Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Shalom


Inspired by the book The Very Good Gospel how everything wrong can be made right by Lisa Sharon Harper.

In the beginning…

The words echo on in hollow reverberation
Creator creating all creation
All declared good/Tov’
Shalom between all and God
Gift of harmonious fellowship
This was true stewardship

Doubts and fears, you know the rest
Sin and separation now to be subject

Created intent twisted and bent
Broken relations between people and places
Humans and land enduring degradation

Enter Jesus with reconciliation
Giving hope to the generations

Still the picture distorted
Religion and law enforced
Harmony busted
Domination and corruption

Forgotten the command for us to carry on his redemption
On earth as it is in heaven

Today given daily bread

Today we walk and take back the land

To govern with love and light

To march into darkness and fight for what’s right

Dominion given back into the hands of the oppressed

God given ability to steward like all the rest

Balance being restored in order to connect

Uniting creator and creation as it was in the beginning.


Shalom (Hebrewשָׁלוֹם shalom; also spelled as sholomsholemsholoimshulem) is a Hebrew word meaning peaceharmonywholenesscompletenessprosperitywelfare and tranquility and can be used idiomatically to mean both hello and goodbye.[1][2][3]

Genesis 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.





Friday, April 19, 2019

Was It worth it?

Was it worth it?

From the beginning, your delight and love for your creation
The joy to be able to talk and walk with your beloved
but so quickly came our sinful separation
That fateful day when your heart first broke
now the only option Segregation

Oh That we should doubt your goodness
How did it grieve you that we chose our own path?

Yet still you walked with those who walked with you
until evil overtook the land
To a few the promise to continue
But to contend with violent creation
Now to wash your earth anew

Yet we did what we saw fit to do

Still you pursed mankind
creating a people, set apart
ever trying to intersect flesh and the divine
making covenants that we would break again and again
Holy God Declaring these are mine

Yet we did not return to you

Waiting for us to turn about
 Your desire that we would want you
So you could come and campout
Then you dared to speak to one in the wilderness
Displays of wonder that should erase all doubt

Yet we wandered away from you

Your chosen ones turning to idols
Waiting for even one king to walk with you
Your people feeling entitled
In your compassion you sent your prophets
Warning of Catastrophe and trials

And yet we still did not return

Aching in Silence stretching on for hundreds of years
And at the appointed time you reached your right arm down
 So the way would be clear
The payment for our unfaithfulness
Jesus the only one who could volunteer

Still we rejected your gift


Do you ever wonder if it was worth it?
If we were worth it?
Does it grieve you more that we stumble and fail?
 Or is that we have not believed in the depth of your love and forget the call that says come back?
Yet it is your joy as our loving father to patiently wait for your children
 Beckoning them into the banquet knowing the fee has been paid
You rejoice when even one of your lost ones comes home
You say that you so loved the world that you gave your only begotten son
Though the cost was great, our assurance is this, that your desire for us is even greater.


 “For the Lord takes delight in his people” (Psalm 149:4 NIV). “He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV).
   So “ Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right side of God's throne.

1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Overflowing Life





The internal crash upon the shores of my flesh

Earthly soul and body flooded

Heavenly love seeping into gritty places.

Holy Spirit, companion, pouring forth truth

Whispers of mystery tickling with joy filled revelation

Divergent paths connecting, healing, uniting

Creator and created in sync

Illumination radiating through flesh and bone

Waves receding, eternal deposits remain

This is overflowing life

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Sowing Seeds of Otherness


Sowing Seeds of Otherness

Otherness is defined by Merrium-Webster as 1the quality or state of being other or different
2something that is other or different.

   “ I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else's freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.Nelson Mandala

Ephesians 4:31-32 New International Reader's Version (NIRV)

Get rid of all hard feelings, anger and rage. Stop all fighting and lying. Don’t have anything to do with any kind of hatred. 32 Be kind and tender to one another. Forgive                                          one another, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done."
I am in hope that as we in this nation awaken more to the understanding of systemic racism and the oppression of woman, that we would not forget that hatred begets hatred.  There is much in the history of this country that is tainted with White Eurocentric privilege and oppression and yet there is also much in its history that is redemptive and allowed for more freedoms than many previous societies.   When  I look at all the unrest with the status quo of unjust systems I see with expectation . Change is good. Boldness to speak up and out is good. Courage to go and stand firm in seeking justice is a God centered value.

