Archive | April, 2021

come, to me

20 Apr

Joseph, after being favoured by his father Jacob; after being beaten, robbed by his brothers in an empty well; sold as a slave; unjustly imprisoned; and made by Pharaoh the chief steward of all Egypt, Joseph has his brothers come unknowingly to him for salvation.

He devises a series of plans to bring his youngest brother Benjamin, the loved son who never never leaves his father’s side, Joseph’s only full blooded brother, to Joseph’s Egyptian side.

But plans change. Joseph changes. Hearing Judah describe how Jacob/Israel would die if the brothers return to their father without the beloved Benjamin, Joesph changes. How?

The leader, the planner and controller of Egypt and the known world, breaks down. He cries out in anguish over his plan. He cries out I need for a family. He cries out openly, vulnerable, to those who betrayed him. In this particular moment, when Joseph’ s plan to keep Benjamin close to about to come to pass, Joseph sees the big picture: Joseph sees the eternal plan of Yahweh- Joseph sees God.

At this emotional moment Joseph sees both the specific and the eternal; his brothers as they were and how the Lord intends them to be: embraced and forgiven. Loved…

from Genesis 45

‘Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.’

The brothers, not yet changed as Joseph, cannot speak separated by silence, Joesph continues,

4 ‘Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.’

Joseph sees and understands God’s eternal plan: deliverance, rescue. so…

8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. 9 Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay.”

God’s eternal plan to for Joesph, for you, for me, for all to invite all betrayers, our failed lovers, to come. Personally we are to speak and invite. With the uttered ‘to me’ the specific become eternal, personal.

Joseph’s one desire to for those who have left him for dead, who placed him in forgotten years of slavery, who never, ever loved him, Joseph’s heart asks them to come close, come down. And this request, this forgiveness, is personal, open with total vulnerability, as two words repeat with come here: to me. To me….

And the brothers came and wept with Joseph. Forgiven, they can cry love.

Today, Lord, help me to ask those who do not see, those who do not love, those who have forgotten me to come close.

Help me to forgive. Come. Do not delay. Come.

worry, worries; the sower of, and the seed

16 Apr

The Parable of the Sower

His word

13 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

Jesus leaves words, as seeds, for the hearers’ hearts. But first they must be, must desire to hear. Those who refuse to hear; those who use silences as weapons; those who place their words within Jesus’ – these are not hearers or sowers of words, of Jesus’ seed. Alone; in very poor soil, the seed does.

But the disciples want to hear, go deeper. In private they ask for the parable’s meanings.

As one of these desiring disciples, I hear of the seed among thorns. Here is Jesus’ explanation of soil with thorns,

22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.

Worries choke.

So, my worries, stop by, his breathes. They choke.

My fear of my failing, – my poor choices, my hurtful past and future actions are embedded worries about relationships with people. These worries cost me daily in my relationship with God.

My worries and concerns choke my relationship with Him, with Jesus.

how can I produce good soil?

Hear; ask; receive; sit with His word.

Be a hearer of Jesus.

come close

7 Apr

http://poemof-theday.blogspot.com/2010/04/come-to-edge-christopher-logue.html?m=1

Come to the Edge – Christopher Logue

Come to the edge.

We might fall.

Come to the edge.

It’s too high!

COME TO THE EDGE!

And they came,

And he pushed,

And they flew.

Today, and everyday, Priscilla and I spend about a morning hour in Bible study. The last question we faced today was ‘ how has the story of Joseph and his brothers moved to forgive another, others, easily? What cam make forgiveness easier? ‘

Forgiveness is hard because of: broken trust; resentments; bitterness. Memories that- which – never leave. That, what makes forgiveness difficult was the first part of the question. Why something is hard, difficult, is somewhat easy for me to listen to, to define usually. Usually.

But defining actions, principles, on how to make forgiveness easier is problematic. I find that there are no ‘cookie cutter’ one size fits all steps. But, Joseph, in Genesis 45, in hard wrung tears and cries, illustrate my forgiveness steps,

“ Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.”

How did, does, Joseph model making an easier path to forgiveness?

First, Joseph chooses to ask his betrayers to come close to him. ( verse 4 ) He chooses who to be vulnerable with.

Next, Joseph chooses when and where to come close with his betrayers.

Fourth, and finally, Joseph defines why he can forgive.

Joseph can forgive because he ‘be came close’ to God, his betrayers and his own self and failings. He asks his brothers to come close to him, to take their steps, so he can take his. He cries only with them : his hurts and tears are only for his brothers eyes. The Egyptians no not see him in this vulnerable exposed state. He speaks to them after understanding Judah’s plea not to return without his, their loved brother Benjamin. He hears and listens. Joseph comes close to Judah’s words in the right time and place. And in doing so he, Joseph, is changed.

Forgiving, being vulnerable, allowing possible pains to come close, heals.

Today, I change. I forgive. Daily, I come close. Daily I must forgive to change.

Forgive.

risen, Easter 2021

4 Apr

Stained glass - Jesus resurrected

Question: 10,000 Jews believed 5 weeks after Jesus’ crucifixion. People who were cowards, who ran away, were now proclaiming and dying for their belief in an individual bodily resurrection. What happened?

Paul gives us the answer in his letter to the Corinthian church:

“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared toJames, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am.” 1 Corinthians 15: 1-10

People allowed the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection to confront and reshape their understanding of the world—their conception of what was possible—that’s what happened. This would have required the overturning of their established beliefs. In the first century:

  • Gentiles/pagans believed that the soul was good; the body was corrupt. A bodily resurrection would not only have been inconceivable but intensely undesirable.
  • Jews believed in an individual and powerful messiah. The material world was good. Death was not liberation but tragic. They had a belief in a resurrection at the end of the world for all; not in the middle of history, while the rest of the world was in suffering and disease.

A bodily resurrection would have been hard to accept whatever your background. But the evidence was compelling and so they did. Jesus’ death and resurrection was of first importance and swept aside past beliefs. Ultimately, these first believers did not let their fear of death control their belief. They embraced the eternal promise of life with Jesus because they saw Him raised.

Ultimately, these first believers did not let their fear of death control their belief. They embraced the eternal promise of life with Jesus because they saw Him raised. First things first, see Him today by faith.

listening 2, Lents ends

2 Apr

and from Mark 6: 4 – 6

‘Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honour except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.”’

Imagine, Jesus – in his hometown; laying his hands; his builders’ hands, on the demon possessed; the physically unwell; on the hurting, and nothing happens, except for a few sick.

Imagine how he felt: rejected, betrayed, alone, without the spirit’s power to heal.

Imagine.

Why could he not heal?

Because He was in his hometown; because, somehow, someway, healing, forgiving love work, always work on earth with faith.

At times Jesus is touched, amazed by human faith. Here though, He is amazed at their lack, their deserts, of unbelief. Their unbelief turns Jesus open hands into their closed hearts and minds. His powers cannot heal, their can be no miracles, till they listen, really listen.

And they don’t until – until – what we call and celebrate Good Friday – until Jesus is on the cross.

And here, on the cross, Jesus performs his last and most powerful miracle, he forgives our amazing unbelief, when,

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Even now, at this death moment, the Roman soldiers are not listening. People hear the words but do not understand this miracle. But they will. Today maybe Good Friday, but Resurrection Sunday is coming.

The miracle of faith is coming; because, because our sins are forgiven.

Forgiven. Listen. Forgiven.

A last miracle in Jesus’ hometown, our hearts, our minds.

Belief, comes; miracles happen: I listen.