Friday, May 29, 2015

Watch You Leave

I turn you loose
and watch you leave
maybe
it looks easy 
but
I have rehearsed this role
too many times
to not perform it well

and I do wish you well
and I do release you 
to go where you are called 
and I say goodbye
to you
and all these parts of me
that go with you.



Linking up with Velvet Ashes at The Grove where the theme this week is "Staying"

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Shriveled Hand, Shriveled Heart - Mark 3:1-6 Post 2

You knew they were looking for an excuse to accuse You.  You knew this would give them that excuse.  But You healed him, all the same.  (Mark 3:1-6).

Because love demanded it.

But love also demanded that You deal with the Pharisees' insistence that they be lords of the Sabbath, not You, and their unwillingness to recognize and submit to love,  and that You expose and heal the burden  they placed on themselves...and on everyone.

It was right for You to deal with the man's physical infirmity on the Sabbath.
And it was right for You to deal with the Pharisees' spiritual infirmity on the Sabbath.
The Sabbath was made for man, after all, to serve men.  And these men needed to be served.

When You told him to, the man with the shriveled hand stood up in front of everyone there (Mark 3:3).  He responded to You.  He did what You said (Mark 3:5).  He stretched out his hand - and was healed.  His shriveled hand was restored to its proper condition - able to do all that a hand is for.

The Pharisees had the same opportunity that he had.  When You asked the question "which is lawful?" (Mark 3:4) You were giving them a chance to respond. 

But they were silent.  

They could not say that it was lawful to do harm, and they would not say it was lawful to do good.

Their hearts were shriveled. To admit it was lawful to do good on the Sabbath would have been to stretch out their hearts toward You.  If they had - their hearts would have been restored to their proper condition - able to do all that a heart is for.

But they clung to their...well, they clung to themselves.  They began to plot to get rid of You - to kill You (Mark 3:6) - to preserve their own lordship over themselves and over others.  

And missed this opportunity to receive healing for their hearts from the Lord of the Sabbath - from the Lord of All.  


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Friday, May 22, 2015

Leaving

Unnatural.
Goodbyes
Partings
Separations
each
a little death.

Bags packed
Taxi waiting
flight boarding
monitor beeping 

heart beating I
want to look back
but
there is no time
and
if I look
my feet will never move
from this place
forever 
frozen in this spot
pillar of salt
but
how can I not look?

and

numb myself
to the pain inside
to the pain outside
to the steps I am making
down this long path 
from which I cannot come back. 

I must make these steps.
I must walk this road.

I cling to Your hand
and move
forward.



Linking up with Velvet Ashes at The Grove where the theme this week is "Leaving"

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Is It Lawful to Love? - Mark 3:1-6 Post 1

Chalkboard: Mark 3:1-6 Post 1 Is it Lawful to Love? brokenbreadandsmallfish
It's the Sabbath again.  You are in the synagogue (Mark 3:1-6).  A man with a shriveled hand is there (Mark 3:1) and the Pharisees are wondering if You're going to do something about it (Mark 3:2).  It sounds like they're hoping You will, so they can accuse You of something.

I'm sure You know all this, and it seems like You would avoid trouble or conflict by taking the man off to the side somewhere - maybe visiting him at his home later in the week - healing him privately, and on a different day.

That's what I would have done.  Do what you need to do  without stirring up trouble. 

There were times when You healed people in a more private, discrete way. Like the leper, the deaf and mute man, the blind man, the dead girl.

But not this time.  

You tell the man to stand up in front of everyone (Mark 3:3).  
No avoiding conflict here.  You set the issue in their hearts front and center, before all who are there.  

"Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or harm, to save a life or to kill?" (Mark 3:4)

They were quiet.  

And You - our Jesus - 
You were angry. 

Why is this so important to You?
What makes You angry?
This whole Sabbath thing...or...?

I have trouble letting You be Lord of the Sabbath.  I have trouble letting You be Lord of lots of things.  I want things done the way I think best, the way I think they ought to be or the way I want them to be.
But You will not be hemmed in by my attempts to control, that I think are so right.  You look at them and laugh (Ps. 2:4).


But You are not laughing here.
Why?

"Is it lawful...?"

If all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:37-40) hang on the 1st 2 commandments: "...love the Lord your God"..."love your neighbor" (Mark 12:29-31)... 

...then a Sabbath day consecrated by God would have room in it for the fulfillment of these 2 commandments.   It couldn't be a true Sabbath day if it didn't fulfill them in itself.

So what makes You angry?  

Hearts that will not love.  

Hearts that reject the rule of God's love for their own petty rules and expectations.  

Hearts that reject love not because they think they are not worthy of it, but because they think they don't need it.  

Hearts that cannot find compassion - love - for someone else.  

Stubborn, hard hearts that don't understand - don't want to understand - love. 

Hearts that use the Sabbath - or other things - to excuse themselves from the greatest commandments.

"Love the Lord your God", "Love your neighbor".  

But You do love, and Your love is so beyond me that You don't just walk away from their hard hearts in anger and disgust like I would.  You confront them out of Your great love for them by asking the question - Is it lawful to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?  

The answer seems obvious.  

But I wonder: would it seem so obvious if it were addressing one of my own issues, areas in my life and my expectations of myself and others?  About which, if asked, I would either have to remain silent or admit that I have set it above You and Your love, using it as an excuse not to love?

What have I gotten so rigid about or so caught up in that I've forgotten about letting You be Lord over it, letting Your love reign over it and permeate it?


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Friday, May 15, 2015

Perspective

Cave Tunnel (Perspective) brokenbreadandsmallfish.com
The middle 
looks so ugly
and hard

Beauty
can only be seen 
from afar

from one side
or the other
from 
outside

but
from within
so hard to believe
all this pain
all this struggle
could ever be 
something
more 


I see
one place
on the inside
a spot
on the 
innards
intestines
blood
gunk
in colors
heavy and dark

You see 
the whole 
body
bright
beautiful
moving
fearfully and wonderfully
through Your world.



Linking up with Velvet Ashes at The Grove where the theme this week is "Transition"

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

VE Day - Novosibirsk 2015

This past weekend in Novosibirsk we celebrated VE (Victory in Europe) Day.  VE Day is one of the biggest holidays in Russia.  Parades, fireworks, are just part of an all day celebration. The major streets are closed to traffic for the duration, and crowds wander up and down them to the various events and shows that commemorate the end of World War II.  Josh put together a video of this year's celebrations -Enjoy this peek at the 70 year anniversary of the end of the war as celebrated in Novosibirsk.   


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