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."

Friday, April 28, 2017

Lord, Let Our Eyes Be Opened

As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. 30There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’ 31The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, ‘Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!’ 32Jesus stood still and called them, saying, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ 33They said to him, ‘Lord, let our eyes be opened.’ 34Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him. Matthew 20:29-34
Lord, let our eyes be opened
Lord, they came close to voting again
they are set to make healthcare worse for some people
they want to give a big tax break to the wealthy and are disguising it as healthcare reform
they want to exempt themselves from the changes
that means it can't be good for the rest of us
Lord, let our eyes be opened
Lord, let us see what is happening
Lord, let us look beyond the news coverage to find the facts
Lord, let our eyes be opened
help us to see the person not yet old enough for medicare
help us to see the people who gained medicare, those working poor who are getting help
help us to see all the people with existing medical problems
help us to see what it looks like for them when they are treated differently than the healthy
help us to see what our insurance covers and what will be left out
help us to see plans that aren't worth the paper they are written on
Lord, let our eyes be opened
but not just our eyes
the eyes of our government officials
may their eyes and hearts meet the people who will be harmed by their actions
may they have to meet these people face to face and tell what they have done
Lord, let our eyes be opened

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Laborers Are Few

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’Matthew 9:35-38
Jesus your mission
go out to all the cities and villages
teach in the church
proclaim the good news of the kingdom
and cure every disease and every sickness
this was you life work
for you to follow your call, live your bliss
you go, teach, proclaim, and cure

but you look around
you notice the crowd
you are moved with compassion
your heart breaks open each time you see the crowd
you know the stories you find
there are single moms just trying to get by
there are elderly couples propping each other up
there are wild youth, people see gangs, you see potential
there are stories of heartache, heartbreak
there are spouses killed
parents ill
children sick
brothers and sisters lost to drugs and alcohol
there are people out of work
there are people without a home
there is hunger and thirst
there are people who choose to love who society feels is wrong
the crowd is full of stories
and each crowd
breaks your heart open a little more

so you tell them the vision
you tell them about the kingdom of God
where the last are first
the hungry are fed
the oppressed are freed
you share about love, true, abiding, love
you try to ease their helplessness
you try to comfort their feelings of harassment
you try too cure their ills

but you lament that there are to few helpers
you lament that there is just not enough laborers for all of the pain
you invite God to send out some more
we hear the invitation
some of us hear the call to teach
some of us hear the call to proclaim
some of us hear the call to heal
and then we meet a roadblock, a stop sign, a barrier
they don't have insurance
they don't have the money
they are so sick because they couldn't get help early on
they can't afford the cure so they live with the disease
they choose their child's medicine over their own health
God of the harvest, send down your help.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The One who Had Been Mute Spoke

After they had gone away, a demoniac who was mute was brought to him. 33And when the demon had been cast out, the one who had been mute spoke; and the crowds were amazed and said, ‘Never has anything like this been seen in Israel.’ 34But the Pharisees said, ‘By the ruler of the demons he casts out the demons.’ Matthew 9:32-34
the one who had been mute spoke
I can sympathize
I want people who don't usually have a voice
who aren't asked their opinions
who are silenced
who are interrupted
who are not listened to
I want them to speak
I want us to hear their voice

yet in the world today
a voice that I am appalled by
a voice that scares me
a voice that hurts, wants to hurt others
is speaking
is being heard in ways not heard in years, my lifetime

this voice speaks out
telling me to be afraid of the immigrant
telling me to fear the Mexican
they are are murders, rapists
they are are taking my jobs
using tax money that could help me
yet when I hear immigrants speak
I hear a voice that is scared
a hear of children afraid to go to school because when they come home will their parent be gone
I hear this voice saying the America is a dream, a land of hope, a place where I can feed my family
I hear the struggle this voice goes through
of fleeing violence,
of seeking a better life for themselves and their children
I hear voices that are so much more than Mexicans
I hear the voice of Asians, Africans, South and Central Americans, Indians
These voice open a new world, a world beyond what I could imagine

the one who is mute has begun to speak
God help me to hear the voice of those who make me comfortable and those who are uncomfortable
God if it is me who has been mute help me to speak your truth
that I may amaze those who hear
may my words been unlike anything scene before
God open up the voices you need us to hear

