Saturday, October 25, 2014

Teach Us to Pray

Jesus  was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.
“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:1-13 

Teach Us To Pray

We are bent in anxiety and strain
our toil has taken it's toll
nodding off instead of listening
falling into darkness instead of prayer.

The world is dark and fragile
wet leaves swirl around our heads
our thin blankets paper like in the wind
we hope to make it through the night.

O Lord how do the homeless and outcast pray?
when the world steps over and ignore us
when we are shunned and dispersed
sent away from away from the groaning talbes.

Lord teach us to pray when the tide rises
when hate becomes normal and fear abides
when the deep bitter cold swirls round and round
and when we have no breath left to sing.



Friday, October 24, 2014

Martha, Martha

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:38-42

I am sometime Martha, and sometimes Mary. There is always more work to be done. Everyday I look around and see the things I left undone yesterday and grieve my inability to get everything done. And yet, when I take time to delight in God's creation, when I take time to draw near to beloved family and friends, when I take time to listen to the still small voice, I find I am renewed and restored for the work ahead.

Jesus is visiting with beloved friends. His dear friend Martha is overworked and her sister, who by all rights should be helping out, is sitting soaking in every word of Jesus.  Martha's complaint is heard by Jesus. But instead of ordering Mary to do her "womanly" duties, he invites Martha to take a rest, to sit and be fed as well. Sometimes we think that the tasks are most important, but God reminds us today that the relationships we have take precedence always.

Today I ask God to help me take the time that God provides, and to take time with others, trusting that we will find God in our midst. May we all choose the better part, sitting with the words and people of God, soaking in the love and strength we need for the road ahead.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sheep Into the Midst of Wolves

Jesus said, "See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." Matthew 10:16-22

Sheep Into the Midst of Wolves

We remain ever vilgilant
listening even while we eat
staying together so as not to lose
the little ones who like to wander.

We are sheep among the wolves
without sharp tools and defences
people never meant for combat
the innocents caught in the crossfire.

We are those dedicated to peace
to finding green pastures
those willing to be lead by love
always ready to return home.

We know too well our vulnerability
but will not raise a hand to retaliate
love has been our shepherd and guide
and we will follow ever where he leads.

There is no safe pasture for us
just the trust in Divine  shepherd
who, despite the hungry wolves aurrounding
will bring us beyond this dark night.

It is a world of cruel and hungry wolves
doing what comes natural to them
we remain as we were sent forth
Sheep into the midst of wolves.

We are never alone and never hungry
fragile and vulnerable though we are
we are guided by light and love
never needing to destroy to live.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Revealed to Infants

The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!" Jesus said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” Luke 10:17-24 

One of my daughters, when learning to roller skate, reminded me that she did not need instruction because God had taught her to roller skate in heaven. She remembered clearly being taught but when she first took off on the skates, she didn't seem to remember the lessons. But her confidence in God taking time with her and equipping her with life skills has always inspired me. We too often doubt what God will do for us when we ask. 

Today we read about the return of the seventy two that were sent out. They were overjoyed by the work of the Holy Spirit. They had seen people healed and lives changed. They went out with anxiety and came back with great joy. They had been sent out with nothing and came back with everything! We are invited today to have the same confidence in God working in us as those first sent. We are invited to be as trusting and confident as beloved children. 

Today I ask God to restore our faith. May we be childlike in our faith\. May we trust that God has so much for us to go and so many more lives to change and miracles to provide. May we end this day with the joy of those first sent.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Laborers into the Harvest

After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace to this house!' And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; cure the sick who are there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.' I tell you, on that day it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for that town.
"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But at the judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades.
"Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.” Luke 10:1-16 

We are Laborers not Lords
our red brown hands rough and torn
our arms strong and burnt by sun
 and our legs weary at the day's end.

We live simply in the shacks provided
warm ourselves with visions of home
laugh together when the field boss is gone
and pray that we will live another day.

No one notices as we walk the ailses
security makes sure we don't steal
we are at once necessary and rejected
we are the laborers in the harvest.

Our clothes are worn and ratty
we migrate with the need and season
we are silently feeding a nation
we work for the Lord of the harvest.

The sand and dirt is in our shoes
it covers our faces and our knees
we are bent and weary from the load
but blessed to be serving the Divine.

We kneel in the muddy fields of gold
and stand in high cotton and corn
we seek the Lord's favor in every season
and ask to be used for the healing of the world.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Follow Me

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:51-62 

Every year on the duck pond in Cape May Point, a new batch of little ducks are born. There are a sight to see and a joy to watch. They are awkward and small, struggling to keep up. Their life depends on them following their mother. She will challenge them, and push them, in order that they might survive. Though they follow her, if she senses danger, she will confront the danger along, making the little ones stay back. Her whole life is about giving them the strength and skill to survive, and the ability to go ahead on their own.

Jesus is talking to his disciples  about the hard times ahead. They did not want to hear it, and wanted to punish someone else for their extreme anxiety. Jesus would have us understand that we need to follow closely to learn how to live, we need to lean into the lessons and be challenged beyond where we are comfortable. The Master would have us thrive amidst the challenges, giving us strength and faith for the struggles ahead.

Today, I would follow Jesus. May we be ready to be humble as we follow, willing to give up our images and crowns for the sake of others. May we be ready always to be students of the Divine teacher, who desires to give us the all that we need for the journey ahead.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Proclaim Good News

Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." Luke 4:14-21

Proclaim Good News

We are called to walk this pilgrim road
this path of sharing and releasing
this humble blessed daily trek
following the one who sets us free.

We are called to tell the story
love made real and visible in our lives
love that supplies our needs today
giving us vision for the future.

We are called to go the the streets
the avenues of oppression and abuse
to walk and live with the broken discarded
bringing love's healing and release.

We are called to abide in the challenges
to live in the tension of becoming
we are the human hands of God's love
and we are called to serve others today.