Thursday, August 25, 2016

Teaching from God

About the middle of the festival Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. The Jews were astonished at it, saying, “How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?” Then Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him.
“Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?” The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is trying to kill you?” Jesus answered them, “I performed one work, and all of you are astonished. Moses gave you circumcision (it is, of course, not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), and you circumcise a man on the sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man’s whole body on the sabbath? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah? Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come. Yet many in the crowd believed in him and were saying, “When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?”
The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering such things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent temple police to arrest him. Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little while longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will search for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.” The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, ‘You will search for me and you will not find me’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?” John 7:14-36 

Teaching From God

They rounded us up like  frightened cattle
herding onto  rattling trucks and trains
taking us away from sobbing parents
sending us far away to fix us.

Our hair was cut and faces scrubbed clean
our  sweet mother tongues were banished
replaced by harsh tones and strict lives
we lived to dream our pain away at night.

At night we dreamed of gentler homes
where fires roasted our familiar dinners
we ate with elders and babies gathered around
tears trickle out as we remember mamas.

We climbed fences and were gathered up
we chose to die rather than to be abused
we chose the teaching of God rather than
the teaching of those who tried to fix us.

We were laid to rest in foreign fields
but we are remembered to this day
the love of God did not die with us
our spirits embody this coming generation.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Greater Things Than These

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 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 1:43-51 

Greater Things Than These

This is sacred land being destroyed
these are holy people being poisoned
elders and babies put at greater risk
so we can enjoy easy access to cheap fuel.

Now is the time for believers to rise
we are being called to greater things
we need to move mountains and rulers
we need to change selfish hardened hearts.

Seeing under a fig tree into his heart
is easier than stopping this plague of greed
which flows across our holy island
taking from the depths of our mother's heart.

It is the time to come out from the shade
stand in the intense august sunlight 
God is standing with those cherish the people
God is encamped with the most vulnerable.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

To Whom Can We Go?

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”
Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.” He was speaking of Judas son of Simon Iscariot, for he, though one of the twelve, was going to betray him.John 6:60-71 

To Whom Can We Go?

We've been on this path so long
rolled over by crisis and storms
the lessons so hard we want to turn
but to whom can we truly go?

There is no place left for us now
we are refugees on a holy journey
we seek only to follow the teacher's path
to tend the gardens that he has planted.

There is no other way but forward
facing the rising sun with new prayers
singing and drumming as we go together
a people sent forth and following.

We face scorching noontime heat
and rolling waves ready to consume
high tides and droughts in our ministry
and yet we face the trip ahead with joy.

Lift up your heads oh suffering servants
love has risen and found you here
you are not lost but on a sacred path
and you are never alone nor aboandoned.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Abide In Me

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. John 6:52-59 

Abide In Me

We call each other home
secured in the intertwining
blessed by interdependence
transformed daily by love.

We cannot be undone or separated
even when at a great distance
we are soundly secured together
bound securely in our waking and dreams.

Abiding takes time and commitment
to dwell closely, sharing everything
every sorrow and joy in common
every task and every labor combined.

True food and true drink found in the bond
love's vines wrapping us all together
never alone in the darkness and loss
always lifted in love form the storms.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Healing and Rest

Now Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, "Woman, you are set free from your ailment." When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, "There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day." But the Lord answered him and said, "You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?" When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing. Luke 13:10-17

Sundays in my house growing up were kept as a Sabbath. After Sunday services, when my dad worked pretty hard, we came home, ate and all rested. It was boring as a child. My parents believed in naps, even when we didn't want to take them. When we came across country, when I was a baby, my mother strung a small hammock between the seats. We always found places to sleep, often inventive places. I learned recently from a brain specialist that it is only when we truly sleep that I bodies can do the work of healing. It doesn't happen when we are awake and working.

Jesus changes a woman's life taking pain and disfigurement away and giving her new hope and new life. He does it on the Sabbath and engenders the wrath of the religious leaders. They couldn't have known that healing only happens when there is deep rest. Jesus knew that healing and rest go hand in hand, mending only happens when there is sabbath. God invites us to seek healing in those deep places of rest, those places of sabbath, where worship and beauty can be fully celebrated. God invites us to be those who make places of deep rest and sabbath.

Today I ask God to Help me be a person of rest and healing. May we live lives of invitation, beauty and rest and may we help God's healing be available to all.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

All Taught By God

Then the Jews began to complain about Jesus because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” John 6:41-51 

All Taught By God

Often we have been told we are inferior
less than those who settled on our land
hair cut off and our languages abolished
and we are all taught by the Creaotr.

They tried to break our spirits and our wills
but in our night dreaming we heard drums
we danced and laughed to the old tunes
and watched the elders as they talked all night.

We are pushed to the margins and still holy
ignored and abused and still beloved and chosen
misunderstood and put behind glass in museums
and we are all taught by our Divine Creator.

God chose to leave none of us behind
despite the controlling rules of authorities
despite classrooms stiff and unbending
God in in our hearts and we will flourish still.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Bread Of Life

Jesus said, “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. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.” John 6:27-40 

Our granddaughter went to church with us last Sunday. She informed me that she did not want to drink the "beer" she had the last time. I told her she did not have to or she could dip the wafer in the wine as it went by. She chose to dip and then returned to her seat to describe how bland and sticky the wafer was. She was confused and wanted explanations of why we do what we do.It is always important to see our rituals through the eyes and experience of those who do not regularly participate. We so often talk of Jesus as the bread of Life and then offer bland wafers and yucky "beer" to symbolize the transcendent incarnate presence of Jesus.

The disciples and followers of Jesus were confused by his language as well. They saw thousands fed to overflowing and thought they had finally gotten to the point where they did not have to worry over where their next meal was coming from. Humans ache for security and mostly we think very concretely. Jesus wanted them to see the larger picture, God's constant and abiding love for them. They wanted tangible assurances. Jesus wanted them to know that they would not be lost, they were truly provided for and yet they wanted simpler explanations and some guarantees. We are no different. God invites us today to not worry about the details because God is truly in charge and we will be fed and cared for. The promise still holds, "I will lose nothing of all the is given me."

Today I ask God to help me let go out anxiety over details and trust God with the solutions. May we not spend our time in worry but trust God to find a way through the darkest moments and abundant resources amidst our scarcity and fear.