Archive | December, 2018

sent, 4 Advent 2018 the need

25 Dec

On this Christmas Day 2018 family and food; presents and traveling forms a major part of the day. As I close Advent 2018 I have been meditating on how I have been like two sisters in Luke’s gospel, Mary and Martha.

I can be busy and whinny; I can be thoughtful and attentive. I am both. Jesus simply wants me to sit with Him. He does not send me anywhere; Jesus wants me at His feet; like shepherds and Magi; as Mary and Joesph. This day he wants me to sit by Him and be loved. Listen to the one thing that is absolutely needed- Him. He is what I need. Be with Him.

‘At the Home of Martha and Mary

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Lord, make me a channel of Thy peace; that where there is hatred, I may bring love; that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness; that where there is discord, I may bring harmony; that where there is error, I may bring truth; that where there is doubt, I may bring faith; that where there is despair, I may bring hope; that where there are shadows, I may bring light. that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted; to understand, than to be understood; to love, than to be loved. For it is by self forgetting, that one finds. It is by forgiving, that one is forgiven. It is by dying, that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.

I

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Gabriel- ‘sent’ – God word comes 3 Advent 2018

19 Dec

Gabriel, ‘sent’ ; His word comes’ advent 3 2018

Vines Greek New Testament defines

Send ‘ as – apostello lit., “to send forth” (apo, ” from”), akin to apostolos, “an apostle,” denotes (a) “to send on service, or with ..

Lukes’s gospel opens with the Angel Gabriel traveling in his Lord’s service first to Zechariah the priest and Elizabeth’s husband.

Later, when Gabriel speaks to Mary a number of similarities and differences arise: both Zechariah and Mary are spoken to in moments when they are alone, in privacy with their thoughts and emotions; and both respond with questions and doubts. Both were also in prayerful states when Gabriel approaches. But they are also very different people: one was a young girl, a virgin to be wed; the other an older man very settled in marriage. One was hopeful in prayer concerning her new life path; the other reflective on the absence of children and the joys of an extended family. Luke describes Zechariah as being in specific prayer for a child and that he, Gabriel, was coming in direct answer to the priest Zechariah’s prayer. But the priest does not believe there will be a child, then…

19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel.I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

Words here stop for a time.

He who makes his living through speaking- will not even be able to share with his wife Elizabeth his emotions. Yet words will become action; facts: first for Mary as Her story and response is different from Zechariah’s. Luke tells us that …

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.” The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

Mary in response does as Zechariah question ‘how’?; and yet she listens to the sent Angel Gabriel and immediately believes. Mary’s words do not stop when she hears Gabriel’s words. But Zechariah will speak later too. Why?

Because Gabriel comes to both Mary and Zechariah with somewhat similar news: births are always miracles but for each of them their children come in the face of a lifelong sterile marriage and in Mary’s case virginity. Their coming children are sent. Miracles of answers to prayers; words. And each are ‘sent’ to.

So why is the word “sent” used in each’s narrative? What is the meaning of its use?

‘Sent’ indicates not just a message; an angel; or even that children will be sent to Mary and Zechariah. What is sent are words. God’s words.

Words which will become actions; truth; love.

In Mary’s narrative (verse 37) has Gabriel stating to Mary’s question “how” -‘That no word of the Lord will fail’ The older NIV translation famously translated this verse as ‘Nothing is impossible with God.’

I always loved this older translation. I taught and wrote on it. Can you imagine thru eternity how many impossible prayers Gabriel has seen happen; come true? Inspiring beauty.

But as I have gotten older I am growing quite attracted to this new NIV revised translation. God sends His personal words to us; He speaks; and He hears our words and worship. He is a God true to His word even if at times as Zechariahs we don’t believe; we doubt yet we still have His sent word. It always holds us more than we can ever hold it. Ultimately the narratives of both Mary and Zechariah end with their singing prophetic words. They send us songs. Both sing that in essence that ‘the Lord has done done great things for me… for us’ ( verse 49)

And that is why Mary and Zechariah’s -as different as they are- have the word ‘sent’ in common: so we can understand and then receive the gift of the word. His word. Never void; becoming flesh. A baby’s soft flesh.

God sends; we receive. Hallelujah

Barnarbas, sent Advent 2 men scatter; God sends

13 Dec

Barnarbas, sent- Advent 2 – Men scatter; God sends

“They sent Barnarbas to Antioch…” Acts 11: 22

Joseph and Mary travelled to Bethlehem for a census. Pulled, scattered by authorities from their Nazareth home, they end in a cave, a manger, homeless. And so were believers moved from their Jerusalem home, persecuted by religious authorities; scattered.

Men in these authorities desired control and power; they wanted to destroy new life. Yet God formed a strong fellowship among the homeless in Antioch. They grew in numbers, belief and loving desire to know Jesus more. Under oppression and censure the generous apostles of Jerusalem had to send help; the best of the apostles among them, Barnarbas.

