Lent Week 1: Are you grounded? …DIRT!

DATE: 14 February 2016
TO: Manantial de Gracia
YEAR: Are you ready? For God has Made a New Thing…
TITLE: Are you grounded? DIRT…! (Estas connectad@? TIERRA…!)

Like an endless falling, Prayer in class/January 8, 1998
Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth Prayers of Walter Brueggemann

“Things fall apart, the center cannot hold.”
We are no strangers to the falling apart;
We perpetrate against the center of our lives, and on some days it feels:
Like an endless falling,
Like a deep threat,
Like rising water,
Like ruthless wind.
But you…you in the midst,
You back in play,
You rebuking and silencing and ordering,
You creating restfulness in the very eye of the storm.
You…be our center:
Cause us not to lie about the danger,
Cause us not to resist your good order.
Be our God. Be the God you promised,
And we will be among those surely peaceable in your order.
We pray in the name of the one through whom all things hold together.

Grounded by Diana Butler Bass, final Call/Response by E.MendezAngulo
(Originally found in Gaining Ground by Forrest Pritchard)

One: A small swath of earth was now revealed. Un poco de tiera fue revelado.
All: soil…was soft and dark. Arena… suave y oscura.
One: I slid my fingers into the dirt, cupping a handful of earth to my nose. Toque el fango con mis dedos, acercandomelo a la naris.
All: The aroma of the broken ground was profoundly rich, at once mysterious and inviting. El aroma de la tiera profundamente rica, misteriosa como en invitacion.
One: In the depths of winter – with the pastures grazed low, the sycamores stark and leafless, the creek banks rimmed with ice, and the sky a gray blanket spread from mountaintop to mountaintop – here the earth abided. En lo profundo del invierno – cuando la grama casi no existe, los arboles sycamore basios y secos, los lagos tocados de nieve, y el cielo gris de Montana a Montana – asi existe el mundo.
All: The soft warmth spoke to me, saying, I am waiting now, but I will be ready. We are mutual participants, you and I, intertwined. El calor me habla, diciendo, te espero aun no pero te espero.
One: Said creation to Creator God. Asi le dijo la creacion a Dios Creador.
All: For I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine. Porque yo soy de mi Amado y mi Amado es mio.

Genesis 2: 4-7; John 9: 6-7; Genesis 3:19; Job 42:5-6 (TLV)

These are the genealogical records of the heavens and the earth when they were created, at the time when Adonai Elohim made land and sky. Now no shrub of the field was in the land yet, and no green plants of the field had sprouted yet. For Adonai Elohim had not caused it to rain upon the land, and there was no one to work the ground. But a mist came up from the land and watered the whole surface of the ground. Then Adonai Elohim formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils a breath of life—so the man became a living being…

[Jesus] spat on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud on the blind man’s eyes. [Jesus] told him, “Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which is translated Sent). So he went away, washed, and came back seeing.

By the sweat of your brow will you eat food, until you return to the ground, since from it were you taken. For you are dust, and to dust will you return.

I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye has seen You. Therefore I despise myself, and repent on dust and ashes.

Are you grounded? DIRT…! (Estas connectad@? TIERRA…!)

Happy Sunday Church! Today there are awesome things happening on the same date. Today people are celebrating Valentines Day… they are wearing all the traditional acutremounts of love: red and pink and white and hearts and all things lovey-dovey. Today people are celebrating Science, and talking about how science (true science) is connected to the Divine. Today people are celebrating the first Sunday of the Lenten Season… a time when we recall Jesus full of the Holy Sprit being tested by Satan during his 40 days of fasting while in the Wilderness. This is the beginning of a time of testing for some, and a time for love for others…OR it is a time during which God’s love and God’s mercy abide together in perfect harmony…

Luke 4: 1-13
Talks of the tests that Satan attempted to throw at Jesus:
If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread. (but one does not live by bread alone Jesus replied)
If you worship me, all glory and authority will be yours. (but we are instructed in scripture to worship and serve only God, said Jesus)
If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from up high, so the Angels can protect you (do not put the Lord your God to the test).

