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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.

listening soon, Lent approaches its end, reflection 4a

29 Mar
a listening, hearing, touching Jesus

How, when, does God speak?
First, he listens. He listens to our words and thought; to our hearts and minds; to our acts and inactions. As he did with Elijah, when Elijah after a an apogee moment hits his personal abyss, God listens and then directs,

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1st Kings 19: 11 – 14

After first listening, God speaks. Elijah hears the sound of the whisper: it calls him out from his inner cave, to an opening. Then Elijah hears Yahweh’s whisper, his question: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

The Lord God whispers Elijah’s name to close his question. Why? Because Yahweh hears and sees us at our lowest, the rock bottoms of our emptinesses. And then he whispers into our abyss, calls us from our caves, our isolation, so we can listen with our hearts to him. He knows our names, as he knew Elijah’s. We are know. Seen. Heard. Whispered to.

This is the historical purpose of Lent: to whisper to our hearts, our minds. And this is not just how God speaks. It is also how he listens.

And how does the Lord God listen? As he begins his ministry, Jesus in his home town shows,

from Mark 2, NLT

‘When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

Jesus sees faith. His teaching stops and he hears the paralysed man of his whispered, unvoiced, unspoken isolation. Jesus hears the crippling sins. Yet, while hearing, Jesus also sees. Jesus sees the men’s faith; he listens deeply when he sees faith. Here, Jesus hears the heart and thoughts, the real need of the paralysed man, and then speaks, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

Jesus does not speak the paralysed man’s name as Yahweh did with Elijah. Jesus names, claims the hurting man as a father with ‘my child.’ He is restoring the man to childhood innocence. But… this is a public healing, so…

But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”’ Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralysed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralysed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”

Jesus hears the hearts whispers; the heart’s thoughts. Both of sinners and the faithful; of teachers of the religious law and the isolated. He hears you, me. He sees us as his children. He wants us to ‘jump’ as a child. To jump into faith.

As we approach the end of Lent and begin Holy Week, my Lord, see, listen, touch and heal me. Heal my Jesus.

the silences of Palm Sunday, Lent endings begin, 3

26 Mar
silence of my lamb

Rejoicing is singing, shouting, dancing, crying. Rejoicing is loud and full; complete and joyous, again and again. Jesus enters Jerusalem according to Matthew’s New Testament narrative with such ‘hallelujahs’. And not just Matthew speaks of palms touching Jesus – both in physical form and in words. So does the Old Testament,

The Old Testament prophesied of our Palm Sunday in Zecharaiah 9:9 – “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Many have spoke and written of the embedded ironies of these two passages in light of the events of the week after Jesus’ entrance: his betrayals, arrest, tortures, trials, and crucifixion. The multitudes, as well as church and government officials and his family friends and disciples, leave him to a cruel death. Rejoicing has gone silent.

But, the silence of rejoicing multitudes is not my focus on this 3rd end of Lent reflection. My focus is on Jesus’ silence.

Entering Jerusalem, hearing acclaims, absorbing hallelujahs, Jesus had to have an emotional overflow. He was experiencing love, adoration, unconditional acceptance. Joy, rejoicing joy, over and over again. Yet…

internally Jesus had to feel waves, whispers, of sadness. As an all knowing God, he knows what is to be next: Roman Crucifixion.

Death from the hands of the universe’s originators of unholy tortuous deaths. Slow death by a thousand and one cuts. A hanging, a thirsty, breathless death.

And Jesus, as he enters Jerusalem must also have heard and seen the – his – own coming internal cries: His coming cries to his disciples ( and especially to Judas, his list one ), his sorrow of brokenness – his broken heart and mind; his cry of, to, ‘Abba’ -‘Father.’ These ‘silent’ cries, Jesus hears. But…

Riding on this donkey, riding on the hallelujahs of rejoicing, Jesus is silent. He is silent while he hears the coming cries of brokenness. Why? Because Jesus is enjoying, living, rejoicing in the present moment; his present moment, his ride.

My reflective thought, my joy from knowing how Jesus is riding ?…

Jesus is not overwhelmed with sadness this day of rejoicing, what we now call Palm Sunday. He is riding, living in the moment.

He puts aside his knowledge of the coming wailings; he puts aside sadnesses. He lives in the present moment. Rejoicing in the present moment, the past and the future do not guide Jesus entrance, his present, his ride. He lives in each and every moment. Because He lives, I can rejoice, always. And always, rejoice.

