Friday, October 5, 2012

Look who's coming to dinner

(Two days late!) 
LUKE 5:29-32
29Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house; and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table with them. 30The Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" 31Jesus answered, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; 32I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance."
Who are the tax collectors and sinners today? It's so much harder to say, at least as a Protestant Christian in America, because there is no real common agreement on what people of our faith believe or how we should live - not as there was for the Pharisees. Christianity is expressed is so many different ways. So who could Jesus be eating with that would shock today's Christians? I think it depends on the Christian. Which means, anyone could be shocking. Anyone. People that shock me would not shock my neighbor. Perhaps that is the point. Stop being shocked. Jesus loves us all. And love in a way that comes in for dinner, acting as guest, showing true love and acceptance. Perhaps living out a model of this love means not pointing out flaws, but living alongside. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

You are my people

HOSEA 2:16-23

16On that day, says the LORD, you will call me, "My husband," and no longer will you call me, "My Baal." 17For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more. 18I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety. 19And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. 20I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the LORD. 21On that day I will answer, says the LORD, I will answer the heavens and they shall answer the earth; 22and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel; 23and I will sow him for myself in the land. And I will have pity on Lo-ruhamah, and I will say to Lo-ammi, "You are my people"; and he shall say, "You are my God."

As I am engaged, I loved reading the imagery of God taking God's people as a wife. I am learning during this engagement period what all married people know and what has been said many times over: that choice is a constant in covenant. You make the ultimate choice up front and then you choose each and every day to follow it through. What makes it great is the choosing. The constant saying yes when no is always an option. God says the perpetual yes to us all, with each transgression and every bad hair day. All the times we are short and careless with our tongues, all the times we are ugly and distrustful. And we can choose to say the yes back.

Monday, October 1, 2012

For God alone my soul waits in silence


1   For God alone my soul waits in silence; 
          from him comes my salvation. 
2   He alone is my rock and my salvation, 
          my fortress; I shall never be shaken.

3   How long will you assail a person, 
          will you batter your victim, all of you, 
          as you would a leaning wall, a tottering fence? 
4   Their only plan is to bring down a person of prominence. 
          They take pleasure in falsehood; 
     they bless with their mouths, 
          but inwardly they curse.                                             Selah

5   For God alone my soul waits in silence, 
          for my hope is from him. 
6   He alone is my rock and my salvation, 
          my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 
7   On God rests my deliverance and my honor; 
          my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

During a run today, I was struggling to imagine how I would get through all twelve miles and had a generally sour attitude to the whole thing. For whatever reason, I said a little prayer for God to reveal to me as I ran, and I had this little conversation: "I'm sure I can see beauty on this run if I ask God to show me." Then I instantly re-thought, "I don't know why I expect that-- we're in the city, and it's harder to see beauty here." But then I heard, "Are you kidding? Look at the all the people. Where else can you see such beauty?" When my soul is silent on its own, it can either turn to joy or sorrow, thankfulness or criticism. It can hear truth or lies, and it's hard to distinguish between. If I can just remember that what my soul really longs for is God- love, the source of life, peace, and truth, then its worth waiting in the silence. And I shall never be shaken. Even when I am.