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."

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Proclaim and Heal

Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. 3He said to them, ‘Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money—not even an extra tunic. 4Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. 5Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.’ 6They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere. Luke 9:1-6
who am I to Jesus
am I a member of the crowd
am I one of the many in the villages
am I one who cause the 12 to dust of their feet
am I a follower
am I a disciple
am I a friend
I can't literally be one of the twelve
but can I be a disciple
can we be disciples

the twelve are sent to proclaim the kingdom
the twelve are sent to heal
we use the word disciple
we use the word to describe
the relationship we want
the relationship we have with Jesus

if we call ourselves disciples
we are sent to proclaim 
we are sent to share the good news
we are sent to proclaim God's kingdom
we are to share God's love
a love that shares God's dream for the poor
a love that sees the poor - fed, clothed, healed
a love that forgives the small and the large
a love that forgives those who we have the biggest grievance with
a love that doesn't judge
a love that dreams of a world of connection and compassion

if we call ourselves disciples
are we sent to heal
to have authority over evil
to cure all diseases
for us what does this mean
how do we bring doctors, nurses, therapists, healers to those we are sent too
how do we make sure that healing is available in all the villages

if we call ourselves disciples
we are sent to proclaim and heal

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Healed and Giving Back

Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, 2as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources. Luke 8:1-3
We don't know the full story
We just know the names, well some of their names
We know the healing, life saving love
We know their response

Mary, called Magdalene
Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza
Susanna
many others
these women came from money
these women could gather resources
these women knew people with power

cured of evil spirits
cured of infirmities
seven demons gone
these are women that people looked at differently
they thought they were crazy
they thought they were evil
they thought they were posessed
they thought they were useless, needy, dependent
they thought they aren't normal, healthy
they kept them apart, alone, isolated

Jesus brought them back to wholeness
Jesus cured them
healed them
loved them
believed in them

Jesus gave them a new role
a new purpose
a new life

in the community
they showed what it meant
concretely, day after day
to give back

to provide for one another
to serve

when people are healed
when they have access to healing
then those healed
can take a new role
a new purpose
a new life
to give back
to provide for one another
to serve

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Are You the One?

20When the men had come to him, they said, ‘John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” 21Jesus had just then cured many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and had given sight to many who were blind. 22And he answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. 23And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.’Luke 7:20-23
the blind see
the lame walk
the leper cleansed
the deaf hear
the dead raised

are you the one
this question is thrown at Jesus by John
John who baptized Jesus
John who spoke of repentance and the winnowing
John wants to know

are you the one
Jesus just
cured many with diseases
cured many with plagues
cured many with evil spirits
made the blind see

are you the one
the blind see
the lame walk
the leper cleansed
the deaf hear
the dead raised

are you the one
you are the one I want to follow
you are the one I want to learn from
you are the one who shares with me glimpses of God
you are the one who teaches me how to live and love
you are the one who acts with compassion
you are the one who gives sight, allows mobility, washes clean, opens ears, brings life
you are the one

if you are the one
and
the blind see
the lame walk
the leper cleansed
the deaf hear
the dead raised
the good news is shared with the poor
if you are the one
why do I still have to worry about the medical bill
why do I still have to worry about what the doctor will say
why do I still have to worry that there isn't a cure, the drug won't work,
if you are the one
why do your followers spend so much time arguing
about who shouldn't be healed
about who should let the market forces impact them
(always the poor who are subject of market forces)
about who should die without a chance at life
about why we just can't afford it

if you are the one
and
the blind see
the lame walk
the leper cleansed
the deaf hear
the dead raised
the good news is shared with the poor
help us to grab hold of your compassion
help us to believe and to do
help us to fight for the poor
help us to know
you are the one

Monday, March 27, 2017

Compasssion

Soon afterwards he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. 12As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. 13When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ 14Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, ‘Young man, I say to you, rise!’ 15The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has risen among us!’ and ‘God has looked favorably on his people!’ 17This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country. Luke 7:11-17
compassion
sympathy
empathy
care
concern
warmth
love
tenderness
mercy
kindness

compassion
a mother has lost her son
her only son
her husband is already dead
while surrounded by neighbors
she feels all alone
she doesn't know how to move forward
she doesn't know how to say goodbye

compassion
Jesus encounters her
he has compassion for her
do not weep
he stops the procession
he tells him to rise

compassion
for a mother
compassion for a son
how do we learn compassion
does it just mean feeling pity
or does it mean more than empathy
does it mean mercy, justice, love

compassion
sympathy
empathy
care
concern
warmth
love
tenderness
mercy
kindness

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Love, Do Good, Bless, Pray

After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. 3When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. 4When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, ‘He is worthy of having you do this for him, 5for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.’ 6And Jesus went with them, but when he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to say to him, ‘Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; 7therefore I did not presume to come to you. But only speak the word, and let my servant be healed. 8For I also am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, “Go”, and he goes, and to another, “Come”, and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this”, and the slave does it.’ 9When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, he said, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’ 10When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health. Luke 7:1-10
will you love
will you do good
will you bless
will you pray

