Trust?

#writing201 assignment for the day…”Trust” as an acrostic with internal rhyme…yep…this was a challenge!

 

Trust?

Constant posturing, self-need driven bickering
Only leaves us all bleeding, endlessly needing.
Misusing our Book as a hook – to injure other’s belief –
Marking those who are in and those shrouded with sin.

Unless the flood of our blood ceases, quickly decreases
No body will share, even dare to come needy.
I will be me and not part of we.
One trusting no one is perfectly done.
Never to sup, sip a cup filled with love.

 

As a member of and a leader within the United Methodist Church, when I hear the word trust it brings about many very positive images. However, our current denominational mood might well be seen by some as one of mistrust or lack of trust of one another. This saddens me. The most important part of this poem to me is the acrostic that calls us to something greater.

An Apology, a Comment and a Response

First of all, allow me to offer my apologies to a faithful reader of this blog, Dr. Cory Williams. I failed to approve a comment he made in response to my last blog post dealing with questions about Scripture. I am sorry, Dr. Williams. Not sure why I responded to your post personally and failed to approve it, but I did just that. I feel certain that if there were fines that could be written for “bad blogging techniques,” this mistake would have landed me a whopper of a fine – right along with my failure to properly spell check my posts and my occasional overuse of “however”! I’d be broke being these fines. Continue reading “An Apology, a Comment and a Response”

Yeah…an “enemy!”

Matthew 13 – Thoughts and Reflections for the Lectionary Reading for Sunday, July 20, 2014

“An enemy, my eye!” the Rev. (now Bishop) Will Willimon said in his sermon on this passage during a worship service at the NC Annual Conference.

I remembered being struck with the audacity of his statement. Surely, he has read the passage and knows that Jesus says “an enemy has done this!” But then he went on to explain that the joke could be missed by us.

Enemies hurl insults at one another in an effort to start a fight.

Enemies attack with swords and guns and fists.

Enemies burn down perfectly good fields.

Enemies don’t mix weeds in with good seed. No one needs an enemy to do that. Simply look in the mirror. I don’t consider myself my own worst enemy and yet, and yet, I must admit that there is some evil in me. But did an enemy put that there? Honestly, no. I put it there myself…thought I had it hidden…but it seems to grow at the same rate as everything else in my life.

I don’t need no stinking enemies to choke out the good in me. I’m good enough at it myself.

But the preacher went one to say something about the offer to pull up the weeds. He said “Let them grow…I like to watch things grow. And when it’s over I will take care of the weeds.

Sometimes I would see this “taking care of the weeds as some final revenge on the evil that is in me and the evil that is in our world.

But then I really heard what the preacher said. The one who liked to watch things grow…the one who would tolerate wheat and weed together…this is the one who was going to care for the weeds at the end.

The jokes on me. I want the grace to grow but I want my enemies to suffer and die – especially those that are within me. But this farmer, this Kingdom builder, seems to have a different agenda.

Just let it grow. I will take care of it.

I think I’ve met this farmer. Every once in a while he tells me to take up a loaf of bread and say, “This is my body broken for you.” He has called me to a table and asked me to lift up a cup and say, “This is my blood, shed for you.”

This farmer gives everything for everything that grows in his field. A body on a cross. Blood dripping on the loved ones gathered below as well as the soldiers keeping guard.

God, this farmer loves mysteries.

And I am thankful. For in some way, we are all a mystery and this world…well, it’s either a mystery or a damned mystery. Take your pick.

Yet somehow, I think this farmer loves it.

One on each side…

041314_1740_ACrossBetwe1.jpg    At least the blood at stopped pooling at the foot of his cross.

    As a mother, I had seen many scrapes and cuts on my little boy’s body. I had seen blood pour from his forehead one day when he tripped in the street and cracked his head on the rocks. It was a bloody mess. It ruined the clothes he had on that day.

    But it was nothing compared to this. When the spikes first went through his wrists, the blood poured across the wooden crossbeam and pooled in the rocks below. After they lifted the beam and attached it to the upright, the blood still poured from the wounds in his wrists.

    I couldn’t stop watching it.

    But amazingly, in what seemed like hours ago, it stopped. The wounds were there in his wrists and if he fidgeted too much, or tried to lift himself to breathe easier, it would start again. But never much. Maybe it had run out. Maybe the blood couldn’t reach that high in his body anymore. I don’t know. I just know my son had stopped bleeding. It wasn’t much. He would still die. But somehow this little fact comforted me.

