Ninevah was so big that it took three days to cross it!!!!  Now that sounds like a “really big fish” story to me, a whale of a tale.

The Biblical story of Jonah is one of the most vivid and memorable Biblical narratives and it is a story that we can readily relate to.  It is Marcus Borg, that Jesus Seminar scholar who died a few weeks ago, who helps us understand the depth of Biblical myths when he notes that .  “Myth are stories about the way things never were, but always are.”   

Jonah is a really big fish story that never was but always is. In the story, the Biblical story teller does a wonderful job of creating an epic which reminds us of our own experiences of the dark times and thus enables to us apply this story to our own faith lives.  As I mentioned last week it is the poet Carl Sandburg who penned the words

If I should pass the tomb of Jonah,I would stop there and sit awhile

Because I was swallowed one time in the dark, And came out alive after all

Read more: Jonah - A Fish Story for Today

On this first Sunday of 2015, of another calendar year, both our Scripture texts speak about beginnings.  The beginning of creation in Genesis chapter 1 and the beginning of the good news of Christ Jesus in Mark chapter 1.

I love the creation stories described by the writer of Genesis and of course we just read a small part of the story, but we all know how the stories ends…everything that is good gets screwed up because of the darned apple…and that devious snake… and of course gullible Eve and weak Adam… 

Right?  Actually not, not right!  Most of what I just said is what we think the story says, but it actually doesn’t. 

There is no mention of an apple in the story, and when you read and study the Bible a little more carefully, one discovers the snake may not be so bad at all.  For those of you who have heard me wax eloquently before, I argue that there is very solid textual evidence that the snake is more divine than devil.  (But that is another reflection which I will bring back some time.  You can ask me if you are curious in the meantime.)

Read more: An Apple for a New Year

 

This Sunday our theme, in response to the events on Parliament Hill on October 22, 2014 is "Sing, Be, Live, See..." The theme is inspired by the beautiful and rooting Choral Anthem, "Earth Song" .   by Frank Ticheli

            Sing, Be, Live, See…

            This dark stormy hour,

           The wind, it stirs.

           The scorched earth

           cries out in vain;

            O war and power

           You blind and blur.

           The torn heart,

           cries out in pain.

 

           But music and singing

           Have been my refuge.

           And music and singing

           Shall be my light

            A light of song

           Shining strong:  Alleluia!

           Through darkness, pain and strife, I’ll

           Sing, Be, Live, See…

 

This past week, the rhythms of our collective lives were disrupted by the events that unfolded at the tomb of the unknown soldier and on parliament hill.  Many in our circle today, found themselves “locked down”.  It was disconcerting and events such as this are memorable and have impact on our being. 

 

Read more: Gracefulness in the midst of terrible happenings