Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Cured Instantly


When they came to the crowd, a man came to Jesus, knelt before him, and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:14-21

Cured Instantly

I ached to be someone other than me
to fit in to be the right size with blond hair
to never be on the outside but in the center
not to be haunted by painful self doubt.

I thought I was alone in this ache
feeling possessed by demons and desires
wanting to be anything but this oddity
praying for an instant cure to what I am.

No disciple on this earth then or now
had enough faith to change the boy then
and now we often ask for a different self
when God has blessed us richly so.

And faith increased when I accepted all
the demons, the dents and the dimples
the failure that taught me great things
and the solace I found in true honesty.


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Entrusted with Talents


Jesus said, “It is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. For to all 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. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” Matthew 25:14-30

We all want to hide and run when life overwhelms us, when what we offer has been rejected and our person-hood is overlooked. We are reluctant and fearful to share after we have been abused and taken advantage of by bullies and cruel people. I am often reluctant to share from the heart because sometimes, even within the church, I have been shamed and set aside. Yet this is the awkward and tender place where God meets us, right in the midst of our fears and inadequacies. 

Jesus tells the parable of the master who leave certain sums with his slaves. We all cringe at this parable, especially on pledge Sundays and during Stewardship campaigns. We are all more like the one who was fearful and buried his share. We are so afraid of losing that we keep back way to much of ourselves, we bury it deep and deprive the community of our gifts. God invites in this season to let go of fear and live generously, understanding that there is always more from God than we can expect in the leaner and anxious seasons of our lives.

Today, I ask God to help me to offer myself and to not turn away from generosity and sharing. May our hurts be healed and our fears quieted so that we can invest ourselves in the places where we are called and with the people who have been given to us.

 

The Collect

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Take Up Your Cross

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 16:21-28 

Take Up Your Cross

My cross is made of driftwood
surprisingly light but battered
full of the memories of loss and failure
pot marked by every storm of life.

My cross is found on the sand
in the liminal places of ebb and flow
where the receeding tide discloses all
where forgiveness has been in short supply.

My cross is rough around the edges
like me filled with both pain and joy
trying to pretend that all is truly well
while terrified as a small vunerable child.

My cross is a gift and for me a sign
that my burdens will be lifted daily
my troubles have been buried deep
my failures have been taken out to sea.


Friday, November 17, 2017

Loosed on Earth and Heaven


Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. Matthew 16:13-20 

Loosed on Earth

When as a child I clung to you
you let me knowing I needed it
you wrapped me tight and swaddled
so that I could one day be set free.

We have the keys to binding and loosing
we often mix them up thinking it love
we want to hold those who need freedom
binding those who are ready to fly.

We memorize their every movement
thinking that we are living love
when we are simply not forgiving them
for growing beyond their ancient need.

May we set free those we love
so they might love beyond our imagining
watering seeds planted in other places
freeing memory space for new delights.

 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Beware of the Yeast Of Pharisees


The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test Jesus they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Then he left them and went away.
When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch out, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They said to one another, “It is because we have brought no bread.” And becoming aware of it, Jesus said, “You of little faith, why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How could you fail to perceive that I was not speaking about bread? Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!” Then they understood that he had not told them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Matthew 16:1-12 

The seduction of power, influence and money are great in our present world. A debate rages that should never even have to happen. A man of great influence and power abused young girls for his own pleasure and not everyone condemns the behavior. Simply said, what poor and minorities go to jail for, our leaders with money and influence (and religious support) seem to think they are beyond reproach. Not one of us is beyond reproach. And God loves to feed, cloth and heal the humble, the victims, the prisoners and the marginalized.

Jesus' disciples are concerned about his words and their own failure. His words about yeast confuse them and they blame themselves. He invites them to trust God to provide and not to put their trust in wealth and power, for they are corrupting influences always. God invites us to deepen our trust and depend on the Creator for all our needs.

Today, I ask God to help me pray in every moment and seek holy guidance in every circumstance. The desire for financial comfort and political influence can overwhelm us, yet we are nestled in the heart of God and our needs will be met, day by day.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Divine Compassion


After Jesus had left that place, he passed along the Sea of Galilee, and he went up the mountain, where he sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the maimed, the blind, the mute, and many others. They put them at his feet, and he cured them, so that the crowd was amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.
Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.” The disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in the desert to feed so great a crowd?” Jesus asked them, “How many loaves have you?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” Then ordering the crowd to sit down on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish; and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all of them ate and were filled; and they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. Those who had eaten were four thousand men, besides women and children. After sending away the crowds, he got into the boat and went to the region of Magadan. Matthew 15:29-39 

Divine Compassion

Rising up in the human heart
seeing the face of God in another
knowing that living is painful
making joy a regular daily gift.