It is interesting to me that on this day of Hybrid traditions Luke 4 stands (at least to me) as the response to Valentines Day…it serves as an example and reminder of Jesus’ redemptive love. Let us consider two of Jesus’ replies to Satan.
one does not live by bread alone: Jesus said this when it concerns himself. He did not transform the bread for his own needs. but Jesus realizes that creation needs physical food as well as spiritual nourishment…and every time he preached and was met by throngs of hungry people, he fed their physical needs, allowing leftover bread and fish to multiply to feed them not only one meal but sustain them through leftovers (ABUNDANCE and OVERFLOW).
do not put the Lord your God to the test, and even in the midst of his final moments on Cavalry’s cross, Jesus (the man) felt weak and tired and cried out to God, but again not for himself, but rather for the sake of all creation… forgive them he says for they don’t understand.

Today, I am supposed to be preaching about dirt. And in so doing I thought that I would start at the beginning. What is dirt? According to Wikipedia dirt is “unclean matter” the stuff that when it comes into contact with your clothes and skin and things, needs to be cleaned off in order that the dirt can be no more…until it comes again.

Dirt is dust and filth and grime and soil and earth and mud and yuck. And once cleansed it will return. Time and time again. We can clean it, and wash it, and rinse it, and scrub it. But it will return!

According to Merriam Webster, dirt can also be a person or a thing that has no value. Dirt is something worthless. Dirt is a contemptible person.

In modern use of the word, dirt is scandalous or malicious gossip. Dirt is embarrassing or incriminating information.

Let us be clear… We are each full of dirt. For some of us, when people dig into our past (or our presents) the dirt is hidden under the surface, for others, there has to be a lot deeper digging to find the dirt because it is so far removed…

According to Brueggemann’s liturgical poem, Genesis 1, we are all made of dirt. For, “Adonai Elohim formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils a breath of life—so the man became a living being…” and Adonai Elohim proclaimed each and every aspect of creation good! In the “cosmic vision of creation,” a story “unfolds with the making of plants and forests, the stars and suns and moons and beyond, all the fishes and birds and animals, and finally human beings. At each juncture, God proclaims blessing on what has been made, declaring it good, and with the creation of humankind the whole of the universe is pronounced VERY GOOD.”

Creation, you have been created and breathed into existence by God who loves you. You have been deemed good from the beginning. You have fallen and gotten dusty and dirty and still God has deemed you worth it. You are worth everything. When you doubt your ability to achieve greatness, realize that we are not all created for the same purpose, but we are all created by the same God. Remember that when first man and first woman walked and procreated, the breath of God was inside them… the same breath of God that is today inside you. Remember that from DIRT you came and to DIRT you shall return and in the middle point, that in-between time, while others are telling you your worth and telling you your dirt… you are God’s beloved and are loved and deemed VERY GOOD. Worthy of God being born of a young created woman, worthy of God humbling God’s self and walking among the dirt that God created. Worthy of God hanging and dying on a cross as a public sacrifice and worthy of God’s love. You are deemed VERY GOOD…just as you are. AMEN.

Your command is garbled, Summer school/July 14, 1998
Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth Prayers of Walter Brueggemann

We imagine you coming into the barracks with your insistent demand.
We imagine you addressing
The sun to “move out,”
The sky – “let there be light,”
The sea – “stand back.”
We imagine you addressing Israel, “be my people,”
And the church “follow me.”
We even imagine you addressing us, each of us and all of us with your order of the day.
We imagine…but the din of other commands,
Of old loyalties and unfinished business and tired dreams
Cause us not to hear well, not to listen, not to notice, and your command is garbled.
So come again with your mandate, with the clarity of your imperative.
We listen, because we know in deep ways that your yoke is easy and your burden is light.
Come among us, because we are yours, and ours is a listening mood.
Give us ears and then hands and hearts and feet for your good news [that we may share it].

You lied. You lied when you said that I was unworthy of love. You lied when you named me slave. You lied when you named me less than human. You lied when you enslaved me. You lied when you named me inferior. You lied when you said…in God’s name. You lied when you exluded me. You lied when you named me unlovable. You lied. You lied and lied and lied. In the very first chapter of the Bible, God looked around at God’s creation…ALL OF GOD’s CREATION, and named it Very Good! I am worthy. I am worth it. I am lovable. You are worthy. You are worth it. You are lovable. And if you don’t like it or don’t agree…take it up with God.

Published by Rev. Elly

I am a minister, a teacher, a lady, a friend, a geek, and a general-everyday PITA! But, as Cynthia Webb (Princess Tiara) said, "when you are a princess, it's all about the tiara."

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