BUT when is it ever beneficial for the oppressed to turn and become the oppressor? When is it healthy for those who have been the “other’ to sow seeds of otherness? I cannot help but simply peer back only a short while ago to Rwanda. Genocide. The oppressed gaining power to then wield it in the form of a Machete. Words beginning the easy slip into a murderess mob. Words of otherness, words of hate sowed and eventually blown up into full hatred and a loss of sight for humanity. The very thing those who had been oppressed desired; to be counted worthy and equal. 

My heart is sad to witness bitterness and such vitriol being spoken and sent out into the internet. There has and remains injustice and systems that are broken. Man, by nature tends towards corruption even in the noblest of intentions but we individually and collectively must begin to learn from the past. Let us monitor our words. Can we ever justify what we are spewing out even if we were once on the receiving end of it?  Has change ever come about through anger and hate? Love and relationship is the most effective tool. Conversations, breaking bread with our enemies, finding our commonalities.To find points of sameness does not negate or say the pain caused in the first place is invalidated.To  give voice to injustice without degrading your “opponent’ is life giving. It is in fact a beginning of healing for those who have been treated as other. 

I look often to Jesus as my model, who does not  make distinctions about external differences rather looks to the heart. He who came in a lowly manner to serve and save humanity. He called out inequality in the pharisees yet invites all to partake in learning to love God and one another through relationship with him.
I often fall short of loving but hope to seek to be purposeful in not hating or creating division. And I beg forgiveness where I have explicitly or through complicity allowed injustice to stand and ask those who have been hurt to not hate me but come and talk about it. Let us all invite those we deem as other into our spaces and sow seeds of forgiveness, seeds of belonging, seeds of hope instead of otherness.




Who is my enemy?
by Dale cupo

 So disheartening,
 When the world still sings
"You are the bad guy", its they verses we.
 But really Who is our enemy?
We need to cease our theorizing
And stop our constant compartmentalizing.
Color, creed, religion, sexuality not our Foe.
We say yes we understand but our actions say we're slow.
 When we get right to it we often make a wedge
Using Democrat, Republican, Libertarian as a hedge,
Or even more division using religion
To designate wanted and unwanted based on type of sin.
All fall short of the created intent.
All have need to turn and repent.
Entering in as partners against hate,
Stop using each other as an escape.
 Our call as Gods children to reach out and love,
The many, lost, lonely, addicted and unloved.
Partner with those who we call nemesis,
Come together and stop the arrogance.
With new vision see all who in desperation and destitution cry.
We are in truth each an ally.
The enemy is that which separates and divides.







Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Prayer for 2019

Prayer for 2019

Our Father who is in Heaven, your name is holy  and to be venerated. Our hearts desire is for your kingdom to come and work through us but we cannot do it without your Holy spirit, we are asking for more of your presence this year and a new boldness. (let us pause and ask  God where and how he wants us to be  bold)

You jesus are  our portion , our daily bread… may we continue to hunger and thirst for the manna that you give and may all else lose its flavor.Teach us how to steward your resources, including all of your creation as well as your gifts, not hiding them or abusing them but learning to be in harmony with your heart which says, all you have made is good.

We thank you that you forgive us our shortcomings and do not hold that against us, that your mercy and grace never run dry for those who are called by your name. May we be a people overflowing with your mercy for those around us and may we gain a wider perspective of who we are called to extend Grace to  and not allow a bitter root to take hold

( Lord show us where we hold on to unforgiveness and where we need to seek forgiveness individually and corporately)

Lead us away from the temptation to follow our own ideas and preconceived thoughts.  Teach us to surrender not only our stuff and time but our theology . Give us greater insight  and wider vision for how to live kingdom minded .We pray for eyes to see through the lens of our eternal God, who is calling all nations to himself.

Adonai Give us your thoughts about how to live in greater unity, sharing with each other and looking out for those who are the least of these, finding our common ground in you instead of our differences. (Ask the holy Spirit to show us where we create division and how we can unite with others)

We are asking for wisdom that can only be attained by being in your word and spending time with Jesus the living word. Breathe new life into us, revive us as we learn to quiet our hearts and sit at your feet not just at church but giving you the first fruits of our body, soul and spirit.

