Archive for April 2011

Social Progress?

April 7, 2011

Social Progress, we talk about it all the time. Yes, I know you might be scratching your head and saying “Now wait no one has approached me and started to talk about that subject”. Ah but they do, whenever someone discusses racism, they may refer to what a non issue slavery is in our culture now, or maybe someone might mention that in Dicken’s time people were hanged for stealing a loaf of bread, or how they used to burn witches at the stake. Yes indeed we talk about social progress all of the time, and usually in a self congratulatory fashion, as in, “oh we are so far past that awful business now”.

 

But are we? We may not keep people in chains now, but a person can be chained to a life of debt and underemployment, and if they try to run away or not fulfill their obligations they face dire consequences, in a different way of course, but I think you can see my point.

 

Have we come so far? When a family can be foreclosed on and thrown out of their home for having the misfortune of a change in the local property values? When a healthy man, even an educated man cannot find a job because he is over forty and might expect to be paid for his experience? Are we expressing that higher social conscience when we say that poor people don’t deserve financial help, or older people should be thrown out in the snow when they cannot pay their bills?

 

Truly Solomon was right when he declared that there is nothing new under the sun. The only difference in modern times is the spin the PR department puts on the unflattering story. People have not changed all that much, they are still proud, avaricious, selfish, and unfeeling about the troubles of others, yes even the troubles they have caused for other people.

 

So if you owe money to a person or a corporation, or if you depend on someone else’s good sense and judgement for your employment, your circumstances could change in an instant, depending on the whims of others. And these examples are just a particle of the storms we could face in our lives.

 

I was meditating on Scripture once, it was the passage in Matthew 13 where Jesus is teaching the people from a boat, and then I found myself in the boat, keeping it steady with the oars as the Lord taught the people. Then He turned to me and said let’s go on across the lake, so I turned the boat and pulled at the oars to move on out. The wind picked up and the waves got higher and I was beginning to struggle with the oars. Jesus told me to scoot over and He sat down on the bench next to me and took up one of the oars. He talked and laughed when the waves threw spray over the bow, wetting us. Suddenly a squall burst over us and we continued pulling hard at the oars for as the waves become more violent you must maintain way or the waves will broach the boat and you will founder. So we kept on and this time Jesus did not rebuke the storm as it struck us, and a right violent squall it was, but He stayed right there beside me pulling at His oar right along with me, and we made it safely through that pitiless squall, we had taken on some water, sloshing around our feet, but in all other respects we were still sea worthy. The sun came out and Jesus rather playfully threw His arm over my shoulders. We were brothers in labor and we had weathered the worst and we laughed at the things in life that would have foundered us, and sent our boat straight to the bottom. Some other things happened too, but when I recall that vision I remember how the Lord threw His arm around me and we laughed, He was preparing me for the storms in my life, because the lesson, of course, is that He is with us and He will see us through even the toughest situations, for you see it was not just my boat, it is His too.

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The One Who Dared

April 4, 2011

You chose Your shape in leaving the Father’s side

forsaking all to save us from our pride

conceiving Your earthly form in Mary’s womb

transforming it, when You walked out of the tomb.

 

Teething, cold, and hunger you preferred

to golden streets and thrones and You endured

Our humble fare, coarse bread and fish You ate

And even more You shared our deadly fate.

 

You came and walked the gritty, earthy dust

To show us all the Father we can trust

to know His love, and know the One who cares

And find our Father through the One who dared.

 

To take our form and share our low estate

and move about using our shambling gait

While speaking words with lips and Spirit’s flame

You set about to raise us from our shame.

 

The children knew, they saw it in Your eyes

The Father’s joy embracing, ’twas a surprise!

You sought us first to put us on the list

We’ll see God, as we find You in our midst.

 

In humbleness I seek You

and by your grace I meet You

There is no rite for meeting God to man

To join us in our hearts is what You planned.