scripture

Leaping Over the Wall / that Keeps Us Safe

When people enquire about how best to interest worshipers in the multiplicity of biblical images for God, I direct them to the matchless Psalm 18. In this one psalm, God, who is “my strength,” is likened to a rock, a fortress, a deliverer, a shield, and “the horn of salvation”—an image the intention of which eludes even biblical scholars. God is in a heavenly temple, resembles the smoke and fire of a volcano, rides a cherub, descends to earth in thunder and lightening, has nostrils that quiver with rage. God is “my support” and yet functions also as our judge. God is our light, a commander of armies, an instructor of soldiers, to whom I sing praises and who makes me the head of nations. My favourite parts of Psalm 18 are verse 2, in which God is our fortress, the wall that keeps us safe, and verse 29, in which God helps us to leap over a wall. Which do you need, the protection of a wall or escape over a wall? All this in one psalm…

—-Gail Ramshaw, Saints on Sunday: Voices from Our Past Enlivening Our Worship (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2018), pp. 71-2.

New Norcia, wall. (Photo: Catherine Schieve.)

New Norcia, wall. (Photo: Catherine Schieve.)

The Immigrants’ Creed

I believe in Almighty God,
who guided the people in exile and in exodus,
the God of Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon,
the God of foreigners and immigrants.

I believe in Jesus Christ,
a displaced Galilean,
who was born away from his people and his home,
who fled his country with his parents when his life was in danger,
and returning to his own country suffered the oppression
of the tyrant Pontius Pilate, the servant of a foreign power,
who then was persecuted, beaten, and finally tortured,
accused and condemned to death unjustly.
But on the third day, this scorned Jesus rose from the dead,
not as a foreigner but to offer us citizenship in heaven.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the eternal immigrant from God’s kingdom among us,
who speaks all languages, lives in all countries,
and reunites all races.

I believe that the church is the secure home
for the foreigner and for all believers who constitute it,
who speak the same language and have the same purpose.
I believe that the communion of the saints begins
when we accept the diversity of the saints.

I believe in the forgiveness of sin, which makes us all equal,
and in reconciliation, which identifies us more
than does race, language, or nationality.

I believe that in the resurrection
God will unite us as one people
in which all are distinct
and all are alike at the same time.

Beyond this world, I believe in life eternal
in which no one will be an immigrant
but all will be citizens of God’s kingdom,
which will never end. Amen.

"The Immigrants’ Creed" by Jose Luis Casal / The Book of Common Worship: 2018 Edition (Nashville, Tenn.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2018), pp. 613-4.

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I gave a paper at a seminar of the Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies last year, on the extraordinary artwork by John Tamsey, a Uniting Church deacon. His image, called “Deterrence,” is of crucified people on crosses headed with the names of Australian offshore detention centres. Images: Facebook page of Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies:  https://www.facebook.com/FeministTheologies/  My paper will be published in a book being edited by Carolyn Alsen and Fotini Toso.

I gave a paper at a seminar of the Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies last year, on the extraordinary artwork by John Tamsey, a Uniting Church deacon. His image, called “Deterrence,” is of crucified people on crosses headed with the names of Australian offshore detention centres. Images: Facebook page of Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies: https://www.facebook.com/FeministTheologies/ My paper will be published in a book being edited by Carolyn Alsen and Fotini Toso.