Yahweh Help us to not take stands on the issues of men but be moved to action by your love for us. Abba father help us to have a greater understanding of your love and Jesus’ desire for right relationship. That we would learn to wait, listen , wait and listen again and then   be propelled into action, seeking true justice, bringing glory to your name.

We pray for greater obedience in the small things this year , in hope of being a part of  the greater works you prepared for us. Father God we thank you that we have been harvested, let us arise and awaken to the fields that are ripe.

Teach us to step where you lead and to not run ahead of you. To be obedient to your call to set the captives free, care for the widows and orphans, to share our bread and welcome the foreigner.

Thank you God  for Jesus' work of redemption,  please help us to live in the knowledge that we have been completely restored into a  right relationship with the father and can come into the throne room into his presence simply because of the work of the cross.

Father God may we have eyes to see where you want us to shine your light into the darkness and have a boldness to push past our fears. (ask God where fear has stopped you from growing)

We thank you  that we are totally and unequivocally loved and accepted through the power of Jesus’ blood. Lord God help us to get out of our own way so that you can have your way and receive all the glory for yours is the power and glory forever.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Place to Lay her Head




A Place to Lay her Head
(Adapted from Away in the Manger)
By Dale Cupo
There in the corner crumpled she lays
Tossed to the side told she must stay

Tis Christmas, time to be someone’s treat
Begging and praying this time she’ll not be beat

To find safety and love, the longing so great
But where to go, should she escape?

To dream of having her very own bed
A Safe place in which to lay her sweet head

A home that will tell her she’s treasured
 Not just a place to be sheltered

“Be near her Lord Jesus”, making a way
Blessing and guarding her as she lay.

We “love thee Lord Jesus look down from the sky”
“Keeping her safe till morning is nigh”

Open the doors for the ones that are lost
Give us the courage to not count the cost

“Blessed all the dear children in thy tender care”
Help us to give them a home to “live with thee there”.



This season as we sing “Away in the manger” and picture a sweet little baby “asleep in the hay “let us not forget the many who also have nowhere to lay there head. Here in Berks County we have many homeless teens who are very vulnerable to being turned out /trafficked in exchange for a place to lay their head. There is also a great lack of resources for women who want to leave “The Life”, those who have been traumatized, trafficked, and end up looking like “just another prostitute. This season of Christmas is a reminder of God’s great love and sacrifice.  Here at FREE (Freedom and restoration for everyone enslaved) we have begun to raise funds for opening just such a place. A place for women to go and find the beginning steps of freedom from the path of abuse and destruction. Will you consider giving a gift or donation towards this?
Let this begin a tradition of not just sleeping in our snug little beds and to awake to  presents under the tree but  building a lifestyle of generosity towards those who have not only been  kept out in the cold but are daily used and abused with no place to lay their heads.
 Donate here   https://www.freefromht.org/donate/


“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)
 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33)
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”. (Ephesians 5:1-2)





Thursday, November 8, 2018

do you hear it

Do you hear it, can you hear the sound of the beloved calling to his bride. The preparations, the stripping away of all that is frivolous, our satin and lace, bangles and bobbles, and ribbons and bows to be laid aside. To bathe in his presence and have the oil of his spirit poured upon his church. A bride that desires to know him more fully and intimately, that no longer hides behind the walls of man's designs but in surrender, allowing herself to be ministered to and formed in his image. Let us go forth in nakedness offering the only things we have, our faith, praises and obedience




                               Re-post from 9/29/16
                        A New Garment for His Bride


Cloaked in finery and frills
Twirling in its own delight

Robed in wordy scrolls
Restricted so tight

Draped in gossamer gown
No weight or depth

Clothed in traditional garb
Where half the body is oppressed

Gown ripped and soiled
No longer able to hide behind

The Bridegroom washing,
Bathing all cuts, bruises,
Filth and grime.

A new Garment white and pure
Righteous, holy,
Offered up to his bride.

The choice is ours,
Donning in humble attire
 Our churches to be transformed,
Or clinging to our remnants, be cast aside.