how do we decide who to help
what if the people are those we don't want to help
what if the people are despised
what if the people are our enemies
what if the people are our oppressors

will you love
will you do good
will you bless
will you pray

Jesus is approached by a centurion
a soldier
a high ranking member of the occupying force
the enemy
this man uses his power to get Jewish elders to ask for help

will you love
will you do good
will you bless
will you pray

what would you do
Jesus just preached
love your enemies
do good to those who hate you
bless those who curse you
pray for those who abuse you

will you love
will you do good
will you bless
will you pray

so what can you do
here your words are a real live example
here your words have come to life
here is an enemy in need

will you love
will you do good
will you bless
will you pray

Jesus doesn't just speak
Jesus acts
Jesus believes what he preaches
Jesus heals the slave of the centurion
Jesus heals the boy of the enemy
Jesus heals one of the oppressed

will you love
will you do good
will you bless
will you pray

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Jesus Healed Them All

He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. 18They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. 19And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them. Luke 6:17-19
Jesus healed them all
wherever he went crowds gathered
crowds from the closest town or village
crowds from the surrounding countryside
crowds from the big city
crowds from far away

Jesus healed them all
the crowds gathered to hear him
he spoke of how we are to live together
he spoke of who was blessed
he spoke of who needed to change
he spoke about loving enemies
he spoke about forgiving over and over again
he spoke about giving up our judgemental words
he spoke about being merciful

Jesus healed them all
the crowds gathered to be healed of their diseases
the crowds gathered to be cured by those troubled with unclean spirits
the crowds gathered to touch him

Jesus healed them all
the power came out of him
the power healed all of them

Jesus healed them all
how will we heal our crowds?
how we will cure diseases?
how will we treat mental illness?
how will we deal with the evil found in people?
will we leave people to seek a miracle?
will we leave people with only prayer?
will we leave people to cope on their own?
will we leave people without money without healing?

Jesus healed them all

We Cannot Measure How You Heal

Friday, March 24, 2017

He Laid Hands on Each

As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. 41Demons also came out of many, shouting, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Messiah. Luke 4:40-41
he laid his hands on each
the touch of a hand
the wiping of a brow
the comfort of touch
when you are alone
when family is far away
you may go days, weeks without touch
the only touch you may have is passing the peace is church

he laid his hands on each
as Jesus moved throughout Galilee
the people who knew someone who was sick
brought them to Jesus
they brought those with various diseases
Jesus laid his hand on them
he touched them
and they were cured

he laid hands on each
people who had seizures
people who were filled with evil
people who were mentally ill
Jesus was able to heal them
these people always knew who Jesus was
they called him: "the Son of God"

he laid hands on each
if Jesus was concerned
with those with many diseases
with those needing healing touch
with those who are mentally ill
with those full of evil
then we who follow Jesus
need to lay hands on the sick
what does that look like with modern medicine?
how do we as followers support, comfort and provide healing?
do we take offerings for those who provide free and loss cost healthcare?
do we support medical missionaries?
do we speak up for those who can't afford healthcare?

he laid hands on each
he touched them
he wiped the brow of the sick

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Jesus' Call, Our Call

When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
   because he has anointed me
     to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
   and recovery of sight to the blind,
     to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’ Luke 4:16-21
what do you do when you hear God's call
what do you say the first time you are invited to speak about your call
how do you tell people that God is working in you
Jesus spent days, forty days
he struggled with God
he questioned what he was to do and say
he wrestled with the temptations inside

then he walked into church
he was given the bible and it fell open
the passage from Isaiah fell open before him
he read those words first to himself
he let them sink in
those words embodied all of the struggling he had done
those words spoke of the resolve he had come to
those words were his call
he read the words
 18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
   because he has anointed me
     to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
   and recovery of sight to the blind,
     to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
he then sat down
he let those words sink into to those present in church that day
he took a deep breath
he said this scripture is fulfilled today in your hearing

yet that is the problem
isn't it
we don't want to hear these words
we don't want to hear the words of God's call to Jesus
we don't want to hear his mission and vision
we don't want to hear
for if we hear these words
we too will have to wrestle with God
we too will have to struggle with our own demons
we too will be called away from our comfort
we will be called to bring good news to the poor
    not tax cuts to the wealthy
we will be called to release the captives
    not create more laws and prisons to lock up more black and brown bodies
we will be called to recover the sight of the blind
   not defund medical and scientific research
   not cut healthcare to the elderly who are more likely to suffer from vision problems
   not send people into anxiety about whether they will still have insurance when they wake up
we will be called to let the oppressed go free
    not allow discrimination in terms of race, class, sex, disability
we will be called to say that now, today is the year God wants this
    not in the future, not when revelations becomes real
    now, today, this is the year of the Lord.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Help the Sick Recover

Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. 16The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.’ Mark 16:14-18
(I wouldn't normally write on this passage, I see it as not original to the author of Mark but a later addition by the church, cut that church is the church that we are supposed to be a part of. This passage tells what they believed about what the followers of Jesus were called to do. Although as a progressive I groan a little at the condemnation of the passage.)