Friday, April 14, 2017

Why Have You Forsaken Me

33 When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.34At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ 35When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘Listen, he is calling for Elijah.’ 36And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.’ 37Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’ Mark 15:33-39
 My God, My God why have you forsaken me?
as we drove home from Mikwaukee
the traffic jam began
not today, I have to get home for Good Friday Worship
a cop sped by on the shoulder
an accident I thought
another cop speeds up
there isn't an accident
just a man
a little ragged
a black man
no car, on the highway
they pat him down
touching him in places one should not be touched
this black man surrounded
five cop cars
at least 5 officers
one man

My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?
this day we remember
when state violence won
when a person who challenged their beliefs
challenged their God
challenged their power
on this day we remember that we kill our prophets

Holy One
we lift before you all who experience state violence
we lift before you those on Arkansas who will be executed before the drugs expire
we lift before you those falsely imprisoned
we lift before you those whose lawyers failed them
we lift before you those who cry out today
don't forsake them
hear their cries
for surely you are the son of God

Thursday, April 13, 2017

No More of This

While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; 48but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?’ 49When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, ‘Lord, should we strike with the sword?’ 50Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him. 52Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? 53When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!’Luke 22:47-53
no more of this
how do you respond to violence
unjust persecutions
false imprisonment
can you fight back
how do you fight back

no more of this
Jesus has just been crying out to God
he knows that his call has lead him to make enemies of the powerful
they would like him to stop
they want him to go back to the hills and give up his life's work
so there in the garden at night
he prays
he asks his friends to pray
he cries out to God
take this cup from me
after the utter despair
he says not my will but yours

no more of this
he prays
he finds his friends asleep
they couldn't stay awake long enough to pray
so he awakes them
then the police force comes, the soldiers come
the powerful have sent their weapons
they seek to arrest Jesus
one of his followers fights back
injuring a slave
No More of This
he touches the slave
healing him

no more of this
we dropped more bombs today God
on this Holy Day when we remember the violence
when we take time to remember the betrayal of those who followed you
on this Holy day
we dropped more bombs
we have so many fronts of wars
we seem to have no checks on what we will do, are willing to do
in our name we dropped "the mother of all bombs"

I want to cry
as Jesus cried
No more of this

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Have Mercy on Me

As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’ 28When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ 29Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith let it be done to you.’ 30And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly ordered them, ‘See that no one knows of this.’ 31But they went away and spread the news about him throughout that district.  Matthew 9:27-31
have mercy on me
I keep emailing
I ask him over and over
don't take my insurance away
I call him
I say please don't leave my family and I without healthcare

have mercy on me
the big vote came
he was missing in action
sure no one got to vote for they pulled the bill
but on the lists
he wasn't opposed
he wasn't for
he was silent

have mercy on me
I ask him to make Obamacare better
I ask him to lower the premiums
I ask him to add a public option
I ask him for medicare for all

have mercy on me
his response is usually crickets
but when pressed he will sometimes tell me
there are people who only have one choice
I ask how does taking away my healthcare fix their choices?
there are people who have skyrocketing premiums
I ask why not lower all the premiums not get rid of my healthcare?

have mercy on me
I thought we, all of us who are worried, fearful, and active
I thought we had stopped this
but then they come out with a new plan
before they head home for recess
 a massive tax cut to the rich
I ask how does this fix my healthcare woes
removing the subsidies for a tax credit
I ask how do I come up with the extra six hundred dollars a month

have mercy on me
have mercy on us
show us that you care
show us that our lives matter
show us that you want to make us well

have mercy on me
have mercy on us

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Curing Every Disease

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. 24So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. 25And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. Matthew 4:23-25
Jesus traveled
proclaiming the good news
curing every disease
curing every sickness
among people

