War and peace, the Advent edition

i_am_for_peace_logo (1)To the LORD in the hour of my distress
I call—and he answers me.
“O LORD, save my soul from lying lips,
from the tongue of the deceitful.”
What should he give you, what repay you,
O deceitful tongue?
The warrior’s arrows sharpened,
with red-hot coals from the broom tree!
Alas, that I live in Meshech,
dwell among the tents of Kedar!
I have had enough of dwelling
with those who hate peace.
I am for peace, but when I speak,
they are for war.
Psalm 120

One week ago today, I who –  to quote the psalmist – “am for peace” became consumed with the fire of my own anger. If you do not know what I am talking about, you can read the blog post from that day, but I’m not linking to it. Righteous anger is one thing, but that was something else! Again, referring to the psalm above, “red-hot coals from the broom tree” were Continue reading

Make space

Dec-2014The disciples of John told him about all these things. John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” When the men came to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’”- Luke 7:18-20

Today’s Gospel reminds that that even John, the one who was very clear that Jesus was coming, was unsure of the Jesus that actually showed up. We wait for Jesus now, the same Jesus who has been and always will be in our midst.

Maybe we don’t recognize him because the Jesus we expect is not always the Jesus we  get. It is always a good time to stop and reflect on the Jesus we expect, hope for, believe in.

If we are seeking the Jesus who will take “our side” and “hates all the same people we do,” (thank you Anne) might want to go deeper. Today’s Gospel invites us to that place. The question remains, will we go? And if we do, will we believe?

Advent is the time for making room for Christ to be born in each of us. As I am constantly reminded, that means de-cluttering the messy manger of my own heart. Otherwise, where will unexpected Jesus be born? The one I may “expect” is the one of my own making. Today I pray that I haul that image to the dump, creating the space where love comes in. Want to give me a hand? I could never do this alone. Could you?

What kind of king?

What-kind-of-king-willA good friend who is a college professor called me recently; she expressed frustration about issues around plagiarism and cheating. As she described the scenario to me, I heard two things; the student appeared to be somewhat defensive, and my friend was ready to lay down the law, hard. Curious about the power dynamics, I asked her about what might happen if, instead of starting with force, what if she began with a question.  If nothing else, my friend would gain the element of surprise, as the student was likely geared for a fight. Skeptical, but open, she agreed.

A few days later she texted me, reporting that the meeting went Continue reading

Who can accept it?

Accept ButtonYes, it is Monday, but I am still stuck on Sunday’s Gospel from John that began like this:

Many of Jesus’disciples who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?

My mind Continue reading

Justify my hate…

pray-for-your-enemiesFrom the Gospel today, and continuing into tomorrow…

“You have heard that it was said,‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles.Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Your hatred is not the problem, OUR hatred is.

Your hatred is not the problem, OUR hatred is.

We shoot one another.
We have no respect for the environment.
We often have no respect for Pope Francis.
We might have had no respect for Pope Benedict XVI either, and he was environmentally inclined as well.
We often don’t pay people enough to live.
We have no tolerance for one another.
We are vitriolic towards one another.
We feel entitled to our “things,” because we “earned” them.
We put people to death.
We bomb children.
We starve people.

How are we doing? Do we justify our own hate?

Underachieving by design

'Interesting. . . I see you have a degree in 'Under Achieving'. . .'Another day in Lent, another Gospel challenge. Today – underachieving by design! Yes, you are thinking, “what is she on about now?” You know me, sometimes I like to kid – even, perhaps especially, during Lent.

Achievement. Our world seems pretty much built around it. I worked in the media business for 27 years. My first job was as what was then called (does it even exist now?) “sales assistant.” What did I do? I was a glorified secretary, working for a salesperson. In 1980, this was more likely a man than a woman. If you did your job really well, you would be promoted to – wow, I can’t even remember the title. In was the over-glorified secretary I guess, because you worked for the sales manager, and you supervised the other sales assistants. Yes, I did get this job and I was an incredible disaster at it. At that age I did not have a clue about servant leadership, or that such a thing existed – I was just not ready for any of it.

Today’s Gospel is very clear, if you seek greatness, be willing to serve, not lord your greatness over people. In this passage from Matthew, the mother of the sons of Zebedee approaches Jesus and Continue reading

Step up to the talent show

talent-show-logo-1Have you ever considered entering a talent show? Not me… Oh no, I am far too afraid, and I am pretty sure that if I sang in front of anyone, they would all run, fleeing from the sound.  Public speaking? That I can do with ease, thanks be to God, but acting or singing or dancing on a stage? Which part of no do you not understand?

I bring this up because there has been an itch that I could not quite scratch, since last Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew, the Parable of the Talents. You know, like the kind of itch in the middle part of you back, you can’t quite reach it.

What do you think about that Gospel? If reading blogs and Facebook offers any insight, it is tough Continue reading