Monday, September 29, 2014

Angels


When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!" Nathanael asked him, "Where did you get to know me?" Jesus answered, "I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you." Nathanael replied, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Jesus answered, "Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these." And he said to him, "Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man." John 1:47-51

Angels

I dream of heavenly visitors
dressed in simple clothes
suits of seersucker and linen
coming to collect the lost.

In dreams they know my name
and call me from the crowd
bringing comfort and home
in a fraught and worried setting.

When fear rises and betrayal begins
they come to calm the fevered brow
they simply visit to remind us of love
beyond time and our mortal frames.

Where there has been deep sorrow
they weep with us but do not linger
an out stretched hand beckons us
beyond the limits of our age.

We mortal fall asleep to awaken
the immortal love and light
renewing our mornings with hope
giving us courage to persevere.
 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

God's Wonder and Authority


When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?" Jesus said to them, "I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?" And they argued with one another, "If we say, `From heaven,' he will say to us, `Why then did you not believe him?' But if we say, `Of human origin,' we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet." So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And he said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
"What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, `Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' He answered, `I will not'; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, `I go, sir'; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him."  Matthew 21:23-32

Arriving home after nearly 24 hours in transit was both joyful and exhausting. All of the wonders that we saw and the wonderful people we met keep passing through my mind. How do I honor those with whom we met, and how do we move forward from here? God always brings us to places and to people who change us. Our experiences made us go a new direction. We are meant to pay attention and to listen to these moments in our lives, seeking God within each of them.

The people in the temple hearing Jesus were not willing to be changed. They sought to undermine Christ's authority or disenfranchise him. They were not going to hear him with an open heart. God calls us today to live with an open heart. Each wondrous encounter in our lives comes with sacred opportunity. By the heart of God we are broken open anew to be remade by God's authority and power. The invitation today is to always be made new by God.

Today I ask God to help me be made anew. As we come home and settle in may we not forget the gifts we have been given. May we always be open to God's transforming love and power.


The Collect
O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wash One Another's Feet






 After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. John 13:12-17




We spent the morning on Thursday touring the Hiroshima museum and the peace garden. One little boy, probably 9 or 10 buried his face in his friend's backpack to hide his tears. It was overwhelming to see what anger and war can reduce people to - to violence and destruction beyond understanding. I was profoundly moved, and the tears came over and over again. The folks who are leading us around and caring for us are so kind and attentive. Despite all they have suffered, they are living lives of service and peace. A remarkable witness.

Jesus, at a most fragile time in his life, on the eve of his own destruction, washes his disciples' feet. He sets this as a model for them and for all of us, to act as servants to one another, to lead lives worthy of God by serving others. Our anger, violence and selfishness are not of God. And reaching down and caring for others is.

Today, I ask God to help me be truly humble and move to serve others at all times. May we be broken open anew, with hearts that ache for peace. May we bring God's peace and love by offering up our arrogance to the service of others. May we follow Christ by being servants to all we encounter today.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Listening



 ‘No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be disclosed, nor is anything secret that will not become known and come to light. Then pay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.’
 Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. And he was told, ‘Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.’ But he said to them, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.’Luke 8:16-21






Listening in Hiroshima

Today we walk amidst memories
children and parents vanished
powerless victims of the poweful
suffering the abuse of the innocent.

We must listen with our eyes and ears
leaning in with our hearts open
the broken hearts of lost generations
crying out for peace.

Paper cranes bright reminders
once laughing children stolen
taken from this fragile earth
by the angry thoughtless bomb.


We must listen with our eyes and ears
leaning in with our hearts open
the broken hearts of lost generations
crying out for peace.

We will be forever changed by today
a small broken piece carried away
an icon of human's selfish folly
God ache in every heart for peace.


We must listen with our eyes and ears
leaning in with our hearts open
the broken hearts of lost generations
crying out for peace.




 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Temptation



Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.’ Jesus answered him, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone.”
 Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, ‘To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.’ Jesus answered him, ‘It is written,
“Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”
 Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,
“He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you”, and “On their hands they will bear you up,    so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.”
Jesus answered him, ‘It is said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” ’ When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. Luke 4:1-13


Today we travel from China to Japan. The House of Bishops Meeting concluded last night with a big meal and celebration. We have all been changed by our experiences here. The generosity and hospitality has been amazing. Our Night Market tour guides, Michael and Anna came to bid us farewell and to give a gift. They were so kind and helpful. And Lily, who is a priest in this Diocese came today to take me to the fabric mart. We had a great time, laughing together and looking at material. They have instilled us with a new thankfulness and gratitude. When I am tempted in the coming days to be discouraged, I will remember all their kindnesses.

Jesus has a holy time away from everyone and wrestled with temptation. It was real and embodied, taunting him and poking at his human weakness. He must have been hungry, tired and lonely, struggling with the next steps of his ministry. Maybe he was tempted to be selfish or take an easier road. In his temptations, we see ourselves, and know how often we have given in, and ignored God's call and direction. But God is always ready to send us angels, to lift us from the peaks of temptation and loneliness, so that we might, with gratitude, serve others.

Today I ask fro traveling mercies and guardians angels. May we all recognize our times in the desert and lean on God who will see us through. May our eyes be opened to the blessings and kindnesses around us and may we live every day with great gratitude for the love we receive daily from God.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Filled with Expectation

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’  So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. But Herod the ruler, who had been rebuked by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the evil things that Herod had done, added to them all by shutting up John in prison.
 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’Luke 3:15-22 

Filled with Expectation

The people gathered round
held their breath is expectation
hoping God would be revelaed
and love them as they are.

These simple folk who suffered much
saw hope dawning in their lives
walked down to the water
they were not disappointed.

The sound of God's voice
the presence of a snow white dove
the hair rising on every arm
love has come into the world.

Incarnate, and very human
love mingled with the least
the broken and the lost
shared the same bowl with God.

In every generation we are filled
with hope and expectation
and let the hurts we suffer
be signs of God's indifference.

God in here with us
rising from the water's banks
deeply embedded with us
in our world of dust and shame.

God is living with us
drawing us from our sinking
pulling us through the surf
to new life under this sun.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Desiring Mercy

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him. And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" But when he heard this, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, `I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."Matthew 9:9-13


Desiring Mercy

Obviously at fault and completely broken
sitting in the booth of shame
we are called despite our shattered lives
we are beckoned here by God.

Divine mercy breaking through
light piercing the deepest gloom
our storms an invitation for mercy
the holy at out table to linger and abide.

We know our faults, our scars, our limits
none the less God would have us now
broken fragile servants loving a wounded world
God's mercy flowing through cracked vessels.

We who would be disciples most human
must be daily forgiven daily mended
fragile and completely foolishly human
God desires mercy for us all.