Holy Meltdowns – Br. Jim Woodrum

Br. Jim Woodrum

Exodus 32:1-14

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to Alabama to attend the Celebration of Life for a mentor, colleague, and dear friend that recently died. To cut the cost of this last-minute trip, I chose not to pay for any amenities on my flight, including selecting my seat. As luck would have it, I was assigned a window seat, sitting next to a young mother with a toddler in her lap. To put it mildly, the first hour of the trip was utter chaos as the toddler spiraled into a complete meltdown. The kicking, screaming, and crying were epic and I couldn’t help but feeling trapped. I became aware of two emotions coursing through my heart and mind. First, gratitude for my noise-canceling headphones. Second, compassion for this mom, who tried numerous strategies to soothe her child’s distress, all of which proved to be futile.

When we reached cruising altitude, the seatbelt lights were turned off, and passengers were free to move about the cabin, this mom took her child to the mid-plane lavatory, where they disappeared for what seemed like another hour. Fellow passengers were irritated, not only because of the earlier screaming and crying, but also because they now had to use lavatories at the extremities of the plane. When the mother and child finally reemerged for the last half hour of the flight, the toddler was calm, pleasant, and delightful. While taxiing to the gate after landing, the mother looked at her precious child and announced, “When we get to grandma’s house, mommy is going to have a big glass of wine!” I leaned over and said sympathetically, “I think mommy deserves two big glasses of wine.” Read More

Outrageous Good News – Br. James Koester

Acts 18: 1-8

Something fascinating, and even outrageous is happening here in Acts, but it is nothing new. We have seen this before. We have seen it throughout Scripture, in Old and New Testament, in the story of Jesus, and the story of the prophets before him. Once again, we see it today in story of Paul.

When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with proclaiming the word, testifying to the Jews that the Messiah was Jesus. When they opposed and reviled him… [he] said to them…’[from] now on I will go to the Gentiles.’ Then he left the synagogue and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshipper of God….[1]

We often gloss over the significance of this, just as we miss the context, when we forget similar occasions when something like this happened.

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah, saying, ‘Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.’[2]

From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin.[3] Read More

Reap Love – Br. Luke Ditewig

Hosea 10:1-3, 12

There is a new fence going up. So far it is just the posts. They are taller and more robust. The perimeter expands further, and—fittingly—it is beautiful. There is a new fence going up at the Monks’ Garden at Emery House. Everything grown there is given away. The first beets were just harvested; 100 pounds will be distributed this week at the Newbury Food Pantry.[i]

The garden is in partnership with Nourishing the North Shore. We provide the land and water. They grow, harvest, and distribute. We also host land for the Organic Community Garden. We Brothers share in Nourishing the North Shore’s mission: “to ensure equal access to healthy, local food to all members of the North Shore communities in a manner that builds community, fosters connection, and promotes dignity and self-reliance.”[ii] Food justice is expanding step by step in further work with local schools and with a bigger garden: mission in action.

A bigger garden could be used for exclusion and greed, to horde and squander. In today’s text, the prophet Hosea shows bad and good images. God’s people were like “a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit.” With more fruit, they built monuments to idols, like self-praise, ignoring God. “Their heart is false … The Lord will break down their altars, and destroy their pillars.” Read More