Feeding meals on holidays
a nice gesture yet not compassion
which stops for the hungry
when there is no special day.

Momentary compassion cannot mend
a lifetime of cruel and nasty greed
nor replace the grinding poverty
nor mend the displaced refugees.

Only divine compassion pushes us
moment by moment deeper to darkness
daily to the edges of civilization
to the deserts where God's people dwell.



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Even the Dogs


Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.  Matthew 15:21-28 

Even the Dogs 

There is nothing like a mother's love
so fierce, so strong and so determined
that will grab the coats of angels and demons
to help and protect a troubled child.

The heart of God leaps into a mother's breast
while fighting to bring the child to earth
lodged there permanently for her offspring
no matter how troubled and broken.

She will persist when others give up
she will follow the principals and leaders
she will testify on the senate floor
and stand her ground fearless and determined.

A mother will grab the Savior's coat
holding on until there is an answer
the cure that her child needs is found
in the faith of the mother's God given heart.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Keep Awake


Jesus said, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”  Matthew 25:1-13

I really enjoy sleeping and when I cannot, I know myself to be cranky and easily confused. People talk these days of mindfulness which is really another term for being awake and prepared. This keeping awake, is not about losing sleep, but rather, being present in everything, with everyone. We wander the world, glued to our devices, completely unaware of the world around us. We cannot be blessed, transformed or delighted, if we are so shut off from our own lives and those around us.

We are almost to Advent and our Gospel readings begin to prepare us for that time of waiting and watching. Jesus was warning those who thought themselves part of the in crowd, who didn't have to change, grow or welcome others, might find themselves unready to receive God's blessing. Their preconceived notions of God's presence and their greatness would be challenged, as ours are today. Yet we are invited to open our hearts to the new ways Christ will come into our lives.

Today, I ask God to give me an open heart and mind so that I might grow and change as I am called to be. May our age or status not be an obstacle to our willingness to delight in God's blessings, especially when they arrive in odd packages and in different ways than we might expect.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Walking On the Water


Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret. After the people of that place recognized him, they sent word throughout the region and brought all who were sick to him, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed. Matthew 14:22-36

Walking On Water

So terrified of the wind and waves
the sound roaring all around my head
a glimmer of possibility just out of reach
I am called to step out of the boat.

There rocking has made us all unstable
we pray for a ceasing and a new calm
yet the voice calls me beyond this fear
beyond the trembling and this worry.

There is no security beyond a small boat
so well known and never has failed me
why would I leave what I know well
to sink in the roiling water just beyond?

I am called beyond this humble boat
so must step out and prepare to sink
for the holy is just beyond my reach
and will hold me tight when I sink.



Friday, November 10, 2017

Leftovers


Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 14:13-21

When I hear stories of miracles and abundance, I always wonder about the leftovers and those not counted. I wonder about how the Gospel writers, such products of their culture, most often failed to recognize the women and children in their midst. In these days, of the heighten awareness of the abuse women have suffered at the hands of powerful men, I cannot help but wonder if the leftovers, the barely mentioned, the absolute others, were not the ones who helped make the miracle happen. It was likely a woman that baked the bread and supplied the loaves and fishes. It was a mother aching for healing that pushed a small child to offer up everything they had for the sake of abundance for all.

Jesus, in an attempt to be alone to pray, after his cousin was killed, was mobbed by needy, aching people. They came and found hope and healing. On top of that they found abundance beyond their understanding. Someone overlooked woman and child offered a little and the Incarnate One transformed the very little in to a vast supply. We  are invited by God, to offer our little, however overlooked and leftover we might feel, knowing that God can transform our gift into a great banquet.

Today, I ask God to help me continue to offer what I have despite moments of being sidelined and feeling overlooked. May we all be renewed by the possibility of grateful sharing, which, in the hands of the Divine, can be transformed into a great celebration.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Dancing Before the Company


At that time Herod the ruler heard reports about Jesus; and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he has been raised from the dead, and for this reason these powers are at work in him.” For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had been telling him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Though Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded him as a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and she pleased Herod so much that he promised on oath to grant her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” The king was grieved, yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. The head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother. His disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus. Matthew 14:1-12

Dancing Before the Company

Oh how wondrous it could be
to influence all the powers by a dance
to have enemies destroyed by a tease
to silence the critics in a moment.

