God as breaking new ground introduces us to the God we could not see until the fullness of God's Peaceable Reign was revealed in the full movement to the cross by Jesus. By the full movement, I mean the whole life movement - the saying what he said - doing what he did - eating freely with anyone - loosing the laws that did not lead to shalom. God as breaking new ground shows up on Easter morning to dispel the rumors about he power of death. Death, you see, it not the power it always claims to be - the power we hand death because that is all we can see. God as breaking new ground moves through the confusion and antics of Holy Week and ends up at the wrong end of the powers of the day - the cross. The new ground is not built upon old ways of defining the world. No. Never again. Not even now in the middle of our lives. God as breaking new ground bids us to live as the beloved whose lives will not settle for standing on old ground that we thought secured us. God as breaking new ground shakes up our foundations and invites us to experience life with foundations we may have only considered a dream.
O God of love and new life, when you shake us up, bring us home to you. Amen.
God as creatively proceeding is the day in and day out movement of Jesus as he takes the vision of God's Reign and the grand imagination it takes to see that vision as a real life possibility - and walks right into it. One day at a time - one moment to another - in this place and that place, God as creatively proceeding reshapes the moment - the day - the place. Against the norm of violence and hatred and bigotry and special interests, we are handed the vision for life that speaks up and stands up and acts up as though God's Reign is at hand. We look to Jesus for that way to make this Reign a reality. We also find out what will happen to us as God creatively proceeds to shape us anew. That is why the whole notion of Pentecost can be frightening. For now the folks - the ordinary ones - the backseat people - the people in pew #5 - the worship leaders up in the chancel - are being nudged to leap into a whole new world even as the existing world powers are still place. God as creatively proceeding is quite serious about creating new life.
O God of love and new life, make us the canvas that brings to the world the vision of your love so that all may see how it shines. Amen.
God as creatively proceeding takes the sentence of death by crucifixion and turns it into something no one could expect or predict. From that execution and the shame that comes with hanging out to dry in the sun surrounded by birds of prey and people who find pleasure in mocking the one who is restrained and humiliated, there comes life. God as creatively proceeding does not wait until Sunday morning when the stone of the tomb is pushed aside and there is no body in the tomb. No, God as creatively proceeding was already changing the world with Jesus' non-violent walk to and through the power of death all around him. God as creatively proceeding is the "Father forgive them for they know not what they do" - an action no one considers when we are being brutalized and rejected and denounced by all. God as creatively proceeding shows us that even as death appears to win the day and the flesh and blood witness of God's peaceable Reign is tucked into a tomb - there is more - be ready. Life is about to be redefined and death is about to be changed forever.
O God of love and new life, in the middle of all the things that can run us dry and take away our spirit of life, raise us up to be refreshed by the living water that fills us with new life and moves us into your future beyond the power of death. Amen.
God as creatively proceeding is not waiting for us to come along the way. God keeps moving even when we are set in our ways and ready to wag our fingers at others. God as creatively proceeding greets Fred Phelps - that 'God hates fags' pastor with the open arms that Phelps could not offer to others. That is how the creativity of our God proceeds. God as creatively proceeding does not wait for popular agreement for an action. God as creatively proceeding is always outside the box so that no one - no group - no issue - no righteous movement - will have the last word on any of us. That God as creatively proceeding is the God I long for - the God who can change all things - the God who will not be contained by my limited imagination. When God cannot be creative with God's unbounded love, we all fall down.
O God of love and new life, wipe us off and stand us up and help us move along within the breath of your Spirit's renewal for life. Amen.
God as creatively proceeding is the power of forgiveness. The future cannot unfold in a new and creative way unless there is the possibility of forgiveness. This is not simply the utterance of 'sorry' that can be used simply to excuse yourself for just passing gas in an elevator. God as creatively proceeding is forgiveness that stops and contemplates the fullness of ones actions and then asks for forgiveness when others have been hurt or injured or forgotten or left out. It is also the power of saying 'I forgive you' when others step up and admit to a wrongdoing or for being an agent of harm. God as creatively proceeding brings a new day and a new moment into the mix of life. We need those new moments. Without them there will be the death of relationships and we will never be able to move ahead as a healed and whole person or community. God as creatively proceeding is the nudge to heal - to create a bridge - to open a door.
