SHELTER

Psalm 27
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

A Shelter

A Shelter

We pray for God to rescue us.
We ask God to be with us.
We hope and trust
and watch and wait
and wish and want
and despair.
So many times God
is so present to us that we
lose our awareness of Presence.
So many times we
turn away from the very things
we so desperately need
because they do not fit our small,
preconceived
notions
of how God works and what God does.
The urgency of our pain
is more substantial
to us
than the authenticity
of God’s healing grace.
Why?
I suspect because
our restricted ability to imagine
and
our constricted ability for creative wonder
limit
our ability
to conceive God’s work within us.
Just as Jesus’
telling of how it was
in the Kingdom of Heaven
never turned out to be how
that appearance
was conceived by his hearers,
God’s deliverance
and liberation
and healing
and comfort
never quite play out
as we predict,
demand,
plead,
urge,
will them to be.
St. Paul calls it
“looking through a glass, darkly.”
I term it,
“a distortion of perspective through our
concretizing of misplaced notions
of God’s reality.”
I think many times we are waiting
for some great occurrence to be manifest,
when in actuality what God offers us is
time,
friends,
and human nurture.
Most times we are too afraid to
allow another person
into our souls
and into that deep place of our wounds
and we are seeking
for that outside-the-human
magic touch—
where God hardly ever works.
And yet,
many times,
God puts the path to our healing
where we most fear:
in the touch, words, actions of another…

SAYING, “I LOVE YOU”

Deuteronomy 26:1-3
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

LOVE: more than a heart

LOVE: more than a heart

What do you mean
when you say the phrase,
“I love you,”
to another person?
How much power
do those words hold:
to destroy,
to manipulate,
to wound;
to encourage,
to satisfy,
to reciprocate,
to heal?
How much of a lifetime story do they tell,
of suffering,
of walking beside,
of holding up,
and being held up,
of commitment,
of pain,
of joy?
It seems that this three-word-phrase
is, in and of itself,
a saga,
a sequence of novelettes,
a manifesto concerning life-for-the-long-haul.
The phrase itself is
a magnificent and heroic proclamation
that can become trite
and over-used
if said without true intent.
To say, “I love you,”
is to hear, “I love you”—
by both speaker and the one spoken to.
What do we hear?
What is our hope in the hearing?
There are some for whom the phrase
is a meaningless way to achieve a goal.
It is a way to gain trust with no interest in any commitment
beyond one or two nights of intimacy.
These cannot uphold the fiction of love
for very long,
and their actions
do not act as a foundation for the words.
Many
do not get a lot of practice saying the phrase
because of an inability
to offer any true commitment,
and they understand
that inherent in the phrase
is a commitment
of such enormous magnitude
that there will somehow
be a diminishing of self
in the speaking.
For others the tremendousness is just as great,
but
they see the phrase
as something that will make them
bigger and better
and stronger
and more complete.
What do we mean,
how do we speak,
how do we hear,
how do we act out this powerful phrase?

THE PRAYER OF LIFE

Luke 9:28-36
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Stopping, Waiting, Listening, Hearing

Stopping, Waiting, Listening, Hearing

Choose me, coach!
Choose me!!!
Isn’t that the prayer of our lives?
Recognize me…
Notice me.
NO,
you will more than likely deny this.
You will say
that you don’t want
to be noticed for what you do,
but, let’s be honest, here.
Don’t you get just
a little warm and fuzzy feeling
when someone gives you credit,
thanks you,
mentions
some good thing you did?
AND,
let’s say you do something for someone—
many times—
and not one time
do you get
a simple thank you
for any of them.
How long
are you likely
to go on doing those favors?
Choose me, coach!
Choose me!!!
Recognize me…
Notice me.
Again,
let’s be honest,
we may not think
we are working for the accolades,
but they sure are nice
and they sure do keep us going.
Applause is one thing,
The bright spot light,
standing in the limelight,
those are nice,
but it is the verbal recognition,
that personal touch,
that is so meaningful to us.
Have you ever had
a sense of God’s approval?
Not mine,
not someone else’s but God’s?
We correctly think
that for our own spiritual/mental well being
we need to give God praise.
Have you ever considered reciprocation?
How would it,
has it,
can it,
will it
happen, for you?
Notice that in this text
it happened for Jesus right after he prayed.
Could it be that in the listening,
which is always an integral part of our prayer,
that God has a chance to be heard,
“This is my child, my chosen one…”
Listen for it.

STAKING YOUR CLAIM

The How and Where of Staking Our Claims

The How and Where of Staking Our Claims

Luke 4:21-30
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

In most of Jesus’ ministry
he spoke in parables
with the meaning of his statements
well cloaked behind the
assumptions and expectations
of his hearers.
Not so here.
Jesus staked his claim to
the who and what
that he was
and it
maddened/frightened/made violent
those to whom he was speaking.
By what right
did this whippersnapper
that they knew since he was a kid
claim
what he had just claimed?
What is it that we claim?
Who is it that we say we are?
What are those things
about ourselves
that we dream of in secret?
What are the claims
that our fears
keep silent?
AND,
by what right
would we
make our claim?
We all have within ourselves
a deep,
sacred,
inviolate
truth
that defines us
for who we really and truly are.
What is it?
What are the claims you make
in the dark of night
when no one sees or hears
the truth
you dare not
speak in public?
And what if you did
dare
to speak that truth?
And what if you did
dare
admit to yourself
the true power of your true nature?
What if?
If you spoke this in public
would you be
committed,
stoned,
shot,
deserted,
ridiculed,
thrown off a cliff?
And what if you were actually believed—
by yourself,
by others,
by God?
What then?
Why don’t you begin
with the question,
Can those things
I dream in secret
possibly
be true?
Do you dare to
stake your claim
on your
future,
on who you truly
are?