News, Connections and Photos from the life of the faith community at CAPC Oakland
Genesis 12:1-4 & Matthew 5:1-16
We’ve been talking about legacy for the past two months as we move towards the re-opening of our society and church. Legacy – has both positive and negative connotations– a loaded idea. “First, it means what you leave behind to your heirs (the inheritance or gift). And second, one can also have a terribly negative legacy—the bad stuff that passes on from generation to generation (the effect, the outcome, the awful consequence of a personal or family way of being in the world).”
During this ongoing discussion we’ve used the Japanese art form and philosophical idea of Kintsugi (金継ぎ) as a metaphor to talk about the legacy of this past year. Kintsugi is the art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold. As a philosophy, it’s about embracing flaws, imperfections, “brokenness” then blessing, keeping, and restoring them – quite possibly even making the item (person, community) stronger.
This has led us to envision the transition that we’re making as more of a re-starting than a re-opening, as we seek to embrace, embody our faith in vibrant ways that correspond to the legacy of the past year plus: from isolation and a renewed commitment to service, and from a societal racial awakening to a communal sharing of trauma.
Today’s scripture are key to our faith tradition and spiritual landscape. The call of Abraham and Sarah – to more: To step out from their comfort zones. To go to a new place that God will show them. To pay forward to others the ways in which God blesses them. Jesus in the Beatitudes then challenges and subverts our notion of what it means to be blessed.
In Hebrew, the word “to be blessed” is related to the image of a heavily-laden beast of burden, carrying helps for the journey. It’s related to the image of Abraham & Sarah being called to leave their homeland, what they’ve known, what’s become (maybe too) familiar for a new country and space. They take with them the good & bad of their legacy (as we see in the whole story of Genesis). The Beatitudes articulate the vision of Jesus of our world and us. Paradoxically, the notion of being blessed intersects the notion of being broken. Blessedness and brokenness are related to being given to the world, to others.
Questions for Reflection & Examen: