Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Marilyn's Dishes

If Jesus were a grandma,
I think he might be mine.
Humility and royalty
and love all intertwined.
Maybe that’s why we love
her stoic Queen Marilyn look
And marvel at her silent focus
in cross word puzzle books.
There are times I can’t help but see her
in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Quick glimpses of her spirit,
like a lightbulb flickering off and on
When Jesus wrapped that towel around his waist
and knelt to wash their feet
That’s where Grandma’s gentle hands
and quiet wisdom meet
In every song, if you listen close
you can hear her servant heart sing
But you won’t find her out onstage,
you’ll have to go back in the wings.
Or maybe in the kitchen
before the production of the family meal
Or at the bedside with a sick child
in the spot where she bent to kneel.
She calmed the stormy family seas
with toddlers and teenagers both
She loved and led her children well
through every stage of growth
She may not have healed the lame
or made the blind to see
But she was there with Band-aids and a magic kiss
for every scrape and skinned knee
Our family has plenty of talkers,
but her few words are always loaded with truth
And even now at eighty years young
she exudes the beauty of youth.
But the times when I see her the brightest
are when Jesus told his stories
Epic tales, parables with seeds
and woven metaphors that bring You glory.
My favorite story we always heard
was the one about Marilyn’s dishes
A little town called West Plains Missouri,
and a five year old’s Christmas wishes
It was the time of Steinbeck novels,
they’d lost all the animals on the farm,
But little Marilyn’s faith never wavered,
the town delighted by her hope-filled charm,
“My dishes will be here this Christmas”
she said in a Princess Marilyn stance
In a time when many dragged their feet,
little Marilyn was in a twirling dance
“Now don’t get your hopes up, Marilyn”
Thelma warned in her serious Mama voice
Secretly wishing she could find some way,
and knowing she had no choice
The town was sad that Christmas Eve
for Marilyn’s dream was quite well known
But much like the Jews that first Christmas Eve,
they didn’t know You had a plan of Your own.
Aunt Laura was the only one in the town
who didn’t seem to know the tale
And had no idea the hope she’d bring
with that box of toy dishes for sale.
Princess Marilyn was not at all surprised
and wondered why everyone was dumbfounded
But hope filled the town with this small miracle
that left them all astounded.
That little set of dishes was the just first of many
that she would carefully place
And there’s an open seat for everyone at her table
just like her open embrace.
Her dishes may have changed over the years,
for children will take care of that
But when everyone else is a thermometer,
Grandma is the thermostat
Steady and calm, keeping us cool
in each and every season
Listening to her daughters' complaining
even when there was no reason
Surviving her boys' many injuries,
broken bones and bloody noses,
And we have a feeling that life with Bob
wasn’t always a bed of roses.
But in all the ups and downs of marriage,
Her company was always preferred,
And as she shared on a walk with Mom one day,
she never doubted his love for her.
Much like her dishes, Grandma loves
providing delicious meals,
Silently listening to everyone else talk
about how everyone else feels.
But she never complained
or carried her chores like a heavy duty
But lightly carried all our doxology prayers
on the shoulders of her alto beauty.
Many a sweet honey ham or a juicy roast
have been devoured on those dishes and table
And even if that story in West Plains Missouri
evolves into an old fable
Those of us who know her well
know forgetting her could never occur
And if Jesus could be someone’s dishes,
I think he’d be one of hers.

Happy 80th Birthday, Grandma. We love you.

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." Mark 9:35

"But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15b

"A conservative is someone who makes no changes and consults his grandmother when in doubt." - Woodrow T. Wilson

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kol Yahweh Collage

the faded rectangle above the mantle
once held the Mona Lisa
as I imagined Your dedication to one subject alone
romantic, wobbly mommy-shoe-walking dreams
of me as the heroine in my own story
when I thought you were painting me
all alone in my frightening plainness
but as the years passed by
sun-faded walls decaying secretly
too slow for my fast footsteps to notice
my own child shooting up like sunflowers
long before Monet's golden vase
a pigtailed girl trapped in an unknown portrait
of a befuddled, purse-toting grownup
who still can't walk in heels
like Bambi on that first day of spring
But as the seasons keep me dizzy with their spinning
and my little girl takes an afternoon off
into the world of paper possibilities
I'm beginning to glimpse
what you might have meant for the mantle all along
a collage
a bunch of scraps found on sidewalks
old magazines on their way to the recycling plant
and even some waste already tossed aside
and only You can see the beauty
before the scissors and paste
bring us all together
but there are those days at the office
when I feel more like a speck you should brush off
than a bright spot in the mystery room we squint to see
a critic urging you to rip me off
before the glue dries and I leave a fuzzy paper flaw
admiring my larger, more colorful colleagues
the odd one out, the awkward silence,
the rolled eyes of relief when I leave the room
the only pink freckle in a beautiful mosaic
of cool blues, indigos, and greens
and that's when You press me down
blow a gentle, honey breath to dry me in place
cock your head to the side with an upturned smile
urging me to rethink beauty
and trust in Your scissor plan
in a steady hand
to find joy in my small part
in Your beautiful

