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Seriously, there are times you would think that Lori, Ruth and I coordinate topics.  We’ve tried that.  What we write is so based on inspiration that scheduling something ahead of time can be tough.  But we do have these God moments – those times when God puts something into our hearts.

Think about all the people who could have, and probably did judge Ruth, because of her forgetfulness. If you haven’t read her post yet, click-through here.  It would have been easy to decide that she just didn’t take things as seriously as they did.  But if you know Ruth, you know that just isn’t the case.  I’m just happy that Ruth found so many people who were willing to join in her in a laugh and an understanding smile.  That’s something Ruth is amazingly good at creating – laughter and understanding.

And really we need more of that right now.  As election time nears again — yes, I mentioned it.  The stupid elections.

I’m already sick of it mainly because I’m sick of the way that people are talking to each other.  One of my friends has taken to posting pieces about Republican politicians.  She finds the haters.  Then she posts a news story about something they’ve said or done and she tags these stories.  “If you vote for this person, you are the problem.”

On the one hand, I understand her frustration.  Believe me.  I’m a liberal who was born in Texas and lives in Missouri.  I get the frustration.

But you aren’t engaging these people.  You aren’t asking them, why they voted for someone or what about the policies attracted them.

This isn’t doing good.  This is building a wall along political boundaries.

The saddest part is that Christ crossed boundaries.  He ate with tax collectors.  He came into contact with lepers.  He looked past problems and infirmities.  He looked into people’s eyes and saw the child of God within.

Be His hands.  Be His feet.  Go into the world and take down the walls.

–SueBE

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Sunday Pastor Sean preached on the parable of the sower.  For those of you who aren’t familiar this is from Matthew 13.

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

Unfortunately, when God tasks us with sowing, many of us evaluate the ground before we cast the seed.  Is it good enough?  Is it rich enough?  How likely are we to succeed with this particular patch of ground.

But as the pastor pointed out, our focus should be not on the ground but on God.  God can, after all, do great things.  When we evaluate the ground first, we deny this possibility.  We short change people who may be the very ones who need His Word and His Light the most.

Our job is simply to cast the seed?  The Creator?  He will see it grow.

–SueBE

Yesterday I didn’t manage to read blogs so I missed Lori’s Just My Two Cents until today.  Yet again, I find that we are on much the same wavelength.

I have to admit that I’ve once again (more-or-less) declared a news black out.  I watched so little of the recent Senate hearings that I don’t generally admit that I saw anything at all.

I considered it.  But then I saw someone roll her eyes.  No, she’s wasn’t verbally objecting but seriously?  Anyone who has ever met a teen ager knows what that means.  It is not a sign of respect.  It doesn’t mean one person is listening to another.  Nope.  “Why are you even taking up space?”  The message is loud and clear.

Speaking over each other.  Silencing.  No, I just couldn’t let it into my space.

And I’m not talking one side or the other.  It was embarrassing just how many of these people who claim to care about their constituents were using others to look powerful, to look knowledgable, to look right.

Listening?  Nope.

Staging?  Yes.

Putting others above themselves?  Honestly, I only lasted through a few minutes.  Maybe someone did some time I wasn’t watching.

–SueBE

 

Everyone’s got an opinion these days, and we each think only ours is right. We will insert ourselves into conversations in which we do not belong just to tell other people so. We’ll deny others’ lived experiences with our own conjectures about how we might have lived it, had it been up to us. And everything is up to us — it’s all out there on the table, ready to be judged, pawed over, analyzed. Nothing is private. Nothing is sacred. Nothing can be held out as indisputably true. Please, let us all take a step backwards and listen — just listen. Truth can only come when everyone is heard.

I say, “How could they, possibly?”
and yet possibly people do,
improbably and often.
It’s the old sin, snaking,
rearing up like an asp,
to ask: “Who knows
better than you?”
And there you are,
mouth full of apple,
mealy beneath your tongue.
You know nothing. At core,
at core, all of us know nothing.
Lock your opinion in your bones
until — and, yes, unless — you
find yourself kicking the embers
of the same conflagration.
And even then, know —
there were other ways,
other gates, out of the garden.

Most of us figure you’ve got to be loud to make yourself heard. And who doesn’t want to be heard? I certainly do. It took a revisiting of 1 Kings 19: 9-13 to remind me that God chooses all sorts of ways to communicate. In Elijah’s case, it wasn’t a roaring wind, an earthquake or a fire that revealed God; it was a whisper: a small, still voice.

