateusz, research associate at the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research, outline the findings at a conference hosted by the International Society of Biblical Literature at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome yesterday.
Dr Kateusz, the author of 'Mary and Early Christian Women: Hidden Leadership', bases her research findings on the depiction of women as clergy in ancient artefacts and a mosaic in a Roman church in which Mary, the mother of Jesus, is depicted as a bishop.
She revealed that this mosaic contained a red cross on a vestment that only bishops wore.
But it was covered over with white paint on the orders of the Vatican "to disguise the fact that Mary was portrayed as a bishop".
The findings are set to challenge the long-held dogma in Catholicism that women cannot be priests, strictly enforced since Pope John Paul II, who also ruled that the issue of female priests could not even be discussed on pain of excommunication.

A female priest on an ancient reliquary box33
A female priest on an ancient reliquary box
Some of the six Irish priests who have been censured by the Vatican in recent years were targeted over their support for women in the priesthood.
According to Dr Kateusz, the three oldest artefacts anywhere in the world depicting Christians at the altar in churches all portray a woman at the altar.
"They depict women at the altar in three of Christendom's most important churches - St Peter's in Rome, the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem," she said.
Miriam Duignan, spokesperson for the Wijngaards Institute, said: "This is evidence that women served as clergy in some of the most important churches in Christendom."

Dr Ally Kateusz has written a book on women in Christianity33
Dr Ally Kateusz has written a book on women in Christianity
Some of the research relates to an ivory reliquary box dated around 430AD which shows a female priest at the altar in Old St Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Speaking about the Lateran Baptistery in Rome and the hidden mosaic there, Dr Kateusz said: "Pope Theodore commissioned this mosaic including the bishop's pallium [on Mary]. Her arms are raised as if performing the Eucharist. It is a symbolic way of saying Mary was a church leader."
Irish Independent

Holy Orders by Shelley Gilchrist, ARCWP

We had some truly inspirational moments as we sat in a circle and shared our stories at the regional FCM meeting. At one point, the conversation turned to sacraments and Rita Lucey said, “I prefer to think of them as sacred moments.” Of course! That is the origination of the word, but it has become entangled and has even strangled the holy participation by all. Everything and everyone is sacred and that redeeming and affirming truth seems to exist in a fog. And Rita Lucey is a wonder.

How is the Church’s understanding of the sacrament shaped by the history of the sacrament?

My very first gut response; my impulse, is to recall the recent gathering of the papal consortium to study the validity of women in the diaconate.  Not surprisingly, there was division among their results and they were sent away to reconvene at a later date. In my growing up faith tradition, scripture was paramount. If scripture said Phoebe was a deacon, well she was! Of course when one clings to a literal interpretation of the bible, one lands next in Paul’s letter to Timothy. Here we find women being told to stay silent in church and to cover their heads. Sigh. I always appreciated the theology of the Episcopalian “three-legged stool;” one leg for scripture, one for tradition and one was reason. For Catholics, I have read the safeguards are scripture, tradition and The Church. It would seem ordination evolved from tradition, since the word ordination was never used by Jesus. He told his followers to “go into all the world and preach the gospel;” to live and share the new Way of love and inclusivity. There are many indications of the laying on of hands and prayer as believers were sent to a specific mission. 

According to Martos, “Until the twelfth century, the word ‘ordination’ is applied to any religious ritual through which a person enters into a position of service to a community of monks, nuns or lay people.” This includes men, women, laity or clergy. Accepting Martos’ scholarship, women were among those ordained to serve a special ministry. Later in that century, power entered the mix and ordination became linked with male clergy. As opposed to being sent to aid pressing needs, ordination became a holy order which was permanent. We have seen what a system of no checks or balances produces; not just in the Church, but in our country as well.

Returning to Jesus’ vision of Gospel inclusivity, how do we celebrate this sacrament in the 21st Century?

I do believe the still, small voice of the Spirit calls some to intentional, vocational service. As I reflect on Judeo-Christian history as well as many other religions, there have always been devoted seekers, poets and prophets. To say they are “called out” does not diminish the Divine within all of us, nor does it rob the power of influence of each within community. I have always felt I had “something to do” for God, but it never jelled until I was introduced to the Association of Roman Catholic Priests. The mission is right in front of us and I have a strong sense there is a little ground shaking under the feet of this ancient patriarchy. We have missed so many important voices from women of faith; this will and is changing. Given that, I am compelled to go forward to Holy Orders to propel Jesus’ Gospel of love and inclusion which has been stifled for too long. Women priests are a prophetic ordination, bringing peace and truth to every community served. May my ordination bring blessing and comfort to all I meet, and may Holy Orders of this like continue forever.