Lord, today, this morning, these moments help me to rejoice in the gift of my present, the gift you give me. Ride with my thoughts, my worries, my regrets. Silent them. Silence all but rejoicing.

Matthew 21:1-11

Lent 2, worries, my lily

23 Mar
lilies, clothed

Lent’s end, 2021, approaches 2 ‘worries’ from Matthew 6

my lily, do not worry

25 “‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”’

Symbolizing humility and devotion, lilies point to life. As the flowers most often associated with funerals, lilies can symbolise that the soul of the departed has received restored innocence after death.

Jesus speaks of these flowers while teaching on a mountain, a field. But Jesus is not just speaking words, he is breathing his life into them. He is clothing us in love; his splendour; his words.

My lily is my life, my breathe; my walk. How another sees or views, respects or disdains me, even how my own heart and mind does, has no weight, no matter. Only this present breathe has weight, substance. Only how he covers, clothes me in a moment has meaning. Only how I breathe his words in, then out, in, can answer a life’s prayer.

Jesus will feed my hungers, quench my thirst.

my prayer, for lilies, for my lily…

‘Sate my worry, my worries. Breathe on me, in me my Lord. Let my family, friends, enemies and foes, feel your breathe deeply.

Grow lilies in your field…. grow me with others, with you…’

as Lent 2021 approaches its end,

22 Mar

Harry’s cloak of invisibility; Joseph’s coat of many colours

“It’s never occured to me before, but I’ve heard stuff about charms wearing off cloaks when they get old, or them being ripped apart by spells so they’ve got holes in. Harry’s was owned by his dad, so it’s not exactly new, is it, but it’s just… perfect!”( Ron Weasley in HP-1. )

So, there are many Invisibility Cloaks in the universe of Harry Potter.

And it so happens that the one Harry has was Unique, one of a kind, because it was very powerful and efficient at deflecting Curses too. This means that Harry’s Cloak was made from special materials and also made from using special magic by one of the three Peverell brothers, Harry’s blood ancestors.

But I believe Harry’s cloak most outstanding attribute, beyond its longevity and sustainability; more powerful than its ability to repel hexes and spells; more wondrous than its powerful shield from unwanted probing eyes is that this cloak is a gift of love. Handled down from father and son through many generations, it is a cloak from unseen ancestral fathers of visible love.

This cloaking love is a protective love: it is designed to cover the vulnerable from the terrors and brokenness of both the earthly muggle world and the seen and unseen supernatural domains of the ‘magical’ world.

JK Rowling is not the first to mention a cloak of unique love. Jehovah God uses cloak and covering imagery throughout his Word. Indeed, his Word itself can be ultimately viewed as a cloak of love. I believe this unique covering love is His essential attribute, Yahweh’s greatest gift to humanity: Jesus is a cloak covering love.

We can see humanity trying to create such covering cloaks. But designed and formed by human hands, they are doomed to fade and tear. One Bible character’s journey with many types of created cloaks illustrates the flaws of such creative endeavours: Joseph.

Joseph is given a beautiful cloak of many colours by his father Jacob. It not only fails to protect him but broadcasts Joseph’s presence to his jealous brothers who strip him and destroy the coat in tatters and blood while selling Joseph into slavery. ( Genesis 37 )

As the managing household slave in Potiphar’s house he is given a fine cloak of this office . And yet, Potiphar’s wife tears this covering from him as he runs away from her seductions. Used as evidence against Joseph, this cloak leads him into Pharaoh’s prison. ( Genesis 39 )

Finally, Joseph wears the cloak and endorsements of Pharaoh’s second in command. But these linens only serve to further separate him from his family and his father: they will live in Goshen;

Joseph will live in Egypt’s capital, married to an Egyptian, away from his ancestral home. ( Genesis 41: 42 )

So, where then do we see, hold, wear, this clothing of generous love, this unique Jesus cloak?

Revelation 19: 8 describes His cloaks for us,

‘It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.’

By His stripes we are healed, clothed. By his wounds we live. By His linen clothe, we are made his, bright and clean.

This is what all Bible and literary cloaks look towards: Jesus’ cloak of love. His ‘gift’.

His cloak makes all my sins invisible. Even to myself.

2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV ‘Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.’

20 Mar

☘️☘️Priscilla on St Patrick’s day…☘️☘️