Made Flesh Here we are, almost two weeks past Easter Sunday, and yet I’ve still been thinking about Palm Sunday.  Specifically, I’ve been thinking about the passage in Luke where Jesus wept while entering the city saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But they are hidden…

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Made Flesh The Miracle of Easter is upon us. And like the disciples locked in the upper room in this week’s text, my community is filled with trepidation. At the start of Holy Week Manila and nearby provinces entered into another lockdown, causing difficulty for many, especially the most vulnerable. This pandemic has exacerbated existing…

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Made Flesh He has risen! May the presence of the Crucified-Risen One slip behind walls of our well-defended lives today and surprise us with love’s confounding joy.   “I know nothing, except what everyone knows – if there when Grace dances, I should dance.” ― W.H. Auden Easter Blessings, The Street Psalms Community Made Flesh…

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Made Flesh Today’s reflection comes from Lana Rocke, one of 11 women currently in dicernment for ordination in the Street Psalms Community.  It’s Holy Saturday and Mary is on my mind. Actually, she’s at work in my heart. Maybe that’s because I too am a mom.  I love being the mother of two sons. They…

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Made Flesh Of all the moments in the Passion story that usually arrest my attention, Peter’s denials in the dark of night are but background noise.  I immerse myself in the brutal agony and devastating beauty of the Via Dolorosa where my soul quickens and finds its home inside the unfolding drama of the ultimate…

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Today’s reflection comes from Sue Hudacek, Volunteer Coordinator for L’Arche Tahoma Hope, an intentional community where people, with and without intellectual disabilities, share life together. In addition, Sue has spent the last year discerning ordination in the Street Psalms Community.   A number of years ago, about 35 members of L’Arche from around the world made…

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At the time of writing this reflection, we only had one mass shooting to lament.  We grieve those who were killed in yet more acts of gun violence in the United States in Boulder, Colorado and Atlanta, Georgia. As we approach Palm Sunday, let us ask how we — especially the church — are being invited…

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On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin. Chauvin’s knee was pressed into Mr. Floyd’s neck as he lay face down in the street for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Bystanders pleaded with the officer to stop while Mr. Floyd pleaded for his own life, “I can’t breathe!”…

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When I was a kid, one of the things that I looked forward to was the vacation bible school program at the end of the school year. It was an awesome experience. I got to play with other children, do crafts, sing, and eat lots of snacks. We also learned a new Bible verse every…

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In the spring of 2012, a group of students from one of Montreal’s finest universities, Concordia, broke into the Dean’s office and ransacked it. They tore documents, broke the computer, and flipped the desk. This was part of a province-wide student strike against the tuition and fee hikes being imposed on our publicly funded higher…

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Ever move from applause to rebuke in the blink of an eye?    We continue in our Lenten journey to the cross and this week find ourselves with Jesus and the disciples in Caesarea Philippi. Peter has just answered a question from Jesus correctly and is likely feeling pretty good about himself until he hears Jesus…

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Alimentando El Pueblo (Feeding El Pueblo) is a food distribution initiative that specifically caters to the Latinx community in my area. This idea came from within the heart of the community itself as an answer to food insecurity. Local food banks, as good and as needed as they are, did not have the kinds of foods…

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Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Christians worldwide will enter into a heightened time (40 days) of prayer, reflection, and spiritual companionship with Jesus to the Resurrection by way of the cross. Here at Street Psalms, we are grateful for this annual pilgrimage that awakens our heart to its deepest desire. Given the…

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Recent events in Myanmar and the Philippines loom large in my mind as I write this reflection from Manila. Myanmar is in the midst of a military coup, while the Philippine Supreme Court deliberates on the constitutionality of an anti-terror law. The law gives state agents unbridled power to declare who is a terrorist without…

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Jesus took time for prayer. This isn’t the only place we see that. There are more than thirty references to Jesus praying. Jesus prayed. He prayed like he needed to pray, like it was essential for him.  Which is fascinating. Why would Jesus need to pray? If prayer is connection with God, and he is…

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In the text today, Jesus encounters a man with an unclean spirit and speaks truth with authority and authenticity to him. And it triggers his whole being, shaking him to his core. I know this shaking in my own soul. Perhaps you do, too. As I read through the text, I find myself wondering what Jesus was teaching that triggered this man’s…

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‘It just doesn’t fit their story of the neighborhood, the story they’re all living in,”  She says with exasperation into the phone.  A local Pastor was telling me about her neighbors’ reaction to a proposed winter shelter. It was set to be located in a large and currently empty community center in their affluent neighborhood. …

