Friday, October 20, 2017

The Poor Have Good News

Now when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and proclaim his message in their cities. When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” Matthew 11:1-6

The visible and outward signs of the presence of Jesus is healing new life and good news. Too often our churches are full of political struggles that are none of those. Too often, we get hurt and walk away just when our hands, our time and our service are needed most. Jesus always tell people to declare what they have witnessed - the love of God changing lives for the good. Our squabbles are no help to the Gospel of Jesus.

Some people came from John to find out who Jesus was. Jesus answered them to see what has been done and report back. The good news of God is always in the doing, not in the talk, the theories and the politics. There are no winners when we follow Jesus, but rather those who bring good news with action and service. Today, Jesus asks us to not worry about the trappings or the politics, but rather get up to our elbows in service of others.

Today, I ask God help me to leave politics alone and get busy in service of others. May we all follow Jesus who brings healing and new life for all.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Cup of Cold Water

Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
“For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
“Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.” Matthew 10:34-42

A Cup  of Cold Water

How often in the middle of the night
does a child stumble into their parents
asking for cold water or protection
for there is much to fear in the night?

We would never refuse our children
there is always time and space for them
but so many others we can shut out
who simply need a little sip of kindness.

The church can be a place of welcome
and it can be a place of judgment
competition can break our among us
and we can take each other down.

Let us treat one another today at least
as blessed family, dear children in need
making room for the awkward and fearful
giving honor to the aged and infirmed.

God is love and sadly we rarely are
we preen and gaze at our reflection
yet we never see the servant we can become
we never see the friend that is so needed now.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Spirit of the Lord is Upon Me

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

The Spirit of the Lord

In the quiet of the night I prayed
make me an instrument of peace
help me be a way to your healing
let me be a conduit of all things good.

Convicted by the Spirit is humbling
so many would hear God's voice
only if it comes with personal gain
not if we are brought low by our brokenness.

Come hear the Spirit of the Lord
who invites us to bend and serve
asking us to see the beauty in all
keeping us from serving self alone.

We who would follow the Beloved One
must spread love and healing daily
turning from our selfish desires that damage
lifting others up always before us.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wise as Serpents, Innocent as Doves

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. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” Matthew 10:16-23

There are times in my life when I have gotten confused and let people walk all over  me and hurt me trying to keep the peace. There is a campaign on Facebook in recent days, for women who have experience sexual assault and abuse to say, "me too!' I added my name. Too often we women have kept silent because we are afraid of the shame, the discounted reactions, the worsening of punishment. We are called to be wise and innocent, and too often, we have only been innocent, fearing that showing our strength might make life unbearable. It is time to listen to Jesus and to be wise in many more moments.

Jesus knows just how complicated a life of faith can be. He was often criticized for being too political, too cutting edge, too "in your face." Yet, living the love of God is a call to learn and be wise, knowing when to speak and act.  The price of this life of faith is high, and there are many assaults along the way, but we know Jesus walks with us every step. We are invited to be both compassionate and firm,  loving and fierce in the care of those who have no protector.

Today I ask God to help me be wise and innocent, compassionate and firm. Let our words and actions be signs of our faith in Jesus, who walks with us and encouraged us when we fall.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Shown Great Love

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.” Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “Speak.” “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”Luke 7:36-50 

Shown Great Love 

She saw the chance to demonstrate 
Love and gratitude to the humble Savior
The one who had accepted her as she was
Never shamong or sending her away.

In many places she was simply a woman
A possession, a servant,  set aside, ignored
Without a voice nor any kind of power
Except to please whomever demanded it.

Just a woman, no status, no regard
Yet this man, unique among all men
Treated her with honor and respect 
Gave her space and listened to her.

Should she not respond with love?
Should not tears overwhelm her?
Should we not lean in and listen 
To his kindness and compassion?

We woman so oftenjoy an object
Become a precious friend welcomed
A mother respected and dignified
In a kindness which changed the world.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Heavenly Banquet

Once more Jesus spoke to the people in parables,
saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared
 to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 
He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited
 to the wedding banquet, but they would not come.
 Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who
 have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, 
my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered,
 and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ 
But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, 
another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, 
mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. 
He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned
 their city. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, 
but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom
 they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ 
And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants,
 ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many 
are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:1-14

A Heavenly Banquet

Get ready folks a train is coming
Taking us to a grand celebration
A place of welcome and joy
A seat reserved just for you.

We may feel broken or foolish
Maybe not worthy of this place
We might want to get busy
We might find a bold excuse.

Yet that seat at the table still awaits
A groaning board full of delights
Satisfaction in a life of disappointment
Fullness in a life of grief and loss.

Oh people get ready for the journey
It is not a trial nor a painful hike
Songs easy to sing surround us
A festival of transforming love.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Sheep Without a Shepherd

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him Matthew 9:35 – 10:4 
Today I am in Fairbanks at an Interior Deanery worship leader training event. There are 25 people here learning to lead their communities and villages in worship. There are many years places where a priest is an infrequent visitor. Some have felt like a sheep without a shepherd. They are being empowered as the disciples were. What a joy to be a part of it!
Jesus is overwhelmed by the lack of leadership and care for the people. He empowers his disciples to be his heart and hands in the world. Likewise, God invites us to step up and offering ourselves in our communities. There is so much need in our very day.

Today I ask Gofor to help me see the need and offer myself to be God's heart and hands in this world. May we all be ready to offer ourselves for the healing of our world.