Sunday, February 20, 2011

sour apples

Remember the story Augustine told of the boys in the orchard? That was not gleaning - that was stealing!

Do you remember the story of Ruth? - gleaning among the sheaves, following the harvesters in the field of a man named Boaz. She was following Leviticus 19 - and so was he.

He did not begrudge the foreigner, the poor, the widow, or the stranger, a share in God's bounty. He gave her dignity, respect for her loyalty, and generosity. He shared what God had given.

For who gives us bread from the earth? - the Lord - and we all belong to Him.

Abundance and generosity show piety - that is a love for God carried out in action, in behavior that honors the sacred character of all relationships and puts God first.

God is present in every relationship, every interaction with our fellow human beings.

And so Leviticus:

Do not steal or deal falsely or defraud or cheat or take advantage of weakness and ignorance.

Show by honesty and fair dealing that you love the Lord. Show this is God's world, and you know you live in it - by his grace.

Do not go around spreading rumors.

Do not bear grudges.

That you may be holy,

Broadcast not resentment but peace.

You are God's Temple; you belong to Christ.

So go beyond the circle of retaliation, of revenge upon revenge. Of 'getting your own back'.

End the cycle of violence.

Start a new cycle of generosity and holiness.

Do not rejoice in wrongdoing or delight in telling about it.

Rejoice in the right.

Begin the cycle of creative restoration is the way of life.

The goal is holiness in life together, in being light to the world.

We are the witness to the Gospel, the mirror of the holiness of God.

Our behavior testifies to God's nature, his holiness alive in us.

No grudge bearing.
No tale bearing.
No playing favorites.
No cheating.
No holding back from grace.

Yes "you will look like fools" - to fools, but glorious in the kingdom of God.

You are salt.
You are light.

Abandon retaliation for reconciliation.
Return not evil but good.
Be not a victim but a life-giver.

Your guide is God, not how other people act.

Act - live out - the love of God; make it real, make it show.

Be perfect, that is, be complete - love like God.


cf. Rules for Respect, Address to Convention of the Diocese of Olympia, 2007, by the Rt. Rev. Gregory H. Rickel

And another apple story...


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