    And if only he would quit moving…quit being restless…quit talking…maybe that horror wouldn’t begin again.

    He always was a restless boy. Never content to stay still. Even at the foot of his cross, I could remember him as a child going all through the neighborhood, always a following of other kids with him. They would run the streets and play their games but he was never one to stick to any game for long. He would not come home until someone physically brought him home. “He’s got a restless spirit,” his father would say. But somehow I thought it was endearing, this energy, my child, my boy had. I even remembered the time he convinced others that we had said it would be okay for him to stay the night. Oh, the fright when we found he was missing. We thought he was gone for good. But that time would wait until this day.

    I sat there in the shadows on this passing day and remembered his growing up. The changes. The restlessness turning to moodiness. The moodiness turning to anger. The anger turning against his family.

    I knew he ran around with a dangerous and different crowd. Some of them were prostitutes, both male and female and some were just petty criminals. I didn’t know what my son was but I knew he was still restless, still looking for something, for someone to accept who he was.

    What I didn’t know would come out at his so called trial. My son, my restless wandering boy, had turned to a life of crime and offense of our laws. He stole. He lied. He did things that I could not bear to hear. But none of them changed my love for him. I would stand by him. I would bear this shame on my knees – the shame of my love for my child.

And oh, how those around me stood in judgment. Not only would my son be killed for his offenses, but his family was kicked out of the synagogue. We were told not to return, even after his death. Somehow, what he was tainted us as well. It didn’t matter to me, though. I loved him still.

    Oh, how I wish I had controlled him a bit more when he was younger now. Maybe without the restlessness and all that followed it, I could somehow have avoided this day. And maybe he wouldn’t keep moving on that cross. I know he was leaving. I didn’t want him to leave. But I wanted him to be at peace. I cried for his peace.

    Somewhere in the midst of my tears, I heard one of the others being killed talking. Another said something and I heard my son tell the first to be quiet. He said, “We are getting what we deserve, but this man did nothing.” And the man in the middle said the strangest thing. He looked at me and then looked at my son and said, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” I did not know this man but I heard the rumors swirling around him. He was a teacher, a rabbi, who was stirring people up and had to be killed. Strange words from a rabble-rouser. If anything, his words showed more compassion for my son than any religious person had ever shown.

    My son stared at the man in the middle for what seemed like an eternity. He never moved a muscle while he watched him. He relaxed. His breathing evened out. His struggle stopped.

    And so did the blood.

    Eventually, I heard the soldiers coming. They were clearing the way so they could break the legs of those being crucified and hurry their deaths. They checked one of the men and broke his legs – oh, the screams he made. I wished my son would die before they got to him, but still he looked on the man in the middle.

    The soldiers checked that man and found he was dead. His mother cried out and I knew her pain but I wished, oh how I wished they would have stayed longer checking on him. I knew what would come next.

    The soldier’s reached my son’s cross and he moved his eyes from the man in the middle and looked at me. There wasn’t a muscle moving when they hammered at his legs. I waited for his screams, but nothing came. He looked at me, looked at the man in the middle, and breathed his last breath.

    I thought I would cry. I expected to wail. But I didn’t. My son, my son had found peace at last. If I cry in the future, it will only be because he had not found it until that man in the middle spoke to him words of hope and words of love.

    My son…my restless son…had found peace.

…one on each side … John 19:18

The Trap

There is a trap that waits –

    waits to spring its gnarled teeth out of the hearts

    of those who choose to love –

        choose to love, despite:

        differences,

        appearances,

        thoughts,

        and actions.

 

It’s teeth are those that gnash and lash
at those whose heart is already tangled
in knots,
in thoughts,
in endless, water-falling false hopes
of being right above all else.

 

The trap waits for all who choose the way of Jesus…

Lover of all…
Lover of those who follow…
Lover of those who fail…
Lover of those who get up again and again to love…
Lover of those of other flocks…
even the Lover of those caught in the knots, the thoughts,
the false hope of holiness on their own.

 

 

 

The way of love, love above all else
releases the trap with a harmless snap.

Yet drops upon the shoulders
the weight,
the heft,
the feel,
of a cross.

 

© 2014 Scott Sears