lack of faith
stubbornness
Jesus when meeting his followers
speaks to them of
a lack of faith
stubbornness

but through it all he invites them to go on a journey
he encourages them to journey into the world, the whole creation
Jesus invites them to take up his sermon
"Repent and believe the Good News, the Kingdom of God has drawn near."
the journey is to lead them to places where the good news has not spread
they are to take the good news to people who need to be set free of evil
they are to take the good news to people who need to be washed cleaned
they are to wash them in the waters of baptism and bring them into the community
they are to wash them clean to join the journey
they are invited on the journey to speak in new languages
they are invited to have conversations
real conversations
meaningful conversation with others
they are to share the stories
they are to tell the good news of God's love
they are to speak of all the love they saw poured out by Jesus
they are to charm even the original evil, the tempter
they are to bring the tempter into the God's love
wherever they travel
wherever they go in the whole creation
wherever they journey
they are to lay hands on the sick
to follow Jesus
to be part of the church of Jesus
to be a disciple
a Jesus follower
means to lay hands upon the sick
we are to visit the sick and touch them
we are to seek out the sick and bring healing to them
we are to make it possible for the sick to recover
how will we use our resources
our communities resources
our countries resources
to help the sick recover

Jesus Christ is Waiting


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Have Mercy on Me

They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 48Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 49Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ 50So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ 52Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. Mark 10:46-52
Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me
have mercy on me
when all you want is to be well
when all you want is to be whole
when all you want is the pain to go away
when all you want is the hurt to stop
you seek mercy
you cry out for mercy
you pray for mercy
all day, the words run through your mind
Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me
as you breathe
Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me
in and out, you breathe
over and over
Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me
you walk, you drive, you work
Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me
this prayer, this plea, this cry
Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me
then you hear the voice of compassion
take heart

Monday, March 20, 2017

How Much Longer Must I Put Up With You

When they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. 15When the whole crowd saw him, they were immediately overcome with awe, and they ran forward to greet him. 16He asked them, ‘What are you arguing about with them?’ 17Someone from the crowd answered him, ‘Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; 18and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.’ 19He answered them, ‘You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.’ 20And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21Jesus asked the father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ And he said, ‘From childhood. 22It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ 23Jesus said to him, ‘If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.’ 24Immediately the father of the child cried out, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’ 25When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, ‘You spirit that keep this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!’ 26After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, ‘He is dead.’ 27But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand. 28When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ 29He said to them, ‘This kind can come out only through prayer.’ Mark 9:14-29
you faithless
how much longer must I be among you
how much longer must I put up with you

it started with an argument about why the boy was not healed
the lawyers, the crowd, the disciples arguing about healing
the congress, the doctors, the insurance company arguing about healing

yet the child is in need
he doesn't need a law tomorrow, six months from now, next year
he needs healing now
he needs to be free of seizures
he has already suffered for most of his childhood
he doesn't need your arguments about costs and freedom,
he doesn't need your arguments about competition and access
he doesn't need your arguments about subsidies and tax credits
he doesn't need your arguments about free markets and crossing state lines
he doesn't need your arguments
he needs healing

you faithless
how much longer must I be among you
how much longer must I put up with you

the father cries
if you are able do something
have pity on us
help us

you faithless
how much longer must I be among you
how much longer must I put up with you

the father knows
you the insurance company, you the congress, you the healthcare profession
are able
you can make him well
but you don't believe there is enough
enough money, enough time, enough competition, enough medicine
you don't believe that there is enough for him, for me, for us

you faithless
how much longer must I be among you
how much longer must I put up with you

I believe, help my unbelief
show the little boy
show him kindness, compassion, faith
show him that you care
that you believe everyone can and should be made well
show me that you care more about us than your principles, your politics, your theology, your party

you faithless
how much longer must I be among you
how much longer must I put up with you

 Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Do Not Stop Him

John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ 39But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. 40Whoever is not against us is for us. 41For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.Mark 9:38-41
do not stop him
where does healing come from
is it only the providence of Jesus
the disciples who should be able to heal like you
they are not able to help a child
we met this man
he was healing in your name
we tried to stop him
he wasn't following us

do not stop him
Jesus said, 'do not stop him'
whoever is not against us is for us
if someone gives you water, drink

do not stop him
where do we turn for healing, today
we have been given medicine
we have doctors, nurses, researchers, aids
we have people who can treat our illness, our broken bodies

do not stop them
what do we do to gain access to these healing professionals?
how do we make it possible for everyone who is ill to receive healing treatment?
how do we separate an ability to pay from the need to receive healing?

do not stop him
I hear in this scripture a push to accept healing from others
I hear Jesus suggesting that healing comes from many sources outside of him
I hear Jesus saying we should empower those healers to heal

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Can You See Anything?

