God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jesus Story - Our Story

There is a story found in a native society describing how one tribe learned to find its way on long journeys.  These travelers navigated by singing a song as they journeyed, a song that was a roadmap by which they could remember changes in direction and key landmarks.  This song would change as the hunting ground changes with the season.  Their song charted a course for the season.  How do we chart our course?  Do we need a story to sing as we go?  One of the ways we can read the Gospel of Mark is as the song to sing that guides us through our life story and journey with God.  When we see how Jesus interacts with the lives of people he encounters, we see people’s lives being transformed and their stories changing.  The story of people being renewed and healed makes it possible to envision our renewal.
We are going to begin this New Year with Chapter 1 of the Gospel of Mark.  The story opens with “The beginning of the good news about Jesus, the anointed one, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1).  The beginning, a word we’ve heard before, at the very start: “The beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).  This is the new beginning, the new story that God is going to share with us.  As we enter Mark’s story we enter “a world of conflict and suspense, a world of surprising reversals and strange ironies, a world of riddle and hidden meanings, a world of subversive actions and political intrigues.  And the protagonist — Jesus — is most surprising of all” (David Rhoads, Mark as Story, 1).  To enter Mark’s story is to enter a world where you are to join the story and become a means to help bring about God’s kingdom.  This story challenges us to see the world differently and invites you to act to make the story of God real. 
We will begin Our Story - Mark’s Story with John the Baptist, preparing the way and hearing the words spoken over Jesus “you are my beloved, I delighted in choosing you.”  This leads to Jesus’ time in the wilderness. He comes out of the wilderness preaching “The right time is fulfilled, and the rule of God has arrived.  Turn around and put faith in the Good News. “Jesus then calls the first disciples, heals a man with unclean spirit, heals Simon/Peter’s mother-in-law, spends time in pray, and heals a leper.  In each of these encounters with people in the first chapter of Mark, Jesus takes the story of the Holy One of Israel and returns salvation to God’s people.  As Ched Myers says, scripture is once again the story of God’s liberating love and call to live according to it (Binding the Strong Man).
We are called to be prepared, to accept the risks that come from allowing our story to become part of God’s story.  To chart our course, we need a story that we sing as we go, will we allow that song to be Jesus’ song?  Will we sing of a life transformed by the Holy One of Israel?  As Bell teaches us come walk and sleep; come savor and sit; come eat and discover; come share and give; come close and find; come stand and loose; come leave and come welcome.  Come find that love which never ends and opens your heart wide. 
Come join me in this story,
Come with me, come wander,
Come welcome the world,
Where strangers might smile
Or where stones may be hurled;
Come leave what you cling to,
Lay down what you clutch
And find, with hands empty,
That hearts can hold much.

Sing Hey for the carpenter
Leaving his tools!
Sing Hey for the Pharisees
Leaving their rules!
Sing Hey for the fishermen
Leaving their nets!
Sing Hey for the people
Who leave their regrets!

Come walk in my company,
Come sleep by my side,
Come savor a lifestyle
With nothing to hide;
Come sit at my table
And eat with my friends,
Discovering that love
Which the world never ends.

Come share in my laughter,
Come close to my fears,
Come find yourself washed
With the kiss of my tears;
Come stand close at hand
While I suffer and die,
And find in three days
How I never will lie.

Come leave your possessions,
Come share out your treasure,
Come give and receive
Without method or measure;
Come loose every bond
That’s restraining the spirit,
Enabling the earth
To be yours to inherit.
- John L. Bell

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