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I watched a movie the other night called “The Orator.” Set on the island of Samoa, in the present day, the film showcases Samoan traditions and values and lifts up universal themes of love, courage and resilience. The protagonist, Saili, is a simple villager, small in stature. He spends much of his time looking for the…

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I was baptized into an Evangelical church when I was seven years old and it was a terrible experience. My dad was the pastor of our church, so I was expected to be baptized. I went through the church’s discipleship program. I knew my creeds, prayers, and songs. And I had all the right answers…

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Tell me your birth story. If you are someone who has birthed a baby, you have heard this question countless times from friends, family, and even strangers. It’s a question full of curiosity and wonder at how a life almost impossibly enters into the world. We cannot help but want to know how life begins:…

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In the Spanish language the verb esperar means both “to hope” and “to wait.” It is a beautiful Advent verb, capturing the “hopeful waiting” of the season that we have journeyed together these past four weeks. This kind of waiting, essential to the spiritual life, is not an empty waiting. It is bathed in the…

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She was a high-school senior. She told me she wasn’t feeling well and asked if I could give her a ride to the hospital. As we pulled up to the front entrance, I started to get out of the car, but she asked me to wait. Sometime later, she emerged from the hospital and climbed…

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A prison cell may be the last place we look for light; they are dim by design. But in my country, the Philippines, there is a flicker of light emanating from behind the bars we so often associate with darkness. The story of Reina Mae Nasino, a 23-year old detained social activist, has awakened a…

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Wilderness.  Uncultivated. Uninhabited. Inhospitable. Neglected. Abandoned. Disfavored. Dangerous. These words are commonly used to describe places of “wilderness.” And yet, as I write, my eye keeps catching the edge of a vast wilderness, carved out by the sprawl of our city. Snow-capped purple mountains with jagged peaks pierce the skyline. Shimmering, frigid, silty ocean water…

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We don’t listen to Christmas music in my house until after Thanksgiving. On Black Friday morning the prohibition is lifted and Over the Rhine’s “Darling (Christmas is Coming)” is among the first songs that pierce the silence each year. However, it’s not a Christmas record that is providing the soundtrack to the opening days of…

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Life had been slowly bleeding out of her for 12 years, so in one final act of desperation she reaches out to touch her last remaining vestige of hope: the edge of the robe of a great teacher in whom she would now put all the faith she had left. Note here that Mark emphasizes the woman’s faith rather than Jesus’s power.

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On the eve of a battle in the year 312, Constantine had a vision. He saw a cross in the sky and he heard God say, “By this, conquer!”

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The city where I serve is no different than any other city in this country. A litany of the same issues show up on the city council agenda every two weeks: violence, unemployment, immigration, disparity in the education system, community safety, homelessness, policing, economic development and housing issues, just to name a few.

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Joyful thoughts come to mind whenever I see my niece Shaianne; none of them begin with the prefix “dis.” She uses a wheelchair, but I never think of her as disabled or disadvantaged.

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“Love God. Love People. Nothing Else Matters” became my mantra during my single, young-adult years; life seemed simple without the tether of expectation coming from academic degrees, job titles and the financial responsibilities of parenthood. Those words from the mantra of my youth are a paraphrase from Jesus in our Gospel text this week.

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Beautiful questions yield beautiful answers. They open space for the Spirit to work, and involve us in our own transformation. Ultimately, they free us to see in new ways and act creatively. On the other hand, small questions yield small answers. The Japanese word “mu” can be understood to mean “un-ask the question.” Mu is the appropriate response when the question is too small fortruth to emerge. Throughout the Gospels Jesus is, in effect, saying “mu.” He is helping us find larger more beautiful questions, and he uses questions of his own to get us there.

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I currently spend my days assisting staff at a nearby elementary school. Our team gets the call when students have serious issues with behavior or cooperation. This week, I was summoned to a normally tranquil kindergarten class, where a five-year-old was out of his seat, hiding in plain sight behind a giant smart board.

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“I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

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“I am suffering, it really hurts. It has been unbelievably painful for me to be confronted with the enormous division that exists in Nicaragua between those of us who profess Christ. Supposedly we make up 41% of the population but we have not been able to find any unity of response in the face of the deep woundedness of our nation. Those who are reacting in an active manner in the middle of this crisis are judging negatively those who have chosen to remain in their churches praying and fasting and those who have chosen to pray are attacking those who are practicing active resistance. And then there are others who have simply decided not to express themselves nor respond in any way whatsoever.”

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In the text we’re tackling this month, Jesus is accused of being “out of his mind”…and worse. The scribes accuse Jesus of being Beelzebul, a demon who casts out other demons. Jesus absorbs the deadly accusation and turns it into a teachable moment. That alone is worth a lifetime of reflection.