They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. 23He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, ‘Can you see anything?’ 24And the man looked up and said, ‘I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.’ 25Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26Then he sent him away to his home, saying, ‘Do not even go into the village.’ Mark 8:22-26
can you see anything?
Jesus just fed 5000+ people in Israel
Jesus just fed 4000 + people in gentile territory
the pharisees demand a sign
he literally has just given them sign upon sign
healing the crowds who come to them
feeding the crowds that follow them
signs are right there to be seen
so the disciples are in the boat and arguing a bout not having any bread
Jesus literally just fed 4000+ people
yet they argue over bread

can you see anything?
Jesus takes them through what he has just done and asks
do you not understand
to drive the point home

people brought the blind man to be healed
they begged Jesus to heal him
Jesus takes him by the hand and leads him
he puts saliva on his eyes
he touched him
he asked can you see anything
the man says I can see trees walking
Jesus touches him again
he look intently at the man
the man now could see clearly
his sight was restores

can you see anything?
Jesus heals generously, compassionately, without qualifications
but are we the one's being asked can we see
      the ACA saved my grandson's life- stage 4 lymphoma
      receive my daily bipolar meds and monthly appointments for mental health
      ruptured appendix
      help with my eating disorder
      need lifelong help with multi systemic issues
     autistic child's treatment
     breast cancer survivor
    

can we see anything?
    a pregnancy would kill me
    cancer scare
    heart surgery
    high blood pressure
   seizure disorder
    brain tumor
    diabetes

can you see anything?
Jesus has just done things beyond our explanation
he fed people
he healed people
he has given us the task to do the same
so when we look around
do we see that some people have health issues that requires help
will we help them
will we ask for everyone to receive healing

can you see anything?

   
    

Friday, March 17, 2017

Be Open

Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. 34Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ 35And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37They were astounded beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’ Mark 7:31-37
be open
Jesus traveled
he journeyed to his near neighbors
teaching, healing, preaching
he journeyed to his far neighbors
teaching, healing, preaching
he journeyed to those neighbors considered enemies
teaching, healing, preaching
he journeyed to those far neighbors considered enemies
teaching, healing, preaching

be open
Jesus had just argued with a mother
she challenged his belief that healing was only for a chosen few
she made him realize that he wasn't living up to his words
he had preached that there was nothing that came out of you that could separate you from God
he taught that there was nothing that goes into you that could make you evil
it was what came out of your mouth that separated you from God and others
she made him see that she was clean
she was human
she was someone that God loved

be open
people brought others for healing
some needed to have evil removed
some needed to be healed
some were lame
some were blind
today they brought to him
a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment
they asked Jesus to lay hands on him

be open
he couldn't hear
because he couldn't hear
he couldn't speak clearly
Jesus took him away from the crowd
he put his fingers in his ears
he spat and touched his tongue
he looked up to heaven and prayed
be open

be open
immediately
immediately
his ears were open and he could speak clearly

be open
are we willing to have our ears opened
to hear those things that don't fit with our preconceptions
to hear the voices of those different from us
to hear the pain of those who will be hurt by our actions or lack of action
to hear the cries of those in pain
to hear the voices of those who claim their humanity, their rights, their equality
to hear that which makes us uncomfortable
to hear how they have been helped, healed, given hope

be open
will you let Jesus touch you
will you let Jesus pray for you to be open
will you let Jesus heal you


Thursday, March 16, 2017

crumbs from the table

From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 25but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ 28But she answered him, ‘Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’ 29Then he said to her, ‘For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.’ 30So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. Mark 7:24-30

crumbs from the table
you've heard over and over
your child's possessed
can't you make your child behave
can't you make your child be quiet
can't your child sit still
maybe you should leave
your child is upsetting me

crumbs from the table
you've tried everything
every herbal supplement
every medication
every psychiatrist, psychologist, doctor, healer, teacher
you have changed your child's diet
no sugar, no wheat, more veggies
you have exercised more
you are tired
you have had enough
where can you turn for help, for hope, for comfort

crumbs from the table
Jesus was hiding out
her didn't want to see anyone
he was tired
everywhere he went people needed
they needed his healing touch
he wanted to be alone
he wanted to rest
he wanted to recharge his batteries
but he couldn't get away

crumbs from the table
the mother begged him to heal her child
her daughter to make her well
she fell to her knees
she bowed down
praying that he who had done so much good
could change the life of her daughter

crumbs from the table
you immigrant, you refugee
I'm not here to help your people
I'm here to change the lives of my people
I'm here to save my people
it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs

crumbs from the table
did this holy one, this healer call me a bitch
is he saying I'm not even human
this can't be the man I heard about
he was supposed to embody compassion
I was told he was kind
how could he speak to me this way
how could he ignore my child

crumbs from the table
Sir, even the dogs
Sir, even the dogs
Sir, even the dogs, get crumbs

crumbs from the table
how many hoops must I jump through
how may times do I have to give them the same documents
how many times must I tell them the story
why is it so hard
why do people make it so difficult
why do they see us as less than them

crumbs from the table
she called him out
this foreign mother held him accountable for his words, his promises
this bitch made him actually think about what it means to love your neighbor

crumbs from the table
for saying that
for calling me out
for making see my hypocrisy
your daughter is free
your daughter is whole

crumbs from the table
I ran home
all the way I kept praying let it be true
I prayed let it be real
they she was on her bed, calm, quiet, well