There is absolute tyranny in this
to desire the destruction of enemies
to ache for the death of the righteous
who point out our obvious flaws.

We were once children to fumed
at those who teased and those who won
the gifted and despicable that rubbed in
their wealth and worth to our shame.

We are no longer childish nor fools
we can choose to look on the petty
the selfish and the ladders climbers
as those who never knew real love.




Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Without Honor


When Jesus had finished these parables, he left that place. He came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue, so that they were astounded and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these deeds of power? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house.” And he did not do many deeds of power there, because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:53-58

Sometimes our hometowns think of us with pride, but most of the time, people cannot forget what uncoordinated fools we were as children and teenagers. People who know us well won't often let us forget our mistakes. And honestly, we are guilty of the same. We like to remind old friends of the clumsy moments, and silly things we used to do. Yet many have grown and become something more than the limited expectations of the times. Are we able to truly welcome the whole person many have become?

Jesus has done some spectacular healing and wondrous teaching. Then he goes home and faces the ordinariness, the remembered childhood, the place that cannot see him as the gift he has become. We might now see the completeness, but they could not, just as we often cannot see the completeness of our family members and old friends. We are invited by God to be surprised and grateful for the people our family, old friends, and children. In celebrating their wholeness, we recognize the divine touch within us all.

Today, I ask God to help me live with my eyes open and welcoming changes in people and circumstances. May we all welcome and celebrate the divine touch in one another, so the world might be transformed by the love we share.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Hidden Treasure


Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Matthew 13:44-52

Hidden Treasure

I am a seeker for treasure hidden
within the heart of God and here
among the people who ache, grieve
that love does not captain the ship.

We live in a time when rich hoard
the poor are seen as weak and lazy
the broken are guilty of some mistake
and guns belong in everyone's hands.

There is no living compassion in terror
no one sought to care for the broken
the innocent children and women cry out
for prayer warriors to get up and serve.

The abused know it wasn't their fault
the selfish and angry blame them so
yet  sick white boys still get many guns
we turn a blind eye as we kneel and pray.

Let us get up and seek the treasure
Surely God would have us live another way
standing with the victims and fighting
for an end to excuses and beginnings of love.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Good and Bad Seed


Then Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!” Matthew 13:36-43

Good and Bad Seed

The monsters of our movies are not like us
selfish, violent and under an evil cloud
we feel distant and superior to all the bad
happy and smug in our constant denial.

Too often we imagine ourselves superior
when we are broken, tearing into others
torturing our families with our obsessions
breaking hearts as we give in to addiction.

We pretend to be righteous and relevant
while we avoid the poor and dirty street people
the beloved of God make us uncomfortable
they are too real and too very honest.

These are who we could become today
the ones who search for God in the margins
the followers who lift up the lowly
sharing the good blessings of God's abundance.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Greatest as Servant


Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father-- the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:1-12

I have been acquainted with several church leaders who take on their ministry as if they were CEOs of a corporation or an elected official. They pay big bucks for coaches who tell them how to keep their power and how to yield to no one. This has always startled me. I always understood our coaches to be found in prayer and confession, always Humbly seeking spiritual advice for the challenges of any given day.  I really struggle to be a servant daily and it is that roll to which I am called in all things.

Jesus has watched his religious leaders garner power and destroy others. They served no one except themselves. We are advised to not model our behavior on the wealthy, the powerful or those who cannot bend and live humbly. We are called to leave fame aside and serve the people at margins of our world. We are to lift up the lowly, empowering the least among to be strong. We are encouraged to leave self aside so that there is room enough for all.

Today I ask God to help me be a servant in all things. May we never seek our own gain but rather seek to lift others up. May the world be enriched by our humble service and may we leave only the marks of true love.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Mustard Seed and Yeast


Jesus put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.” Jesus told the crowds all these things in parables; without a parable he told them nothing. This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet:
“I will open my mouth to speak in parables;
I will proclaim what has been hidden from the foundation of the world.” Matthew 13:31-35 


Mustard Seed

We will grow taller than we could hope
we will rise higher than any single loaf
we will stand together and have faith
for these troubles are but  ways to shine.