O God of love and new life, inspire our forgiveness. Amen.
God as creatively proceeding allows for us to begin again. It is now that God continues to make something of us and of all things. In this way, we are right in the midst of the possibility for things to be different and new and outside of what we have been able to control previously. God as creatively proceeding is a simple reminder that we can stay where we are and we can hold notions of the ways thing have been according to our intellect and vision - but God continues to unfold a truthfulness about God's Reign that is not complete. God as creatively proceeding does not have to settle with the limited way we see life and the limited way we forgive and the limited way we are able to approach the possibility of change. The way I am right now is to be someone who is at the beginning of a creative movement that may -quite simply- allow me to unveil a life to the world that is not the fixed character I have tried to make of myself. God as creatively proceeding is the God who reminds us that we are not caught up in images and notions and stereotypes of how relations work or how life is to proceed. God is always mixing up the pot of creation within the expectation that healing and wholeness and new life is on the way and even at hand.
O God of love and new life, remind us to let go of how we have made our own worlds and how we long to still rule all that is for us. Open our hearts to the creative genius that has been working among us from the very beginning of all things. Amen.
God as un-theoretical lets us attempt our grand notion of putting all things in place and somehow taking control of this or that. And then, this God pulls on a string and unravels our work because whenever we have these great works of our own that we are sure will answer every question or bring complete clarity and assurance - life has a way of bringing us in touch with more than that which we expected or predicted. God as un-theoretical calls on us to bring everything back to life - this life we engage each day. Therefore, for example, a simple thing like 'you shall not kill' must be dealt with in new situations so that it is never frozen into a block we can carry or move around. Rather, God as un-theoretical will move us to consider killing with words or ideas or comments and how is it that we will deal with such ways to destroy others. We are gifted with the ability to question the meaning of life and the meaning of God's creative Reign as it shapes life. It is there that we are moved to become quite practical - quite ordinary - quite engaged with how life keeps moving and staying alive beyond our control.
O God of love and new life, make us listen again to that which is so common so that we will begin to see something new - new life - new images - new dimensions to a familiar notion. Amen.
God as un-theoretical is like the infant church that was moved out into a whole new life by the power of the Holy Spirit - moved - pulled - driven - inspired. Those poor folks didn't seem to have time to think about what all that was meaning or what was appropriate or what fit into a system of thought that would be able to be communicated well. They were moved. God as un-theoretical is Paul changing directions - Peter finding out there were plenty of things he could eat and plenty of people he could greet - Philip doing time with a Eunuch on a deserted road - Stephen stepping up and speaking. God as un-theoretical moves this kind of 'gotta do it and be it now' action. And then, when it has been done - when the doors have been opened - when what was 'no' becomes 'yes' - we are often graced with time to think about the wonders of our God that are meant to be experienced through the stuff of our ordinary days that all of the sudden becomes quite miraculous. But God as un-theoretical doesn't let us turn life into mere words that make for well-groomed theories. For the next thing we know, the Spirit pushes us in another direction right when we thought we had things all figured out. Whew.
O God of love and new life, make life as real as your breath that take us beyond ourselves and our thoughts so that we can be introduced to the every present fullness of your Reign. Amen.
God as un-theoretical creates life that does not live according to the way things have been. God as un-theoretical brings forth life that is practical - love as practical - mercy as practical - justice as practical. We could go on and on. The point may simply be that our God pulls us from the table of discussion out into the action of everyday life. Sitting at the table is only for the sake of moving us out into action. God as un-theoretical makes theory have life that shows itself through experience. We are not meant to linger in the arena of 'what if'. We are invited to step into the 'what if' and find out things like: what if we loved in the way of Jesus or 'what it' we were merciful and took the step to touch the untouchable? Then, the only talking would be about what we actually were becoming and how might we be open to ongoing change.
O God of love and new life, inspire new life as you have promised. Amen.