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I can imagine a mingling of terror, fire, and joy within Rev. Henry Highland Garnet as he hobbled to the podium on a chilly February Sunday in 1865. There was certainly a sense of terror during the last months of the Civil War and its steadily climbing death toll of 620,000 souls. Garnet’s fire came from his drive to abolish the institution of slavery and its horrors. Joy must have overtaken him, considering he had been born into slavery not far from the podium from where he spoke. And now he stood as the first African American to deliver a speech within the United States Capitol.

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The ancient Greeks had four ways of talking about love. The highest, most idealized form was “agape,” which is divine love. It is the gold standard of love. The other forms of love were assumed to be lower, human or natural loves: “Storge” is the love of a parent. “Eros” is sexual or erotic love. “Phileo” is the love of a friend.

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If learning to read the Word from below is challenging and liberating to our faith in God, learning how to read the world from below is challenging and liberating to our faith in humanity.

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It’s cliffhanger season on TV right now. One of my favorite shows, “Grey’s Anatomy,” has their season finale tonight. I’m expecting something from Shonda Rhimes that will be both spectacular and frustrating. That’s the beauty of cliffhangers. When told well, they keep viewers expecting a great return next season.

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To be one “as we are one.” Yes, this really is the heart of it! To become one. Union. Intimacy. The Gospel of Jesus opens us up to the possibility of becoming one in a way that seems utterly impossible – to enjoy unity without being in rivalry with anyone or anything. It is unity with and for everything – over and against nothing, not even death. This is the kind of unity that God enjoys and makes available to us. Impossible, but this is the promise of Jesus. This is Shalom.

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We are approaching the 6th Sunday since Easter, and the circumstances of my life have seemingly all but erased the memory of the resurrection. I need a reminder of the Good News. At first glance, I’m not sure I get that from today’s text.

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Martin Luther King Jr. was unsuitable for white teachers at my school, as he had not been thoroughly sanitized yet. And he was too theologically liberal to be mentioned in the pulpit of my church. The most I knew of him was that we shared a middle name.

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On the eve of a battle in the year 312, Constantine had a vision. He saw a cross in the sky and he heard God say, “By this, conquer!”

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This week is Good Shepherd Sunday. Thank goodness, because I am feeling like a sheep in need of a good shepherd, and so are the communities we serve.
In this week’s text, Jesus refers to himself as the Good Shepherd who, “lays down his life for the sheep.” I confess that my idea of a good shepherd is one who wipes out the whole pack of harassing wolves. I want Rambo, not a shepherd who suffers and dies.

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Jesus shows his wounds. He doesn’t hide them. They were not miraculously healed nor did they disappear. He was not completely “made whole” again. He continues to bear the scars of his crucifixion.

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It’s Christ The King Sunday in which we celebrate the reign of Christ dawning in this age and in the age to come. But, as we’ve seen throughout the Gospel of Matthew, it is an unusual, upside down kingdom that redefines power and relocates God at the bottom, not at the top.

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After dinner we walked to the vigil at the Plaza de la Constitucion in Guatemala City. When we arrived, the square was empty except for four women who stood around a lonely little fire at the center of the park. They were there to honor the memory of the 41 girls who were burned alive at a government orphanage on March 8, 2017 (March 8 is also International Women’s Day).

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Joslynn, Nef, and Diane gazed thoughtfully during my clumsy response. They were confused about the many names Christians throw around. “What’s the difference between God, Lord, Jehovah, Jesus, Christ and all that?” was the question asked by some bright urban teens. Their continued attentiveness, a full ten minutes, was surprising. Even the most reticent-to-participate kid was listening carefully as clarity continued to elude me. So much for the notion that urban youth will only listen to Cardi B and The Migos.

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I have a confession. Palm Sunday is confusing. It functions more like a parable than a celebration and it leaves me conflicted. The crowd that shouts “Hosanna, Hosanna” this week shouts “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” next week.

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I had a great conversation with a young man recently who was going to be baptized. I asked him what he thought about God and what he believes God thinks about him.

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Perhaps a more revealing question than “what does Jesus see in them?” is “what do they see in this Jesus?”

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Perhaps the greatest of all the miracles is not that God loves us, but that God actually likes us.

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We too live in unstilled worlds. Unto us a child has been born, inarticulate, unable to speak a word – the Word.

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In the Spanish language the verb esperar means both “to hope” and “to wait.” It is a beautiful Advent verb.

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She reminds us that transformation is not something that we can either will or work into existence – ever.

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In Mark we get a smelly guy yelling – dressed like a nutcase. Right from the opening verses. “Repent!” Literally, “get a different mind!” Wake up!

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