Jesus fame spread throughout Syria
people brought to him all the sick
those who were afflicted with diseases and pains
those demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics
Jesus cured them

Healing Spirit
we ask you to be present with those who have
Heart disease
Chronic lower respiratory disease
    chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Alzheimer's disease
Kidney disease
these are the top killers of Americans
Healing God
send your power and love to those who suffer from these illnesses

Healing God
you have no hands or hearts but ours
we ask you to be with
support staff
they often work long hours
be with them helping them to discern your will
help them to provide the best care they can

Healing God
be with those charged with making deicison about healthcare
be with government officials who are acting to change our system
may you guide their decisions
be with insurance company executives and employess
help them to provide care that is needed
help them to be concerned more with people and less with money
be with regulators
help them to find places where we need them to step in to keep us safe
help them to make rules that help rather than harm
be with researchers and teachers
guide their work that they may find better ways to treat the sick
guide their knowledge to remember that people are complicated mixes of hearts and bodies

Healing God
remind us to remember how important healing is to you
help us to follow Jesus
bringing the good news
and curing every disease and sickness.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Jesus Wept

      11Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. 3So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ 4But when Jesus heard it, he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ 5Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, 6after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
      7 Then after this he said to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ 8The disciples said to him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?’ 9Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. 10But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.’ 11After saying this, he told them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.’ 12The disciples said to him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.’ 13Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. 14Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. 15For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’ 16Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow-disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’
     17 When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, 19and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. 20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. 21Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.’ 23Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ 24Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ 25Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ 27She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.’
     28 When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, ‘The Teacher is here and is calling for you.’ 29And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. 30Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ 33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34He said, ‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ 35Jesus wept. 36So the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ 37But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’
     38 Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead for four days.’ 40Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?’ 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upwards and said, ‘Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.’ 43When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ 44The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’
      45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what he had done. 47So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, ‘What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. 48If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.’ 49But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all! 50You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.’ 51He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, 52and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God. 53So from that day on they planned to put him to death.
       54 Jesus therefore no longer walked about openly among the Jews, but went from there to a town called Ephraim in the region near the wilderness; and he remained there with the disciples.
      55 Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. 56They were looking for Jesus and were asking one another as they stood in the temple, ‘What do you think? Surely he will not come to the festival, will he?’ 57Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who knew where Jesus was should let them know, so that they might arrest him.  John 11:1-57

Jesus Wept
he wept for the 10 deadliest countries 
for the children of Angola
for the children of Sierra Leone
for the children of Chad
for the children of Somalia
for the children of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
for the children of  Guinea-Bissau
for the children of Central African Republic
for the children of Mali
for the children of  Nigeria
for the children of Niger

Jesus wept
for the children of Syria
for the children of Coptic Christians in Egypt
for the children of San Bernardino
for the children of Chicago

Jesus wept
he wept for a friend
he weeps for us
he weeps for those who don't have healthcare
he weeps for those who are hungry
he weeps for those who are poor
he weeps for those who suffer abuse
he weeps for those in the middle of violence

Jesus wept.
move our hearts
not just when the children are on the news
move our hearts
move our pocket books
move our governments

