Sunday, April 23, 2017

Peace Be With You

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. John 20:19-31

Peace Be With You

There are always scars
even after great healings
the remnant of tearing pain
lingers as a tangible reminder. 

There are always places and times
when we feel like an outsider 
when we feel we are being laughed at
there are always those scars.

There are always those scars
which hold the truth of the pain
that we can touch and remember
giving thanks for that cruel past.

There are always important scars
that take all the doubts away
of life offered and taken away
of life restored and reborn anew.

There are always those scars
but there is also always peace given
reminders of things that were done
washed away by love beyond measure.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Take Courage - Earth Day 2017

Jesus said, “A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.” Then some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying to us, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They said, “What does he mean by this ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing among yourselves what I meant when I said, ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’? Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.
“I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father. On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.” His disciples said, “Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” John 16:16-33 

I plan to spend some time in  the garden, getting things ready for planting and imagining what we can grow this year. We don't have a lot of space, and less with good sunlight, but I try to have a garden where ever we are. It's a small thing to do, to dig in the dirt, planting and tending, helping things to grow. I will not go out and protest or make a statement. Instead, in my very small way I will stand and encourage life, reusing, composting and nurturing this living space, this planet earth, our mother and our island home. The seeds I will plant are not just for beauty and food, but for the soil and the birds, and the other living things that love to eat our vegetable leaves. We share this place, all of us, and it takes great courage to love every bit of it and care for it as family.

Jesus is trying to help his disciples prepare for a life without him. Every day he has been teaching them by words and example. He has taught them to love the least among them, to be light for the world, to be strength in the face of greed and persecution. It has become normal for them to have the teacher with them and to rely completely on him. Now, they will have to use the muscles, the hearts and the love he has instilled in them. They will face great danger. Most of it, as it is for us, is our own fear and anxiety. He calls us all to have courage, we do not have to be in charge, He has conquered the world and we are never alone.

Today I ask God to help me rely on the loving Conqueror for all my needs. May we be caretakers together of the planet and the people who are in our care. May we build up and restore. And may we be courageous as we to stand in up to the presence of greed, abuse and waste in our world today.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Spirit of Truth - Easter Friday

Jesus said, “I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think that by doing so they are offering worship to God. And they will do this because they have not known the Father or me. But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them.
“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16:1-15 

Spirit of Truth 

We have been on the road some time
seeking the road of spirit and truth
we have been misguided and discouraged
but we will not give up this calling.

Beautiful places have turned us away
small, hidden hamlets have made welcome
the overlooked and the forgotten
have become the place where truth is planted.

Love does not regard wealth as happiness
nor power and prominence as real
love digs down to the interior of the soul
into the very heart of people and place.

We will continue to seek the spirit of truth
for God abides with her where she can be found
silently at the break of every new day
she sings her welcome song of thanksgiving.

We will let her teach us what she has to share
find the love which she nurtures and embraces
we will become planted in this rich deep soul
and be a home for all refugees and asylum seekers.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I Will Not Leave You Orphaned

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.
“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way.” John 14:15-31 

I Will Not Leave You Orphaned

The fatherless, motherless weeping child
alone but surrounded by many rules
other children share many beds beside beds
wishing to fall asleep in someone's arms.

The isolated, broken and abandoned
are the ones God seeks out this day
the cuddled and secured and well fed
can find God in their own time.

Love is the greatest unused gift
we have yet to unwrap the potential
to offer our strength and our homes
to the comfortless who carry our God.

Compassion and caring have been left aside
we grovel to earn and to gain power
love lurks in our alleys with the poor
God's love bends in the shadows to feed.

This God who is love cannot be seen
unless we too bend and tarry again
in the dark and lonely waiting rooms
by the tear stained orphan and the bereaved.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Monday

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. John 20:1-18

Easter is a wondrous and most holy day in the church calendar. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus with wonderful music ans pageantry. The rest of the culture has little or no awareness of what is going on. The focus is on new clothes, bunnies and eggs. Very few understand that all of these are symbols of the resurrection. They don't worry about what we do. As it was on that very first Easter, it was a glorious moment witnessed by a very few.

Mary went out early and was hurt and shocked by what she saw. Then the Peter in John, seemingly in a foot race, fearfully went in to the tomb, saw the evidence of his rising and went home, leaving Mary alone again. It seems as if they didn't tell her the good news, as maybe they didn't understand it at that moment. So Mary got a visit by angels. Her weeping and confusing were met with promises from the angels. Even better, she met Jesus face to face and he called her by name. Now for those of us who might be weeping today, or can't deal with the emptiness we see, there is still more to come. A loving God who see our anguish and calls us each by name.

On this Easter Monday I ask God to give me the strength to face the emptiness and trust the angels' message. May we know that we will see him face to face and each be loved and called by name.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Have Pity On Me - Holy Saturday

Have pity on me, have pity on me,
O you my friends,
for the hand of God has touched me!
Why do you, like God, pursue me,
never satisfied with my flesh?

“O that my words were written down!
O that they were inscribed in a book!
O that with an iron pen and with lead
they were engraved on a rock forever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;
and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see on my side,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!” Job 19:21-27a 


In This Darkness

In this darkness we wait weeping
full facing our broken promises
our incurable need to be  important
our self-importance removing love.

In this liminal place there is honesty
knowing how little we deserve the love
understanding for once our foolishness
choked by the damage our pride has done.

The perfect one lies dead and pieced
his flesh marked by human creulty
he healed every disease and torment
and took on the pain we so regularly inflict.

Sit and weigh the fullness of death
there is nothing to hold that will not fade
noone to embrace who will not pass over
not a stitch of fabric that will not rot.

In this darkness I repeat the verses
those I do not deserve to say but learned
at a young age when my heart was pure
trusting that despite myself it will be so.

The ancient promises of prophets and kings
the songs of travelers and refugees
the verses when we lay down at night
the anthems sang as we faced the morning.

In this darkness pity me O God
help me to be prepared for an Easter morn
give us all the trusting hearts of children
and the love unending so undeserved.

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that
 at the last he will stand upon the earth;
and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see on my side,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!


Friday, April 14, 2017

Denial - Good Friday

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.” John 13:36-38 


Today is the day where we face the truth
steel and rough wood and torn flesh
sent to death for our sin, our folly
as the innocent was taken away we denied him.

There is blood on our hands and our faces
we would be safe before we would be faithful
we would skirt the responsibility if possible
better yet put it wholly on another.

What he did we remember this day
our selfishness, hubris and neglect
sent him to a criminal and a terrorist's fate
destruction for him who showed our sins.

We warmed our hands by the fire
accepting thirty pieces of silver for it all
we cried Barabbas with the rest of the crowd
we let him wash our feet and we slept.

Years have passed and yet we still
choose convenience rather than compassion
bargain with the known evil in our world
instead of building sanctuaries of love.

Today is the day we face the truth
a day of steel, rough wood and torn flesh
one alone suffered for our barbarism
one alone suffers still as the bombs fall.