Tag Archives: Beth Harrison

Between the Lines: Proper 11- July 21, 2013

Text: Colossians 1:15-28

invisible man

invisible man (Photo credit: vaXzine)

He is the image of the invisible God.

I wonder about the roles and the importance of images in my life, in yours, particularly those images of the invisible – love, courage, justice, honor, good, evil, enemy, God.  Pay attention as you go through the day today, at the images that emerge, engage, propel you.  Jot them down.

What are they images of?  If you have time, look through a few magazines and note the images there that draw you in.  Where do they take you?  Do they tell you anything about what concerns or preoccupies or threatens you?

Imagine yourself as the one given the task of creating an image of the invisible God.  What qualities of the invisible God are evoked?  What would such an image be like for you?  How might you re-imagine God?

Perhaps part of this exercise might be to consider the events, people, happenings of the day as images of the invisible God.  What might come of looking at your daily life in such a way?

– Beth Harrison


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see  About BibleWorkbench.


Between the Lines: Proper 9- July 7, 2013

Text: Psalm 30:1-12

Sprig growing from a tree stump

Sprig growing from a tree stump
(Photo credit: allyhook)

O Lord, you brought up my soul from She’ol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

The text is a song of praise and thanksgiving for being delivered from “the pit,” initially a personal trial, later the communal difficulties surrounding the exile – a collective sigh of relief.

This is a literal “thank God!” after a close call.  I am reminded in it (as I too frequently am) of Carl Jung’s remark, made in a letter to “M. Leonard” in December of 1959:

“To this day ‘God’ is the name by which I designate all things which cross my willful path violently and recklessly, all things which upset my subjective views, plans, and intentions, and change the course of my life for better or for worse.”

This psalm thanks god for a change for the better, (after a considerable time in the worse camp), for a hoped-for return from exile.  But the question Jung opens up for me is that of how God operates in “the pit” of our lives as well, in the exiles, in the awfulness of things.  Can we thank God for that as well?  Could you take a deep breath and sit down and write a psalm or a song of gratitude for the darkest of your days and nights?

– Beth Harrison


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see  About BibleWorkbench.


Between the Lines: Pentecost 3; Proper 5- June 9, 2013

Text: Luke 7:11-17

Wild flower at city gate

Wild flower at city gate
(Photo credit: canong2fan (on the road again!))

As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out.

As the story begins, the dead young man, his widowed mother, and the funeral procession are going out of the town gate.  Jesus and his entourage are approaching the gate. Why might the gate be important in the story?

Take a piece of paper and create a “gate.” Continue reading

Between the Lines: Easter 2: April 7, 2013

Text: Acts 5:27-32

 

Detail from Albrecht Dürer

Detail from Albrecht Dürer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.”

 

We are asked here to rethink our ideas of and assumptions about authority.

 

What is the “master story” you were taught or assumed or absorbed in your youth?  What did you “know” or think was so obvious it wasn’t even conscious?  Peter challenges the council to consider what they think they know.

 

So… as we rethink our own history –

 

What is the cost to us of doing the hard work of re-imagining the early Christian movement in all its diversity and pluralism?  How might our community be different if we took this seriously?  What promise might we see?  What is the cost to you, personally, if you took this seriously?  What promise?

 

Can we do it?

 

Should we?

 

What difference might it make?

 

– Beth Harrison

 


 

“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see About BibleWorkbench.

 

Between the Lines: Epiphany 4: February 3, 2013

Text: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence (Photo credit: publik16)

I write this sitting in a hotel room in Zurich, attending a conference on trauma and transformation.  Others attending these lectures are therapists who work with women who have been sexually abused, most by members of their families who tell them that they love them.  Most have mothers who, while telling them that they love them, look the other way as abuse is taking place.  I can’t avoid thinking, and not only in this context, that many of our messages about love, cultural and familial, are troubling; conflicted at best, evil at worst.

Paul’s list includes love which bears all things and endures all thingsAll things?  Really?

How many women have heard these words as problematic in their own lives?  How many men?

I’m also aware that healing the wounds of such traumas, when it is possible, requires not only skill and wisdom, but love of a particularly patient, kind, and hopeful sort.  Parsing out what is love and what is not is not only complicated and difficult, but essential.

Does Paul’s “list” help us out with this?  How might what he says be destructive?  How might it be healing?

What passes for love in my life, in yours?  How do we know when we are looking at the real thing?  What comes up for you when you hear the words, “love is…”?  What’s on your list?

– Beth Harrison


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see About BibleWorkbench.

Between the Lines: Epiphany: January 6, 2013

Text: Isaiah 60:1-6

Arise, shine, for your light has come…

Candle

Candle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Go find a candle, and a box of matches.  Put it on the table in front of you.

Draw the shades, and turn out the light.  Sit in the darkness, and remember those times in your life which have been dark, when you have been exiled, removed from all that was familiar and loved.  Take a deep breath, stand up, arise, and light the candle.  Sit there and remind yourself of those forces of light in your life right now.  What can you see that you couldn’t see in the darkness?  What gift does the light bring?  What light could you bring into a darker world?  What candle might you light?

– Beth Harrison


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see About BibleWorkbench.

Between the Lines: Pentecost 22: October 28, 2012

Text: Mark 10:46-52

"Lord, that I might see!"

“Lord, that I might see!”
(Photo credit: Squiggle)

Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.”

    Reflect on all the ways there are to be blind.  Look around you at your colleagues, your family, your community.  What do they not see?

Reflect on those times in your own life when you have been blind.  What did you not see?

What might you not be seeing right now?  Look more closely.  How might you go about seeing again?  What mercy might you need in order to see?

Ask the Blind Bartimaeus within yourself “What do you want me to do for you?”  Ask it out loud.  Then listen, perhaps for “Let me see again.”

What is it you most long to see?

– Beth Harrison


“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see About BibleWorkbench.