Crumbs From the Table, U2


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

wherever he went

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. 54When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, 55and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the market-places, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed. Mark 6:53-56
wherever he went
wherever he went
into cities
into villages
into farms
into the region
people at once recognized him
wherever he went

wherever he went
they began to bring sick on mats
wherever they heard he was
they laid the sick in the market-places
they begged him
they asked to just touch the fringe of his cloak

wherever he went
all who touched were healed
wherever he went
all who touched it were healed

wherever he went
we are crying for a miracle
a chance to touch his cloak
we are praying for the sick and suffering
we are praying for those who can barely pay
we are praying for those who have nothing left for a physical, an operation, a prescription
we are praying for the sick and suffering

wherever he went
they came for healing
they came seeking wholeness
they came for their life to change

wherever he went
we are crying that everyone can see a doctor
we are praying that everyone can be made well
we are crying to our elected officials save us, heal us
we are praying for the sick and suffering
we are crying for healing
we are praying just for the chance to be made well

wherever he went
all who touched were healed
wherever he went
all who touched it were healed


Say Goodbye, Green Day

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Healing Help

Then he went about among the villages teaching. 7He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.’ 12So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. Mark 6:6-13
where do you turn when there is so much pain
where do you turn when there are so many people who need you
where do you turn when evil is running rampant
where do you turn when there are so many people who need your help
your love
your teaching
your hope

Jesus looked around for help
he saw those who had been by his side
he saw those he had been teaching, nurturing, mentoring
he called his companions, his friends and sent them out
two by two they went on the journey
they were given authority
they were given power to cast out evil
they took nothing with him
no money, no bread
just the clothes on their back and a single staff
they went from town to town
they called people to repent, to turn back to God
they cast out evil, anointed the sick and cured them

Jesus wanted help because there was so much need, so much pain
he sent his disciples
who will he send today
who will Jesus send to those places of pain, of sickness, of evil
who will go into the world to heal the hurting
if all Jesus has is us, then  we are the ones called and sent
we are the ones to go to the places of hurt and evil
we are the ones bring healing and love
we are the ones who can make it possible for people to be restored to wholeness


 The Summons John L. Bell



Monday, March 13, 2017

Jesus Was Amazed at Their Unbelief

He left that place and came to his home town, and his disciples followed him. 2On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, ‘Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! 3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him. 4Then Jesus said to them, ‘Prophets are not without honor, except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.’ 5And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6And he was amazed at their unbelief. Mark 6:1-6
he was amazed at their unbelief
Jesus went home
he left the place where people were amazed about him
he spoke of God in a way that changed them
he cast out evil
he healed those who he touched or touched him
Jesus went home

he was amazed at their unbelief
Jesus went to church
he was among the people who first taught him
taught him to pray
taught him to worship
taught him sing
taught him to study
taught him to care
he went to church

he was amazed at their unbelief
Jesus began to teach
he opened the torah script and began to talk about it
he spoke of repentance, forgiveness, love
he shared his vision of the kingdom of God
the people were astounded
but not in a good way
his words went right by them
all they could see is the little boy who pulled his sister hairt
all they could see is the occupation he was supposed to have - carpenter
where did this wisdom come from
this isn't what we have been taught
we know his family
he can't be given a new teaching
the more they talked to each other about him
the more offended they became
he began to teach

he was amazed at their unbelief
they didn't get his sermon
they didn't hear God's word through him
he couldn't do deeds of power
he could only lay hands on a few
he could only cure a few
he was amazed at their unbelief

he was amazed at their unbelief
we see them in their seats of power
they profess their faith
they tell us they are Christians
they show us their pastor, their church
they speak of what God requires
Jesus tried to walk among them
he tried to whisper in their ear
I want you to heal people
I want you to make people well
I want you to remember my words and teaching
love one another
do good to one another
heal the sick, feed the hungry
visit the imprisoned
give a drink to the thirsty
clothe the naked
he whispers to them in their seat of power
but they didn't get it
they couldn't hear his word
they couldn't experience his love
 they forgot his call to repent and believe the good news
God has drawn near and healing is possible,
evil is cast out
love wins
he whispered in thier ear as they made decisions about other people's lives
he whispered in their ears and they held hearings and voted on bills
he whispered in their ears remember your baptism
he whispered in their ears to remember to love
he was amazed at their unbelief

Help My Unbelief, Red Mountian Music

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Lille Girl, Get Up

While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, ‘Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?’ 36But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, ‘Do not fear, only believe.’ 37He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39When he had entered, he said to them, ‘Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.’ 40And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha cum’, which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ 42And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.   Mark 5:35-49
little girl, get up
those are the first words I heard
it had been so dark
so cold
so lonely
then into that silence
came the words
little girl, get up

little girl, get up
then I felt his touch
his tug
a pull on my hand
and there I was standing in my room
I saw my mom crying and my dad holding her
and this man with the kindest eyes
the gentlest voice
Chicago's Woman's March

little girl, get up
they were all amazed, in shock
but he looked at me
as I walked towards my mom for a hug
he said giver her something to eat

little girl, get up
do you hear those words calling you
little girl, get up
there are immigrants being rounded up
transgendered women being killed
jewish centers and synagogues being threatened with bombs and mark with hate
healthcare under threat especially the healthcare of the working poor, the lower middle class
streams allowed to be polluted
then the voice says
little girl, get up

little girl, get up
little girl, speak out
little girl, call, write, protest
little girl, get up
Alicia Keys, Girl on Fire
 



