Friday, November 30, 2018

The Stones Would Shout


After he had said this, 
he went on ahead,
 going up to Jerusalem.
 When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, 
at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent
 two of the disciples,
 saying, ‘Go into the 
village ahead of you, 
and as you enter it 
you will find tied 
there a colt that 
has never been ridden. Untie it and bring
 it here. If anyone 
asks you, “Why are you untying it?” just say this: “The Lord needs it.” ’ So those 
who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying
 the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ They said, 
The Lord needs it.’ Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their
 cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading
 their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the
 Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God
 joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,
‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!’
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, order your 

disciples to stop.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones 
would shout out.’ Luke 19:28-40

The Stones Would Shout

No one seems to rise up these days
injustice all around and we watch
silent and busy, turning inward
the sky and the forests are quaking.

We have carelessly damaged much
our comfort being the primary goal
we shoot to kill ask questions later
we are silent and the winds howl.

We were given voice to pray and praise
given sight to see injustice and pain
forgiveness given so we can forgive
yet we are silent as the world crumbles.

We might think all is extremely well 
hearts closed to suffering and need
the pavement beneath is rising up fools
the stones will shout if we do not.

Love is among us and we shun it
hope is rising up despite our ignorance
love will ride in and bring that peace
yet we have become like broken stones.





Thursday, November 29, 2018

Given More


As they were listening to this, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. So he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return. He summoned ten of his slaves, and gave them ten pounds, and said to them, ‘Do business with these until I come back.’ But the citizens of his country hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to rule over us.’ When he returned, having received royal power, he ordered these slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned so that he might find out what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, ‘Lord, your pound has made ten more pounds.’ He said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because you have been trustworthy in a very small thing, take charge of ten cities.’ Then the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your pound has made five pounds.’ He said to him, ‘And you, rule over five cities.’ Then the other came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your pound. I wrapped it up in a piece of cloth, for I was afraid of you, because you are a harsh man; you take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked slave! You knew, did you, that I was a harsh man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money into the bank? Then when I returned, I could have collected it with interest.’ He said to the bystanders, ‘Take the pound from him and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ (And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten pounds!’) ‘I tell you, to all those who have, more will be given; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.’” Luke 19:11-27 
I grew up in a community where some of my neighbors had everything and then some. My parents very little yet they. found ways to give us what we needed and taught us how to be good stewards of what we were given. As a child I wondered why some people are blessed with so much and others have to struggle for their daily bread. I struggled with the notion of the inequities in the world, and still do. I have come to realize, though, that we are entrusted with much and blessed with many gifts and we are invited to put them to good use.
Jesus is facing his final trials and tells his disciples this parable of the harsh ruler. It is a hard parable to understand, yet we are invited to enter into the rough places of real life. The parable is not about God but about our gifts and fears. There is much to fear in life, yet we are invited to use the gifts we have and to use the little we have for good. We can live in fear. We are invited instead to build up, to encourage and to invest every skill we are given without fear, trusting that God will supply the increase.
Today I ask god to help me set aside my fears and offer my gifts and skill for the good of others. May we invest in the things that matter -love, inclusion and justice- so that we might all be generously blessed.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Up A Tree

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

Up A Tree

Hiding in the dark shadows
this bark flaking under me
my life with all my faults
still yearns to see the Light.

I hide my face behind leaves
so green, supple and gentle
above the crowd I breathe
clinging tight as I fear falling,

This height gives me new vision
I can see the rags and the pain
beholding the ache and the ardor
I want to belong among them.

I am found out, being called
terror and hope swirl within me
I scramble down to meet with love
We hurry home to be reborn.


I

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Let Me See Again


Then he 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

I am due for an eye exam and I know that my lenses need correcting. I didn't start wearing glasses until I was in college, unlike two of my sisters and my brother who had them from a young age. I wanted to always have eagle eyes but studying hard and reading a lot changed my eyes. We can have changes to our vision, losses that keep us from seeing things as they are. We can be blinded in many ways, not just physically, but we can shut out things and people we do not want to see. My prayer is, that no matter how challenged my vision might become, I will still have the courage to see what is around me and respond with compassion.

Jesus has told his disciples that his time with them was coming to an end. His face was set for Jerusalem and the final drama. The disciples refused to hear what he was saying, refused to see what was ahead of them. When the blind man interrupts their travel, Jesus doesn't brush him aside, as his disciples want, but rather , he turns and responds to the need in front of him. The disciples' blindness never keeps Jesus from healing. We are invited today to have our eyes and hearts open with the compassion that the world needs right now, right here.

Today, I ask God to give me the capacity to take notice of the needs around me and to respond always with compassion. May we be engaged in the world around us, with our hearts open to the people near us, so that we too can stop and turn bringing hope and healing to our world.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Receive As A Child



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 
The holiday season has begun and we are all inundated with ads for sales, the best Christmas gifts and decorations, etc. We can be overwhelmed by the expectations, both our own and our families. Yet we are reminded that this season is about welcoming a vulnerable, homeless child into the world, the incarnate, living God made flesh. We can get overwhelmed by the constant holiday music and images, or, we can take the time to find our selves as children again bringing that simple joy and wonder to the table.
Jesus is overwhelmed by people bringing their babies to be blessed. The disciples thought Jesus was too busy and too important for this. Yet, just the opposite is the case. Jesus invites us to come as little ones, honest and vulnerable, aware of our needs and pain. Our money and status mean nothing to the Creator, but our open hearts mean everything.
Today I ask God to help me be child like in all my dealings. May we be honest and vulnerable before God and one another, so that we might welcome love in all forms and from all people.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Christ the King

Sunday, November 25th Proper 29 Year B   Christ The King

 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ John 18:33-37

Christ the King

He comes as fragile our lord
a small and needy child
an immigrant and illegal
sought out by the authorities.

