I am putting a hold on finishing up the brickyard until next week because I want to share with you an insight gleaned last evening from a presentation given by Sr. Pat Kozak, CSJ. She addressed a group of us on the women in the New Testament who in-fluenced Jesus, widening and deepening his understanding of his mission. Addressing the call of the gospel to a transformation of consciousness—a profound shift in awareness, she spoke of the difference between change and transformation.
arises from our own initiatives
involves a strategy of behavior
post-change awareness is on the same level as life before the change.
In other words, change fixes things but doesn't resolve issues.
Brueggemann, Peace: pp. 61—62 The Gospel of Mark begins with a challenge: The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news (1:15). A new policy is being implemented, a policy that ends all coercion. The battle raged, and it was by no means clear how it would turn out. Decisively on the cross, the gospel of Mark presents the coercive, chaotic powers having their day. And, indeed, it seemed on Friday night that they had won, The voice of freedom was silence in the land. But the gospel has the right word at the right place. Jesus, dead on the cross, clearly defeated, was abandoned by all, by all except one Roman soldier, a man under authority, who was used to determining who was in charge. From his mouth comes this incredible conclusion: "Truly this man was God’s Son!" (Mark 15-39).
Brueggemann, Peace: Understanding Biblical Themes: pp. 59-61 — What does it mean that the Lord of Freedom controls the brickyards? Of course it says something about this Lord. It says that "Let-my-people-go" is powerful and for us. It says to us: "Get out from under the load of oppression and coercion." The Lord's intention is that we should not have to lead that kind of life, no matter how much the technological, bureaucratic propaganda of the regime lays on us. The Lord is for freedom and is powerful enough to introduce freedom into the grimmest brickyard there could be. That is the odd faith of the children of Israel to which we are heirs. It says the Lord has not abandoned the world.But what it says about us!
Brueggemann, Peace: pp. 57-58 - Brickyards always seem to envelop us and everybody thought that it had to be like that. The slaves and the owners. But the Bible, the announcement of shalom, raises an unheard of question.... It could have been Moses or anybody with any name, because what counted is what he said: "Let my people go." That is what he said. And the moment it was said, the brickyard was changed. And it will never be the same again. That is the good news, good news for the slaves, but also for the foreman. The brickyard has been completely transformed by that announcement: "Let my people go!" That is the beginning of shalom.
Brueggemann, Peace: pp. 56-57 — As stated last week, the brickyard is a place of competent production where the production schedule is taken with great seriousness. It is also a place of coercion and profit. It is profit for the people who own and sell the bricks and set the production schedule. But for the people who make the bricks, it is a place of coercion. That is, they are there to meet other people’s standards, to knuckle under others’ demands. Here there is no zone of freedom, not even a hint of a break in the heat of the day. The gap between the people of profit and the people who are coerced is not an accident of the system, but is built into the design of the system. Most often the story of the brickyard is put out in company literature. Remarkably the biblical story of the brickyard is told from the perspective of the coerced.
Brueggemann, Peace: pp. 56 — One of the things a study of the Bible can do is to provide us with images that help us to understand better the flow and situation of our lives. Shalom is such an abstract word in our ears that we need to find ways to make it concrete. The Bible never talks about shalom in an abstract or fuzzy way. It is always very specific and concrete. In Christian faith, when we talk about shalom we mean incarnation. God's shalom is always embodied in such a way that people know it is happening in their historical experience.
Brueggemann, Peace: pp. 53 — As noted two weeks ago, Jesus is not only the one who frees and unites; he is also the one who is free and united. Jesus is free from all the claims and expectations of the world. He is the one united in his person with a singleness of vision and commitment, united with his brothers and sisters in the pain and joy of the world. We must ask how it was that he had the power of freedom and the power of unity in his person. That could be articulated in many ways, but is the mystery of it not in his vulnerability? He sought nothing, asked nothing, feared nothing; he emptied himself and became obedient to death on a cross. And in his emptiness, his obedience, and his death, has become power toward life, toward freedom and unity.
Brueggemann, Peace: pp. 52 & 53 — I have wondered if we have any models or experiences in which freedom and unity come together. I suggest that that what the Eucharist is about. Holy Communion is our supreme experience of all of God's people coming together, not on our terms, but on God's terms. It is our vision of unity being actualized. But it is also the place of freedom, where man, woman, and child comes face-to-face with the power of the risen Lord, celebrates baptism, and is set free to his or her own humanity, It is where we are intimately and powerfully together in freeing ways for the sake of the human spirit among us. So we say, "This is the joyful feast of the people of God. Come from the East and the West, and from the North and the South." We come in joy because here we are valued with our peculiar dignity and worth. But it is joy for people with a common identity.
Brueggemann, Peace: pp. 51&52 - So we have this gospel of freedom and unity. It occurred to me that these two central dimensions of shalom pull in opposite directions. It is a promise of freedom, but freedom is surely "to do one’s own thing." As we struggle for ourselves and for others, how do we permit persons to do their own thing without disrupting everything else? But unity is having it all together, all of us sharing in and celebrating what we have in common. The hard work of shalom is to keep these in balance and in tension with each other. Freedom without unity tends to be destructive self-seeking with no regard for others. Unity without freedom tends to be conformity that crushes the humanity and imagination of those involved.