Jesus wept
will you

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spiritual Blindness

        They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, ‘He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.’ 16Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.’ But others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?’ And they were divided. 17So they said again to the blind man, ‘What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.’ He said, ‘He is a prophet.’
       18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19and asked them, ‘Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?’ 20His parents answered, ‘We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.’ 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23Therefore his parents said, ‘He is of age; ask him.’
      24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, ‘Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.’ 25He answered, ‘I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.’ 26They said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ 27He answered them, ‘I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?’ 28Then they reviled him, saying, ‘You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.’ 30The man answered, ‘Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. 32Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.’ 34They answered him, ‘You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?’ And they drove him out.
       35 Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ 36He answered, ‘And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.’ 37Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.’ 38He said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshiped him. 39Jesus said, ‘I came into this world for judgement so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.’ 40Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, ‘Surely we are not blind, are we?’ 41Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, “We see”, your sin remains.  John 9:13-41
spiritual blindness
these are the words to describe how Jesus explains what's going on
spiritual blindness
the idea that they see all Jesus has done
yet, they want the status quo
they want Jesus gone
spiritual blindness
they don't see that God in moving through the events
spiritual blindness
John the author, is full of blindness
he doesn't see his own weakness
he blames "the Jews"
he makes them responsible for the plot to kill Jesus, to discredit Jesus
he doesn't understand that being Jewish does not make you the killer of Jesus
being Jewish is a state that applies to Jesus, John the Baptist, the disciples, the crowds
John is blind to his action
his words lead to violence against Jewish people by Christians
Holy Week a dangerous time to be Jewish
yet who we are as Christians is not possible without Judaism
Jesus learns what it means to speak of love from the Jewish scriptures
Jesus is who he is because of the people who raised him in Judaism
spiritual blindness
we all have these spots
these areas where we get caught, get stuck
those areas where we can't grow, we can't change
because we are unable to see beyond our own beliefs into the mystery of God
spiritual blindness
God help to open our eyes, our hearts, our minds
open the places where we cannot see
show us your movement, your presence
open us to see beyond
where we are blind, let us see
Elvis Presley, Amazing Grace

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Rationed Love

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ 3Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. 4We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ 6When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, 7saying to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. 8The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, ‘Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?’ 9Some were saying, ‘It is he.’ Others were saying, ‘No, but it is someone like him.’ He kept saying, ‘I am the man.’ 10But they kept asking him, ‘Then how were your eyes opened?’ 11He answered, ‘The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, “Go to Siloam and wash.” Then I went and washed and received my sight.’ 12They said to him, ‘Where is he?’ He said, ‘I do not know.’  John 9:1-12

the test came
who caused this man to be blind
did he sin
did his parents sin
illness as punishment for wrong
the question grates at me
why would God set out to punish
why would God want to harm a baby
why would God cause a baby to be blind, disabled, ill
I don't like the question
it assumes that God causes evil
God doesn't cause evil
God doesn't give you more than you can handle
God isn't a deposit box
do good, receive good
do bad, receive bad
God's place in our suffering is to send the helpers
the people who can help you lead a life of wholeness
God's role is comfort, compassion, love
God is there in the pain
God is there feeling with you
God is there loving you

Jesus' answer to the test
I am not crazy about either
John believes God did do this evil to show Jesus' good
God did this evil to show the works, the hand of God
God did this evil to show Jesus' light
his answer bother's me
God still caused bad
and not for a perceived wrong
but because God is capricious
God doesn't need to prove God's love
God doesn't need to provide signs of healing
God the mystery beyond our understanding
God should not be boxed into a corner
where proof comes at the expense of harm to an innocent

health and healing shouldn't be a test
health and healing these should be given to people despite how you feel about them
health and healing should happen whether you believe they deserve it or not
God doesn't ration love
we shouldn't ration love

Friday, April 7, 2017

Do You Want To Be Made Well?

After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes. 3In these lay many invalids—blind, lame, and paralysed. 5One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be made well?’ 7The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.’ 8Jesus said to him, ‘Stand up, take your mat and walk.’ 9At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk.
Now that day was a sabbath. 10So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, ‘It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.’ 11But he answered them, ‘The man who made me well said to me, “Take up your mat and walk.” 12They asked him, ‘Who is the man who said to you, “Take it up and walk”?’ 13Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in the crowd that was there. 14Later Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, ‘See, you have been made well! Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you.’ 15The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. 16Therefore the Jews started persecuting Jesus, because he was doing such things on the sabbath. 17But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is still working, and I also am working.’ 18For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God. John 5:1-18

do you want to be made well?
ok, the man doesn't says no
he says
I have no one to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up
there is always someone who steps ahead of me
here at this spot where the blind, the lame the paralyzed wait for healing
here at this place where the man has been for 38 years
here at this place where he knows how things work
here at this place where he makes his living
here at this place he deflects the question
he says no, he passively offers the reasons he is still ill after 38 years