Saturday, March 11, 2017

if I but touch him, I will be made well

And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. 26She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28for she said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ 29Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ 31And his disciples said to him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, “Who touched me?” 32He looked all round to see who had done it. 33But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’ Mark 5:24-34
if I but touch him, I will be made well
bleeding for 12 years
couldn't talk about it
it was a woman's problem
at times so weak I couldn't move
left out of so much because I was perpetually unclean

if I but touch him, I will be made well
I tried everything
if there was an herb that might somehow, someway stopp bleeding I gathered it
I went to the doctor in my village
the midwife
the crone
I to the next doctor
I spent everything I had on a cure

if I but touch him, I will be made well
nothing worked
sometimes it made me worse
increased the bleeding
made me dizzy
cause me to be week

 if I but touch him, I will be made well
a neighbor said have you heard about Jesus
he comes into town and says repent
he preaches about  love and forgiveness
when he comes into town people are healed
the disease they have is gone
they are made well, they are whole again
you know, he's coming to town today

if I but touch him, I will be made well
I cam up behind him in the crowd
I thought  if I but touch him, I will be made well
so I touched his cloak
the bleeding stopped
I felt my body be healed
can you imagine what is like to finally be well, to feel whole again

if I but touch him, I will be made well
he started to look around
I knew he was looking for me
he knew that I was better
he said, who touched my clothes
his friends said have you seen the crowds
everyone is touching you
he said again, who touched me

if I but touch him, I will be made well
I knew he meant me
I apporached him with my head down
I fell to my knees there before him
I was scared
but I told him
I told him of the bleeding, the doctors, the money, the hope
I told him my story

if I but touch him, I will be made well
he called me daughter
he said my faith made me well
he told me to go in peace
he said be healed of your disease

if I but touch him, I will be made well
he gave me back my life
he restored me
he didn't just cure me
he transformed what I had been to what I could be
he made me whole
A Touching Place, John Bell

Friday, March 10, 2017

Even If the Healing Doesn't Come

21When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him; and he was by the lake. 22Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ 24So he went with him.
Kira Westland, A Story Called Hope, flickr
she is near death
you don't know what to do
why won't she get better
where is the cure they promised
treatment after treatment
blood transfusions
stem cells
anitbiotics
medicine - with so many side effects
surgery
radiation
chemo

she is near death
they tried everything
her body is so tired
she can't take any more
no more pills
no more surgery
no more hospitals
she said no more

she is near death
you can't let go
you cna't stop hoping for a miracle
you cant stop researching the latest scientific break through
you can't stop crying for her
you have to be strong
you have to be tough
you have to do what is right  - what is best

she is near death
you want hope to come so badly
you run outside to meet hope
you see Jesus
you fall down
kneeling on the ground you beg
my daughter...
my daughter...
my daughter is at the point of death
you choke back the deep wailing inside that wants to break out
come and lay your hands on her
come and touch her
make her well
make her whole
bring her back to me
Even If, Kutless


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Tell Them How Much God Has Done for You

They came to the other side of the lake, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately a man out of the tombs with an unclean spirit met him. 3He lived among the tombs; and no one could restrain him any more, even with a chain; 4for he had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones. 6When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him; 7and he shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.’ 8For he had said to him, ‘Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!’ 9Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ He replied, ‘My name is Legion; for we are many.’ 10He begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11Now there on the hillside a great herd of swine was feeding; 12and the unclean spirits begged him, ‘Send us into the swine; let us enter them.’ 13So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the lake, and were drowned in the lake. 14 The swineherds ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came to see what it was that had happened. 15They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine reported it. 17Then they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood. 18As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. 19But Jesus refused, and said to him, ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.’ 20And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed. Mark 5:1-20
tell them how much God has done for you
Jesus traveled to the other side of the lake
there in tthe cementary
 there was a man
a man who scared others
a man that had been chained
but couldnt be chained anymore becuase they could not contain him
he broke the restrainsts
he broke the shackles in pieces
no one had the strength
no one had the abilit
no one was able to subdue him
calm him
he was roaming
howling
bruising himself
cutting

tell them how much God has done for you
he saw Jesus
he fell to his knees
he bowed down
he screamed
he shouted the loudest he could
don't torment me
Son of God
what do yo have to do with me.

tell them how much God has done for you
come out
what is your name
who are you
what is yourr truth
don't send me away

tell them how much God has done for you
compassion for evil
Jesus speaks to
talks with
learns the name of evil
Jesus listens and hears from the enemy
he has compassion for the man and for the illness

tell them how much God has done for you
he sits there
he seems so normal
he seems so calm
he was dressed
he looked normal, human, healed

tell them how much God has done for you
his neighbors saw him
they were scared
they heard the story and wanted Jesus gone
leave. don't come back to our neighborhood

tell them how much God has done for you
the man who is free, healthy, whole
let me come with you
take me with you

tell them how much God has done for you
go to your friend
tell them how much God has done for you
tell them of the mercy God has shown you

the man traveled through his community, county, state, country
the man proclaimed far and wide
he spoke of mercy
he spoke about the wholeness he received
he spoke of compassion and love
he shared what God had done for him

