On the Feast Day of the Slaughter of the Innocents

A Meditation on 1 John 1:5-2:2

Beloved friends,
This is the message that I understand from Jesus,
Whom we call the Anointed One.
This is the message I share with you,
Asking for your own thoughts
And your corrections, if needed:
God is the light of acceptance,
In God there is no darkness of rejection at all.
If we say, “We live in community with others,”
Yet we continue to reject some,
Well then, we lie and do not act in truth.
But if we live in the light of accepting others
As God is the light of acceptance,
Then we have loving community with one another.

The life of God’s son, Jesus, shows us how to live with God.

If we say, “We are alone, there is no God,”
We simply deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we acknowledge God-in-us, God is faithful and just
And will live in us
Helping us avoid wrong thinking,
Unkind actions,
Mistaken judgements.
If we say, “We have never made those mistakes,”
Ha, we only fool ourselves
And God’s word and life is not in us.

My friends, I am writing this
So that we may not reject and despise,
Abuse and exclude each other.
But we will fail sometimes.
We will fail but that does not mean we have no hope.
We always have hope of light, even in darkness,
Because we have an Advocate with God, our loving Parent.
We have a wise big brother,
Jesus Christ the accepting one, the righteous one.
His life is the example for us to follow,
His words are a guide out of the darkness of rejection
Into God’s light of acceptance.
Following Jesus, even into exile for a time if necessary,
We will cherish innocence, not slaughter it.
We will listen to wise women and men,
Not try to deceive them or tell them what to do.
Our hearts will be lightened in community
Not darkened in exclusion.
Our spirits will be lightened by equality
Not darkened by hierarchy
And not just our hearts, not just our spirits
But everyone’s.

What I Heard When Zechariah Spoke (Based on Luke 1:68-79)

Blessed be the God of all peoples,
who has come and set us free,
who has raised up for us a mighty Savior,
born of the house of God’s servants, David, his wives and concubines:
Bathsheba, Ahinoam of Jezreel, Abigail the Carmel,
Maachah of Geshur, Haggith, Abital and Eglah,
Probably other wives and concubines, nameless now,
But once young women with names and dreams.
Through prophets God promised of old
To save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
Through many women – Rachel, Rebecca, Leah,
Miriam, Tamar, Rahab,
Deborah, Jael, Ruth,
Elizabeth, Mary, the mother of Jesus,
the sisters Martha and Mary,
Mary of Magdala, Priscilla, Junia,
Lydia, Lois and Eunice
and so many unnamed –
God showed mercy to our mothers and fathers
and honored the holy covenant,
the oath sworn to our father Abraham,
the oath for the children of our mothers,
Sarah, Hagar and Keturah:
to set us free from the hand of our enemies,
free to worship without fear,
holy and righteous in God’s sight
all the days of our lives, all the ways of our faith.

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high breaks upon us,
to shine on us who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

A Woman’s Magnificat

My soul proclaims the greatness of my divine Sovereign;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
for God has looked upon this lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is the Name of the Almighty
God has mercy on those who fear the Almighty
in every generation.
God has shown the strength of the Almighty’s arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
God has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and has lifted up the lowly.
God has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich God has sent away empty.
God has come to the help of the Almighty’s servant Israel
for God remembered the promise of mercy,
the promise God made to our fathers and mothers,
to Abraham and Sarah and their children for ever.”

Paraphrase of Isaiah 26:1-6

Some day (please, God, soon) this song will be sung in the land of Rebecca:
We have a welcoming home; there God offers us security like a mother’s strong arms.
Let us forever open wide our mothering arms, so that the forsaken who keep faith may find refuge.
Those of steadfast mind You keep in peace— in peace because they trust in You.
Let us trust in the Lady Wisdom forever, for in God we have an everlasting mother.
For She has brought low the self-righteous inhabitants of the height;
the lofty glittering city of priestly privilege She lays low.
She lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust.
Her foot tramples it, opening its streets and churches
To the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy,
To the voices of the silenced, the cries of the abused.

Paraphrase of Baruch 5:1-9

Daughters of Rome, take off your robe of mourning and misery;
put on the splendor of glory from God forever:
wrapped in the cloak of justice from God,
bear on your head the mitre
that displays the glory of the eternal name.
For God will show all the earth your splendor:
you will be named by God forever
the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship.

Up, Daughters of Rome! stand upon the heights;
look to the east and see your children
gathered from the east and the west
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that they are remembered by God.
Driven away by their abuser-priests they left you:
but God will bring them back to you
borne aloft in glory as on royal thrones.
For God has commanded
that every lofty mountain be made low,
and that the age-old depths and gorges
be filled to level ground,
that God’s chosen people may advance secure in the glory of God.
The forests and every fragrant kind of tree
have overshadowed God’s chosen at Her command;
for God is leading Her chosen people in joy
by the light of Her glory,
with Her mercy and justice for company..

