Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Needs of the Unnamed

Mark 7
[7.24-26] From there Jesus set out for the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house there where he didn't think he would be found, but he couldn't escape notice. He was barely inside when a woman who had a disturbed daughter heard where he was. She came and knelt at his feet, begging for help. The woman was Greek, Syro-Phoenician by birth. She asked him to cure her daughter.

Lord Jesus--You were looking for a time of rest and of decompression with the disciples a time to teach, a time to deconstruct for them the events of the work that they were engaged in.  It was not just the work at hand that you were interested in, but also building their understanding of the kingdom.  Since the feeding of the five thousand that had been the goal.  A mountain hide away by the sea would have suited your needs...but it was not to be.

Yet the needs evidenced everywhere that you moved...from the misunderstandings of the pharisees,  to the fear of the disciples,  to this women and her daughter...need surrounded you.  They still surround you in the prayers of your people.  So often I come to you with a check list of needs in hand.  Forgive me that my lists leaves out the most important elements of prayer too often...adoration and praise for who you are.  Right now I praise you and lift your name high...you are a mighty God engaged at the point of our needs.

[7.27] He said, “Stand in line and take your turn. The children get fed first. If there’s any left over, the dogs get it.” [7.28] She said, “Of course, Master. But don’t dogs under the table get scraps dropped by the children?” [7.29-30] Jesus was impressed. “You’re right! On your way! Your daughter is no longer disturbed. The demonic affliction is gone.” She went home and found her daughter relaxed on the bed, the torment gone for good.

Lord Jesus--You are still meeting our needs.  We may not see you this side of the pearly gates but you are intimately engaged in our lives.  You continue to heal your people.  You continue to engage in the our lives with grace and understanding of our weakness and need. 

Interesting that this is a healing that is long distance...the girl afflicted by the demonic never even saw you. She received healing at your word.  The same word that had spoken into existence the created order was now active in the life of this little one chased by demons.  We never even learn the name of this little one. But you cared about this little one who was not a part of the covenant community.  Yet...

In this day with the needs that will confront me,  help me to be a person of peace and grace. Give me eyes to see the needs that surround me as you see them.  May I be your workman in this day concerned about the "least of these."  Don't let me get tripped up with silly tags and code words that obscure the person for whom you died. 

Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (Kindle Location 30784). NAVPress - A. Kindle Edition.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Clean Inside and Out

007 [7.1-4] The Pharisees, along with some religion scholars who had come from Jerusalem, gathered around him. They noticed that some of his disciples weren’t being careful with ritual washings before meals. The Pharisees—Jews in general, in fact—would never eat a meal without going through the motions of a ritual hand-washing, with an especially vigorous scrubbing if they had just come from the market (to say nothing of the scourings they’d give jugs and pots and pans).

Lord Jesus--There is nothing wrong with being clean. Part of the point here is the heart can not get clean from the outside in...the action has to be internal, dynamic and ongoing.  The Pharisees wanted to make it external, static, and achievable with great effort that they could control and manage.

 [7.5] The Pharisees and religion scholars asked, “Why do your disciples flout the rules, showing up at meals without washing their hands?” [7.6-8] Jesus answered, “Isaiah was right about frauds like you, hit the bull’s-eye in fact: These people make a big show of saying the right thing, but their heart isn’t in it. They act like they are worshiping me, but they don’t mean it. They just use me as a cover for teaching whatever suits their fancy, Ditching God’s command and taking up the latest fads.”

Lord Jesus--Worship needs to something beyond a show, a procedure or a performance...something deeper on the heart level. It can become so driven by outside forces...something that is expected, something that is planned for, and something that has no power in it. Worship can become a part of  "Church Light" or "church lite." The choice is made in the heart of each person present.

Somehow worship needs to become something deeper than just saying the right things and going through the motions.  It needs to be something deeper.  A place where action meets intention.

So today Lord, as we gather for worship wed action with intention in a way that transforms your people.

Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (Kindle Locations 30756-30764). NAVPress - A. Kindle Edition.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Miracles and The Everyday

 Mark 6

[6.53-56] They beached the boat at Gennesaret and tied up at the landing. As soon as they got out of the boat, word got around fast. People ran this way and that, bringing their sick on stretchers to where they heard he was. 

Lord Jesus-Healing was an everyday event in your ministry. This is one of the most confusing and difficult areas in the church today.  I absolutely believe that you work in the everyday situations of my life. Miracles happen but they are not so often the sick being healed.  Why not?  Is it because we don't bring our sick to you?  We keep them home.  We stay home when we are ill.  Now, some of that is good public health...don't get the healthy sick.  But I wonder how much of that is not thinking... not believing that you can act.  

Prayer should be my default position...it should be where I reflexively run to at the first sign of trouble or need. I have to face it that prayer is a growing edge in my life.  You have been engaging me and continue to engage me in an ongoing dialogue.  This prayer journal is an example of that ongoing conversation. NEEDTOBREATHE lyrics come to mind...

In your ocean I'm ankle deep,

I feel the waves crashing on my feet;
It's like I know where I need to be
But I can't figure out,
I can't figure out
Just how much air I will need to breathe
When your wave washes over me,
There's only one way to figure out
Will you let me drown?
Will you let me drown?

The answer to that question is NO! You are not going to let me drown. You intervene in ways that I just don't even have a clue about.

But do I bring all of the hurts to you first?  All of the questions? All of the growing edges?  Most of the time,  I have to go through my wash cycle first.  I have to cycle through fear, anxiety, desperation and then finally acceptance of the fact that you are the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Why do I do that?  When acceptance is where I end up anyway? I can almost hear you saying yet again..."Silly Man..."

Wherever he went, village or town or country crossroads, they brought their sick to the marketplace and begged him to let them touch the edge of his coat—that’s all. And whoever touched him became well.

So this early morning as I write this I realize that really I am not looking for big things...no gigantic revelations of mystical dimensions.  That would be great if you choose to send it my way. But really it is a simple thing that I am looking for...just the edge of your coat. 

A touch of your hand in grace and love extended...that is more than enough for a Tuesday morning.

Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (Kindle Locations 30752-30755). NAVPress - A. Kindle Edition.