River Grit and Wounded Gait

Who hasn’t passed a night wrestling and been unclear as to an adversary’s true identity? Anxiety, fear, our false self or shadow-side—these all make fierce opponents. The voices of others infect our head and trouble us. Deep yearnings for wholeness or nagging needs for changes— these are visitors easier to ignore by daylight. Demon, angel, ego, — who hasn’t prayed to God for clarity after a night like Jacob’s? Who among us has not tasted river bank grit in your mouth and pleaded for a blessing as the morning dawns— grasping for some good come out of a night of struggle.

Family Drama

Wednesday July 20 One of the joys of following the lectionary is that it often confronts us with difficult passages.  This week we are reading the story of Laban and Jacob, in which Jacob works for the hand of Rachel, but gets Leah instead (Genesis 29:15-28).  Unfortunately, the lectionary also sanitizes the text, presenting only a small portion of the …

Entangled Root balls

This week’s lectionary text presents a pretty potent botanical analogy. And a reminder that Jesus was a naturalist.

The bearded darnel is likely the “weed” in question. The darnel penetrates and interweaves around the root ball of other plants and sucks up nutrients and scarce water, thus making it impossible to remove without damaging the other plant. Even more confusing, above ground the darnel looks identical to wheat, until it bears seed.

This passage provides me with a new favorite image for God: as holy seed propagator. Clearly this is a rare and life-giving skill.

Nature Deficit Disorder

Some mornings I can’t wake up. I move through my house in a slight fog—drinking endless cups of green tea, feeding my kids and sending them off, folding clothes, doing work emails. Yet I look at my day from a distance, as if through the thin film of gunk that coats the fishbowl when it needs to be cleaned. Words …