A Woman’s Imagery for Isaiah 25:6-10a

On this welcoming table our Wisdom God of divine love
will provide for all peoples
a feast of rich food and choice wines,
juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this table She will have no poison, no spoiled food
that sickens all peoples.
At this table she will have no privileged men
hoarding the feast, spreading their self-righteousness
like an evil web entrapping all.
She will destroy death and death-dealers forever.
Wisdom will wipe away
the tears from all faces.
The reproach of Her people She will remove
from the whole earth; for Wisdom God has spoken.

On that day it will be said:
“Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us!
This is Wisdom for whom we looked;
let us rejoice and be glad that She has saved us!”
For our generous God will welcome all to Her table.

A Meditation on Matthew 8:5-11

I imagined saying to Jesus, “Healer, the men in Rome lie paralyzed and your church suffers greatly.”

And Jesus said, “I will come and heal my church.”

I responded, “Lord, they are not worthy to have you come within their ornate churches. For they have silenced, abused and excluded many. But I am a mother, Lord, like our Mother God, and I know what it is to be disappointed in your children and still love them. For myself, I would ask you to send a Sampson to bring it all down about their heads. But I know your Mother-love is wiser than my hate.”

Jesus answered, “Who then would you have me send?”

And I replied, “Lord, all around me I see strong women of deep faith. They cry out in your name but the men of Rome refuse to listen. Send them, Lord, to heal your church. For with you, Lord, with their faith in our Mother God, with their compassion for the abused and excluded, with their love for your church, with you, Lord, they can heal your church. Here they are, Lord, faithful and strong but silenced and hurting. Send them, Lord, and go with them.”

And Jesus replied, “I see them. I know them. On all the altars of all those ornate churches, in all the fine robes and raised golden cups, I do not see such faith, such strength and persistence. Like the widow before the unjust judge, they do not cease to cry out for justice. You need to understand, our Mother God and I have sent them, I am with them.”

“I tell you, many who were abused and silenced, many who were excluded and cast out, will sit with me at the banquet of our God with Sarah, Hagar and Keturah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel, Miriam, Deborah and Ruth, with my mother Mary and Mary Magdala, with all my beloved women, with the abused and the ignored. And the men of Rome shall see the wisdom and the honor of women. And the men of Rome will weep and gnash their teeth and tear their fine vestments. Their eyes will be opened and they will see their folly.”

And Jesus said to me, “Until then, daughter, find comfort and strength in each other and in our Mother God.”

Based on Revelation 1: 5-8

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness,
the firstborn of the dead
and ruler of the sovereigns of the earth.
To him who loves us,
who showed us love’s conquering power over sin,
who has made us into a kingdom,
priests for our God who is Mother and Father,
to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.

Behold, God is coming amid the clouds,
and every eye will see God,
even those who pierced God’s heart
by abusing and silencing those God loves.
All the peoples of the earth will lament with God.
Yes. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says our Sovereign God,
“the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.”

Based on Luke 19: 41-44

I prayed and I imagined that as Jesus drew near Rome, he saw the city and wept over it, saying,
“If this day you only knew what makes for justice– but now it is hidden from your eyes.
For the days are coming upon you when those you abused, those you cast out, those you silenced
will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides.
They will smash you to the ground and your privileged within you,
and they will not leave one stone upon another within you
because you did not recognize the time of My visitation.
You refused to listen,
you refused to change,
you refused My grace,
preferring your own privilege.”

Based on Readings for 17 November 2018

From 3 John 5-8
Beloved, let us be faithful in all we do for our sisters and brothers,
especially for the abused, the silenced, the outcast,
And those who are strangers in a strange land;
that they may experience our love.
Please help them in a way worthy of God to continue their journey.
For they have set out for the sake of the Name
Of our God of Justice and Wisdom
and are receiving nothing from the abusers and deceivers,
From the arrogant and privileged.
Therefore, we ought to support such persons,
so that we may be co-workers in the truth of our God of love.

From Luke 18: 1-8
Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
Jesus said, “There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.'”

What might we learn from this parable?
Here’s how we can understand
What God’s chosen one said about this parable:
Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.
If even a dishonest judge yields to persistent demands for justice,
How much more surely and swiftly
Will God secure the rights of Her loved ones
Who have been abused, silenced, cast out and denied justice.
The injustices done to them call out to God day and night.
Will God not answer them?
I tell you, God will see to it that justice is done for them surely.
But when God looks to us,
Will She find that we were persistent
In our faith and cooperation with those who seek justice here on earth?”