Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Sower

Jesus said, “Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” Matthew 13:18-23

The Sower

We plant but not always harvest
we give love yet it is not returned
we teach yet some do not learn
nothing goes to waste in this garden.

When we take too much others starve
when we leave too much some rot
when we tenderly care there's abundance
when God is among us we thrive.

This garden is never perfected
it is hardscrabble and overgrown
yet the Creator who walks among us
still hopes we will grow up strong.

We strive to tend and to care
to love, forgive and be renewed
for each in their season delights us
each in time gives their all.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Seeing and Hearing

Then the disciples came and asked Jesus, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He answered, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’ With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says:

‘You will indeed listen, but never understand,
and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing,
and they have shut their eyes;
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn –
and I would heal them.’

“But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” Matthew 13:10-17

Seeing and Hearing

They stumble around on streets
ears plugs with headphones
eyes glued to a tiny screen
thinking they are multi-tasking.

Constantly hearing their music
always taking in their new feed
regularly not seeing their neighbor
always missing the possibilities.

We live in a world we consume
yet we are still hungry and yearning
full to the max and laden with devices
love and hapiness elude us all.

Hear the whisper of God's voice
found with the birdsong of morning
see the invitation of Creation
caught up in the winds of change.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Teaching from the Water

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!” Matthew 13:1-9 
I have learned a great deal when by the sea, some about the ocean itself and much about my own self. A calm ocean can invite serious reflection, while the rough, turbulence can encourage a sturdiness and strength. We often need to go to different and challenging places to truly learn. I often need to be in challenging situations to know my own strength and capacity.
Jesus sat in a boat to teach because of the crowd. And, the unique circumstances helped them to focus on the parables, the picture stories, he was telling. He invited them to imagine a familiar scene, and take away the importance of deep learning, the kind that calls for furtile soil, an open mind and a ready heart.
Today, I ask God to help me always have and open mind and a ready heart. We have so much to learn in order to be strong and faithful. May we be stretched so that love can fill us again.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Love One Another

Jesus said to his disciples, “I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
“If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world-- therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.’
“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.” John 15:17-27

Love One Another

She takes in foster children
the world had rejected often
to give food and a bit of hope
a respite from a broken world.

When seeing all children as family
we know the whole creation as relatives
we walk wtih tenderness and joy
we dance with tears and expectations.

Love is neither flowery nor simple
not a greeting card or a poem
but daily labor and forgiveness
praying always for the unseen healing.

We are commanded to love one another
the hardest commandment to keep
yet we can change the world with love
 making  all strangers into family.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Humble Prayer

Jesus 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

We often compare ourselves to others. Admit it. We know we are prettier or smarter than some, less beautiful and wealthy than others. We judge others' clothing and their jobs. It is when we get to know them, we see how truly magnificent and broken they are, how human and ridiculous as we are. It is in relationships where our hearts are open to a different way of seeing and behaving.

Jesus told a story of the way people can be. One thinks they are high and mighty, and the other thinks himself a sinner. Both are flawed and broken individuals, no matter how they carry on or pray. God invites us to a new humility, where gratitude and forgiveness can pour over us.

Today, I ask God to help me be humble and compassionate with others. May we step away from judgement and let in the light of love.

Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Queen of the South

Jesus said, “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to him, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth. The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here! The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here!” Matthew 12:33-42
Queen of the South

The wise women elders know
that the world has turned cold
cold to the needs of the people
uncaring for the plight of children.

They gather and send us out
to seek the wisdom and truth
to look the corrupt in the face
reminding them of justice.

The wise women tend gardens
they raise their children well
their trees are full of good fruit
folks flock to the for understanding.

The wisdom of our age is wealth
corruption, consumption and greed
our Mother earth is burning up
our warrior women are rising up.

Come to the circle all who ache
for justice, kindness and peace
the daughters of God are rising
to bring a new love to our earth.

