i'm working on lectionary readings for sunday, very much through the lens of my recent experience on the sudden illness and death of my father. fairly heavy i admit but i cant find other ways to view the texts right now (Jeremiah 8:18-9:1, Luke 16:1-13)
i've had a bunch of things swirling through my brain and gut. one was about burdens - those we are given unexpectedly, those we place upon ourselves, and those we place upon others. a lot of that in the two texts and in my heart and mind at present.
my dad (Pop) had only one good working lung, following lung cancer about 15 years ago (he smoked a pipe for years). had he had two good lungs in working order, its likely he would have come out of the surgery. (this is my analytical side working it all through. i have a brother and sister who are still smokers.)
today in the car i listened for the first time to a Waterboys album, "Universal Hall"(2003 but just acquired by me).. They're a band from Scotland who I've been listening to since the mid 1980s.
Mike Scott has always written about spirituality, often in the manner of Van Morrison, whose spirituality often seems like a concoction of beliefs, religions, mysticism. This album is almost a personal confessional of belief, many of the songs more acoustic, with simple repetitive lines.
two of the songs got stuck in my gut are "every breath is yours" and "the Christ in you", both of which I'll be using on Sunday. just stunning. Some of the others are quite wonderful as well. although possibly less suited to a worship setting. i'm planning to open the worship with "every breath', hopefully with clips of people breathing, and use "the Christ in you' for our prayers for the world.
it has been a wonderful, unexpected, completely true gift of grace to have this text move from burden to breath. for that is what my dad's funeral was intended to be and was indeed. i have been trying to breathe and breath itself is a gift. Pop's life is a cause for celebration of the breath of life more than it is of the burden of death.
my colleague Peter offered a good perspective on the parable of the dodgy manager today, and I've been reading Robert Farrar Capon today (who sees him as the Christ figure in the story).
my reading of these texts at the moment is much more about memory, regret, burdens, forgiveness, freedom.
and breath and breathing.