Our king teaches us to serve
to bow to the needs of others
to sweep the floors and serve
so that we might share the crown.

The crown of thorns is harsh
yet the power comes from love
a beating heart for all the world
arms that surround the weeping ones.

Sing now as we make new room
clean our hearts for the advent time
our King comes in  sweet humility
the whole world bows down low.

This darkness is but a season
this worry is solely temporary
we will rejoice and sing again
the ruler of our hearts will come.

Humble Will Be Exalted

 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


Humble

We ate a lot this holiday
a simple, humble table
groaning with great food
a family gathered in thanks.

Adorned with many gifts
capable of great mistakes
we gather to remember
how blessed we truly are.

These are days to prepare
our hearts anew for love
our minds to imagine
Creation birthing again.

O come and dwell with us
the scion of hope and joy
come find this humble place
remake us in your image.



Friday, November 23, 2018

Grant Her Justice


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 
It could be called an epidemic because it's a health issue, yet it has been going on for generations. Across this continent, Indigenous women are disappearing, abused, murdered at an alarming rate and no one seems to be willing to do much about it. There has been little justice among for our women, who have been continuously exploited while being made romanticized figures since first encounters. The cries of the women, mothers, and daughters can be heard across the land.
Jesus tells his followers how the Creator works. God is not like the corrupt and lazy judge who gives justice to silence the complainant. Our Creator is one who hears the cries of the beloved people, all of us, and responds swiftly and with love. We are invited to raise our voices at all times, asking for our daily and chronic needs trusting that the Source of love is willing justice and resolution for us.
Today I ask God to help me be persistent in prayer and faithfulness. May we all raise our concerns to the One who made us and Sustains us, so that we may see justice roll down upon the needs of our people.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving Day 2018



Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.”

Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:26-35 
Thanksgiving Day

It's not about the turkey
not the children's table
nor the arguments breaking,
the uncomfortable moments
but about gathering family.

It began and  it continues
as a moment to look inward
realizing that now conquered people
made room for asylum seekers
made a place for the outcast.

We often turn on the ones
who help us when we are low
we reject the memory of pain
pretending we are independent
acting like we were never hungry.

Yet there is bread enough for all
there is room at the table here
where humility and welcome
all great gifts from our Creator
food from heaven for all times.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Turning Back


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 
I often forget things as I am getting ready to go out the door and have to turn back so I don't leave the item behind. It makes me mad with myself when I forget something. It also hurts when I have forgotten to say something to someone, especially it we can talk no longer. Whether, in this season of Thanksgiving, we need to turn back to ask forgiveness or to forgive, to listen to another or say words of hope, whatever it is, it is good to turn back and complete the healing.
Jesus healed a group of people suffering from leprosy. They were shunned and excluded from society and family. Their healing meant they could be with their loved ones again, to touch and be touched by their families. One only turned back to give thanks while the others ran with joy to finally be reunited with spouses and children.  The one, a mortal enemy of Jesus' people, returned and heard words of hope and countless possibilities. We are invited in the coming days to turn, to linger and to wallow in the blessings we have received. As we give thanks, we can be blessed again with new hope and new joy.
Today, I ask God to help me take the time to turn and give thanks for the countless blessings in my life. May we remember to turn, to forgive and ask forgiveness, in this season of Thanksgiving, sharing our new hope and joy with the world.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Stumbling


Jesus said to his disciples, “Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive. And if the same person sins against you seven times a day, and turns back to you seven times and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive.”
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
“Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!'” Luke 17:1-10 
Since my surgery, this summer, I worry a good deal about falling. I stumble because my left leg has little feeling and is weak. What would not have been obstacles once, have now become dangerous if I am not careful. I have to forgive myself for not being able to keep up with the crowd as I recover. Faith is like that as well. We all have times in our lives when our circumstances can cause us to fall.
Jesus is being honest with his followers. They want a magic pill to make them strong in their faith. He answers them with great cautions, telling them they must be always be aware and always forgiving. Faith is a gift which we need to protect by using, a gift we must honor with our compassion and love. We are invited today to be grateful for the blessings of our faith, not fearing weakness and trusting that God is faithful even when we stumble and fall.
Today, I ask God to help me trust in every moment. May our doubts and missteps not define us, but rather, help us to lean on Jesus completely.  

Monday, November 19, 2018

Lazarus



Jesus said, “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:19-31

Oh Lazarus

You had to beg and wait
on the wealthy and haughty
who did not see you and often
never considering your state.

Oh Lazarus, you remind us
of our weakness and our need
we like to believe in strength
we need to know we are winners.

We are the fragile, the broken
we disguise ourselves in furs
drape ourselves in radiant silk
and fume within our frailty.

Oh Lazarus, beloved in poverty
a gem hidden in the dust and ashes
we despise what we truly are
and refuse to sit beside you.

Oh Lazarus, may we all be beggars
honest in our need and insecurities
may we know our home in heaven
ashamed of our selfishness here.