Friday, October 25, 2019

A House Divided

Then they brought to Jesus a demoniac who was blind and mute; and he cured him, so that the one who had been mute could speak and see. All the crowds were amazed and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.” He knew what they were thinking and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own exorcists cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property, without first tying up the strong man? Then indeed the house can be plundered. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” Matthew 12:22-32 
We live in perilous times, when neighbors seem divided and the sense of community is being eroded. Self-reliance, individual over others and fear seem to be in the water. We divide up quickly over issues. Yet, we are people of one nation, we live side by side with folks with the same needs, and we actually rely on the goodness of others for our survival. If the people aim for love, inclusion and support, nothing can tear them down or divide them.
Jesus is criticzed for healing. The fear that wells up in humans when the unexplained happens is quite stunning. The want to find evil intent. Yet the daily offering from God is always love and healing, refreshment and grace. If we let fear be our motivator we are doomed. We are invited today to let love be our guide, love be our ground of being. 
Today I ask God to let love be the motivation for everything I do. Let us take the side of love and justice, knowing that God will supply strength and companions on our journey of faith.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Bringing Justice

When Jesus became aware of this, he departed. Many crowds followed him, and he cured all of them, and he ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah:

“Here is my servant, whom I have chosen,
my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not wrangle or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
He will not break a bruised reed
or quench a smoldering wick
until he brings justice to victory.
And in his name the Gentiles will hope. Matthew 12:15-21

Bringing Justice

Their bodies lie hidden 
families cry out loud
children ache for Mama
there is no justice here.

Our daughter and mothers
missing and feared dead
their spirits aching our hearts
their homelands torn apart.

Many have taken the Gospel
made it part of their being
yet the silence has raised evil
which feeds on racial fears.

They cry out from tombs
they sings honor songs from prison
they chant to the four winds
for God to bring justice to victory.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

I Desire Mercy

At that time Jesus went through the cornfields on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. When the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, ‘Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.’ He said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him or his companions to eat, but only for the priests. Or have you not read in the law that on the sabbath the priests in the temple break the sabbath and yet are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice”, you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.’
He left that place and entered their synagogue; a man was there with a withered hand, and they asked him, ‘Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath?’ so that they might accuse him. He said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has only one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath; will you not lay hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.’ Then he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and it was restored, as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. Matthew 12:1-14

Humans love to judge others and find fault in others. It keeps us from taking the time to examine our own hearts. We push others away because of their faults and inadequacies, while thinking ourselves superior. The act of judging and condemning others immediately makes us less than. We miss opportunities of companionship and mercy everyday by our judgements.

Jesus finds himself judged by the religious leaders for eating on the sabbath. He goes on to heal the man with a withered hand. God's love is not judgement and God's mercy is not found in rules and exclusion. We are invited today to seek out the lost and to embrace those who can't fit in, because as we do we will find God at work.

Today, I ask God to help me set aside judgement and always act with mercy. May we go to the margins to find God at work today.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

My Yoke is Easy

At that time Jesus said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ Matthew 11:25-30

This morning,  getting up early to ride a bus into the city, I look at the faces. There is very little joy apparent.  Some steely determination, some high, protective walls,  and some anguish at what they face today.  Very few seem unburdened.

Jesus invites his followers to come along with him. He promises a light burden and an easy yoke. Some days that seems impossible.  Yet, when we realize our burdens are shared by the Divine, everything is a little lighter.

Today,  I ask God to help me see the companions on the way. May we all be grateful for our fellow travelers,  including God who shoulders all our burdens.

Monday, October 21, 2019

You Did Not Dance

Jesus said, “But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,

‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you.” Matthew 11:16-24

You Did Not Dance

Pushing on and off of the subway car
music soars and lifts right by you
head buried in your tiny handheld screen
you miss the life breath sent your way.

There were sweet children laughing 
nearby your walk, you passed unnoticing
head full of important meetings and words
that noone will ever remember being said.

The light filters through autumn leaves
those that clung fiercely to the trees
their colors, gold, red and yellow orange
were wasted on your very self-importance.

The life we have been given is fleeting
daily we ignore the miracles around us
yet in each moment of ignoring others
we miss seeing the face of our Creator.