This dude shows us how to live fully in every moment of life. And he is hilarious…
It is in times and tragedies like those that happened in Boston that our call to pray for our enemies is most difficult. May we be faithful to pray for them despite our circumstances.
Father, we don’t know who was behind the tragedies in Boston, but we do know that they were human. And we know we are to pray for our enemies.
In Jesus we see humanities true identity as ones who are to be agents of life, not death. Jesus, as first of New Creation, invites all humanity to reflect and participate in New Creation.
Despite humanities sacred identity, evil often reveals itself through humanity. We must return to what we were created to be. May those behind this event return to who they were created to be.
We pray specifically that those involved in this violence return to their shared humanity as they confront the violence brought on fellow humans as a result of their actions. We pray that we don’t lose ours in the midst of it all.
May we embrace our vocation as peacemakers who are to be agents of restoration and reconciliation rather than divisiveness, enmity and violence.
We pray for a collective grieving that fuels our ability to live with compassion, generosity and wholeness.
We plead for your justice to reign as we announce and promote your Kingdom reign through our words and deeds.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, amen.
When a new child is born into our community, we have a tradition of taking time to pray blessings over the new life as a way to acknowledge their sacred role not only in the life of our family, but in the life of the community we have entrusted ourselves to. This is not a new tradition we came up with, but one that stretches back to early parts of our faith tradition. It is a time to acknowledge that as members of the family of God, Janny and I don’t raise little Rosie on our own, but alongside a community of people who are commited to follow Jesus together. Having been part of a community like this for a few years, we have found it to be one of the most important gifts we can give to our children.
Yesterday, among neighbors, family and community mates, we were able to have a time of blessing over our newest little gal, Rosie. With tears filling most of our eyes, prayers of blessing over Rosie were showered out from all corners of the room. It was indeed, a thin place; a place where heaven and earth are only thinly separated. Here is the blessing Janny and I prayed over our newest addition:
Rosie, you bring new life not only to your parents and sister, but to this whole community. You are a reflection and reminder of the innocence, purity and reliance humanity is to have on Jesus.
We bless you with not only with family, but with community. We commit to daily offer you the gift of a community of people that are committed to following Jesus together.
We bless your eyes that you may always look not through the lens of ethnicity, nationality or title, but through the lens of a shared humanity who shares the image of God. When others aren’t viewed in this way, we bless you with the courage to stand up for those experiencing oppression and reassign them their dignity.
We bless you with the courage to teach us as we commit to be your students. We except and anticipate the ways you will teach us how to better live, love and lead in a way that honors God and neighbor.
Lastly, we bless you with a committment to stand with you, cry with you and celebrate with you (even through the terrifying years of adolescence).
It is with much joy and sacredness that we anticipate your future, little Rosie Lillian Huckins.
The first theme is that of identity as is found in bloodline versus voluntary submission. In versus 16 & 17 of chapter 1, Ruth gives up her identity as was found in her familial bloodline and exchanges it for a new familial identity in Naomi and the people of Israel. Ruth embraces her new identity as her true identity and it is her faithfulness in that that has direct implications for the advance of God’s Story in Israel (see genealogy of David in 4:18-22). In the same way that Ruth submitted herself to a new family and identity in Israel, followers of Jesus are to submit their identity found in family of origin to their identity as part of the Kingdom family. Mark 3:31-35 tells of Jesus radical redefinition of family in light of Kingdom he inaugurated. For followers of Jesus, identity can no longer be primarily found in bloodline, but in a voluntary submission to the Kingdom Family shaped around Jesus.
The second theme can be found in Ruth freely choosing the way of self-sacrifice and obedience for the sake of her family and neighbors. Throughout the narrative, Ruth is consistently making decisions that are intended to support, encourage and advance the good of Naomi and her family line over her personal good. From voluntarily remaining with Naomi when it wasn’t required of her (1:16/17), to heeding Naomi’s request for her to pursue a relationship with Boaz (3:2-4) to giving birth to a son that would carry on the family line (4:13), Ruth consistently put the good of others ahead of herself. Similarly, Jesus calls his followers to embrace the cruciform life and freely choose to live in Christ for the sake of others. Jesus argues that our primary vocation is to love God and to love others (Matt. 22:37-39). In Mark 1, Jesus comes announcing the arrival of a new Kingdom that we later find out is marked by service of and selfless sacrifice to the point of death on a cross.
The final theme is that of Ruth’s faithfulness, which leads to the redemption of a whole family line. It is important to note that Ruth’s individual actions don’t just impact her immediate surroundings, but influence the good of her adopted family and the people of Israel (4:13-17). In other words, there is redemption and restoration of many that comes as a direct result of her faithfulness. Similarly, it is our faithfulness to an identity and vocation rooted in Jesus that will be the means through which a watching world is invited into the redemption Story of God. Jesus not only acted decisively as the redeemer of Israel and all the cosmos, but he extents this vocation to his followers in John 20:21 when he says, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you!” Like Ruth, the way we live, love and lead has direct implications for the redemption and restoration of those around us. God has chosen to tell his Story and advance his restoration project through his people.
Ruby and I were going for a long stroll as Janny put in one of her last long days of work before going on maternity leave. Because I know that our time as a family of three is quickly coming to a close, I walked hand in hand with my little gal with a bit more sacredness.