do you want to be made well?
he is comfortable
he is content in his life
he has friends
he knows the system
his needs are met
he could have gotten in the pool
someone would have given him the chance while the waters stirred

do you want to be made well?
he never says yes
he never asks to go down into the troubled waters
Jesus heals him anyway
stand, pick up your mat, walk
at once he was healed
he was so angry
Jesus ruined my life
and then Jesus had the nerve,
the audacity to tell him to make something of his life
to use this second chance for good
he runs to those who want to harm Jesus
he tells them the story of his healing
he highlights the parts that make it worse for Jesus

do you want to be made well?
sometimes we don't want to be made well
sometimes we want to say no
we want to stay in our comfortable little world
we want to remain where we are, as we are
but Jesus wants us to be whole
Jesus wants us to embrace a chance to be different

do you want to be made well?

do you want to be made well?
he couldn't go back there
when asked who healed him
he didn't know
all he was thinking about was how his life was ruined

do you want to be made well?
he found a new place to beg
he's at the temple now
Jesus comes by
he sees him
he knows how he can hurt him, ruin him
he goes to those who wanted to know who healed him
he tells them it was Jesus
in his anger
he hurts Jesus, he lashes out
he helps with the persecution

do you want to be made well?
sometimes our answer is no
we don't want things to change
we are scared of the change
we say no, we make excuses, we remain comfortable
Jesus invites us into a life of wholeness
Jesus pushes us to be more than we believed was possible
Jesus loves us despite our refusal
Jesus shows us compassion even in the face of our denial

do you want to be made well?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Go, Your Son Will Live

Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. 47When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48Then Jesus said to him, ‘Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.’ 49The official said to him, ‘Sir, come down before my little boy dies.’ 50Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son will live.’ The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. 51As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. 52So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, ‘Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.’ 53The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, ‘Your son will live.’ So he himself believed, along with his whole household. 54Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee. John 4:46-54

Go, your son will live.
we often wish this words were true
as we hear that our death rate in the US is rising
there are more deaths from
heart disease
drug over doses
Alzheimer's Disease

Go, your son will live.
how powerful these words
as we hear that zombie trumpcare is on the rise
24 million will lose healthcare
this is the old figure
which could lead to tens of thousands of deaths
with no preexisting conditions
no maternity care
we could see more women and babies dying
those with chronic disease will pay more
so will they be able to afford care
if not more death

Go, your son will live.
Jesus was returning home
a royal official heard Jesus was returning
he went to him
begged him to come to his son
to heal his son, who was dying
Jesus speaks of seeing signs and wonders
he believes we need these to believe
the royal official again begs for his son
Jesus says, "Go, your son will live."
the man believed
he left to see his son
servants met him and said your son lives
when did this happen
the moment Jesus spoke
the man and his household believed
the second sign

Go, your son will live
in John this is the second sign
a son saved
a son healed
a fever cured
an illness gone
John wants us to have markers
ways that we can judge who Jesus is
healing is a sign
a sign of what we are to do
we are to provide healing to the ill
we are to care for the children

Go, your son will live
can we say these words
believe these words
practice these words

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What Do You Owe Someone Who Heals You

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ 14When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ 19Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’ Luke 17:11-19
what do you owe someone who heals you
Jesus meets 10 lepers
these lepers ask for mercy
Jesus provides mercy to 10 lepers
1 leper returns praising God
thanking Jesus

what do you owe someone who heals you
to do as they say
begin life again
do you go back to your families
your friends
do you start your life
do you follow your bliss and begin a new
if you do this
if you follow your bliss
is that thanks enough
this story is used to tell us not to be like the 9
don't forget to say thanks
don't forget God's part in your healing
but is being whole, is being well
is following your bliss, returning home
a thanks in itself

what do you owe someone who heals you
doing obeisance
shouting praise 
saying thanks