Look What the Lord Has Done

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

He Had Cured Many

7 Jesus departed with his disciples to the lake, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him; 8hearing all that he was doing, they came to him in great numbers from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region around Tyre and Sidon. 9He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him; 10for he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. 11Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, ‘You are the Son of God!’ 12But he sternly ordered them not to make him known.  Mark 3:7-12
a great multitude
 a great number
from Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumeas, Tyre, Sidon, beyond the Jordan
a crushing crowd
many

the numbers were astounding
the numbers of people needing Jesus came from all around
great number followed from the beginning through all the lands surrounding
there were so many in need, he felt crushed
even though they were so desperate, so in need
he healed them
he cured them
he removed the disease
he removed the unclean spirit

a great multitude
 a great number
from Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumeas, Tyre, Sidon, beyond the Jordan
a crushing crowd
many

those with disease pressed upon him
they reached for him
grabbed for him
touched him
they fell down before him
he healed them

a great multitude
 a great number
from Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumeas, Tyre, Sidon, beyond the Jordan
a crushing crowd
many

how do we cure, heal, touch, free,
the multitude, the many, the crowd, a great number
our neighbors, the people upstreet, those in the next town, the next city,
    beyond our natural stopping point
the boundary, the number, the illness
these were transformed, healed, loved by the one who came to show us the way
the better way
the fairer way
the kinder way
the God way

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Stretch Out Your Hand

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3And he said to the man who had the withered hand, ‘Come forward.’ 4Then he said to them, ‘Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?’ But they were silent. 5He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him. Mark 3:1-6
Joseph Novak,The Healing Hands, flickr
stretch out your hands
its the Sabbath Day
Jesus is heading to church
he has spent the day being challenged
first he was questioned about not being religious enough
your followers don't fast
 this is when you should fast
why don't you
then why is he working on the Sabbath
why can they pick grain
we are supposed to resting
we are supposed to give the day to God

stretch out your hand
he entered the church
he saw the man with the withered hand
he knew this was a test
he knew they wanted him to fail
he knew he couldn't win no matter what he did
they were waiting to judge him
accuse him
remove his influence, his power

stretch out your hand
Jesus invited the man with the withered hand to come to him
as you read the story you wonder if Jesus saw him
for he doesn't speak to the man, he speaks to the accusers
is it lawful to do harm or do good
is it lawful to save a life or kill
isn't this the question we ask today
should we live doing good or should we allow our actions to cause harm
should we save lives or kill
if healing cost too much - is that harm, does  it prevent the saving of a life
how do we know what is harm, what may save a life

stretch out your hand
when challenged, they were silent
when faced with the saving of a life, they were silent
when invited to do good, they were silent
when challenged about their proposals they hid, they were silent, they stayed away

stretch out you hand
Jesus was angry
he looked at them and was angry
he grieved at their hard hearts

stretch out your hand
Jesus did good anyway
Jesus chose to save a life
the man with the withered hand stretch out his hand
he was healed

stretch out your hand
they couldn't do it
they left and conspired
they left and plotted destruction
they chose harm
they were willing to kill

stretch out your hand
what will you choose
will you do good
will you save a life
will you speak
will you stretch out your hand

Monday, March 6, 2017

Your sins are forgiven

Rise Up, Andra Day
When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. 3Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. 5When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7“Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? 9Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’? 10But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he said to the paralytic— 11“I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.” 12And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!” 
Eden, Janine and Jim, Grace, flickr
your sins are forgiven
you can't walk
you can't move around they way you want
you have to rely on others to do everything
you need someone to help you get around

your sins are forgiven
you have friends who were there with you when the accident happened
since then that have been their for you
they have taken you to the doctors
they have brought your family food
they have have listened to your pain

your sins are forgiven
they heard about Jesus
he was able to heal people
they decided to take you to Jesus
when they arrive they find that there are so many people
the space is crowded and he will never see me
touch me
heal me
one of them looks at the building
I think we could bring him in through the ceiling
look it is one of the grass ceilings
we could break open a spot and lower you in

your sins are forgiven
the next thing I know i am dropping down through the ceiling
he is busy speaking about repentance
he is talking about how we often all of us miss the mark
but the good new he says is that God is waiting for you to turn around
to turn back
to experience the grace that comes when you remember your place with God
Jesus says all you have to do is repent and believe the good news

your sins are forgiven
Jesus looks up as  I am being dropped down to his feet
as I am settled on the ground he says
your sins are forgiven
why woul dhe say that
I can't walk beceuse of the accident
I haven't been healed becuase they don't know how to fuse my spine back together
he says again as he looks at me
your sins are forgiven

your sins are forgiven
I feel relief
I feel like he sees me
he knows whats inside
he sees my regrets, my mistakes, my fears
I see compassion in his eyes