Shelley Gilchrist lives in DeLand, Florida and will be ordained a deacon in August, 2019 in Palm Coast.  Shelley is completing her ordination units through the People's Catholic Seminary and the reflection above is part of the course: Sacraments Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Ilia Delio:Theology needs radical revisioning | Global Sisters Report

In August 2018, the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg boldly went on a school strike to oppose climate change and inspired thousands of youth around the world to do the same. She has gone before parliaments and government officials to speak openly and passionately on behalf of a wounded and dying Earth. Her talks have evoked applause and agreement.
While the situation on climate change remains unchanged, the media this past week divulged another scandal in the Diocese of Wheeling, West Virginia, this time exposing the exorbitant lifestyle of Bishop Michael Bransfield, former rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Ho hum ... here we go again.
In the meantime, Pope Francis decided to modify a few words in the well-known prayers, the Our Father and the Glory Be. Really? There is something disturbingly wrong with this picture.
The officials, whether in church or government, are listening but not listening, interested but apathetic, agreeing but not really agreeing. In 1967, the historian Lynn White wrote a controversial paper, "The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis," in which he blamed Christianity for the environmental problem, primarily because of its radical anthropocentrism and otherworldly focus. White said that the problems of the environment are essentially religious and thus the solution must be religious as well.
What does a "religious solution" to the environmental problem look like in a church that seems to be riddled with dysfunction?
The media has brought to our attention that we have an institutional crisis and it will not go away anytime soon. A crisis is defined as a rapidly deteriorating situation that, if left unattended, will lead to disastrous results. In other words, the crisis of the church will perpetuate as long as we assent to the institution — because the crisis is embedded in the structure of the institution itself.
But the crisis does not belong to the clergy alone; we also have a crisis of academic theology. It is not simply the conservatives versus the liberals or pre-Vatican II and post-Vatican II theology. Academic theology, like the hierarchical church, is deeply patriarchal: By this, I mean there is a top-down, narrow-minded mentality that runs through it.
One has only to recall how theology began at the university in the Middle Ages. Growing out of the monastic schools, theology acquired a formal method of study through the rise of scholasticism and the logical approach to theological questions. This was a male endeavor and contentious between the secular clergy and those of religious orders. Student enrollment was based on the quality and effectiveness of the professor — no students, no job. The Dionysian hierarchy was the background of this rank-and-file order and impacted who had a position at the university.
In the 13th century, a conflict erupted when William of St. Amour, a member of the secular clergy, publicly lambasted the Franciscans for occupying the chairs of theology at the University of Paris. After all, the Franciscan were friars and on a lower in rank in the Dionysian hierarchy than priests and bishops. The gradual encroachment of the newly formed mendicant orders into the university was the immediate cause of this conflict.
The secular clergy had previously enjoyed unrivaled teaching privileges at Paris, but the friars presented a serious challenge to their monopoly, gaining a number of prominent lecturing posts: The career of Bonaventure is indicative of the friars' rising stature in academia. The seculars bitterly resented this incursion, and engaged in a prolonged conflict with the friars. According to Matthew Paris' Chronica Majora, this controversy brought the university to a point of near-collapse. The pope eventually sided with the Franciscans and William of St. Amour was excommunicated and exiled from France.
Cultures are born from the repeated patterns of systems. The university system of theology and the hierarchy of clergy were entangled systems in the Middle Ages. Faith and reason were structured together according to a particular male mindset that played out in the structures of religious life as well as the structures of the church.
The Reformation reinforced the need for apologetical theology and a closed system of power and authority. The clergy were trained in such an environment, giving rise to an elitism, as if their well-honed philosophical arguments and theological methods gave them private access to God over the hoi polloi.
Those who did try to challenge the authority of the church on theological matters were either silenced, exiled or burned at the stake, such as the Dominican Giordano Bruno, who speculated on an infinite world.
In our time, the Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin tried to push the boundaries of theology in order to awaken the church to a new age of consciousness brought about by modern science. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith placed a monitum (warning) on his writings in 1962, primarily because of his position on original sin, and there has been a recent effort in the academy to "trash Teilhard" (as John Haught wrote in his recent Commonweal article).
I find the dismissal of Teilhard appalling and the distortion of his ideas is mind-boggling. Recently, I asked a theologian who is a scholar of Cardinal Henri De Lubac about De Lubac's relationship to Teilhard. He replied in a dismissive manner with a sleight of hand: "I don't pay attention to Teilhard."
The academy and the church do not pay attention to any ideas outside the accepted canon of theologians, books and rubrics. It is a coded club through and through. There is a well-known saying that is relevant to the state of affairs in the church and the academy: "You cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that created the problem." What makes Teilhard (and others such as Richard Rohr) so appealing is that they approach contemporary theological thought out of a new framework with new language that evokes new images and new inspirations.
It is difficult to descend the Dionysian ladder and embrace evolution, not as a concept for scholastic argument but as the deepest reality of our existence. We are in movement, which means everything of God, including creation, human personhood, social justice, everything, must be considered from the point of movement.
In the early 20th century, scientists realized that concepts such as biological essentialism, Brownian movement and the atomic number were no longer appropriate to describe nature. Rather, new principles were discovered such as complex dynamical systems, cybernetics and information.
What would an open systems theology look like instead of 19th- and 20th-century systematics? What would a complex dynamic ecclesiological system look like instead of 20th-century ecclesiology? The hierarchy of theology needs radical revisioning if we are to address the needs of the Earth. An integrative vision of science and theology is not an option but essential in the 21st century.
[Ilia Delio, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Washington, D.C., is the Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Chair in Theology at Villanova University. She is the author of 16 books, including Making All Things New: Catholicity, Cosmology, Consciousness(Orbis Books 2015), and the general editor of the series Catholicity in an Evolving Universe.]

