Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

it (still) exists.

There is an unseen cancer, and with plenty of time to roam
It’s fused itself into bone, not simply in homes but in the structures of our own
Zones divided by race and income are just the surface, and should make us nervous
That maybe we’re not as developed as we thought.
But don’t get caught up thinking we’re held down, instead look around
An honest bit of self aware, will beat the kick and snare to drive this rhythm into
A better tomorrow, though it is not yet ours to borrow.

Because sorrow and tears filled years of history,
it’s no mystery that the health and wealth
Of so many including myself are not the same enjoyed by all,
even though all have sinned
It seems opportunities for redemption have thinned if you live downwind
or have the wrong type of skin,
and no one wins when race sets the pace for how much grace
One is allowed. And so, lifting heads bowed,
or coming down from the clouds of denial
we can confess that even if we didn’t make the mess,
it’s ours to offer healing.
There is no sealing off the past
In Ziploc bags and counting them as waste,
no hasty retreat from the racism our feet were born standing upon,
it’s one thing to recognize it’s wrong, and another to want it gone,
and still another take action,
gaining traction as one hand joins another,
sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers,
Pulling back the covers of injustice and schisms,
including all the -isms we’ve been sold as healthy rhythms.
Racism – not just blacks and whites, but a systematic fight for the right to thrive,
and we agree that all lives matter, but to scatter our attention with such chatter
is to lose sight of a brighter light
One that shines on both sides of the tracks, and the fact remains that no matter how much we strain
to prove we treat all men the same, the game hasn’t changed – just the rules,
and fools can see the tools are made for certain hands,
and so we stand and ask for something new.

We move from I believe, to I do.

And the shoes we’re wearing are better suited for old paths,
so in this aftermath we may be asked to walk barefoot as we discover
just what it feels like to press skin to such a ground as we found
we’ve been surrounded by this entire time. It’s a higher climb than we may have thought,
but the fight has already been fought by plenty who came before,
and to ignore their words would be an absurd mistake of the grandiose,
to come so close and look away would be to play dress up,
but our grandchildren ask us not to mess up, they need more than this.
They ask us not to miss a chance to plant seeds,
and dance swiftly toward a healing that must come, and can not from legislation alone,
but starts in our home, as we reach out of comfort zones
to share in the cares of those we were previously unaware.

As we stare deep into our own cares and desires,
we continue to light the fires of selfish ambition that we’ve been wishing
our nation would be rid of once and for all. So we answer the call,
and look up from our own cup, striking up conversation and demonstration
that goes further than the greed of immediate need, but plants seeds for a new tomorrow.
The sorrow of a trampled population set free by compassion of a New Nation,
not simply elation but a joy built on solid Hope
that when we’re at the end of our rope – we are not alone.
We’ve been shown a better way, and offered a brighter day.
It’s not somewhere floating in outer space, it’s right in front of us, and labeled as race.

We may not know exactly how to remove the cyst,
But we know the first step is to admit it exists. Relaxing clenched fists, to open palms
Reminded by the Psalms of a deeper scene,
And pointed there again by a man who had a dream…

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Love & Belonging

I know most of us these days enjoy captivating, attractive speakers who entertain and inspire. Or perhaps we enjoy well-proven theologians/scholars with shelves of published achievements, or a blog with millions of followers. But there is a growing necessity for us to listen to those who quietly serve with the heart of Jesus, without seeking fame or notoriety. Here are some phrases I pulled out to whet your appetite – but I encourage you to watch…there’s much more within…

“Each person is precious. We’re in a world filled with communication, but frightened of presence. People don’t get lost, if there are enough people to hold their hands. Young people become lost in a world where the only objective is “normality”, success, economy, power, & control.

Community is not the place of security, community is necessarily the place where there can be divisiveness; cause community is about welcoming difference…Unity comes as we learn to live difference.”

For anyone who loves Jesus…church…community…Henri Nouwen…etc.

Or for anyone who really despises church or religion or even what they’ve heard of Jesus…

This is incredibly good to watch:

are you part of a faith web?

When I was almost 11, because of brokenness in our world, we ended up going from part of a large, faith-centered extended family….to becoming an island.  A mother and her 5 children, disconnected from all of the aunts, uncles, and grandparents we’d grown up connected to.  My mom did a great job handling so much of it, and one of the most important ways she did that, was by not trying to do it all herself.

One of the biggest things I remember about growing up from pre-teen to college student, were how many “surrogate” family members we had.  I believe it was part of God’s redemptive plan, to surround us with other adults and older, faithful witnesses who became aunts, uncles, and grandparents to us in the faith.  People who shared stories with us, celebrated life’s big moments, and simply allowed us to see how they were following God from day to day.  Those people spoke Hope into our lives, and prayed for us regularly.spider web in sunlight

The authors of many different books for parents of children and of teenagers, have written about the research done on what sort of things lead to a life-long faith.  It’s not an incredible youth group, huge concerts, or an amazing preacher.   It’s not buying them a great study Bible, or after-school Jesus clubs, or even having really really Jesus-like friends.  It’s having several close relationships with older, God-seeking adults.

It’s a beautiful thing if those adults can be actual family members.  To be able to sit in the same pew as grandma and grandpa, and sing songs together.  To clean up streets, or serve the homeless with their aunts.  To climb on their uncles lap during the message, and give a picture they colored in Sunday School.  To travel somewhere with those they share life with, and serve the “Least of These” who live there.  To have lunch together, talking about the stories of faith – including the current stories God is writing through their life as a family.

But – to encourage you no matter your family situation…the blood of Jesus is more powerfully connective than any other.  As sons and daughters of Abraham (Galatians 3:29), we are connected to a larger web of family than we’ll ever realize in this life.  No matter what your age or life situation, you can (and are called to!) reach out to the children of your congregation and connect.  This is also a great regular reminder of accountability – younger people are looking up to you!   If you’re a parent, you can (and are called to!) reach out to other generations of those seeking God, and connect your children in meaningful relationships.

It may even be worth taking out a sheet of paper, drawing a spider web, and putting the names of all the people your children are in meaningful relationships with who are living out the faith you’re wanting to pass on to them.  Are there many names, besides yours and their Sunday School teachers?  Is it a diverse group of names, coming from different generations, and different walks of life?  Doing this may make you want to reach out purposefully, and invite someone to be a more active part of your child’s faith web.  Heck, you may even want to start with sending them a link to this blog-post…I’m okay being an ice-breaker for such an important conversation/invitation. 🙂

I also just realized this post could be a bit of a “Debbie-Downer” to any family members who are long-distance from relatives they’d love to be in their “faith-web”.  I want to remind you that distance does not negate such a thing happening.  Writing letters, chatting online, and being sure that when you are near – you share in experiences that point to Jesus.  These, and so many more ways exist to help overcome any physical distance in a faith web connecting life-long relationships in meaningful and important ways.

May God be with us, as we humbly accept His calling for us to pass all of this on to the generations following us…(Deuteronomy 6)

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