“Choose life,” the prophet says. Choose life over the deadly ways of lesser gods. Choose life over all that shines, sparkles, and glitters. Choose life over what you possess and over what possesses you. It sounds so easy and desirable. Sure, until Jesus comes along and names the cost right out loud. If we truly choose life, we have to let go of everything. Years ago I had a therapist who told me that the choice to live or die was mine.
Earlier this month, I drove out to the mountains to pick up my son from a 12-day wilderness/adventure/ education camp. As the sun set over a gorgeous summer evening in the Rockies, we were treated to a closing program that gave us a glimpse into what the 12 days had looked like.
The morning was hot, the thick wet suffusing heat of a late southern summer, and I was walking.
Two intriguing entertainment venues have recently opened in downtown Asheville, North Carolina: Conundrum and Breakout. They use virtual reality and other technologies to create adventures of escape, journeys from lost to found, and mysteries to explore. Participants assume new identities as hostages, questers, secret agents, or detectives.
Luke seems to mislead us in his description of the dinner exchange we will read in this Sunday's Gospel lesson. He tells us, "When [Jesus] noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable," but the words that follow aren't really parabolic. They're just good advice.
I recently read about a tourist who was accidentally locked in Milan’s cathedral, called the Duomo, overnight. The American tourist chose to take advantage of his unexpected lock-in and spent the night “among the cathedral’s rooftop spires.”
A few days ago, I took part in a silly Facebook discussion about, among other things, the proper position of the altar in churches. That’s not so interesting, though it was great fun. What struck me was a side comment made by someone about how all of this didn’t matter too much, since the church was meant to be outside, serving the needs of the world. I’ve heard plenty of people say this, and I never could quite figure out my discomfort.