THE POWER

Power of Wind and Water

Power of Wind and Water

Psalm 62:11-12a
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved
Power…
Who has it, who doesn’t?
In every interaction between humans
one has the power
and one does not.
We do not like to believe we
have power over others.
We don’t like to think
about whether that power is
constructive or
destructive.
Let’s consider how
this might play out in our lives.
Have you ever been talking to someone
and made an off-the-cuff statement,
more of an analysis
than a criticism,
about something they had done
or a way they acted,
and suddenly they became defensive?
Maybe
they even wanted to argue about it.
At that moment,
and in that situation,
whether you intended it or not,
you have been perceived
as having power over someone.
It is important that we truly
understand this dynamic:
we are all so fragile and,
in our denial of power,
we become potentially dangerous
as wielders of it.
Even our simplest of suggestions
can become
power manipulations
to those who have come,
rightly or wrongly,
to perceive us as mighty tyrants.
This is why it is so
important to choose our words carefully.
I have long held
that withholding positive
reinforcement,
mean-spirited judgement,
bullying,
and verbal abuse,
are more toxic than poison,
and truly are all forms of murder;
for they kill the soul
as certainly as a bullet to the heart.
It seems to me that
if we truly develop ownership of our power,
using it as a force of good
rather than a force of hurt,
we will accomplish
more of Christ’s work on this earth
than whatever donations
or volunteering
we could ever do.

WONDERFULLY, FEARFULLY

Off Chance

Off Chance

Psalm 139:14
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Wonderfully and fearfully made…
Full on recognition
of the being that you are…
Acceptance of your place,
and what a place,
in the universe.
It is not that we are created to be,
or have
figured out how to be,
or that there was some sort
of cosmic accident
that made us to be better that all other
species, races, nationalities,
humans, family members,
but that we,
somehow,
and along with all the rest of creation,
are entities that satisfy
God’s own magnificent aesthetic.
And the wonder that is me
is the Wonder that is us—all of us!
Am I a Creationist?
No!
Am I a Evolutionist?
Sort of!
What I am
is one who only claims/believes
that somehow,
and whatever happened,
God was part of the deal—
plan or accident!
I cannot quite bring myself
to believe in the notion
of a grand plan and in divine micro management.
The truth is that I do not know,
and it doesn’t matter
whether I do or not.
What does matter is that
I have chosen to believe
in a story,
a myth,
a system of faith,
a spiritual path
that includes God,
evolution, randomness,
cause, effect, opportunism,
and creation and extinction.
And so,
while I can stand beneath the starry night sky
and sense the minuteness
and insignificance
of myself in the presence of cosmic grandeur,
I can, nonetheless,
know that I am,
it is,
we are,
wonderfully and fearfully made………..

AND IT WAS, STILL IS, GOOD…

Cause, Effect and Choice

Cause, Effect and Choice

Genesis 1:1-5
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

God saw it was good—then.
Very good, actually.
But what about now,
in this,
our own time,
some 18 billion plus or minus years later?
Is it,
are we,
still good after all this time,
after all the many wrongs, evils,
we have perpetrated on each other and the earth?
I do not believe in divine revenge,
or in a
divinity
that would approve of meanness or evil
as a means
of sorting out who will or who will not
get to spend eternity with him or her or it.
I do not believe in divine retribution
or in karma
or that really nasty things occur
so as to teach about us God’s goodness.
I think that particular conception is a bunch of hooey!
I do believe that God still sees us
and all creation as good.
I believe this strongly!
I believe in choice and cause and effect.
Which is to say
all of our good or bad choices consistently
have a way of catching up to us.
Still, I think the punishment,
the effects our choices
mete out,
is enough to satisfy even the most petty of tyrants—
which God is not.
God’s love overrides human theology
and any supposed knowledge
of the original
Hebrew, Latin, Aramaic, or Greek texts
of Hebrew or Christian Scripture.
We want the safety of warranties and guarantees
but there are none,
and we just have to take the whole shebang on faith.
And again
it is a matter of choice,
so what will you choose,
a God of all love
who sees only good and does only good,
or a God who judges
in ways that are not good
and only mirrors our human
need for revenge?
I have made my choice…

WHAT WE NEED FOR THE JOURNEY

At Some Point Along the Journey...

At Some Point Along the Journey…

Sirach 24:1-12
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

A New year, another chance to try again,
not so much more time, because
having another year to start actually means one less year to start,
BUT one more year to try and get IT right…
Nonetheless, THE New Year’s motif, for many,
is a symbol for renewal.
A claim for the possibility of a future that is different from the past.
We misplace our hope in time
rather than in that One for whom time is a servant.
It’s been said that wisdom is not gained as one gets older,
one just runs out of stupid things to do.
There’s enough truth in that old joke
to make me squirm and sweat.
But being wise, gaining wisdom,
achieving that special quality which seems
so dear and so precious
seems mostly just beyond our grasp.
It need not be.
All that is required is that we drop,
give up,
let go of our pretenses
and begin to listen
to voices other than our own.
Think of it this way,
our voices generally emanate out of our fear,
convincing us that our posturing,
ballyhooing, and self-promoting
are our positive
efforts of becoming
the heros of our dreams
and inflated self-images.
And we bluster, snort, and bully
anyone who would dare contradict
that dimly-lit illusion.
Still, there is this entity called,
“Wisdom,” who permeates our
silliness.
Let us pledge to listen for that wisdom,
truth,
blessing,
grace
and heed the words it declares.
In all truth,
we are much more
than the falseness
we generally proclaim
and hope to sell off
like junk bonds;
true Wisdom is this:
we are all glorious creatures
of God’s wondrous creation.

