Friday, August 5, 2016

WMTRBW Retrospective 1: Alive in the Story of Creation

As we come up on our last week (!) of our year-long journey through We Make the Road by Walking, I thought I would kind of take us on a review by means of the quotes we've had on the front of our bulletins these last 52 weeks. Each week, I've chosen a quote from the chapter that seems particularly meaningful to put on the front of our bulletin. Here are the ones from the first quarter of the book--Alive in the Story of Creation. What do these words teach you about what it means to be truly alive? Which quote is most meaningful to you? I'd love to hear your reflections as this journey reaches its ending and our journey beyond the book is just beginning!

To be alive means to bear responsibly the image of God. It means to stretch out your hand to take from the Tree of Aliveness—and to join in God’s creative, healing work.

To be alive is to be mindful that we live in the drama of desire. We can imitate one another’s competitive desires, and so be driven to fear, rivalry, judging, conflict, and killing. Or we can imitate God’s generous desires… to create, bless, help, serve, care for, save, and enjoy.

To be alive is to believe that injustice is not sustainable and to share God’s desire for a better world. To be alive is to look at our world and say, “God is better than that!”— and know that our world can be better, too. And so can we.

God tells this couple to leave their life of privilege in this great civilization [and] sends them out into the unknown as wanderers and adventurers. No longer will Abram and Sara have the armies and wealth and comforts of Ur at their disposal. All they will have is a promise—that God will be with them and show them a better way. From now on, they will make a new road by walking.

In spite of long delays and many disappointments, will we dare to keep dreaming impossible dreams? In spite of the assumptions that everyone around us holds to be true, will we dare to ask new questions and make new discoveries—including lessons about God and what God really desires? It may seem as if it’s too late to keep hoping, to keep trying, to keep learning, to keep growing. But to be alive in the story of creation means daring to believe it’s not too late.

If we want to reflect the image of God, 
we will choose grace over hostility, 
reconciliation over revenge, 
and equality over rivalry. 
When we make that choice,
 we encounter God in the faces of 
our former rivals and enemies. 
And as we are humbled, surrendering to God 
and seeking to be reconciled with others,
 our faces, too, reflect the face of God. 
We come alive as God’s image bearers indeed.

Name the Hebrew slaves of today’s world. Who today is being exploited and crying out for help? Who does backbreaking work for which others reap the rewards? How can we join in solidarity with them, seeking liberation?

Through the ten plagues, we might say, God got the people out of slavery. Through the ten commands, God got the slavery out of the people.

Our ancestors, led by Moses and Joshua, believed God sent them into the world in conquest, to show no mercy to their enemies, to defeat and kill them. But now, following Christ, we hear God giving us a higher mission. Now we believe God sends us into the world in compassion, to show mercy, to heal, to feed— to nurture and protect life rather than take it.

We need to be wise interpreters of our past. Like Elijah’s apprentice, Elisha, we must stay focused on the substance at the center, undistracted by all the surrounding fireworks. Because the meaning we shape from the stories we interpret will, in turn, shape us.

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