Continuing through the Disruptive Conjunction

The gift of Psalm 31 and Walter Brueggemann

During this strange time, I’d been engaged with Psalm 31. Before posting the reflection on Psalm 31, I checked to see what Walter Brueggemann might have written about it. This sermon from the pulpit of Duke University Chapel fits our experience in 2020 as much as it did in 2009. Here are the opening words:

The young woman who sits across from me at Church is there every Sunday. She sits in a wheelchair close to the pulpit. She cannot control the movement of her legs, and mostly not her arms either. She groans and occasionally shrieks. My priest tells me she is fed only with a feeding tube. One of her parents must sleep on the floor of her room every night. She takes a fragment of the Eucharist every Sunday. Her mother said, reported my priest, “Do you think I am bad person if sometimes I wish this were all over?” The priest answered, “You would be a pitiful person if you did not think that sometimes.”

I do not know what the young woman is thinking when she communes. But I have thought, perhaps, that she is reciting Psalm 31 . . . ,a complaint to God about the experience of unbearable suffering and a sense of social isolation . . . . 

Walter Brueggemann, Sermon "Continuing through the Disruptive Conjunctive" - Duke University Chapel, Palm/Passion Sunday, 2009.  
Walter Brueggemann sermon “Continuing though the Disruptive Conjunction,”Duke University Chapel

About Walter Brueggemann & most recently published Books

The Rev. Dr. Walter Brueggemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary. Click HERE for more information on the official website of Walter Brueggemann, or click the following titles titles for his latest publications.

Grace and Peace to all,

Gordon C. Stewart, host of Views from the Edge, author of Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness ((2007, Wipf and Stock.), available through Amazon, April 27, 2020.


5 thoughts on “Continuing through the Disruptive Conjunction

  1. I’ve been reading up on viruses with titles like “How I Fell In Love With Viruses” by virologist from Harvard & Stanford. Bottom line is viruses are responsible for creating life on Earth as they predate all other organisms according to latest research. Who knew? IOW, Einstein’s God as Spinoza’s “nature”. How does this effect our views of evil?

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    • Gary,

      The good and evil paradigm is one which, as understood in the Genesis story, is beyond human knowledge, if it exists at all! The secret of whatever knowledge exists of good and evil is exclusively God’s. Creation is “good” — and God looked out and said, “That’s good!” Presumably, ALL that lives — including viruses — belongs to the goodness of Einstein’s God and Spinoza’s Nature. In the Genesis story, the “fall” happens when the human beings see themselves as the masters of nature instead of its stewards.

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        • Gary,

          Only one thing manages to spoil the undivided beauty of creation in the Genesis writer’s (J) story: the inexplicable choice of the earthlings to reach beyond creaturely limits for what is not theirs to know. They eat the fruit that is forbidden: the knowledge of good and evil in order to “be like God.” The serpent beguiles them to reach for what they cannot reach without expulsion for the Garden.

          Liked by 1 person

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