Monday, February 23, 2015

Eating With Sinners - Mark 2:13-17 Post 8

Chalkboard: Mark 2:13-17 Post 8
 -1-
It's good to be sitting here
In the end, in THIS company - 
A little rough and ragged they are
Looking a lot like me
And we smile and talk and wonder
As we lean back and eat
Our problems, our struggles
We're as sick as we can be
If You had come to call the righteous (Mark 2:15-17)
There'd be no hope for me 
But
You are breaking the bread and pouring the wine...



                           -2-
I have sought comfort everywhere else 
But here
You are breaking the bread and pouring the wine
You are saying, "Follow me"
And I follow
And I come and eat
My life in Your death
My comfort 
In Your suffering. 

(Mark 2:15-17) (Mark 14:22-25)
 
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Friday, February 20, 2015

What I Know of Comfort

Flowers in Bowl Picture - What I Know of Comfort -
Comfort -
What do I know of comfort?
Sometimes surrounded by it
still it eludes me
I seek it everywhere
but rarely find it
and when I do it's empty
fleeting
promising but
not quite delivering...





(Like the smell of coffee when I open my eyes
Like the new book in my hand
Like the tears I've cried
Like these pillows - so soft at night
that leave my back aching by sunrise)
Lasting comfort I cannot find

It crumbles as I hold it
My touch destroys it
As it becomes a demanding idol
or a hated thing...
flows through my hand
runs away from me. 

"Comfort, comfort my people...
Speak tenderly...
and proclaim to her
that her sin has been paid for...
a voice of one calling
in the desert
prepare the way for the Lord..."
(Is. 40:1-3)

The voice cried. (Mark 1:1-8)
You came and died. (Mark 1:9)(Mark 15:37)

And comfort - evading MY grasp -
Nestles gently in the scarred hand
You are holding out to me


Linking up with Velvet Ashes at The Grove where the prompt this week is "comfort".

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Monday, February 16, 2015

Why DOES He Eat With Tax Collectors and Sinners? - Mark 2:13-17 Post 7

Chalkboard: Mark 2:13-17 Post 7
At first this doesn't sound much like a dinner I would want to attend. (Mark 2:15-17).  Sinners and tax collectors rubbing shoulders.  Pharisees on the outskirts looking down their noses, thinking they're "healthy".  But there's no one healthy here (there is no one righteous, not even one) (Rom. 3:10-11).

Except You.

Not the sinners and tax collectors, who are admitting they "need a doctor" and following You.

Not the Pharisees, who aren't admitting anything but whose illness consumes them (Matt. 23:27) while they go on pretending they don't belong here. 

"Why is he eating with tax collectors and sinners?" (Mark 2:16).

Why? Who else is there for You to eat with here?  Eat with sinners, or eat alone.  You could have eaten alone - but then, if that's what You wanted, You wouldn't have bothered to come. 

You don't need to stay away from "sinners" to stay pure - as if anything could ever contaminate You, the One whose holiness would kill us instantly if we weren't somehow even now protected by You, by Your hand that yet waits a little longer - 

You who have the power to forgive sins
You can purify us all...
but we must come to the dinner. (Luke 14:15-24)(Luke 22:14-20).
Not to stand off to the side and watch but
to eat and drink with You and Your disciples, with You and the others who follow You
This bread...This wine...

You are eating with sinners because we need so desperately to eat with You.  This is the one dinner I must not miss.

Sinners come to this meal - this feast that You have laid before us -
Sinners come and drink the wine and eat the bread
Sinners come and look at You and are grateful to be in Your presence
Sinners talking and laughing with each other but humbled because we all know where we have come from and
what a wonder it is that we are all here with You
that You are here with us
at this feast.
At this feast for sinners
whose only hope is You.

You will be served up to heal us
to make us clean again.
Your body broken, Your blood poured out 
for sinners
the feast spread before us
is You. 

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Language Barrier

Bridge - Language Barrier
-1-
I stand before you
so much I want to tell you
I try to form the words
but my tongue gets in the way

I see your lips move 
the waves hit my ears
But the sounds You are making
are not making sense to me

I cannot reach...
and I despair of understanding you.



All I would tell you
Is trapped here within me
And all I would know of you
so close - but cut off from me.

Beautiful sounds are not enough 
I must find a key
words have meaning
always inadequate and yet
a scary tenuous, swinging bridge
with holes and pieces missing
is better than a chasm
between you and me,
can help to cross this emptiness
between you and me.



                       -2-
Once  - we understood each other perfectly
Somewhere, in some place we've long forgotten
I understood
and was understood
with a touch
a glance
a word

Now - this barrier between
These clumsy attempts at explanation
Never sure we really understood
never sure we were really heard
I guess that's why
You had to be
The Word.


Linking up with Velvet Ashes at The Grove where the prompt this week is "language".

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Calling of a Priest - Song/Video



I wrote the song "The Calling of a Priest" in response to Mark 2:13-14. (Watch the song/video below). I don't know to what extent Matthew (Levi) had been following all that was going on.  I don't know how often he was actually there to hear You teach, or whether he had seen You heal with his own eyes.  But he must have heard about it.  And now here You are: Jesus, the teacher, the healer, the forgiver - standing in front of him: Levi, the tax collector, the taker, the user - saying "Follow." (Mark 2:13-14). 

I can only imagine what he was thinking.  But I CAN imagine.  I can imagine what I would have been thinking.


Here You are standing before him...You - the one person that, when You stand before me, I really should be thinking about what I can get from You.


The pictures in the video are scenes from around Novosibirsk in the fall.
For lyrics go to The Calling of a Priest on michelewomble.com
The Calling of a Priest is available on iTunes and Amazon and cdbaby.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Can I Walk Away From My "Booth"? - Mark 2:13-17 Post 6

Can I walk away? From my "booth"?  (Mark 2:13-17) 

This apparatus, this mechanism I have set up to provide for my own dubious security - can I walk away from it?  Knowing that my fall will be long and hard if You don't catch me?



You're walking beside the lake, calling to my heart.  You see who, what, and WHERE I am, and I know I'm not worthy of Your notice, but still You pause before me...an instant? ...an eternity?

And You say, "Follow me..."

And I followed; I followed; I did.  I'm following still.  Not perfectly, sometimes reluctantly, longing for You, longing for what's coming - always closer, but never quite there...
knowing that One Day, One Day...

Yes.  I've left everything behind.  Or what I thought was everything at the time.  Walked away from it all to follow You.

So...why does it seem like I am still sitting here?

I followed You - but somewhere along the way built myself another booth, a different one, but for the same purpose.  

(Or maybe I never walked away entirely?)

And You are asking me, telling me, calling me - again - "Follow me."

How many times will I find I've returned to my booth, built myself new walls of false security hoping to provide some illusion of safety in a new situation?

How many times will You have to say to me again, "Follow me"?

How many times will I leave my "booth" and follow You before I realize that I finally really have?

Can I walk away from my booth?
But if I don't...
can I walk away from You?

It's You or the booth.

And I must get up like Levi (Mark 2:13-14), leaving it all behind
Again.

I don't fully understand what happened, - how I ended up here again, 
But if You have had to call me
again
to follow
I will get up 
again
and run after You. 


Have you ever found yourself falling back on old safety nets or building new ones?  Realized that Jesus is calling you to follow when you thought you already had?

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