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

LEADING: ARCWP SUMMER PUBLICATION

Click on this link to download a PDF version of the magazine 
https://arcwp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/ARCWPSummer2019.pdf
or click on each page below to enlarge it.





Women Priests: We Are the Ones We Are Waiting For

Mary of Magdala - Apostle 
In this week's meditations from the Center for Action and Contemplation, Richard Rohr is focusing on the role of the prophet. Women Priests are prophets within the Roman Catholic Church calling for women's rightful place in ordained ministry. 

Today he writes:
Prophets can deeply love their tradition and profoundly criticize it at the same time, which is a very rare art form. In fact, it is their love of its depths that forces them to criticize their own religion. This is almost the hallmark of a prophet. Their deepest motivation is not negative but profoundly positive.

Monday: Speaking the Truth From Within
https://cac.org/speaking-the-truth-from-within-2019-07-01/

Tuesday: Struggling With Shadow
https://cac.org/struggling-with-shadow-2019-07-02/

Monday, July 1, 2019

Majority of American Catholic Women Support Women's Ordination to Diaconate

We asked Catholic women if they supported 
the possibility of women deacons. 
Here is what they said.
    
Kerry Weber

The Study Commission on the Women's Diaconate may remain uncertain about whether women should be ordained to the diaconate, but the majority of American Catholic women are not: Six in 10 American Catholic women support the possibility for women to be ordained as permanent deacons,according to our national survey published last year in partnership with the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.In our nationally representative sample of 1,508 women, one in five indicated that they may support women deacons but want to learn more first. Twelve percent said they "didn't know," and 7 percent said that they would not support it.

Support for women deacons was more likely among women with more education, women who identified as Democrats, non-Hispanic white women and those who attend Mass less often. The idea of women deacons received less support from women with less education, Republicans, Hispanic/Latino women and frequent Mass attendees. Women who were part of the Vatican II (born from 1943 through 1960) or Post Vatican II (born from 1961 through 1981) generations were more likely to support women deacons than women born before or after those generations, but that was because the oldest and youngest generations were more likely to express uncertainty around the issue. There was not a significant difference among generations with respect to those who responded with a firm "no."

These figures are especially interesting in light of another recent study, released by CARA this January, on the U.S. bishops'opinion on the possibility of women deacons. As a group, they were somewhat less enthused than our survey respondents: Just 33 percent of bishops in the United States thought the church "should" ordain women as deacons. But 54 percent of U.S. bishops said that if it were allowed, they would "consider" ordaining women as deacons in their dioceses.
Six in 10 American Catholic women support the possibility for women to be ordained as permanent deacons, according to our national survey published last year.
For many bishops the question has less to do with whether women "should" be ordained deacons than whether they can be: only 41 percent saying they believed it is "theoretically possible" to ordain women. Just 27 percent of bishops thought the church will move ahead with ordaining women to the diaconate.