God as un-theoretical has always invited people into a life. Abram and Sarai were moved to move. They were then moved to move back into a barren tent and make it happen - and they did. Laughter appeared. Moses did not encounter a burning bush in order to learn a bunch of stuff about God so he could go back to Egypt and teach the Hebrew people about their God. Moses took what God said and put it to life - and yes, in real time it caused real trouble. Noah was moved to get the wood together and start building. Now I know some of you will say these are all stories without a basis in fact. But why have they be handed down? Is it just to sustain a tribal system of belief? I suggest not. God as un-theoretical moves people to tell stories about life that is triggered by the unrelenting love of the God who is ready to make us truly human - in the image of God. God as un-theoretical may be the God who inspires us to act out today and yet this God is the one who inspired folks of old to tell stories to their children and grandchildren in order that their lives would take on the shape of life unlike the everyday world around them. God as un-theoretical raises up fools and faithful ones who invite the rest of the world to 'come and see.'
O God of love and new life, help us to entertain the world with lives shaped by your love and moved by your compassion and renewed by your forgiveness. Amen.
God as un-theoretical is my way of saying 'come and see.' This is the God who creates life - real life. It takes shape when discouraged people are transformed into people of hope and when that hopefulness is a part of their lives - they become brave. This is not a mental exercise. I have seen cowards become brave - even if just for a moment. And the reason for their movement into a character of bravery is the Word that reminds them of God as un-theoretical - God who moves people from the inside out - God who moves people to live and not sit back and watch the world go by. God as un-theoretical takes ordinary folks and does not demand that they 'get it' - that they are able to piece together an intellectual system that will explain who God is and how God acts. Instead, ordinary folk are transformed into servants of others - stewards of creation - voices of hope - companion who walk with others when the walking gets tough - instruments of peace and justice. God as un-theoretical takes apart all the road-blocks we put in the way of people who want new life. Instead of trying to fit into how one group or another group demand things to be, God as un-theoretical invites us to walk into the character of love that is at the center of God's action among us.
O God of love and new life, we give you thanks for being present and inspiring new life among us even when we don't 'get it' as some say we must. When we are simply moved to live within the domain of your love, it seems as though your Spirit enters our hearts and we 'get it.' Praise to you, O God. Amen.
God as defiant is always defiantly loving and forgiving. In the face of a world that turns its love in on itself and forgives with limits and conditions, God as defiant invites us to live as though we are not and will not be like the world around us. God as defiant is seen in the stories of Jesus whose love and compassion was obviously visible as he acted up even when the forces and voices around him were living according to another vision for life. God as defiant acts up on the Sabbath in order to touch and heal. That is the way of the truly human one. God as defiant sits down and takes part in table fellowship as a way of making sure no one is seen as excluded - no one. This defiance must be shaped by love and forgiveness and other attributes of the life of God's Reign because it is too easy to slip into the 'go along' ways of the world where the character of God's Reign is never seen. God as defiant will be the God who reminds us how to love - how to forgive - how to be merciful - how to pursue justice - how to be compassionate. When we are reminded of this life - a life into which we are invited to live - each step that begins to walk in that way will be an act of defiance - the image of our God.
O God of love and new life, in the Christ, Jesus, you have pulled back the cover to show us the way to walk within your Reign. Encourage us to step up and step out and walk with Jesus in our day. Amen.
God as defiant will not settle for the world as it is. There are always people who are touch by the Spirit of God who are inspired to walk out of the grip of the world as it is and take part in life that is often called by us traditionalist - eternal life. God as defiant brings in life that stretches through all time. Yes, each age has its nuances and its cultural differences and its intelligent advancements, but God as defiant brings to life among us the way to be truly human in the midst of each and every age. In essence, we become a defiant people - that is, in the image of God. That sounds biblical to me. As we are pulled by the interests of the day - our own personal wants - life that we think 'shines' - God as defiant opens our eyes to needs of others and the ways we can give of ourselves to serve. Our defiance may take many different shapes, but when we gather together as a defiant people nurtured by God as defiant, we begin to see the many ways people around us are inspired to follow this God in a way that fits them. Defiance doesn't always look the same. It is the many faces of defiance in the name of the Love of this God as defiant that helps us see God alive among us.
O God of love and new life, as we enter this day open our eyes to the love that shapes how we will walk within your Reign. Amen.