what do you owe someone who heals you
is this the problem
those who can bring healing to us
do those without means not have the way to says thanks and praise
are those without means not heard or seen
when they live their lives
the lives that wouldn't be possible without health
have they not responded correctly
did they not speak in the right currency
without wealth and power where their bowing, praise and thanks
unheard, unseen, unknown
are they people who can provide healing
so far removed from those who need healing
that they need our stories
they need our calls, our letters, our protest
they need to know what we would give to be made whole

what do you owe someone who heals you

Monday, April 3, 2017

Breaking the Rules

On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely. 2Just then, in front of him, there was a man who had dropsy. 3And Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, ‘Is it lawful to cure people on the sabbath, or not?’ 4But they were silent. So Jesus took him and healed him, and sent him away. 5Then he said to them, ‘If one of you has a child or an ox that has fallen into a well, will you not immediately pull it out on a sabbath day?’ 6And they could not reply to this. Luke 14:1-6
Jesus and the religious leaders
they argue about when is it ok to heal
can any work be done on the Sabbath
can we heal those who are in need
even if the rules say no
if there is a child in a well won't you save it
if your dog falls in a well won't you save it
for Jesus compassion wins
compassion for those who are hurt or need
comes before the rules
Jesus heals when he sees a need
Jesus heals despite the rules
Jesus places compassion first

is our question different
we aren't asking if we can cure people on the sabbath
we have different questions
we ask why some people get the best treatment but others don't
we ask why there are so many who can't afford care
we ask what good is access if you don't have the means
we ask why we have to ration care
we ask why certain people's, countries, nations can be treated while other are left behind
we ask why we focus on curing disease instead of creating health
if Jesus practiced compassion and merccy
if Jesus broke the rules in order to heal
shouldn't we

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Seen, Called and Touched

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, ‘Woman, you are set free from your ailment.’ 13When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, ‘There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.’ 15But the Lord answered him and said, ‘You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?’ 17When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing. Luke 13:10-17
he saw her
I mean really saw her
he saw the pain of her body
her body hunched and broken
her back was in constant pain
there was nothing she could do to get comfortable
pain was her existence
and then that day
he saw her
he saw the pain
he saw the beauty no one else could see
he saw beyond the bentness, the crippledness
he saw into her heart
he called to her
he said, 'you are set free of your ailment.'
he touched her
the first person to touch her in ages
the first touch to be kind and gentle
the first touch to release her
she couldn't believe it
she shouted with joy
she started sayign Thank you God
she sang those old songs of praise

he saw her
he called to her
he touched her
Jesus come to my brokeness
see me
call me
touch me

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Go and Do Likewise

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 26He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ 27He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.’ 28And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’ 29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ 30Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.” 36Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ 37He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’ Luke 10:25-37
we all know the story
a man is traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho
he is robbed, stripped, beaten and left for dead
a priest is traveling the same road
the priest sees the man and walks by on the other side
a levite, the assistant priest walks by on the other side
a Samaritan came near him
he saw him
he was moved with pity
he went to him
cleansed his wounds with oil and wine
bandaged him
put him on his animal
brought him to an inn
took care of him
paid the innkeeper to take care of him until he comes back
he will pay whatever it costs

who is the neighbor?
the priest
the assistant priest
the Samaritan -
the one who is not one of us
he doesn't worship God in the right way
he has different beliefs and practices than us
he is one of them, the other

which of these is the neighbor to the man who fell among robbers?
the religious man
the pious man
the one who you turn to for blessing, for answers
or the other
the one you don't talk to
the one you won't let marry into your family
the one who wears the wrong clothes, has funny hair, piercings and tattoos

which of these is the neighbor?
the one who showed mercy
the neighbor is the one who showed mercy
the one who pitied, cleansed, bandaged, took care of him, paid for his care
the one who believed -
"You shall love the Lord your God 
with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; 
and your neighbor as yourself."
the one who showed mercy

you know the story
you have heard the story so many times you are immune to its power
for it says that the neighbor is the one who paid for healthcare
the neighbor is the one who provided healing to a stranger
and Jesus says
go and do likewise