"Business meetings should be viewed as worship services. Available facts can be presented and discussed, all with a view to listening to the voice of Christ. Facts are only one aspect of the decision-making process and in themselves are not conclusive. The Spirit can lead contrary to or in accordance with the available facts. God will implant a spirit of unity when the right path has been chosen and trouble us with restlessness when we have not heard correctly. Unity rather than majority rule is the principle to corporate guidance. Spirit-given unity goes beyond mere agreement. It is the perception that we have heard the Kol Yahweh, the voice of God."
Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good... The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," ...But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other."
1 Corinthians 12: 4-7, 12-15, 22-25 (NIV)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Foreshadowing You

Some call You a conspiracy
A made up tale of false hope
An overplayed version of a nice guy story
But all we have to do is go back
To those who were always looking forward.
foreshadowing You
Every branch and knot on the family tree
All the way back to the great Flood
“ …the account of Shem, Ham and Japheth, Noah's sons, who themselves had sons after the flood.” Genesis 10:1
The first of many promises to come
For Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
“…all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 22:18
For the tribe of Judah
“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet…” Genesis 49:10
From the root of Jesse
“In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him…” Isaiah 11:10
Of the House of David
“Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.' "2 Samuel 7:12-16
Micah predicted the setting
“But you, Bethlehem…out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel…” Micah 5:2
Isaiah foretold the miracle
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
Even a cousin who prepared the way
“A voice of one calling:"In the desert prepare the way for the LORD…” Isaiah 40:3
Many more told us of the unexpected timing
“From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes…” Daniel 9:25-26
The magic in Your hands
“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.” Isaiah 35:5-6
The power of Your words
"...to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”Isaiah 61:1
The why behind the what before it even happened
"to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:3
Even the paths You would tread
“…he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan” Isaiah 9:1
And Your unlikely mode of transportation
"See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”Zechariah 9:9
Your anger in the temple
“…the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," Malachi 3:1
The slap in Your loving face
"The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.” Psalm 118:22
And David foretold those intimate thoughts,
all alone,
yet with each of us
and the rest of the world on Your shoulders
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Psalm 22:1
But like many of us, they skewed Your image,
Anxiously awaiting a political king,
a war hero who would free them from Roman rule
Blinded by their anger,
they fulfilled the final prophecies
Right down to the smallest of details
Of that fateful week…
A friend’s betrayal
“Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” Psalm 41:9
For 30 pieces of silver
"I told them, 'If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.' So they paid me thirty pieces of silver." Zechariah 11:12
Your silence before the accusers
“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7
The soldiers mocking voices
“All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads” Psalm 22: 7-8
The beatings like a mask of wounds
“…his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man
and his form marred beyond human likeness…” Isaiah 52: 14
Your eyes steady as they spit in Your face
“I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.” Isaiah 50: 6
When they pierced Your hands and feet
“…they have pierced my hands and my feet.” Psalm 22:16
Your plea for my forgiveness
“For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:12
Even that bitter drink.
“They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.”
Psalm 69:21
And the greedy soldiers betting against You
“They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” Psalm 22:18
But the prophecies didn’t stop there
And neither did You.
3 days later
3 more predictions fulfilled
3 promises even bigger than
that rainbow after the flood,
Abraham’s star-filled sky,
and Solomon’s riches
3 days later
1 empty tomb
“…you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” Psalm 16:10
1 heavenly ascent
When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train” Psalm 68:18
1 seat at the right hand of the Father
"The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand” Psalm 110:1
A new covenant
“an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love…I have made him a leader and commander of the peoples.”Isaiah 55:3-4
A divine conspiracy
“the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
And the ultimate promise kept
“I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel…I will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34
the promise that when we come to die
we find Jesus there
arms wide open
calling us to come and die
so we can finally