Monday, September 12, 2016

Seventy Three: A Psalm Reconsidered 
Written Saturday, July 23, 2016
Even in light of my intimate knowledge of the goodness of God toward His people,
Even in that knowledge, I have stumbled.
I have headed down the slippery slopes of envy and my own sense of justice,
My own arrogant sense of what a person's priorities should be.

When I observe the laying up of treasures with which the well off are occupied -
Look at their fat bodies, their carefully maintained hair and teeth.
In my own pride-filled judgment I suss out their satisfied smirk -
At the success in financial planning, at their career fame.
They wear the harm they do those in need like a diamond brooch.
Observe - they do not suffer like the widows and orphans,
Therefore they lay the blame for suffering at the feet of it's victims.
Idle fancies and fantasies pour forth from their hearts.
Further oppression of those beneath them is maliciously threatened.
They drown out the truth from God with their endless babble about nothing
Tragically, God's beloved turns and begins to believe their words are worthy.
Surely God is no longer in charge, surely they are right and He is no longer paying attention.
Looking at their easy life, their great bounty,
Now I start to think my striving for doing right in my thoughts and actions is a waste of time,
All I net is abuse and hardship.
But no!  I will not give in to these vain wanderings!
Can you imagine how damaging my failed faith would be to those in a pre-Christian state?
I must stand firm with God's aid.
Still - to try to understand the way things are gives me a headache.
And then I came into your Sanctuary -
That beautiful  place of peace -
And wisdom and clear thinking take over as I see a bigger picture.
I see in the end that their walls of wealth and privilege weaken them,
Saw how tenuous really, was the hold they had on things.
How filled with terror they are just beneath that well oiled surface.
They are but phantoms in Your eyes, their dream instantly transformed into a nightmare when seen through the stained glass windows of your Holy Sanctuary.
I am ashamed now -
I see I struck out at you like a wounded animal when I allowed the bitterness to overtake me.
But who is this - still by my side?
Who holds my hand and gently guides me?
And when it is all over, whose arms will be open wide,
Ready to take me in to the glory of Your kingdom?
Now I remember - You are the sum total of my desire for all my life and beyond.
You are my reward forever.

Friday, August 12, 2016

I Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

I Peter 4:8-10 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.

Now that I am temporarily unemployed, I can bike my husband to work.  Back in 2011-2013, he did the same for me.  It’s one of the pleasures of living in the community where you also work. 
On part of the route to work, there is a portion that is so busy, crazy and out of control traffic-wise that we take to the sidewalks.  And since the sidewalks have been around awhile, the transitions are quite rough.  You spend a lot of time bracing yourself just above the seat, or you get a sore bum after a few blocks.  On the first day I traveled this way, I noticed that at the worst intersections, someone had inexpertly dolloped a bike tire thin strip of cement just at the point where one would need it, allowing continuation along the path with more ease.  This is clearly not an official job done by the city (who would close the entire road for 5 miles, tear up the whole corner to 10 feet down, let it fill with water for a few weeks, drain it out and then rebuild the transitions entirely, true story).  It is just some fellow neighbor or biker or both who saw a problem and risked the law and limb to quickly add these bike transitions for us to use.  When I asked Scott about them, he told me that they had been there all summer and that as they break down, which happens from time to time, he finds them freshly repaired the next morning.  Five blocks of the roughest part of the path made smooth for the greater good.  A thankless job for sure, probably done under cover of darkness, with no expectation of thanks or medals of honor.  Just useful and timely.

On my ride today I thought about God and the Church and those rogue cement transitions. 
Sometimes we treat it as if God were those transitions.  We feel like overall we are doing fine on our journey, but its nice that God is there to patch over the rough spots for us.  This is a harmful lie that only holds us back.  God is not a neat little transition, God is all.

I think those rogue transitions are a better metaphor for the Church.   We are all on a journey, not all going the same place and at the same rate, but still at times our paths align, and for that time, the church is there to help us over the rough spots, and we are there to help in return.  To help make the path a little easier and less painful.  To speed each other on toward our destinations, no matter how variant they are.  Even if to do so is a little rogue, a little dangerous, and outside of the general construct of this world’s government.

This is not God, God is so much bigger.  But this is the church. 


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