Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Along the Road...

LUKE 24:13-16
Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.

How many times, O Lord,
have I walked along wrapped up
in my own concerns,
in recent events,
in hearsay and gossip,
in grief and disbelief,
in shock...?

And you come along side me
along the journey
among the pain and the grief
in the shock
in the dismay
in the news...

I might expect you to come
in the voice
of a friend,
a pastor,
a co-worker...

But you also come as a stranger
someone unexpected
in a surprising way
hidden from my eyes

And you ask a simple question:
"What things?"
And you listen as I tell my tale...

Then you speak truth, love, wisdom...
You remind me again
of your faithfulness in the past
pointing out your surprising grace...

And then I see
-- just for a moment --
your smiling face
the twinkle in your eye,
like a child ready to share a great treasure,
grace, presence, resurrection, hope...

And I join
with those first disciples saying:
"Was my heart not burning within me!!"

Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter prayer...

"The Lord is Risen!
He is Risen indeed!"

O Lord,
whatever we sing, or say, or pray 
this Easter day...

I pray they all will be surpassed 
by the simple joy
of women and men 
standing in the presence of women and men,
daring to proclaim 
and echo the good news;

The Lord is Risen!
He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

For death is not the last word.
Violence is not the last word.
Hate is not the last word.
Money is not the last word.
Intimidation is not the last word.
Political power is not the last word.
Condemnation is not the last word.
Betrayal and failure are not the last word.

No, each of them are left like rags in a tomb,
And from that tomb,
Arises Christ,


--- adapted from "A Prayer for Pastors on Easter" by Brian McLaren
(Used with permission. Permission to circulate is granted to all.)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Not Condemned ... but risen for!

Isaiah 50:7-9a
The Lord GOD helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me.
It is the Lord GOD who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?

 O Lord,
you are our strength.
You are our hope.
You stand in our place
taking our guilt, our shame,
our hopelessness, our sin.
You judge us worth loving,
worth dying for, worth living for...

Amazing love,
how can it be
that you, my God,
would die for me.

The words from your prophet Isaiah,
reminds me of what the Apostle Paul
will write many years later
(perhaps he has this passage from Isaiah in mind)
What then are we to say about these things?
If God is for us, who is against us?
He who did not withhold his own Son,
but gave him up for all of us,
will he not with him also give us everything else?
Who will bring any charge against God’s elect?
It is God who justifies.
Who is to condemn?
It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised,
who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.  -- Romans 8:31-34
 If you, O Lord, who alone stand a judge,
if you choose not to condemn,
but rather to seek out, suffer with, die for, and raise again for
ALL who are guilty...
then teach me today
to share in your Spirit
being for the redemption of the world
and not against it.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Basin and the Towel

John 13:12-17
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord — and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.

 Bend my knee, O Lord,
that I might serve as you serve,
kneeling in the dirt
to cleanse, to heal, to forgive, to redeem.

Remind me to take off my robe --
the robe of title and position hiding my fears,
the robe of ego hiding my insecurities,
the robe of status symbols hiding my need for acceptance,
the robe of security hiding my fear of failure.

Instead help me put on the towel of service --
sharing ALL of your love,
speaking words of kindness, encouragement, gratitude, and grace,
acting out of love,
honoring others,
serving ALL of God's children.

O Lord,
wash my feet again
that I may walk in your way,
a way that leads to the cross and
the empty tomb!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Hosanna... O God, save us.

Matthew 21:9
The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

With voices raised high,
We cry, "Hosanna!  O God, save us!"
Save us from thinking thoughts too grand about ourselves
and small thoughts about you.
Save us from violence.
Save us from poor choices. 
Save us from the hell
we live in everyday:
abuse, loneliness, addiction, fear, insecurity, rage...

Today we join the ancient prayer,
O God, save us.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The stone rejected... becomes the keystone...

Psalm 118:21-24 
I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Building God,
the psalm's claim that
"The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone."
made no sense to me
until I was on a build site in Mexico.

We were building a simple concrete house;
it looked like a mansion
compared to the neighboring houses
whose walls were made of ramshackle boxes,
even an old box spring mattress.

The construction was simple cinderblock walls.
The revelation came
after the gull wing roof was in place.
Each gap had to be filled,
like fitting pieces of a puzzle with no picture.
The puzzle pieces were small rocks,
the broken blocks at our feet,
the very stones that we, the builders,
had once rejected
became just the right keystone
to hold it all together.

I learned that day
that you choose to use
what I considered cast off or waste
to be the capstone in building your kingdom.

Open my eyes today
that I may see all around me
the very people and acts you are using
to build your house among us,
small and broken though we may be.
This is the Lord's doing;
This is how God works!
It is marvelous in our eyes!"

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Psalm 130:5-6
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.

Waiting, waiting.
much of life is spent waiting.
How many times do I remember my father say,
"Your time's coming!"

But for now I wait and pray,
"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done..."
And yet, Lord Jesus, you said,
"The Kingdom of God is at hand!"
And you said that so long ago,
The Kingdom has come,
and yet my life and the life of the world
seems to be the same then as now,
the same now as then

I begin to doubt
your Kingdom's presence already here.
I trust more that it's not yet come.
And so I wait.

And I wonder:
Do I wait "more than
those who watch for the morning?"
Those who search the horizon
for a change in color, a sign of the sun's rising.
Those who long for the darkness to be broken
with the first light of dawn.
Those who expect the new day, new opportunity, new hope.

Do I wait actively watching
for your resurrection Son to pierce the darkness
making a day into the Lord's day
transforming not yet into already
altering life into abundant living?

Come, Lord Jesus,
tear open the divide
between my heart and Thine,
that I may see Your kingdom come,
that I may live Your will be done.
Today may I wait not as a sluggard,
but as an expectant mother,
watching for signs of your coming birth
into my life and the life of the world!