Friday, March 23, 2018

The Cup that I Drink

They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.”

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:32-45 
The Cup That I Drink
You might think their life is glamorous
envying all they seem to have
jealous of their comfort and their power
the people that flock to be near them.

You might want to suffer like the Savior
be the rock star of the  great martyrs
eating little and looking pious to the world
with a heart that is still human and greedy.

From two anxious brothers aching for glory
to those who think they have solutions
we think we can fix all the broken bits
when only God has the solution for us.

We are driftwood and scattered shells
hugging an angry and turbulent sea
we will rise with love that is divine
getting buried when we trust ourselves to soar.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

First Will Be Last

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.'” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” Mark 10:17-31 

I have been thinking a great deal about our present dislike of immigrants here in the US. Except for those of us who are Indigenous to this land, everyone else are immigrants, some legal initially and others not. We have demonized the migrants who come and pick our crops and do the other jobs we were prefer not to do. We have shipped them out and crops rot in the fields. Folks who love their families and are willing to do anything for them are being shut out, while the selfish and the greedy parade around like winners, given the spotlight and the welcome. I can only wonder who is truly first and last in this age?

Jesus is confronted by a young man, desperate to be blessed and sanctified. Jesus is both gentle and honest with him. The young man's luxury has kept him from following. He is one who protects his money and status before caring for the needs of the people around him. We too, can get caught up in protection and security when the world is crying for clean water and secure food sources. God invites us to be sacrificial and aware. We are asked to welcome and to share.

Today, I ask God to be sacrificial, welcoming and sharing. May I never put myself first, but rather, see those who are in need around me and respond to them. May we live, putting ourselves last, so that those who we have neglected and scorned might have some comfort and warmth.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Let the Little Children

Jesus left that place and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan. And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he again taught them.
Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. Mark 10:1-16 

Let the Little Children

They came to our land and homes
with words or help and support
they took our children and changed them
making them to be foreigners to us.

The Good Book came and Jesus
took residence among my people
the people who carried the Book
could not see Him in our midst.

We were a hindrance, a problem
their worldview didn't make room
for the language we spoke together
nor the different way we lived.

They took our little ones by force
they fed us foods that made us sick
they gave us blankets that were infested
all in the name of a Christian nation.

Jesus is still seating among us today
reaching out for the broken and abused
offering healing in our sacred langauge
singing blessings here in our homes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Salted With Fire

Jesus said, “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
“For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” Mark 9:42-50

During March, those of us who live in New England, and most of the northeast, have been inundated with snow. Our fourth Nor'easter in March is upon us, even though the first day of spring is supposedly upon us. We have lost power twice, in two different storms. Every intersection's edge is piled with snow making good sight lines completely obliterated. The roads and the cars are covered with salt and sand. It will be over some day, by right now it feels like we are being tested to the breaking point. I can still hear my Mother Betty say, "you know you are getting close to God, when the devil is working overtime!"

Jesus speaks to the believers around him, those who are testing those who are new to following Jesus, while expecting to be coddled themselves. Some Christians, even now, truly believe they can do whatever they want because they are saved. Jesus tells them that actually their burdens and responsibilities increase. We are to expect testing while caring for the young and new believers. We are to carry and share the Good News, not judging the beloved, but rather making safe and welcome places for all. God invites us to see the testing we have been through, as well as what is to come, as the maturing of our faith, and our drawing ever closer to God.

Today, I ask God to help me face the pain and the trials of this walk in faith, knowing that each hurdle is a sign of deepening faith. May we face of trials with renewed faith, protecting the innocents and the new to the faith, so that God can use us to transform this broken world.

Monday, March 19, 2018

St. Joseph's Feast

Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day's journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety." He said to them, "Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor. Luke 2:41-52

Being a parent is a daily gift and a daily challenge. When our children are young we try to keep them safe and teach them. They often get beyond our eyesight and get into dangerous places, no matter how careful we have been. As our children grow to maturity, they grow into themselves, full of ideas, attitudes and  terrifying habits. We can no longer hold them close, yet we ache to wrap them in our arms and keep them from themselves. I have always been grateful for and blessed by my daughters. They have also taught me about prayer and humility.

Joseph finds himself as a parent to this child of great promise, who is both a mystery and well known to him. As a parent he is constantly struggling to give enough freedom and boundaries all at the same time. He did not desire to be a parent and was called into places he never wanted to go. And yet for the love of this child and for love of God, he joyfully and fearfully accepts this call. That doesn't mean his life is easy. This young boy tests the limits of his patience and capacity. We are invited by God to rejoice in the children in our care while understanding we will never get "it" exactly right. Love is the gift we have received and give freely, even when we are pressed beyond our capacity and understanding, for God goes with us to these hardest places.

Today, I ask God to help me live my life in prayer and humility, giving thanks at all times for the amazing children and regular challenges I have been given. May we give love freely, despite all of the challenges we face,  trusting that God is with us in all of the hardest moments when we feel elast able to cope.

Sunday, March 18, 2018


Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. John 12:20-33


The storms of this world trouble us
deep rumbling thunder in the sky
the voice from heaven glorifying
we trembled and run to hide.

When God is doing a new thing
remaking the world, setting us free
we cling to the old imprisonment
hold fast to the bars the bound us.

Despite ourselves and our troubles
the Creator is moving the clouds
dispelling gloom and dark terror
washing the world clean of this scourge.

The hearts of the young are brimming
their voices like thunder from above
our children are screaming for peace
the Divine smiles over all creation.

The hour is drawing very near to us
our souls are troubled by our lack
yet the heavens and earth will tremble
for love divine is on the move.


Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

St. Patrick's Day

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Today is St. Patrick's feast day, celebrated here in the US, mostly as an occasion to drink in excess, to wear green and to celebrate all things Irish. In fact, St. Patrick was not Irish but rather captured as a slave in England and brought to Ireland as a teenager. He worked in harsh conditions, feeding the animals and probably sleeping in the rough. He eventually escaped and went back home to his family. But the story doesn't end there. He was ordained, returning to Ireland to bring the Gospel back to the people who enslaved him. He did not destroy their traditional holy places but honored them by making holy sites into church plants. He made the Gospel indigenous to Ireland. Instead of revenge he brought God's love and for that he is revered and honored by the Irish people.

This reading from Corinthians is probably the most common passage read at weddings. Yet the love that is referred to here is love that eclipses even the love that any couple, any family might have. This love, a gift from God, is the love that Patrick demonstrated, a love that moves beyond revenge and protection, to sharing openly and with great grace. It is the love of sacrifice and offering. A love, which, given by God, can only be shared. It is a love of daily forgiveness, of seeing people with the eyes and heart of God. It is a love which we humans can only see when it is shared, when another make room in their life for captors and friends alike. This is a day when we should be rededicating our lives to the service of others rather than drinking ourselves under the table. This is the love we have been given so freely and is most activated when we share freely.

Today, I ask God to help me be forgiving of all and grateful for all in my life. Like Patrick may we embrace the people and places we find ourselves, sharing God's love freely with captors and convicts,  saints and sinners as well as this world that aches for the real embrace of a loving God.