Psalm 126

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb.May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.

Isaiah 43:16-21

Thus says the Lord,
   who makes a way in the sea,
   a path in the mighty waters,
who brings out chariot and horse,
   army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
   they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
Do not remember the former things,
   or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
   now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
   and rivers in the desert.
The wild animals will honour me,
   the jackals and the ostriches;
for I give water in the wilderness,
   rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
the people whom I formed for myself
so that they might declare my praise.

During seminary, my roommate and I began a practice we would later christen doorway theology.

Time after time, one would appear in the other’s doorway.

Do you have a minute? I need…

We met in our questions and longings. Together, we talked human suffering and divine power. Structural racism, feminism, and white privilege. Queer theology and our latest disastrous/delightful dates. Incarnation and sacramentality. Movements of liberation, and histories of oppression. Reparations and deportations. Truths and testimonies, demanding witness. That which breaks us open. That which matters most.

We could have moved to the comfort of a couch, but there was something ineffably holy about holding these encounters in doorways, in thresholds. Thresholds are thin spaces, thick with feeling, where we encounter G-d and each other more readily, more honestly, more fully.

Psalm 126 and Isaiah 43:16-21 might be read as threshold texts. The psalm was sung by people crying out: praising, pleading, grieving, giving thanks. The context was exile, estrangement. Restoration sown in tears, but reaped with shouts of joy.

In Isaiah, the prophet’s proclamation promises the impossible: a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. The context was captivity, wilderness. Yet liberation is springing forth. The impossible becoming perceivable.
We do not all know, really, exile and occupation. But perhaps we all know how loss, grief, isolation, shame, and despair can hold us captive, utterly convinced that nothing joyful, just, holy, or good can possibly be/come, again.

15th c theologian Nicholas of Cusa nicknamed God posse ipsum, possibility itself. Posse ipsum invites us to persist. Persist in love that responds, restores, revives. Love that bears with. Love that moves us to laughter and tears. Love that gravitates toward thin spaces, thick with feeling, where we encounter G-d and each other more readily, more honestly, more fully.

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 A Season of Becoming: Restoring and being restored for the transformation of the church and world

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