Showing posts from March, 2013

His eyes save me*

I am no great improvement  on the men who killed the Savior.  All I can say is, "Lord, I am a sinner.  Be merciful to me." I hear him answer gently,  "You are precious to my heart, my child."  Whatever could he mean by that?   I use his eyes to find out what he sees in me that,
even while he knows my sinfulness, he says, "You are precious to my heart."  With those same eyes I look at "sinners"  --the Hitlers and Stalins of our times.   I look at people I dislike...reject.  Maybe I need those eyes of his  to bring me to compassion  and save me from the Pharisee in me. 
 *From Anthony De Mello,  excerpted from"The Darkness," in  Wellsprings

Love's Still Crucified

In the same night we betrayed him... And he is still betrayed in me and us.  Whenever we deny our God- given and God- created self, we also forsake the best in ourselves, and the way of Christ.

Brian Wren penned these lyrics to "Christ Is Alive,"  also #318 , United Methodist Hymnal: "In every insult, rift, and war where color, scorn or wealth divide, Christ suffers still, yet loves the more, and lives, where even hope has died." 
The tune is fitting for a  bright and triumphal Easter tide processional. But the point is that we are still crucifying Jesus and his way-  as surely as we were sitting on the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high court, or if we were in Pilate's court of advisers, or apart of the Roman guard carrying out the execution. 
Christ still suffers and we still crucify him because of war, which assumes the murder of innocents, and hatred based on race, nation, region, economic system, and any other system of pride that we can or might create. 

Choosing Brokenness or Baptism: Holy Week Wednesday Missal

Matthew 26:20-25 (CEB)

That evening he took his place at the table with the twelve disciples. As they were eating he said, “I assure you that one of you will betray me.” Deeply saddened, each one said to him, “I’m not the one, am I, Lord?” He replied, “The one who will betray me is the one who dips his hand with me into this bowl. The Human One goes to his death just as it is written about him. But how terrible it is for that person who betrays the Human One! It would have been better for him if he had never been born.” Now Judas, who would betray him, replied, “It’s not me, is it, Rabbi?”  Jesus answered, “You said it.”

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Psalm 23

The stunning aspect of the Last Supper has to be the fact that Jesus eats with and dips the bread of his betrayer.  Jim Fleming, whose riveting recreation of this dinner scene, teaches us that if Jesus was to give Judas the bread which Jesus himself dips, as this account indicates, then Judas would…

Prayer for Holy Week, 2013

Lord, unburden us today. Make us alive and free in gratitude, hope, love and praise! Into our world of not enough you continue to come to us, O Lord, showering us- pouring out your love and your life in generosity and over-abundance! We  proclaim you as King and Deliverer. Hosanna, blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!
We look at the journey ahead, and wonder, who is going to help us- who will be there with us. We discover to our joy that you are our help, you, who made the heavens and earth. You are the One who walks beside us and will be with us! We become free that we are not alone in the universe, that you are our resting place, and that there is no part of our journey or ourselves where you are not present. Free of the chains of our worst fears because you make your blessing and home wherever we are.  
We start with our hearts and we hold before you each feeling of resentment, anger, bitterness that still may be lurking there, asking that your grace will make…

Self-Deception Meter: Lenten Midweek Missal (5)

John 8:31-42 (CEB)
Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, “ You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teaching. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. ” They responded, “ We are Abraham’s children; we’ve never been anyone’s slaves. How can you say that we will be set free? Jesus answered, “I assure you that everyone who sins is a slave to sin. A slave isn’t a permanent member of the household, but a son is. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you really will be free. I know that you are Abraham’s children, yet you want to kill me because you don’t welcome my teaching. I’m telling you what I’ve seen when I am with the Father, but you are doing what you’ve heard from your father. ” They replied, “ Our father is Abraham. ” Jesus responded, “ If you were Abraham’s children, you would do Abraham’s works. Instead, you want to kill me, though I am the one who has spoken the truth I heard from God. Abraham didn’t do this. You are doing your father’…

We can still join Jesus to Jerusalem

A beautiful pilgrimage song, Psalm 121, challenges us to know God as the One who never sleeps. When looking at our journey ahead, no matter how daunting the walk ahead through the hills looks, the source of our strength is in the Lord.
To pray "deliver us from evil," as Christians do in the Lord's Prayer, is similar to the assurance of protection in Psalm 121. It means that wherever the journey takes us, God, who creates and sustains us, will be with us. God is the One who keeps our life (spirit) wherever we are on the pilgrimage, now and always, sleeping or waking.

Wondering if Jesus used this Psalm during his final ascent into Jerusalem before his Passion, it might be an opportunity to catch up with Jesus on his journey these later days of Lent. Take a day, an hour, or even a few minutes! The Contemporary English Version (CEV) gives a fresh translation: I look to the hills!
Where will I find help?
It will come from the Lord,
who created the heavens
and the earth.

The …

Think Anew: Lenten Midweek Missal (4)

John 5:17-30 (CEB)

Jesus replied, “ My Father is still working, and I am working too. ” For this reason the Jewish leaders wanted even more to kill him—not only because he was doing away with the Sabbath but also because he called God his own Father, thereby making himself equal with God. Work of the Father and the Son Jesus responded to the Jewish leaders, “I assure you that the Son can’t do anything by himself except what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. The Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he does. He will show him greater works than these so that you will marvel. As the Father raises the dead and gives life, so too does the Son give life to whomever he wishes. The Father doesn’t judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to the Son so that everyone will honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever doesn’t honor the Son doesn’t honor the Father who sent him. “I assure you that whoever hears my word and believes in …

Is Change Just an Illusion? Lenten Midweek Missal (3)

Matthew 5:17-20 (CEB)
Don’t even begin to think that I have come to do away with the Law and the Prophets. I haven’t come to do away with them but to fulfill them. I say to you very seriously that as long as heaven and earth exist, neither the smallest letter nor even the smallest stroke of a pen will be erased from the Law until everything there becomes a reality. Therefore, whoever ignores one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called the lowest in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever keeps these commands and teaches people to keep them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. I say to you that unless your righteousness is greater than the righteousness of the legal experts and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

These words sound a little defensive, or at least one side of an argument. Was Jesus accused of making the Torah secondary to his teachings? Read the Sermon on the Mount, where you will find Jesus one-upping M…