Archives for the month of: August, 2014

Today’s scripture readings were from Ezekiel 28:1-10 about God’s judgement on Tyre and Matthew 19:23-30 about the difficulty of the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. I wonder how we will be judged – this time, full of wars, wealth and power? I wrote this in 2010, based on the hymn ‘Be Thou my Vision’.

 

Our Vision

 

Be thou our judge, O future, our lord,

lay at our feet that fossil, the sword.

In thy great mercy lay flowers on our graves;

our follies were learnings, this memory it saves.

 

Be thou reminder, be thou regret,

for our short-sightedness, lest we forget.

Tell all our stories of power and greed;

in our destruction, lament the dead seed.

 

Shed thou your tears for what you have lost,

mourn our extravagance, tally the cost.

Pity our innocence, naive as we knew

only to pillage, plunder and hue.

 

Be thou outpouring, pour out your rain,

flood with your justice, then flourish again.

Remember our failings, our debt to your land,

but let us ask pardon and time’s healing hand.

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A prayer for the day, written in 2009:

 

God of Integrity,

     in the meanderings of my day,

     as I weave in and out of context,

     among fragile borders and circles of pride,

     as I face off for another round with temptation,

     amid gossip’s siren song and chocolate sharks,

     may I have the grace to listen

     to the voice at the end of sound,

     as Conscience swivels my eyes on you

     and may I spurn the two-faced contender:

     a double life.

 

In the name of Jesus the Intended,

                                                       Amen.

In today’s gospel reading, Jesus painted a word image about the scrupulousness of the Pharisees. He got his audience to imagine: “They are blind men leading blind men; and if one blind man leads another, both will fall into a pit.” Yesterday, however, I experienced this very image in reality and it was not at all what I would have expected…

 

I was at a funeral of a young man who had been to a school for people with visual impairments. When people were invited to say a word or two about him, two young women came from the back of the room. Both of them had been at the school with him and it was one blind person leading another. The woman in front lead the other who had the greater impairment, but she held out her hand in order to feel any obstructions and later I saw her with a guide dog. After the service, she was leading a trio of people all from the same school.

 

Perhaps because we grew up with Jesus’ image, I have always imagined that a blind person leading another would be greatly catastrophic. Seeing this duo and then trio, however, made me ‘see’ differently! I realised that, in fact, people with visual impairments are best placed to understand the circumstances of similar people. Peer support and encouragement, even in finding one’s way, is the most natural thing. I presume that times of grief and trauma would particularly bring this out, and I was so glad to see that others did not ‘take them in charge’, but left them with each other.

 

Not knowing about today’s reading, I commented to another Sister how this parable has suddenly changed for me. Not only because of the visually impaired women, but because of the man whose funeral we were at. Both he and his mother had severe physical (but not intellectual) disabilities and lived by themselves together for years when other family members had left the home. Many encouraged them to seek higher care separately, and not at home, but somehow they managed. His mother spoke at his funeral and said: “I was his best friend and he was my best friend.” I believed her. Maybe I will have to modify Jesus’ image in my mind. He is not talking about blindness, but about pretentiousness. And that, I assume, grows when shared.

Today the world seems so hopeless, so full of violence, war, trafficking and despair. The poems I wrote in 2011, but, sadly, the reasons for our cries continue…

 

The Log

The pen is mightier than the

souls tipped off the edge,

with a large tip and commission,

to buy their way out of heaven,

having asked Death’s permission

and taken the pledge.

The sword’s gone the way of the

fairytale with a happy ending

to be upstaged by the gun,

the tank and the smart bomb

that have a way of wending

into lives just begun.

And, about to turn a new

peace resolution they pause,

wondering if their souls are worth

the lines of peace and

all the mess this will cause

to the military-cut earth.

It’s as easy as one, two,

thank God it’s Friday night

and time to tally up the score

of hits and misses for the week –

does then the sword have the might

or does the pen have more?

 

Fairground

It would all make sense –

except for you.

Except for you and those like you,

maybe a few.

Or maybe I’m the exception

and it’s true

that life is really God’s deception –

cruelty, slavery, poverty, oppression –

and joy is a rare and luscious gift

in this sea of

depression.

Surely we make choices

from an even playing field

and God will simply yield

to our decision –

health, wealth and success –

they are all on the menu

and don’t we have provision

(by dint of birth)

to see them through?

Why, maybe you chose wrong

or had an unkempt thought

that wrought

this sickness deep inside

or you had some sins to hide

that got you to this state?

Though now it sounds like karma

and it’s too late

to show that past-life demon

your independent fate

if all you can do

is just suffer through

and plead for death’s welcome gate.

Well, maybe I’m dense,

but when I look at your life

and your sins compared to mine are less,

there is no sense,

in fact it’s quite a mess.

I’m at a loss

and all I can do

in this life-long suspense

is look towards Christ’s cross.