Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Today Salvation Has Come to This House

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through it. A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today." So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner." Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much." Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost." Luke 19:1-10 

Today Salvation

We might think that everything's ruined
the weather is against us the family fractured
we are up a tree with no way down
and yet love is coming to this house.

God will bend down today and gather
the brokenhearted and the shamed
the addicted, the deniers and the corrupt
and give us a home together again.

We are broken people gathered around
each with sorrows and failures beyond words
but as we come together with faith
the Divine is searching high and low for us.

We might be shattered and bedraggled now
but grace and peace are coming to stay
a new lease on life for the hopeless and hurting
and new love for the lonesome hearts.

We might seem lost and up a tree
hiding from all our collected guilt and shame
God has more for us than we can imagine
love is setting the table for us now.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Jericho Road

Then Jesus took the twelve aside and said to them, "See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be handed over to the Gentiles; and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon. After they have flogged him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise again." But they understood nothing about all these things; in fact, what he said was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said.
As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." Then he shouted, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, let me see again." Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has saved you." Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God. Luke 18:31-43 

Sometimes on the hardest roads, the most wonderful things happen. The past few weeks have been very challenging for our family. We took the weekend to visit our daughter Ariel and our granddaughter Lilly. We spent two nights in Allentown just visiting as a family. One night Lilly stayed with us in the hotel room. She banished her Pop Pop to the other bed and slept with me. She tossed and turned a bit in the night, but every time she rolled away, she rolled back to me, snuggled close and held my hand. It was a gift to feel her sweet little child breath on my neck and watch her nestled close, so trusting and loving. Sometimes in our lives we cannot see the love that surrounds us.

The disciples and Jesus are on their final journey together. Despite all the explanations of what was to come, they failed to hear and see what was going on. We humans are often oblivious. It was the blind man on the road, who brazenly called out, who knew love drawing near and would not let himself be passed by. He called out to Jesus and was rewarded with sight. And even more, he was given faith beyond measure, as were the people who witnessed the healing.  We are invited by God, when we find ourselves on challenging journeys, to seek love and healing despite the evidence to the contrary. God calls us to seek and be love on our hardest days.

Today I ask God to help me have eyes to see the abundance of love that surrounds us. May we who face tough roads and storms ahead, remember that we are never alone, and that we can cry out in every moment and place. There is healing and love around every corner, today.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Let The Little Children Come to Me

People were bringing even infants to Jesus that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, "Let the little children come to me, and 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."
A certain ruler 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 commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother.'" He replied, "I have kept all these since my youth." When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, 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." Those who heard it said, "Then who can be saved?" He replied, "What is impossible for mortals is possible for God." Then Peter said, "Look, we have left our homes and followed you." And he said to them, "Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not get back very much more in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.” Luke 18:15-30 

Let The Little Children

Can't sit still for a moment
waiting for adults is an eternity
loud and pouting, laughing, crying
dancing and running in  the rain.

Little ones are messy and disruptive
terrorists in their own homes
making calm parents frazzled
and energetic elders exhausted.

They stalk imaginary beasts
little warriors who paint themselves
small hand that mold clay and weave
dreams of wonder delight and awe.

These little wondrous hurricanes
so delight the heart of God
that we are all invited to be
like the little children in our lives.

May we approach the Divine today
with all our conflict and our pain
with all our hopes and expectations
throwing arms wide as we approach love.

Come frightened little boys and girls
turn around and seek God's love again
run and know you are welcome and called
dance for love is calling to you.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Christ the King

Jesus said, "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, `Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?' And the king will answer them, `Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.' Then he will say to those at his left hand, `You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, `Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?' Then he will answer them, `Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Matthew 25:31-46

The long season of ordinary time has come to an end. We will start Advent this coming week. Life changes dramatically and the church and the world turns to await the coming of the Christ child. As we begin this new season, we are reminded of the glory of Christ which is found in our willingness to love and serve others.

There are those in this world who would have power and status. And there are those who win power and status through money, thinking themselves special and gifted because of their purchases. We are invited to know the true power in life which is found in kindness, tenderness, compassion and service. If we want to be close to God, we must be willing to draw close to the poor and imprisoned, the homeless, the lonely, the abandoned elderly. God is found in the darkest places, where no glamor or glitter is to be found.  We are reminded out loud, during this holiday season to find God beyond the decorations, beyond the parties, and deep in the heart of need.

Today I ask God to help me move to the edges in my search for God. May we move to serve God by giving ourselves away and by seeing God in the least of our neighbors. May we stay away from the glamor and move towards the love.

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well¯beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Humble

 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.’Luke 18:9-14

The Humble

Everyone knows what she did
and saw how often she fell down
no model for any other person
she sits in prayer asking for strength.

He stands strutting like a winner
although he left his family starving
despite the fact he stole money
and tore the hearts of all who trusted him.

The arrogance of the world surrounds us
competition and winners get the  press
yet the single mom who feeds her little one
prays over leftover food brought home.

The holy one hovers in the alleys
and hears the prayers and tears
raised day and night but the lonely
sent heavenward by the abandoned.

O gifted wealthy and talented
bow down before the one who made you
for gifts are given for the healing of others
grace given for the sharing with the world.

God is present at the soup kitchen table
in the cold night swirling with snow
in the blankets sheltering the homeless
and at the humble tables of the poor.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Crying Out to God

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, 'Grant me justice against my opponent.' For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, 'Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.'" And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" Luke 18:1-8 

Crying Out To God

It is truly broken Lord
I sit with the shards in hand
weeping over the loss
alone with my faults and shame.

The night chill descends upon me
like a blanket surrounding me with pain
this darkness is too deep for me
I might be swallowed up in this place.

This night I will cry out to you
my rock, my hiding place and my salvation
from time's beginning you are love
and you will come to me with compassion.

Despite the dampness and the drear
I will rise us in the early morning
I will light the lamps and set a place
for you are drawing near.

I will not dwell in evil's place
you will come and save us all
you will mend the sacred hoop
and bind the people together again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Between Samaria and Galilee

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well." Luke 17:11-19 

Between Samaria and Galilee

The suffering and pain were less
than the shame and exclusion
sent away from all that we know
to live together in order to die.

This diseased body still cries
still aches for love and compassion
this body is still completely human
though wholly broken and rejected.

The outcasts of this world
huddled together for our sins
sick and shattered still cling to hope
that the road beside will still surprise us.

Thousands pass by and turn away
hundreds look and are horrified
the braver ones stare in wonder
what can they do for a sickness so vile?

One voice in our wilderness
heard our cry for help and healing
miracles abounding we returned home
forgetting to be grateful for our freedom.

On the road between Samaria and Galilee
one remembered all that God had done
one alone spoke thanksgiving and praise
all were healed but one was made whole.