Tag Archives: Jesus

Laundry night in NYC

Frodo walked into Mordor,
even though one does not simply do that,
to destroy a ring of power.

Dorothy followed the Yellow Brick Road
to find the wizard who could return her to Kansas.

A shepherd, left 99 sheep behind
to search for one that was lost.

With the knights of the table round,
Galahad sought the Holy Grail.

I’m looking for a lost sock.

13 October 2018
Manhattan, New York

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Filed under New York, Photo, Poem

I choose the way of life

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. has apparently urged students, staff and faculty at his Christian school to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon on campus. The purpose seems to be protection in the event of an attack.

“Let’s teach them a lesson if they ever show up here,” Falwell reportedly said.

This from a man who purports to follow Jesus who told Peter to put away his sword.

But Falwell further appears to have added an Islamphobic remark.

“I’ve always thought if more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in,” Falwell said.

Donald Trump issued a call to bar Muslims from entering the United States.

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” a campaign press release reportedly said.

This from a man who claims to follow Jesus who continually crossed lines of prejudice and discrimination.

To Falwell and to Trump, I say “No! You do not speak for me.”

I reject these messages of hate.

I reject these messages of hate because of what I understand it to mean to be a citizen of the United States of America. We are the home of the brave and courage comes from inside ourselves and among ourselves not from being armed to the teeth and shooting first. The message of Lady Liberty is a message of welcome not a message of exclusion.

F26 Lift Highlands Camp, CO 25 August 2012

I reject these messages of hate because they are incompatible with my faith in Jesus.

Jesus calls us to include not to divide; to love not to fear; to respond to violence with creative nonviolence. Jesus invites us to live into hope; to make ourselves vulnerable; to build and nurture community.

The world is a scary place. I know that.

However, responding with weapons and violence and judgement and exclusion leads only to more fear, destruction, and death.

The way to life, and it takes hard, hard work,  is to recognize we are all God’s children, created with an amazing diversity, to honor God’s image in one another, and to love one another. It will involve challenges and risks and pain and sorrow. But it will also involve grace amazing and joy abounding and blessings abundant.

So I reject these, and all, messages of hate. And I choose the way of life. I will protest hate and I will love as well as I am able.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events

On this night we gather

On this night, as we gather,

bellies spasm with hunger
winter seeps into the bones of people with no homes
thoughts turn to Syria, South Sudan and places between and beyond
people plot violence
children watch parents die of AIDS, wondering when their turn will come
relationships fray and come apart
children and women and men endure abuse
economic uncertainty undoes nations and households
walls divide people from their homes
handguns bark and blood flows
racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, and more
privilege some and crush life from others
drugs surge through veins to allow escape from reality’s pain
death comes calling — sometimes welcome, sometimes not
sorrow and suffering spread around the world
trouble and turmoil touch us all
evil stalks the earth

Yet
in the midst of all that
in the face of all that
in spire of all that
because of all that
on this night,

we gather

to sing and pray;
read ancient words and light candles
as we celebrate again
the birth of a child —
— nothing more and nothing less
than the every day miracle —
except that this child — this Jesus —
tells us
teaches us
shows us
life does not have to be the way it is
but that it can be filled
with
hope and
faith and
grace and
sharing and
commitment and
community and
justice and
righteousness and
well-being and
wholeness and
peace . . .
. . . on earth . . .
. . . for all!

May it be so.

(originally written for Christmas Eve 2003; adapted annually since)

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Filed under Advent, Antiracism, Current Events, Human Rights

Lent 1: Who am I?

F13 Who am I? Trinity Cathedral, NY 22 October 2011

The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, New York
22 October 2011

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Filed under Lent, New York, Photo

Trumpeting resurrection

The saints of the United Presbyterian Church of Ozone Park invited me to preach this morning. It was a beautiful, sunny, cool day in Queens. Easter lilies graced the front of the sanctuary, trumpeting resurrection. 

As usual my photo fails to do justice – and yet, perhaps under some unperceived artistic inspiration, the photo blurry photo the sense of movement present on that first Easter morning – going to the tomb – returning to get others – going back to tell what they had seen, though not yet understood.

Alleluia!

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Photo, Worship

Maundy Thursday 2012 makes me wonder

Maundy Thursday this year fell on an interesting day on the calendar. Wednesday marked the anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Friday marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Rwandan genocide.

On the night of his arrest, the night before his execution, Jesus shared bread and the cup and gave his followers a new commandment: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another (John 13:34).”

On the night before his assassination, Dr. King proclaimed that he had been to the mountaintop.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

On the night before Juvénal Habyarimana and Cyprien Ntaryamira died in a plane crash, the night before hell engulfed Rwanda, what did the people do? What did they feel? What did they think?

I wonder.

See you along the Trail

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Filed under Human Rights