Lord, I said, I’d like to be a burning bush,
all rush and heat, threat and beacon,
righteous flame dancing from my fingertips
as words singe the page. But no, child,
God replied.

I give you stillness. Silence to sit in,
to dwell in like a stone in clear water.
Open your lips to speak: I will come from you
like a whisper, a breeze, a suggestion. You will have
to train your ears to hear me.

So I listen. I mouth words onto paper;
perhaps they are read. But I know them
to be living, airborne, ready
to join a chorus of whispers
singing one true thing.

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Somehow the wall is still being built.  This in spite of the fact that Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke had another viable plan.  A plan that wouldn’t divide.

Us and them. It’s a human thing.  And yet God made us all.

And I’m not saying that I’m above it.  Who hasn’t made a crack about Boomers?  Or Millenials?  Republicans or Democrats?  As much as I try not to do it, I still catch myself saying divisive things.

And yet.

He has made us all.  Just a little something to think about.

–SueBE

 

 

I know Ruth and Lori are well aware of this particular aspect of my personality.  Tell me something is impossible and watch me try to find a way to make it happen.  Back door, loop-hole, overlooked clause or inventiveness, I am going to work to find a way especially if it means helping someone. It’s how I’m wired.

Personally, I consider it a God-given talent although I’m sure there are at least a dozen people who would disagree.  But really?  It is something I see in Christ’s ministry as well.

Eat with the outcast?  Lord, you can’t do that!

Pass me the olives.

Heal the unclean.  Jesus, what are you thinking?

You believed and you are healed.

Non-Jews.  Those who collaborated with the Romans (ie tax collectors). Even women (gasp!).  Christ brought them all forward into this ministry.  He even found ways to use Roman tradition against the Romans.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’m Christ-like.  I’m far too hot-tempered to believe that.  But in God’s image?  I’m not a particularly crisp or clear copy, but I try and I try to see it in others even when it seems all but impossible.

–SueBE

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  (Matthew 19:23-24)

Why is it that we tend to hoard what we are given?  No, get back!  God gave it to me.

And yet our homes overflow.  We buy organizing supplies.  We pay people to show us how to declutter.  We rent storage space.

But share?  Suggest it and watch people’s hackles rise.  We worry about scammer and people who want to beg instead of earning a living.

Did we truly earn what we have?  Either our riches or God’s grace?  Both are gifts meant to be shared.

–SueBE

 

 

Personally, I think this is at least part of what Jesus meant when he said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven…”  (Matthew 18:3)  There’s more to it and you can look it up but the part that I want to focus on today is childlike enthusiasm.

Kids are crazy enthusiastic.  Get them on board an idea and they are in.  It didn’t matter what the project was.  When my son was a preschooler, he committed all the way and we’d while away the afternoon making cinnamon ornaments, building with Legos, or chasing each other around with supersquirters.  Yes never meant, okay.  It meant YES.

I don’t know about you, but I could stand to rediscover some of that especially where my faith is concerned.  At the moment, I suspect I’m more like a teen.  “You want me to what?  Seriously?  I got other things going on.”

What God needs, and in all truth what our society needs, is some childlike enthusiasm and glee.  “What? I hadn’t thought of that but . . . let’s go!”

It sure would be a big difference.

–SueBE

Like many of you out there, I’ve always had questions about the parable of the Prodigal Son. For instance, why was it such a big deal that he asked for his inheritance early? My pastor put an end to my wonderings: to the Jewish people of the time, asking for your inheritance was tantamount to wishing your father dead. It was a breach in relationship that could not be mended. Except that the father in the story does mend it — just as God mends the breaks we make with God, over and over, on a daily basis.

Does God make it too easy for us to return home? Maybe. But if God made it harder, we’d never come. Imagine the waiting God does for us! Perhaps a modern perspective will help:

Waiting became habit;
habit became a life.
Day after day,
your father longed for you.
His world became one chair,
one single pane of glass.
Through the window,
he could track the hour
of every package delivery,
chart the bladder capacity
of every dog on the block.
He missed nothing.
When you came,
he was out of his seat in a shot,
prepared to embrace
even your apparition.
Your real flesh,
on the welcome mat,
made him weep.
Yet all the time
you embrace him,
your eye is on the door.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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