your sins are forgiven
some in the crowd didn't like those words
they didn't want him  to be able to forgive sins
they felt he was taking over God's role in are lives
But those words - your sins are forgiven- changed me

your sins are forgiven
Jesus says fine he looks at me there is compassion their
take up you mat and walk
I'm scared
but i feel the tingling where their has been no feeling
I move my legs  which have been unable to move since the accident
I stood for the first time in so long
I look at Jesus with thanks
he has transformed me
your sins are forgiven

your sins are forgiven
he gave me back the world
he opened my life back up to the world, to my family, to life
he helped me to remember my faith
he helped me to experience the love of God
he changed my friends and I that day
we spoke those same words to other
we shared with family and friend about turning back to God, about repenting
we spoke of forgiveness
we learned to forgive




Sunday, March 5, 2017

I do choose. Be made clean.

40A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” 41Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” 42Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, 44saying to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 45But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter. Mark 1:40-45
Nik Nur Amirah NY, Leper, flickr
 I do choose
he approached the healer
he begged him
he pleaded
he bowed down
he knelled before him
the words he said
"If you choose, you can make me clean."
if you choose
if you see the pain
if you see how long I have been suffering
if you see that I can't be me
if you see that I want to be well
I want to be clean and able to join life
I want to participate in the community
I want to belong

"If you choose, you can make me clean."
Jesus saw him
Jesus was moved by him
Jesus saw what was missing in his life because of this illness
Jesus saw into his his heart
Moved Jesus reaches out
Jesus touches this man
who no one will touch
who people walk by and avert their eyes
who has been cast out
cast aside
Jesus touched him and said
“I do choose. Be made clean!”
“I do choose. Be made clean!”

right away
before he could even breath
the illness left him
he was made clean
he was brought back into community

he couldn't contain himself
he told every one
he shared the news every where
he spoke the good news
he proclaimed the gospel far and wide
the word went out and spread
the word could not be contained or stopped
people began to seek Jesus out
people began to seek hope and healing
more and more people began to ask for healing
for help
for hope
and Jesus is moved
is always moved
Jesus want people to be made well
to be made clean


Friday, March 3, 2017

Bring People to Jesus for Healing

Item 2718, Engineering Department Photographic Negatives (Record Series 2613-07), Seattle Municipal Archives.

32That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 33And the whole city was gathered around the door. 34And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. Mark 1:32-34

What are our obligations when it comes to health care for others? There are a number of these summary passages in the gospels where there is not a personal, particular story told. Instead we have a few sentence where Jesus does ministry to groups of people. Most of these passages have healing taking place. Healing was an important part of what Jesus did. So what does that mean for us as followers of Jesus?

One suggestion from this passage is that we bring people to those who can provide healing - "they brought to him all who were sick." I think most of us have interpreted this as bringing people to Jesus through pray. I think this is an important ministry to pray for those who are sick. Pray is an important piece of how we can act. But is speaking to God in prayer enough. While we definitely want to pray and continue praying for those who are ill, we also want to think about with how to concretely heal people.

The church I belong to, the United Church of Christ has a long history of establishing hospital and sending out deaconesses to provide care to people. We believed that we are called to provide healing to people. Here are just a few of the hospitals we helped to founded. 
1889—Evangelical Deaconess Home and Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri; 1889—Tabitha Institute, Lincoln, Nebraska; 1892—Protestant Deaconess Home and Hospital, Evansville, Indiana; 1902—Evangelical Deaconess Home and Hospital, Lincoln, Illinois; 1905—Evangelical Emmaus Homes, Marthasville and St. Charles, Missouri; 1908—Evangelical St. Lucas Deaconess Home and Hospital, Faribault, Minnesota; 1910—Evangelical Deaconess Home and Hospital, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 1910—Evangelical Hospital, Chicago, Illinois; 1911—Evangelical Deaconess Home, Louisville, Kentucky; 1912—Evangelical Deaconess Association, Baltimore, Maryland; 1913—Evangelical Deaconess Hospital, Marshalltown, Iowa; 1915—Evangelical Deaconess Home and Hospital, East St. Louis, Illinois; 1917—Evangelical Deaconess Hospital, Detroit, Michigan; 1919—Evangelical Deaconess Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio  For more information see Deaconess Movement
In my own area of Illinois the Advocate Health Care System is an outgrowth of hospitals founded by the United Church of Christ and Lutheran services. Our history shows us how important part of the ministry of our churches were providing healing. Through our CHISM ministry we have many relationships with health and human service organizations to this day. There are church to this day who have parish nurses. Parish nurses act as educators, counselors, and advocates. They helped to facilitate preventative and restorative care for individuals and families. Sadly this is one of the positions that has been cut as church budgets have decreased. 

We are invited in this passage to bring people to Jesus who need healing. In our churches and in our lives how are we living out this call? Do we support parish nursing programs, do we use our church as centers where mobile health care can occur from health fairs to blood drives? Do we have volunteer programs to provide transportation for people to and from doctor visits? Consider how you will embody this role of bring people to be healed.