Thursday, May 26, 2016

Weeds Among the Wheat


Jesus put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” Matthew 13:24-30 

Good times and full fields come with challenges and weeds. Things happen to good people that they neither deserve nor asked for by their behavior or their words. We can lose heart, and feel defeated watching healthy ministries be undermined by troublesome folks. I have to remember in each of these moments that God is truly in charge and that the troubles will cease and we are cared for throughout.

Jesus used stories to illustrate the truth of God in human experience. The heart of God is caring for us in the midst of troubles, and we are being strengthened despite the weeds and the detractors. God is in the midst of our growing, caring for our every need and the final out come.

Today I ask God to help me remember, when overwhelmed that the outcome is set. May we all remember, despite our worst fears and our worst enemies, God is always for justice and healing, for restoration and completion. God indeed will deal with the weeds in our lives.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Family of God


Jesus said, “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but it finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So will it be also with this evil generation.”
While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:43-50 

Family of God

Too many want to exclude some
the ones that frighten in their difference
those who seek asylum from violence
and those who cross lines to be free.

Too many fear what they do not know
suspecting trouble from innocent hunger
suspecting abuse from the weakest
hoarding what has always been too much.

Too many of us are the family of God
so we break away, we separate
as if God won't follow them or us
as if we can define the family of God.

The colors of God's people are all colors
the ways and traditions are many
the name for God's people are all y'all
me and you and everyone.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Good Fruit


Jesus said, “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth. The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here! The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here!” Matthew 12:33-42

Good Fruit

The smell of the meadow
tall wheat waving in the sun
ripe fruit ready to be picked
food for many, food for all.

The storms of spring lashed us
winter wore us to the bone
the season of growing is upon us
and we breath in deep the rich earth.

We live by the seasons of waiting
we live by the times of growing
we grow by living through these times
produce good fruit as we grow wise.

The heavy work of tilling is ahead
weeding and watering will be our lives
the work of praying and waiting is over
come out into the sun and rejoice.




 

Monday, May 23, 2016

A House Divided


 Then they brought to him a demoniac who was blind and mute; and he cured him, so that the one who had been mute could speak and see. All the crowds were amazed and said, ‘Can this be the Son of David?’ But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, ‘It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.’ He knew what they were thinking and said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property, without first tying up the strong man? Then indeed the house can be plundered. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Matthew 12:22-32

We had the chance this weekend to visit a few ghost towns in Montana. Places that boomed with mining and gold fever which now are small or non-existent. Virginia City had some wonderful displays, even though it was before the season, which showed life in the boom times. How quickly people can disappear when the money or the excitement runs out. Nevada City, which we were not able to tour, is a collection of old buildings, reminding us  how quickly things fall apart when a community becomes divided and when there is no life left or a reason to go on.

Jesus did some wondrous miracles, healing a man who was unable to communicate or see his surroundings. The religious authority accused him of working evil, rather than good and Jesus responded that evil does not build up good. Things fall apart when evil tries to do good, as a house divided cannot stand. When the life goes out, there is not new life but deterioration.
God invites us today to serve and build up the good, the loving and the life changing. God encourages us, even in our differences to be those who build up the whole church and community.

Today, I ask God to give me the strength to be a builder and repairer in the name of love. May we forgive and work together so that our houses, where ever we find ourselves might show forth the goodness of God and the abundant blessings we have been given.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Hope


When Jesus became aware of this, he departed. Many crowds followed him, and he cured all of them, and he ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
“Here is my servant, whom I have chosen,
my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not wrangle or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
He will not break a bruised reed
or quench a smoldering wick
until he brings justice to victory.
And in his name the Gentiles will hope. Matthew 12:15-21 


Hope

A small break in the ominous clouds
a simple gesture of welcome or care
a moment in time when the fog lifts
it is then we find our hope again.

Unlike wisdom she is very fickle
this hope plays hide and seek with our hearts
we bend and wail in our dark hours
but we shall never hope in vain.

Despite the dense and cruel clouds
there is sun behind blazing for us
despite the loneliness and fear in us
there are throngs of companions on our way.

Our hope may flag in blue deep loss
hope may whither in us from the cold
there is a fire of love that burns to warm
restoring even the most broken among us.

The

Friday, May 20, 2016

Stretch Out Your Hand


At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests. Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”
He left that place and entered their synagogue; a man was there with a withered hand, and they asked him, “Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath?” so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Suppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath; will you not lay hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and it was restored, as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. Matthew 12:1-14 

Recently we were in a restaurant and the waitress said that there were two types of people. "Those who share food and those who don't." I know that there are more than two types of people, but she did have a point. Some people like rules, like to keep what they have, while others love to explore and encourage adventure. Some of us can be sharers in the right moments but not when under stress or complications. When we find ourselves in complicated places, are we willing to be stretched or do we draw in and hold fast to the rules?

Jesus was about on the Sabbath when he and his disciples broke some rules. They knew what they were doing but they also knew the circumstances demanded mercy not sacrifice. Jesus goes on to heal a man with an injured hand which infuriated the religious leaders. They could not enter into the place where mercy and acceptance take precedence over the rules. God invites us to be people who live for sharing, live for love and live for mercy.

Today I ask God to help me live for love and mercy. May our lives demonstrate God's presence, that divine presence that is always merciful, always blessings and always more ready that we are to forgive.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Gentle and Humble in Heart



 At that time Jesus 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 the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ Matthew 11:25-30


Gentle and Humble of Heart 

The music of Handel's Messiah rings
her head full of song and line
the old stage fright and anxiety
shrugged off onto stronger shoulders.

Afraid of stumbling and cruel failure
scared to not have enough for the children
terrified by the postponement of promises
sleep is never easy nor nearby.

The living One among us has promised
despite the trends, the seas and abuse
we will be born by gentleness and light
carried into the new days' dawn.

So often we try to carry ourselves
pull ourselves up and put on the face
self-reliance and strong will evaporate
into our regular and familiar night terrors.

The music swells, the frightened child begins
"come unto him all ye that labor"
the crowd is hushed and silent that night
for their hearts have heard the truth.