Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. Isaiah 40: 27-31 The Message
There was a heartbeat, heard only by God and by rejoicing angels and insects in the darkness of a death-cave. Before the sun’s rising, there was a heartbeat and resurrected life.
Sabbath ended with Sunday’s breaking light and on a dirt path leading to a tomb the steps of three women scattered dust, causing the earth to beat with urgency.
There was a rhythm to the morning felt only by God, and rejoicing angels, and spiders and butterflies, and those that sensed such things. The work of wrapping the body of a Savior needed doing but the body was gone.
My friend Sami Awad is one of the bravest people I know. He leads an amazing organization in Bethlehem called the Holy Land Trust. In fact, Sami is a friend to many of us sharing this Lenten journey to Easter. When asked what the days leading up to Easter feel a year ago, Sami shared: It's been a long and dark winter in the Holy Land.
The Lord’s Prayer is so familiar to us and standing in church on Sunday mornings saying it week after week I admit that at times I can forget to really pay attention to the words.…can forget to actually pray. During this time of Lent I’ve been trying to be more attentive to prayer in general, and specifically to the Lord’s Prayer.
We’re bombarded with ideas about prayer. For a long time there were a-lot of “prayers” showing up in my e-mail IN box. Some were probably totally fine prayers, but some were just plain weird. Especially the ones that came with instructions and a warning like: send to 9 friends within 24 hours or the prayer won’t work, or even worse certain doom will soon be yours. You’ve got to be kidding. Prayers with threats attached to them really just don’t float my boat.
“. . . they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you discussing on the way?’ But they kept silent, for on the way thy had argued with one another about who was the greatest.” Mark 9:33
Generally speaking, Fellowship requires words. It is only when they cease to flow between us that we realize that it is likely the fellowship, like the exchange of words, has fallen out of use.
The bible study group I am part of here in Thailand is currently studying the book of Ephesians. It has been an interesting and enlightening book to study with this particular group. We are all twenty and thirtysomethings, from all areas of the US and the globe, with vastly different backgrounds and vastly different ministries. Time and time again, when discussing topics ranging from faith, to politics, to culture, to missions, we have disagreed. It almost seems inevitable, with a group this diverse, this young, this headstrong and this engaged, both with each other and in the world.
Lenten reflection by Mary Pandiani*
My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2-3 NIV)
In my dissertation focus about wisdom that is shaped in aging, I discovered a woman who re-started the research around wisdom, a somewhat ethereal subject where few people can define it. Her name, Vivian Clayton started out quite passionate about the subject in 1970s and 1980s.