Rise up then and let go of  grey despair
the darkness has passed beyond our door
the horrors of yesterday do not limit us
all the tomorrows are ahead of us now.

Sing out loud in the brittle morning
love beyond measure the cruel and unkind
tell the story of blessings upon you
make the greedy ashamed for their pettiness.

Love might be still and almost silent now
but it will rise and cover you with shade
it will abide  throughout when all else fails
and you will shine for others in this darkness.



Thursday, November 2, 2017

Sown on Good Soil



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 

Sown on Good Soil

When life's abundance passes us by
We may fell as if we are bad seed
or seed tossed in the road and levled
busted open by the worries of the world.

We might have thought ourselves oak trees
with potential to tower over and shade all
later as life has worn us down we fear
that we are but weeds in someone else's garden.

Though it may feel accidental and casual
divine love has not passed us all by
these days of crushing sorrow and loss
we make us into great vines to feed many.

We are twisted now but will flourish
we are bent now but will rise up again
we are resting in our winter's shawl
awaiting rebirth as love calls us forth.





 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

All Saints' Day


When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:1-12

Twenty years ago today we stood in Jamestown together. Both in the Tower church and at the Shrine, we gathered to remember the first encounters of the Church of England and the Indigenous peoples at the site of the first permanent English settlement. The original Jamestown Charter directed the settlers to bring the light of Christ to the savages suffering in darkness. And we gathered 390 years afterwards to declare a change of the way the Episcopal Church was going to engage with our peoples. Persecution, subjugation and cultural exclusion were to be things of the past. After 20 years, we have not may the progress many of us there had hoped for. Many of our leaders are now numbered among the saints. 

Jesus reminds us today of how blessed we are despite what people or structures might do. We have been peacemakers, the merciful, the righteous and the persecuted. And we are reminded today to take heart, for, despite what they world does, what ill-guided leaders might do, what governments of churches do, we are still blessed and loved. 

Today, I ask God to help me go on with joy and hope in my heart. May we remember the great cloud of witnesses, who have gone before us, and who now surround us, and move on despite all of the challenges and obstacles we face.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Beside the Sea


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 






Beside the Sea

On this All Hallows' Eve my soul
aches to be beside the sea once more
my holy birthplace and my restoration
deep understanding as the waves roll.

My toes desire the feel the chilly surf
my face and chest want to breathe salt air
all of me is seeking redemption now
in this season of dark and turning.

There is beauty all around me always
yet it can be hidden by a broken heart
it can be invisible when one is trembling
love can seem so completely out of reach.

It is her waves and her majestic tides
always turning always bringing in again
the lost, the broken and the barely living
lifting all the sinking boats around me.

Let us today seek out our baptismal place
the place of turning dunking and welcome
the home that changes and yet always ready
to receive the homeless and the new seed.
 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Who Is Family?


Jesus said, “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but it finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So will it be also with this evil generation.”
While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:43-50 

Who Is Family?

So often excluded and set aside
some wander the lanes and cafes
looking for people who understand
seeking those who might welcome.

My family is black, red, brown and white
mixed up and scrambled all together
my people are those who make strangers
into family welcomed at the table.

So many close their doors to difference
they close their doors to their own blood
the ones who look or love differently
too often excluded by Jesus' followers.

Yet God is the source of all true love
and God throws the doors open wide
this family is not exclusive or rigid
God's family is all scrambled together.


 

Friday, October 27, 2017

A Kingdom 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 a very divided, very contentious country. We also have known and do know a divided church at times. We have all witnessed when people of good will are shut down for political reasons, for greed and so one ego can triumph over another. All of our divisions are fear based. When we choose for self and not for God, when we choose power instead of love, we all loose. There is no gain in strident winning.

The religious leaders were trying to take Jesus down because they were afraid his love and healing would "win" the day. He knew their hearts, they were not in their roles for God but for power. He knew their fears and offered them the truth. Love cannot be destroyed by petty despots. God's goodness and abundance is given freely, is never shut out, never lost despite the politics and potentates of the day. God invites us to double our efforts for love and healing. There is no power in the world that can conquer the love of God!

Today, I ask God to help me love those who differ from me, those who are trying to destroy me and my ministry and those who wish to do others harm. May we pray for those who oppose us and  double our efforts to give the world the love of God, so needed today.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Proclaim 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


When Americans think about justice, they often think about our courts and policing system, a TV show called Law and Order, or the fictitious superheroes that they admire. We don't often think about Christians, followers of Jesus, as a justice league. More often Christians are considered judgement leagues, condemning " lifestyles ", cultures, immigrants and other religions.