And yet the majority of bishops also stated that they could use the help: 61 percent of bishops said women deacons would be "somewhat" or "very helpful" in liturgical celebrations; 71 percent said they would be somewhat or very helpful for word ministries (which include proclaiming the Gospel and preaching); and 73 percent said they would be somewhat or very helpful for charity ministries.
 
If the bishops think women deacons could be helpful, why isn't there more enthusiasm for them? The sticking point for some may be the question of whether women deacons were sacramentally ordained in the past. Scholars agree on the existence of women deacons in the early church, but the implications of their roles then for the church today may give some pause. Phyllis Zagano, who is a leading expert on women in the diaconate and a member of the Vatican study commission, has written that there is ample historical evidence confirming the sacramental ordination of women to the diaconate and that ordaining women to the diaconate today does not necessitate ordaining women to the priesthood. But not all members of the commission agree.
 
Scholars agree on the existence of women deacons in the early church, but the implications of their roles then for the church today may give some pause.
Of course, ordaining women deacons cannot be the sole answer to more fully including women in church structures, liturgies and ministries. The data show that the bishops largely seem to recognize this. The question of women deacons aside, 97 percent of bishops in CARA's January survey said they believe "somewhat" or "strongly" that their diocese is "committed to increasing women's involvement in ecclesial leadership."

That is something that many Catholic women will be happy-and possibly surprised-to hear. Based on our statistics, many women have not perceived that commitment at the parish level. Just under one-fifth of Catholic women in the America survey (18 percent) felt that women were "very much" involved in decision-making at their parish. Thirty-five percent felt that women were "somewhat" involved. For women who attended Mass frequently, the percentage who agreed "very much" was 32 percent, versus 11 percent for those who attended a few times a year or less. This may indicate that those attending Mass frequently are more likely to be more aware of the women in those leadership roles, who are often behind the scenes and may be the ones making significant decisions.
We also asked women whether they felt the priests in their own parishes were doing a good job including women in decision-making. When framed in this more personal way, women felt more positive. "The more one believes women are involved in the decision-making of the parish, the more likely they are to believe priests are doing a good job," Mark Gray, director of CARA Catholic Polls and a senior research associate, said via email. "Yet, even among those who disagree, there are some who still feel the priests are doing a good job." The more strongly women "do not feel their parish or priest do a good job of inclusion with decision-making, the more likely they are to support female deacons," he said.

Kerry Weber is an executive editor for America.

Parker Palmer and Carrie Newcomer Podcast: Within Us & Between Us Is Everything We Need


Join Parker and Carrie for our July podcast where we explore the concept of abundance. The very idea of “the growing edge” is rooted in the confidence that more life, new life, is always possible. In this conversation we discuss how community not only creates abundance—community is abundance. We explore the life-giving expansion that happens when we abandon the idea that we must “go it alone," risk connecting with others, and generate a sense of "enoughness" in ourselves and in the world.

https://www.newcomerpalmer.com/episodes/episode-12-within-us-amp-between-us-is-everything-we-need

The Point of Arrival by Carrie Newcomer

The Point of Arrival by Carrie Newcomer

https://youtu.be/I_t8WqgKL3I


John Shelby Spong: 'Hell' as an Invention of the Church

John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal bishop from Newark, N.J., talks about why Christianity must change its view of hell. Spong is one of the leading spokespersons for Progressive Christianity.



https://youtu.be/SF6I5VSZVqc

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community - Liturgy for the Seventh Sunday of Easter - Presider: Donna Rougeux, ARCWP


Donna Rougeux, ARCWP, led the Upper Room Liturgy with the theme: Fears and Transformation and the dragonfly symbol.

In almost every part of the world, the dragonfly symbolizes change, transformation, adaptability, and self-realization.

The change that is often referred to has its source in mental and emotional maturity and understanding the deeper meaning of life. The dragonfly’s scurrying flight across water represents an act of going beyond what’s on the surface and looking into the deeper implications and aspects of life. The Dragonfly moves with elegance and grace. The Dragonfly is iridescent both on its wings and body. Iridescence shows itself in different colors depending on the angle and how the light falls on it. The magical property of iridescence is also associated with the discovery of one’s own abilities by unmasking the real self and removing the doubts one casts on his/her own sense of identity.
The dragonfly normally lives most of its life as a nymph or an immature. It flies only for a fraction of its life. This symbolizes and exemplifies the virtue of living in the moment and living life to the fullest. By living in the moment you are aware of who you are, where you are, what you are doing, what you want, what you don’t, and to make informed choices on a moment-to-moment basis. The eyes of the dragonfly symbolize the uninhibited vision of the mind and the ability to see beyond the limitations of the human self. dragonfly’s can be a symbol of self that comes with maturity. They can symbolize going past self-created illusions that limit our growth and ability to change.