Vines’ Greek New Testament defines (send)

‘Send ‘ as – apostello lit., “to send forth” (apo, ” from”), akin to apostolos, “an apostle,” denotes (a) “to send on service, or with ..

The Church in Antioch needed this apostle as Acts 11 tells us,

19 Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch,spreading the word only among Jews.20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.

22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

Why then was Barnarbas sent?

Simply, he looked at hearts; he saw and felt the people and was glad and joyful. He felt the homeless of Antioch and he became a ‘home’ for them- a person and a place of teaching and listening; a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit; he was an apostles’ apostle; a servants’ servant.

In this place Antioch, where Christians are first named and called, Barnarbas lives as a ‘Christ’ a sent one, ‘a little Christ’ among scattered refugees so they could feel at home.

Whether in a cave or a city; Egypt or Bethlehem; among Magi or shepherds; Jesus came -was sent- to show us how to not just get to home but be a home, a sending, a Barnarbas for all.

This advent be a home, a ‘sending’ for another. Hold a door; say a kind word; give a gift; share a talent- go; … let the Spirit of the season send you

a rewrite of ‘home’ advent 2018

6 Dec

sent 1 ‘home’ Advent 2018

Liza is a friend who is homeless. Single, with living parents and sisters, life has not turned her way until very recently.

Today, though, she is hopeful that NYC Human Resources will move her out of her homeless shelter to a studio apartment. When she is settled in her home, then she states ‘ I will feel secure enough to tell my family how they abused me all these years…I can be authentic with them…. ‘

Liza’s hope in a future home makes her views on life illuminating: she is homeless but she has not lived-she will not live- in a state of homelessness. Her hope of being sent to a studio apartment, a home, removes the state of despair, this state of homelessness. When homelessness occurs, people are transformed into objects.

While temporarily homeless, Liza trusts that a higher power sees her, and understands what her daily life is like. And there will an answer to her prayers for a home. Her hopefulness forms her into being. A being, not an object. In fact, Liza is quite like the thousands of Central American immigrants who travelled thousands of miles with same hope as Liza an American home. They are living, traveling human beings. They travel by, with, in hope. Hope is their homes.

Jesus, a baby borne in cave, a manger, homeless, is Liza’s and any displaced person’s answer. Jesus, sent by God the father, is our hope, our home. And he becomes our home by becoming homeless himself.

Jesus knows what is to be alone and lowly; rejected and driven away. Jesus knows homeless.ness.

He experienced total despair.

Threaten with murder at his birth by Herod; Jesus is then crucified by Roman soldiers at 33,

‘“About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with loud voice — “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” — “that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27:46).

Forsaken, without hope, Jesus cries out on a loud voice for all who have experienced homelessness. He is no longer a person; he is an object, a thing crucified outside the city’s walls. We all can become things, objects without hope, when our voices are not heard. When we are not spoken to.

But this is why Jesus was sent: he became homeless so we could have a home in his house. Just as his baby cries were heard by Mary and Joseph; Jesus’ loud cry on the cross is heard. It is heard by Matthew; the forgiven Roman soldiers and especially by us-he becomes the home that sees, feels and hears.

Enter His home this season.

sent 1 ‘home’ Advent 2018

2 Dec

sent 1 ‘home’ Advent 2018

Liza is a friend who is homeless. Single, with living parents and sisters, life has not turned her way until very recently.

Today, though, she is hopeful that NYC Human Resources will move her out of her homeless shelter to a studio apartment. When she is settled in her home, then she states ‘ I will feel secure enough to tell my family how they abused me all these years…I can be authentic with them…. ‘

Liza’s hope in a future home makes her views on life illuminating: she is homeless but she has not lived-she will not live- in a state of homelessness. Her hope of being sent to a studio apartment, a home, removes her state of despair, this state of homelessness. While temporarily homeless, she trusts that a higher power sees her, and understands what her daily life is like. And there will an answer to her prayers for a home. She is quite like the thousands of Central American immigrants who travelled thousands of miles with same hope as Liza an American home.

Jesus, a baby borne in cave, a manger, is Liza’s answer and any displaced person’s answer. Jesus, sent by God the father, is our hope, our home. And he becomes our home by becoming homeless himself.

Jesus knows what is to be alone and lowly; rejected and driven away. Jesus knows homeless.ness.

He experienced total despair.

Threaten with murder at his birth by Herod; Jesus is then crucified by Roman soldiers at 33,

‘“About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with loud voice — “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” — “that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27:46).

Forsaken, without hope, Jesus cries out on a loud voice for all who have experienced homelessness. He is no longer a person; he is an object, a thing crucified outside the city’s walls. We all can become things, objects without hope, when our voices are not heard. When we are not spoken to.

But this is why Jesus was sent: he became homeless so we could have a home in his house. Just as his baby cries were heard by Mary and Joseph; Jesus’ loud cry on the cross is heard. It is heard by Matthew; the forgiven Roman soldiers and especially by us-he becomes the home that sees, feels and hears.

Enter His home this season.