CATCHING UP WITH MYSELF—Advent 3 & 4, and Christmas and New Year—WOW!!!

I have been caught up in my pastoral work around the Christmas season, the various fundraisers I do for the projects I manage, and Have not taken the time to post these when I should have.  I apologize for my tardiness, but I won’t promise to not do it again…  Life happens and that is how it works.  HAPPY NEW YEAR, and I pray for you all the peace, grace, blessings, and joy that is there for you. H

Advent

Advent

Joy! — Advent #3
John 4:9-11
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

So many promises of goodness!
In these claims made in the
Christian Testament,
it is so different from the threats in the
Hebrew Testament
when God formed a new order with
the Hebrew people, using Moses
and used threats and plagues and laws.
Now, God uses Jesus and
threatens nothing, yet offers everything,
demonstrating love through kindness
as the model for this new order.
Offering friends and enemies alike
what lies at the center of their deepest need,
Jesus sings counterpoint
to the serpent in the garden.
The Serpent plays to greed and ego
with a manipulative offer
so intriguing it seems it cannot be refused.
Jesus offers nothing of the sort,
just a cure for the ego,
which is a filling
of the empty sump-hole that fuels the greed.
In other words
to cure that very thing we so desperately deny.
But how can the elephant in the room be removed
if we deny it is there?
It is not simply a matter
of taking the offered water and drinking.
We suspect the water is more than water…
We want this thing called LOVE,
but
we can’t receive it
because to receive it
we would first have to admit
we are not truly loved,
and we do not know how to truly love.
I can hear God
beating on the walls of heaven and shouting,
“Just take the water,
already,
it tastes just like JOY!!!

From Whence the Living Water Springs Eternal

From Whence the Living Water Springs Eternal

Love, or Back to the Well — Advent #4
John 4:9-11
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Let’s think about love for a minute or two.
How much love
does it take to change a heart?
The answer is the same to this question
as it is to the question,
How long is a length of rope?
As long as you make it.
It takes as much love as it takes
to change a heart.
So,
how many times do we need to revisit
the well that springs Living Water
to have the waters
of our hearts and souls
refreshed and healed
so they might be whole again?
As many times as it takes.
We get chances in abundance!
The springs of living water are eternal,
and so are the number of times we get to revisit them.
The well, of course, is Jesus.
The one who holds the new
and unbreakable covenant for us.
The same one whose breath spoke upon the waters of creation.
The same one we discover each week
in the bread and cup.
The same one we await
in manger scenes around the world.
Have you ever felt a lift to your heart
when you witness an act of love?
That lift is the response of the love
of Jesus within you
responding to the love you experienced.
The well never goes dry
and you are welcome
to drink as freely
and as often
as you want.
The cup
from which we drink at Communion
is juice, or wine.
But it is also that living water
of which we are invited drink our fill…

When the Gift is Offered

When the Gift is Offered

Accept the Gift — Christmas
Isaiah 9:6
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Sometimes a gift is a burden.
Sometimes a gift is a joy.
Sometimes the burden of a gift is
grace unannounced and uncommonly precious.
Human babies
and other forms of new life:
puppies and duckies and kittens
come to mind,
as well as
new love
and graduation from
various levels of schools
and
the realization that we are not alone
on this earth to walk in darkness
through what has been divisively termed,
a vale of tears:
these are all gifts,
but they are all gifts that come with
the burden of responsibility.
And so it is with the gift of grace
Jesus brings into the world
through his birth and his living,
his dying, and rising.
Love beyond measure,
forgiveness beyond belief
healing beyond understanding
and life more abundant
than thought possible
is heaped on us unmeasured,
uncounted,
not calculated,
never computed,
and
forever multiplying in magnitude
and non-conditional.
All we are asked to do is accept it
and to pay it forward…

As With Hope

New Beginnings

Starting Again — Getting Ready for a New Year
Isaiah 43:1-4
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

One year is coming to completion,
another is waiting to begin,
and we are holding between each,
and while we may be ready for one to end,
we may be wondering
if we are ready for the next to start.
It is like we are standing by the waters
of the Jordan River
waiting to cross into the Promised Land,
and we are well aware
of how much the past has cost
in terms
of physical, emotional, and spiritual energy,
and we really don’t feel
we are up to the task of a new year.
Yet, the inevitable awaits.
There is a poignancy mingled in our joy
and our expectations for what is to come.
But God has a message for us who are beginning
this new year
with hope of a different future:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end…”
I think that if we are to make any kind of
New Year’s Resolutions
it should be to decide to truly believe,
and place our faith
in the God
who is represented in this passage…

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you—“