The dragonfly has been a symbol of happiness, new beginnings and change for many centuries. The dragonfly means hope, change, and love.

Peace Meditation Song: Deer's Cry
https://youtu.be/X3d3mzqqM58


First Reading

Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I'm either hanging on to a trapeze bar or swinging along or, for a few moments in my life, I'm hurtling across space in between trapeze bars. Most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to my trapeze-bar- of-the-moment. It carries me along a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I'm in control of my life. I know most of the right questions and even some of the right answers. But once in a while, as I'm merrily (or not so merrily) swinging along, I look ahead of me into the distance, and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me. It's empty, and I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart- of-hearts, I know that for me to grow, I must release my grip on the present, well-know bar to move to the new one.

Each time I am filled with terror. It doesn't matter that in all my previous hurtles across the void of unknowing, I have always made it. Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call the faith experience. No guarantee, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because somehow, to keep hanging onto that old bar is no longer on the list of alternatives. It’s called transition. I have come to believe that it is the only place that real change occurs. The transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out-of-control that can (but necessarily) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives.

And so, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves permission to hang out" in the transition between the trapeze bars. It can be terrifying. It can be enlightening, in the true sense of the word. Hurtling through the void, we just may learn how to fly.

These are the inspired words from the Essene Book of Days and the community affirms them by saying: AMEN

Gospel Reading: Luke 9:51-62

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

These are the inspired words from the gospel of Luke and the community affirms them by saying: AMEN

Donna's homily starter:

In almost every part of the world, the Dragonfly symbolizes change, transformation, adaptability, and self-realization.

The first reading gives a great image of our common responses to these important tasks of living life fully and well. We experience fear of change and transformation by clinging to sameness. We hang on to the trapeze bar by creating and adhering to religious traditions, rules, cultural expectations and norms. It is important to feel safe and protected so traditions and norms have a healthy purpose. The stepping stones to our growth and development are these traditions, rules and norms that the first reading images as trapeze bars.

To experience growth and transformation and the life Jesus calls us to, we have to let go of the bars so that we can learn to fly. The readings are challenging us to become more vulnerable and open to a different way of living. Jesus modeled this by living his whole life in the space between the trapeze bars. Once we learn to fly we have no need for the bars. The trapeze bars are training us to fly.

The gospel reading at first glance paints Jesus as a harsh person. What does he mean by having no place to lay his head, letting the dead bury the dead and that looking back while plowing renders one unfit for the kingdom of God?

The beginning of the reading gives us a clue. The Samaritans and Jews of Jesus’s tribe were enemies. When the disciples saw that the Samaritans were not welcoming Jesus they wanted to respond to lack of hospitality the same way the Hebrew scriptures pictured God responding to Sodom and Gemorah’s lack of hospitality by striking them dead. Jesus’s refusal to use this punishment is an example of letting go of a trapeze bar. This bar is a view of a vengeful God who kills the enemy.

Jesus is teaching that following the way is not easy, predictable and about following rules. The rule says to bury the dead within 24 hours. Jesus is not being callous about not burying the dead. This is a reference to letting those who are spiritually dead handling this task. To follow Jesus means becoming spiritually alive and letting go of rules that keep us confined to the status quo.

We are unfit for the kingdom of God when we look back while plowing. To be fit for the kingdom of God we must be fully present to the now. We must not be in the past nor the future but be fully alive to the now. Living in the Christ means letting go of the illusions of security that come from over reliance on religious rules and social norms.

How can we like Jesus learn to fly? Jesus was afraid and did not let fear keep him from his mission. Our task is to identify the bars that we are holding on to and learn to embrace the fear in between. It is here like Jesus that we learn to fly. What did you hear and what does it mean for you?

Communion Song: Imagine by John Lennon
https://youtu.be/7FX4D1jU2m8


Closing Song: You are the Voice by David Haas
https://youtu.be/qc9B5OeWmfU