Sunday, April 18, 2010

Twenty Seven Years

First glimpse, a picture in a magazine
Stunning, natural beauty, peaceful
Unattainable, out of reach

Meeting in person, she’s real
More stunning, more beautiful, friendly
Still unattainable, still out of reach

Working together, how did that happen?
Perfection, beautiful heart, mysterious
Need help, need to solve the mystery

Flowers not from me, more flowers
Already given her heart? Already someone else’s?
Anxious, need to know

Surrounded by the impressive, out of my league
Too many vying for her attention
Can’t compete, too young, too poor

Take a chance. See a movie? Roller skating?
Yes? No way. Really?
Help has arrived, mystery being solved

A rain soaked afternoon. Give your heart to me?
No, already somebody else’s. Oh no
Given to the Kingdom, now I understand

Ask for second place. Yes that will work
She’ll give me second, never first
Serving the Heavens together, as each other’s second

Twenty seven years now, flowers, children, life all with me
Stunning beyond measure, beautiful, quiet gentle heart
Just the right amount of mystery, doesn’t need to be solved

First glimpse, so long ago
No more glimpses, only unity in flesh and spirit
No need to attain, no need to reach, we are one

Friday, April 16, 2010

Social Justice

“I want you to share your food with the hungry and to welcome poor wanderers into your homes. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help…Stop oppressing the helpless and stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumors! Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as day…” Isaiah

“Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows…” Isaiah

“For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.” Yahshua

“Love Yahweh…love your neighbor…all else hangs on these two things” Yahshua

“He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim release to the captives, Recovering of sight to the blind, To deliver those who are crushed” Isaiah and Yahshua

Social Justice- words that strike fear into those of us who pride ourselves on our conservative view of life. We live by our rules and regulations, our structured and orderly lives, our black and white interpretation of the world around us. Rule of Law is our battle cry. It’s our well defined objective truth. It keeps our universe neat and tidy. Laws must not be broken. Rules can never be bent. There is only the right way. Mercy takes a back seat to justice, compassion second place to being right. Social justice is for the weak minded, the bleeding hearts, and the do-gooders.

But the prophets of old scream at us, plead with us, command us even to help those who have the least ability to help themselves; the oppressed, the fatherless, the poor, the widow. We are called to be defenders of those who cannot defend themselves, beckoned to water those who are parched, nourish those with no food, clothe those who are destitute, shelter those with no family to go home to.

Even allowing my mind to hint that social justice might be the real message we are to heed makes me a little nervous and uncomfortable. It has implications that take me to places and interactions with people, that ultimately smash apart my tidy, ordered existence. And yet what else can it mean to “love your neighbor”? If loving our neighbor is only a mental exercise, a game we play in our own mind, how does my defenseless neighbor get defended? How does my destitute neighbor get food and shelter?

Surely there are many who will take wrong advantage of our generosity, of our compassion, of our empathy and mercy if we choose to walk in the path of Isaiah or Yahshua. But that is no concern of ours if we truly believe we hear a voice from the heavens asking us to humble ourselves, to give up our own dark and dreary corners of our heart so light can shine forth to others. I guess in the purest sense I can be a law keeper above all law keepers, and a rule follower amongst the best of the rule followers, by embracing the words of the prophets to reach out to those my Creator seems to be most concerned about.

So I will walk out my life with laws, rules, and regulations that help me regulate my outward appearance. But not everyone I meet needs to see those things about me; what they do need to see is love, compassion, mercy, and a justice that teaches empathy for the most deserving of empathy in whatever community and world of influence we have been placed within. Perhaps this won’t be too bad after all.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Unexpected Turns

Confined by the prison of time and space, my own little box of existence, it’s so easy to begin thinking that life is no more than a random series of events. Surely set in motion and even presently acted on by my Creator, but still I’m pretty much on whatever course I choose as long as I don’t offend Him.

Then there are times like this past week. In the course of four days events from the past and present converged on me in such a way that denying His present, active role in human events, in my life personally would be the height of folly.

Day one brought me an unexpected letter from an inmate in a local prison, explaining that he and several others had been transferred from a prison across the country and had been practically set on my doorstep for me to find a way to minister them. He had been given my name by a close friend who had developed an ongoing prison ministry with them in another state. I guess it’s my turn. :-)

Day two had me stumbling upon a website I had never seen before. It was devoted to helping “victims of abuse” of a religious organization I had once been part of 25 years ago. It brought back a lot of memories and emotions, some pleasant, but mostly unpleasant. It was a chapter of my life mostly left in the past, but never far away I suppose.

Day four brought news that the leader of the religious organization mentioned in the above website had become critically ill; a man who had at one time been a spiritual mentor, and defender of the Faith. A man I at one time had a great deal of respect for. A man that in my estimation had lost sight of the true meaning of truth and love for the sake rigidness and order. Still, I can’t deny my love for him even after all these years.

By the way, the close friend who had developed the prison ministry is the son of the man who has become critically ill.

Suddenly people and events that were barely in my consciousness a week ago have all taken center stage in my life. People that I either didn’t know or haven’t thought about in 25 years.

The strangest part of all of this is that friends and acquaintances presently in my life can only share in these events in some peripheral way. The only thing they know of my life from 25 years ago is the brief glimpses I’ve chosen to share with them. But there is no common experience, no emotional attachment, and so no possibility of them really understanding the impact these current events are having and will have on me and my family.

Yet we are truly the sum of our lives. One event added to another on the narrow pathway of life. All designed by our Father to lead us to Him if we are willing to believe it is more than just randomness and coincidence. Both past and present, people from then, people from now, people we are yet to meet, cross our paths in a grand plan to form us into our full potential. We are being molded into citizens of an Eternal Kingdom.

The unexpected turns in life are only unexpected from our perspective; from our prisons of time and space. From an eternal perspective everything is going as planned.