Jesus calls us to bring justice in his name to the gentiles - to those who in his time were outside the faith, culture, practices, orientation and race. If we want peace, someone once said, then we need to work for justice. God invites us not to isolate ourselves from others, but rather, seek our the other, and stand with them in their darkest days.

Today, I ask God to help me stand with the "other" and fight for justice in our time. May we know the light of God as we serve the least among us and as we welcome the outcast and the stranger for love's sake.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I Desire Mercy




At that time Jesus went through the grainfields 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.” Matthew 12:1-14 

I Desire Mercy

How I would love to live here
where mercy and love overflow
where light is refracted through hope
where competition and greed are not.

We live in a world of crushing cruelty
where the poor as shamed as the lazy
when sick need to beg for basic care
where children go to bed hungry daily.

There is plenty for all and abundance
yet some would choose to hoard all
power corrupts and makes judgements
on those whose sin is simply skin color.

How I ache to see the rainbow return
the living waters running over all
children with full bellies laughing
no one refused because of their lack.

Today we will pick the grain heads
we will walk and continue the journey
we will persevere for justice and love
praying in the night and at dawn.





Tuesday, October 24, 2017

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

My Yoke Is Easy

Oh the mornings I try to get up
yet pain and fear restrain me
facing a day of adversaries
is something I cannot do alone.

I bind myself to Jesus then
in treacherous times like these
when power and money control
love and compassion thrown aside.

Oh let me sing and dance again
with the joy that only God gives
in darkest night and hardest days
may I plow along side the King.

My burden may seem onerous
the strain the toil unending
yet God is working through me
love will certainly conquer all.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sheep Among Wolves


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.” Matthew 10:16-22

Over the past months, I have had some disheartening experiences where people have attacked me and my ministry. It feels like they are after blood and it hurts me deeply. Sometimes it is easier to recover from physical bruises than the psychological and spiritual ones. I can hear my mother reminding me, " when you are getting close to God, the devil starts working overtime!" It can be hard to step aside from the anger and hurt to remain humble and to continue to do God's work in these kind of times. But we must persevere, for we are never alone.

Jesus cautions the disciples that their ministries will not be easy. And he cautions us. For the disciples,  their precious friend and Savior promised there would be words when needed and we those who endure will be saved. And so will we - be given words when needed and we will never be abandoned or let go. Those who are willing to be humble and to serve will have what they need for each day.

I ask God to help me let go of hurts and humble myself in service. May we remember that we will not be abandoned nor left with out what we need at the time of testing. And may we use our hours and days in compassionate service for the whole world.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Give to God


The Pharisees went and plotted to entrap Jesus in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away. Matthew 22:15-22

The challenging part of every new year, is not the resolutions to keep, or learning to write the new year on a letter or a check. Really, it is trying to make sure all the previous year's receipts are gathered, collated and added up for taxes. We then send them off to a guy we know who is a specialist in clergy taxes. Clergy taxes are a unique challenge and very, very complicated. We decided a long time ago to get someone to help us with our taxes in order to keep us sane. I have often wondered how much help most of us get to know what we need to give to God. Or do we just guess?

Jesus is being tested, which seems to be a sport for the Pharisees. Actually it seems that Jesus makes them nervous. So they try to trip him but he answers simply and confounds them all. They had rules but lived by the letter of the law rather than by God's intention. God's intention is always for compassion, healing and generosity. We are invited to put our best forward for God, to be generous so that we might bring God's love to this world.

Today, I ask God to give me the strength to give my best at all times and to live for others. May we not focus on the small worries of our lives but rather give our best and know God will supply the rest.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Listen!


As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’

“Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. Let anyone with ears listen!” Matthew 11:7-15

Listen

Can you silence your internal dialogue
your need to be heard, front and center?
Will you take the time to quiet down
and hear the heartbeat of a loving God?

We are here to welcome and to serve
we are made for loving and caring
can we listen to the needs of those around
and act for those who cannot move?

The day by day loud shouting voices
will not listen nor will they hear
the singing, laughing joy of those
who within God deems to dwell.

Come dance with those who once
could not walk or who could not see
come rejoice with those who once
could not hear the whisper of the Creator.

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.

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 God to help me see the need and offer myself to rEsmond to that need. May we all have the courage to step forward to be empowered by God's love.