Friday, July 31, 2015

Love Prevails

I think,
I believe,
I trust,
That love prevails.
Not in every moment, of course.
But ultimately.

Nothing so big to change the world forever.
But to keep the world moving.
With more good than evil.
Just enough good.
To outweigh
(not by much)
The bad.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mundane Christianity Gets My Vote

I like the word mundane with regard to faith ( ... at least in it's second and third definitions, with a few words from #1 ...

1. common; ordinary; banal; unimaginative.
2. of or relating to this world or earth as contrasted with heaven; worldly; earthly:
mundane affairs.
3. of or relating to the world, universe, or earth.

With respect #1, I affirm the words "common" and "ordinary" ... though definitely not banal ... and sadly, too often unimaginative.

But #2 and #3 seem terribly important to me.

The idea that faith is woven into every-day life and every-day life woven into faith ... like having lunch, or taking a nap, going for a walk, having a spat with a loved one, brushing one's teeth, watching TV, wondering what it's all about, and a fine glass of wine.

There was a time in my ministry when I wanted faith to be something more than mundane, and the Christian Publishing World, of course, provides entire libraries on how to be anything but mundane.

The contemporary church has spent a lot of time and money puffing up the gospel, and it's too bad, actually. It's less than accurate, finally addicting people to "experience."

So I vote for mundane ... finding God in all the small places of life, places out-of-the-way ... learning to appreciate the commonplace as an environment in which God is likely to be found, sort of like Bethlehem.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Why We Do What We Do

Most of us do what we do most of the time because of hope.
Hope that good work, and works that are good, make a difference.
Even a small difference.

What's good you ask?

Most of the time that's an easy question.
Good unto others is not rocket science.

What is it that makes life for good for us?
Would that not also qualify for goodness in most any other place?

Even when we're greedy, angry, bitter.
Something good still swirls around in the mess.

Maybe there are some who feel nothing good for anyone.
They're only a blind mass of desire.

But most of us, I think, know what's good.
And the heart often leads first.
Why not?

So we do what we do most of the time.
Maybe like Micah:
We do justice ... love kindness ... walk humbly with God.

Sometimes that gets complicated.
We know that.
But let's not complicate things too early.

Most of the time, we know what justice is.
The provision of safety for another.
The open door, the open arms, welcome and affirmation.

We know what kindness is ... a further element in love.
We know what humility is, too.
Though it often galls us. Ha.

We know these things.
From our very DNA, it would seem.
In all cultures and forms.

That's why we do what we do most of the time ... because of hope.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Cry of Despair - Psalm 25

This caught my eye ... from today's Lectionary: Psalm 25 -

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
          for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart,
          and bring me out of my distress.
18 Consider my affliction and my trouble,
          and forgive all my sins.

19 Consider how many are my foes,
          and with what violent hatred they hate me.
20 O guard my life, and deliver me;
          do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me,
          for I wait for you.

Who hasn't been reduced in means and threatened with want?
Who hasn't had hope shattered and dreams scattered?
Who hasn't failed themselves and others, perhaps unintentionally, or even intentionally?
Who hasn't felt the sting of adversity, the judgement of others, the hatred/rejection of former friends?

Whatever is going on for the Psalmist, it's a cry filled with pain ... and pleading ... pleading with God who, for the Psalmist, can make a difference, can adjust the flow of time, the pace of history, the outcome of some events.

I suspect we've all been here, in one way or the other.
Alone, if not in reality, at least in perception.
Frightened of what may come our way.
Without hope in any predictable frame.

The cry of pain ... is often the beginning of rebuilding.
When we give up, sort of, and seek the ways of God, anew.

Life is full of dead ends and disappointments, struggle and strife.
Surely, punctuated by sweetness and joy and delight and peace.
How quickly the beauty fads in the moment of breaking.
For the Psalmist, it's all fallen, and she cries out in desperation.
Cries out for help.

And with hope that her integrity and uprightness, which are a part of her life, will be evident.
For none is without integrity and uprightness.
We all have such things ... and she prays that these things will anchor her character.

And may that be true for us all.

And the last word, mostly, finally, sort of .... "I wait for you!"