Archive for July, 2012

Inheriting the Kingdom

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller

July 22, 2012

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Contemporary Testimony: one more excerpt from The Land by Walter Brueggemann

The church is immobilized by the phony polarizations, as though the issue was liberal/conservative, revolutionary/reactionary, when in fact the real radicalness is the agenda of land that undercuts all other postures.  We have yet to face how odd and discomforting is the biblical affirmation that God wills land for his people and he will take it from others for the sake of the poor.  We have failed to maintain the land/landless dialectic, so that we are immobilized on the issue without power to invite the landed to landlessness or to include the landless in the land.  The good news is not that the poor are blessed for being poor, but that to them belongs the kingdom, that is, the new land. Similarly the meek are not simply blessed but are identified as heirs to the land.

Biblical Testimony: Matthew 5:1-11

When Jesussaw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5 ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

7 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

10 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

White Buffalo Girl

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller

July 15, 2012

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Contemporary Testimony: Black Elk – Lakota holy man, 1863-1950, the words of his grandfather:

“the wasichus, white people, were coming and that they were going to take our country and rub us all out…that the wasichus had found the yellow metal that the European immigrants called gold that they worship and that makes them crazy and they want to put in a road up through our country to the place where the metal was; but my people did not want the road. The road would scare the bison and make them go away…Once we were happy in our own country and we were seldom hungry, for then, the two-leg-geds and the four-leg-geds lived together like relatives and there was plenty for them and for us.”

Biblical Testimony:  Leviticus 25:8-12

8 You shall count off seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the period of seven weeks of years gives forty-nine years.9Then you shall have the trumpet sounded loud; on the tenth day of the seventh month—on the day of atonement—you shall have the trumpet sounded throughout all your land.10And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family.11That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you: you shall not sow, or reap the after growth, or harvest the unpruned vines.12For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat only what the field itself produces.

Sojourners and Wanderers

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller

July 8, 2012

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Contemporary Testimony: an excerpt from The Land: Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith by Walter Brueggemann

Sojourner is a technical word usually described as “resident alien.”  It means to be in a place, perhaps for an extended time, to live there and take some roots, but always to be an outsider, never belonging, always without rights, title, or voice in decisions that matter.  Such a one is on turf but without title to the turf, having nothing sure but trust in words spoken that will lead to a place.  The theme of “resident alien” is not remote from contemporary experience.  People in our time know what it means to live waiting always for the notice of transfer, or for notice of “urban redevelopment” or for any of the irresistible and unidentified forces of urban life devoted to displacement.

Biblical Testimony: Psalm 107:1-15

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, those he redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to an inhabited town; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress; he led them by a straight way, until they reached an inhabited town. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind. For he satisfies the thirsty, and the hungry he fills with good things. Some sat in darkness and in gloom, prisoners in misery and in irons, for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. Their hearts were bowed down with hard labor; they fell down, with no one to help. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress; he brought them out of darkness and gloom, and broke their bonds asunder. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.

Gift & Challenge

Friday, July 20th, 2012

Rev. Dr. Melanie Miller

July 1, 2012

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Contemporary Testimony: an excerpt from “The Land” by Walter Brueggemann
Israel’s faith is essentially a journeying in and out of land, and its faith can be organized around these focuses. This subject is worth our attention because contemporary problems are quite parallel. We know in our time about the hunger for rootage and the yearning for turf. We know about the destructive power of coveting and the anxiety of displacement. And we know from time to time about gifts given and promises kept. In ancient Israel and now, persons and communities have been consumed by problems, most of which are about land. And so we may ask about the power of the promise which is also mostly about land – a promise both glorious and problematic.

Biblical Testimony: Deuteronomy 8:7-10
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you.