|Image by David Grimes|
O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
I also am mortal, like everyone else, a descendant of the first-formed child of earth; and in the womb of a mother I was moulded into flesh, within the period of ten months, compacted with blood, from the seed of a man and the pleasure of marriage. And when I was born, I began to breathe the common air, and fell upon the kindred earth; my first sound was a cry, as is true of all. I was nursed with care in swaddling cloths. For no king has had a different beginning of existence; there is for all one entrance into life, and one way out. Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me; I called on God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me.
(Wisdom of Solomon 7:1-7)
A MEDITATIVE VERSE
A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.
So many of our experiences - including the most decisive and dramatic of them, like falling in love, or mourning someone's passing, or being filled with inexpressible joy before some natural occurrence or work of art - are so steeped in mystery that, without it, they would be robbed of everything that gives them meaning.... Isn't the very fact that there is something and not nothing, when (and if!) you come to think of it, rather astonishing? Closer to home, is not your own being, including the mystery of your own birth, the wondrous way in which all your "parts" form a more or less integrated "whole"; including also the ongoing drama and unpredictability of your development, your relationships your loves, your hopes and fears - isn't all of this a wonder so saturated with mystery that the thought of a presence called 'Holy Spirit' may not be such an immense leap for you as may at first appear?
- from Why Christian? by Douglas John Hall
VERSE OF THE DAY
For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
|"Plexus A1" (2015) by Gabriel Dawe|
In today’s reading, the Wisdom writer tells us that no matter how diverse we become in our fully formed adult lives, we were all born the same way and we will all die one day. These simple realities that unite us all are also at the heart of our common life in faith. In Romans 6, Paul tells us that we have been baptized into the death of Jesus so that we too “might walk in newness of life”. In baptism, we celebrate all that we can be in one sacramental breath and carry it with us all our lives. We experience a redemption from brokenness, and that redemption cannot and should not ever be used to create brokenness. Too often, however, people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer and questioning, two-spirited, intersexed, asexual and much more, have experienced the word of God in the biblical story as condemnation. Too many have been excluded from membership rights and privileges in faith communities, and in many places in our world, it is still possible to be condemned to death by courts of law. How do we reconcile how we are born, with how we are sometimes treated, sometimes even in the name of faith itself? What does it mean to be “born this way” in the way of Jesus? The psalmist tells us that we were cradled by God in the womb of the earth before we were even born. Douglas John Hall reminds us that everything about the way we love is a mystery and that the very presence of that mystery affirms that we are alive. The fullness of the life we live between our birth and our death is what we have been created for: how we treat ourselves and each other, how we serve the planet and all of our ecological world; how we find community among the marginalized and oppressed. “God makes no mistakes,” we hear in today’s music. Lady Gaga’s hit song quickly became an anthem for the queer community, who heard in its words a freedom to begin a new and more authentic life. But we were all born this way, whatever way we find ourselves. The birth, life and death of Jesus, offers us always a way to be born into new life. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we find ourselves on the right track, children of God, and in God’s loving hands. As we step out into a summer of renewed connections and gatherings, how will we seek and find the sacredness of our birth and death in Jesus — in all whom we encounter? Who will you comfort and bless with the knowledge that they are cradled in God’s — and your own —unconditional love?
|Image by Victor Montol|
Go here to watch a special Pride message from Bishop Michael Pryse, Bishop of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.
Today marks the end of the LC† Holding the Cup devotional project. Thank you for your presence and participation, and for comments and emails which are helpful and bless us. Watch for a Season of Creation / Thanksgiving devotional in the early fall. May the Holy Spirit bless you and may the peace of Christ be with you til then!
LC† Holding the Cup is a project of Lutherans Connect, supported by the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. The devotional pages are written and curated by Deacon Sherry Coman, with support and input from Pastor Steve Hoffard, Catherine Evenden and Henriette Thompson. Join us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and on Twitter. Lutherans Connect invites you to make a donation to the Ministry by going to this link on the website of the ELCIC Eastern Synod and selecting "Lutherans Connect Devotionals" under "Fund". Devotions are always freely offered, however your donations help to support extended offerings throughout the year. Thank you and peace be with you!