endings… and beginnings…

I have decided to merge this blog into another blog of mine, because it is so similar… there will be no more posts on this site…

The new site is: journaling the journey

The site address is: aywtb.wordpress.com

Follow me there… and journey along…

… the poor will always be with us …

Jesus:  “…you always have the poor with you…” [Matthew 26:11]

Context:

A known prostitute brought an alabaster jar filled with an aromatic perfume and anointed Jesus with it…  One of his disciples protested saying that the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor…  Jesus responded by reminding that disciple that there would always be opportunities to help those who are poor…  Because the poor would always be among us…

Thoughts:

  1.  The disciple who complained was not only thinking that [what to him would have been] a fortune was being wasted… but he was also judging the woman who was anointing Jesus, most likely not only for being so “wasteful” but also for who and what she was…
  2. It is thought by some that the disciple who complained was protesting because he would have liked to have had for his own use the money that the sale of the perfume would have brought, and not because he wanted to give it away in order to help the poor…
  3. That Jesus, knowing the disciple’s heart and true motives for his protest, responded as he did in order to remind all of the disciples that there would always be opportunities to help the poor…

Comments: 

  1. What a grace-filled answer Jesus gives to this disciple who protests…  Grace-filled in that Jesus does not “call out” the protesting disciple and chide him for his true motives… but instead spoke to the best within the disciple’s heart, as he reminded that disciple, and all others, that there would be other times when disciples could help the poor…
  2. But yet, too often, we disciples only want to help the poor, the vulnerable, the outcast, the marginalized in ways that are convenient for us… in ways that allow us to remain separate from them, keeping them in our thoughts as “those others”… and that allow us to judge them in the process…
  3. Too often we do not extend to the poor, the vulnerable, the outcast, and the marginalized the grace that Jesus extends to us…
  4. Too often we fail to see the face of our sister or brother when we look into the face of those who are poor, vulnerable, outcast or marginalized… that is, if we actually do look at their faces…
  5. Too often, we fail to see Jesus in those who are poor, vulnerable, outcast or marginalized…
  6. And when we fail to see them or help them… the poor, the vulnerable, the outcast, the marginalized… when we fail to see them or help them, then we fail to see or help Jesus…

…whatever you did for the least of these my brothers [and sisters], you did for me…and whatever you failed to do for the least of these, you failed to do for me…  [Matthew 25]

Ultimately, we will be judged by what we do, or fail to do, for Jesus…

We will always have the poor, the vulnerable, the outcast, the marginalized among us…

How will you be judged?

holy week … between Palm Sunday and Easter …

We fight our petty battles…

either for power and domination…

or to be viewed by others as a savior from those who would dominate others…

and in the end, we become that which we would save others from…

 

We claim the victories…

for which countless numbers have died…

rich, poor, humble and arrogant…

black, white, Christian, Muslim and Jew…

victories that ultimately are devoid of meaning…

 

We build our towers of Babel…

to make a name for ourselves…

so that those around us will come to know the wonder of us…

 

And the God of Creation…

the One who spoke the universe into existence…

and formed humanity from the dust of the earth…

the One whose Name is above all other names…

and at whose feet every knee shall bow…

the One whose true power was demonstrated by death on a cross…

the Lord of the universe and the Master of eternity…

 

Sits and laughs at us and weeps…

as He places His feet on His footstool…

Lent… day 5 …

O God, the Father of us all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies:  Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

~Book of Common Prayer, quoted in the Spring 2006 Lent Reader, put out by Asbury Theological Seminary.

OK…  so really…  how many of you, as you read the above prayer, or even maybe prayed it, did so thinking that “they” [certainly not us] were the ones who needed to be led “from prejudice to truth”… because, of course we are not prejudiced and always know the truth…   and then the next part… emphasizing in the prayer about delivering “them” from “hatred, cruelty, and revenge” … because, once again, we don’t hate, nor are we ever cruel to others, and of course we never take revenge on anyone…  [Unless that line in the prayer really meant that we were asking that God deliver us from being hated, or experiencing cruelty or revenge at the hands of “them”] …

It is so easy to forget that this is a time for SELF examination, not “other” or “them” examination…  and that no matter what anyone else does, we need to ask ourselves difficult questions, and then, depending on the answers, ask God’s forgiveness…

What questions does this prayer evoke?

When have I been prejudiced against “them”?  When have I not wanted to see or know the truth about “them”?  When have I hated “them”?  When have I been cruel to “them”?  When have I wanted to take or when have I taken revenge against “them”?

It is not easy to ask ourselves these questions, and to be completely honest with ourselves [and with God] in answering them…

If you thought that giving up chocolate for Lent was going to be the hardest thing ever… then you perhaps have missed the point of Lent…

Lent… First Sunday…

In the beginning was the Word… and the Word was with God… and the Word was God…

And through the Word all things were created…

The Word became flesh and lived among the created… God became human…

The Word grew up… he ate and slept and laughed and loved and cried…

And then the Word died… showing and proving just how much we humans were loved…

While one human’s [Adam’s] wrongdoing brought sin and death and condemnation to all of humanity, so then one human’s [Jesus’] act of righteousness [Jesus’ death on the cross] brings justification and grace and life to all of humanity…   ~Romans 5:18

No matter how hard we might try, we humans cannot save ourselves from sin and death and condemnation…

The Word, through his life, death, and resurrection brings us grace and new life, saving us from sin and death and condemnation, and reconciling us with God…

It is God’s gift to us… all we have to do is accept it…