ALL THE BIG WORDS

Written Beyond Understanding

Written Beyond Understanding

Psalm 103:1-8 (Common Jewish Bible)
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

 

All of the big words used here:
FORGIVES offense —
HEALS disease —
REDEEMS our lives —
SURROUNDS with grace and compassion —
CONTENTS us with good —
RENEWS our youth —
brings VINDICATION and JUSTICE to the oppressed —
MERCIFUL —
COMPASSIONATE —
rich in GRACE —
That about covers it for a description
of God
and what our faith
claims God can do for us.
I like the Complete Jewish Bible
for the simple reason
that it takes me to,
shows me,
gives me a sense
of my Christian roots.
This is the mind-set
Jesus had.
These are the precepts
on which Jesus was raised,
his training,
if you will,
Jesus’ theological heritage.
This is the offering
Jesus brought to the table–
our table.
When Jesus preached
this was his message.
And,
sadly,
this is the message
his people’s religious leaders
had shrugged off.
Many of ours as well.
Over and over again
prophets would call out to
bring the Hebrew community
back to the heart of their Jewish faith
and time and again
those prophets would be killed for trying.
This message
is the centerpiece of our Communion Table
It is not necessarily
what and who we are,
but it is what we are called to be,
and that for which we strive…

LET’S TALK ABOUT FAITH

Hebrews 11:29-12:2
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

The Present Reflected in the Past of an Ancient Sea Bed: The Promise that We Will Continue...

The Present Reflected in the Past of an Ancient Sea Bed: The Promise that We Will Continue…

Let’s talk about faith:
standing against overwhelming odds;
what it really means to win;
what success really looks like.
Faith in God is
like having faith in the unknown,
standing
against slim odds
and holding strong to the
hope of a bright future
no matter
how bleak things appear in the present.
But it is
also like having faith
in one’s own self.
Knowing
that we are sufficient to the need.
Allowing
our past to affirm us
rather than judge us,
and discovering
success over the years
rather than failure,
and that because
we are still here,
we have more than survived,
we have thrived
in the face of past adversity
and because
of that we
will continue to thrive in the present.
Our understanding that God
is the ground of our being,
our sea anchor,
the unseen strength of our lives,
and the
forward motion of the eternity
we call, now,
is the key to our faith
and our strength.
Faith is about
remembering we are still here,
remembering we,
with the help of God,
have the resources we need
to continue.
The Hebrews text
makes clear that those
who struggled
and battled
forces larger than they could imagine,
still won —
they still survived
in the hearts and memory
of those for whom they had struggled.
But for us,
who deal day to day,
sometimes second to second,
against issues and demons
bigger and stronger than us,
we who dwell
in the heart of the struggle,
can be emboldened
by remembering that we are still here.
Thriving.
So many seem afraid
of looking in a mirror,
of seeing themselves,
yet that reflection
is a daily reminder—
you are still here —
YOU ARE STILL HERE!
And you will continue to be…

Sufficient to the struggle!!!

CHASING AFTER THE WIND

WINDBLOWN

WINDBLOWN

Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23 — NRSV
Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, all is vanity. I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem, applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and chasing after wind. I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me—and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun, because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.

Chasing After the Wind
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Things we do
that are pointless
before God…
What we accomplish that
in the long run mean
nothing…
Turning our minds
to futile thoughts and schemes…
That which holds us
in patterns that are fruitless loops.
These are the writer’s points
for us to consider,
but there is
really only one point
we should take with us,
and I interpret it like this:
vanity equals
whatever we do
that distracts us
from living an essential life.
What is an essential life?
This is a life that
matters,
counts,
seeks God
and God’s ways,
holds truth
as a high value,
finds virtue in godly things,
and seeks justice
as one of the highest goods.
This is not about piety.
This is not about accumulations of things.
This is not even about praying.
It is about
seeking out the core
of all being,
the nature
of the Spirit in others,
and in ourselves,
and finding ways to proclaim
the Sacred
in our thoughts and actions.
Which is,
in the end,
about prayer.
I think the question for this
“Teacher,” is
do we pray sometimes,
and chase the wind the rest of the time,
or is the entirety
of our living
a prayer?

A RETIREMENT PACKAGE

Then #4

Luke 12:13-21
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

There are more things in life
than hay in the barn.
At least,
there are more things after life
than wealth in the here and now.
And we all know this:
that loving and
being loved
is of more value than
large accumulations of swag.
Sure money and what it can buy
makes living easier,
still,
if it is at the expense of relationships
and spiritual well being,
the money
becomes worthless.
This reading asks this question:
What have you saved up
that is of value
if your life ended
tonight?
It is not a question I especially like,
but it is a question that
demands to be answered.
It also brings up another question,
What does it mean to have eternal life?
I believe that our
relationships are all we have
that will follow us after death—
all our relationships.
And what state are those in,
and
how do we feel about those
as an
after-life experience?
Then there is the idea of eternal life,
and what we do about it.
I do not think we can
do anything about eternal life.
But I think we are
commissioned to live this life,
this now,
each moment,
as if it is all we have—
nurturing our relationships and spirituality,
building an
estate of
love and hope and goodness and joy that
our heirs will inherit
and pass on
generation to generation.