Monday, December 30, 2013

The Exiled King (Isaiah 62)

Once upon a time, there was a great King, who was just and fair and humble.  The motto of his Kingdom was: LOVE AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.  He taught his people how to live well.  The King helped his people really love each.  He taught them that everyone is connected, that one person’s success is a victory for all of us, and that another person’s suffering is a wound in all our hearts.  He taught people to live with kindness and mercy – helping the weak, befriending the lonely, hugging the children, celebrating with joy, and encouraging the good in all to flourish and grow.  His Kingdom grew, and his people prospered.
However, as is often the case, some powerful people wanted more power.  They didn’t like this love and justice philosophy.  They believed in the survival of the fittest.  They believed that everyone gets what they deserve.  The strong should get stronger, and the weak … Well, who cares about them anyway.
This group of power-hungry Powerfuls led a coup d’etat.  In a quiet revolt, they sent the King into exile and imposed a new government. Their motto was: FREEDOM AND HAPPINESS FOR ALL.  They filled the streets with their propaganda: “Let us throw off those ancient social norms.  Let us rid ourselves of the shackles of concern for others.  Live free.  Pursue happiness above all else.  If you want it, do it.  If you like it, buy it.  If you can’t afford it, work for it and work some more.  Anyone can have anything they want if they only work hard enough or smart enough.”
Most people gladly accepted this new government and their message about life.  It is not easy always being concerned about others.  Often that means putting aside what we want – at least for a while.  This new way of life was much easier.  It was such a relief simply to be concerned about yourself.  There was a time of celebrating and revelry in the streets.  Wine and women moved freely.
But carnival cannot last forever – especially not a carnival set on the philosophy of survival of the fittest.  Some people are simply not as strong.  They are pushed out of the way with reckless disregard for where they land.  Some people want to hold on to the bottle instead of passing it around.  Some people want to collect all the bottles for themselves.  A powerful fist or a thieving hand is glad to get the bottles moving again.
After the carnival fades, the System sets in. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Send Us All

Not like the vaulted cathedrals,
Not like the pews with names and reservations,
Not like the hair-sprayed televangelists,
Not like the nice churches who say nice things to nice people,
Here at our doors shall stand a sign: All are welcome!
Open hearts, aflame with the burning love of God,
Open, open, open, to all who come.

Keep, O normal churches, 
your nice people, 
your beautiful people, 
your people who have their shit together and put on pretty faces.

Give us your freaks and your punks, 
your hippies and granolas, 
your Goths and your bikers.
Give us your homeless and your unemployed,
your job-hoppers and bed-hoppers, 
your addicts and your hard drinkers.
Give us your hookers and your strippers,
your gamblers and smokers,
your dippers and your chewers.
Give us your church-haters and your liberals,
your atheists and agnostics,
your fundamentalists and your prudes.
Give us your gays and your lesbians,
your transvestites and transsexuals,
your offenders and your victims.
Give us your polluters and your tree-huggers,
your executives and lawyers,
your tax-evaders and your tax-collectors.
Give us your doubters and your name-it-and-claim-its,
your hypocrites and holier-than-thous,
your skeptics and your relativists.
Give us your seekers and your strugglers,
your lovers and haters,
your saints and your sinners.

Send us all of these, for they are like us.
We lift high the cross of Christ, 
Brother of exiles, Friend of sinners.
His nail-pierced hands shout world-wide welcome
For all who long to breathe free,
For all who long to find home,
For all who didn't measure up, 
For all who need a new start,
For all who want a new world.
We lift high the cross of Christ,
So that we will all be transformed together.