Psalm 133

Please welcome guest blogger, Christiane SwartzChristiane Swartz

I watched in varying levels of shock and disbelief this last year as the campaign and then the election unfolded and rocked our nation. This week I’ve witnessed every single possible emotion, magnified and palpable, play out in excruciating slow motion on social media, among my family, among my friends, in my place of work, and in my own heart. Grief. Fear. Anger. Disbelief. Panic. Jubilation. Rage.  Hope. Despair. Frustration. Pride. Hurt. Hatred. Defensiveness. Righteousness. Relief. Judgement. It’s all there, a cacophony so loud it hurts my ears, my heart and my soul. It is the first time in my life that my blood has run cold and I am fearful of the wave of intolerance and hatred that is gaining momentum in my country.

It’s always present, let’s not kid ourselves. We chalk it up to “those haters” and we choose to either stand against it or ignore it and some of us are blessed to be able to be less affected by it. This election just shone a spotlight on it. But I found myself startled this week out of my own despair and surveillance of the emotional devastation around me, by a simple post on social media. It showed the mostly red map of our country election results and read, “Trump has better coverage than Verizon. Can you hear us now?”

It made me wonder what I’d missed. While I am busy feeling terror about my daughters’ future and decades of work on behalf of women and minorities being undone, while I’m feeling offended by sanctioning of abuse that smacks of social cleansing, while I am quietly feeling hateful towards those who voted against values I believe are the difference between life and death and then gloated about it… What am I missing?

I’m having trouble witnessing all the hate happening right now in our country, neighborhoods and families and reconciling that with my belief that all people are inherently good. The only other option I have is to believe that people behave that way when they are scared. So what am I missing, that while I valiantly “fight the good fight” there is an entire part of the country whose unmet needs are so great that hate seems to be the only option and I just assume they are mean or ignorant; that people who supposedly hold the same political and human values that I do don’t trust the system we have in place to get us there and sanctioned hate to get a new system; that fully half of the country believed so little in any of it that they opted to stay home on voting day in spite of the proverbial handwriting on the wall?  What am I missing?

If I hold to my own need to believe that people are inherently good and love wins, if I read Psalm 133 and take away from it that we dwell together in unity under God’s love, that the love shared from God through us is a grace of God working in us, and that in the act of giving away the love we receive we are blessed eternally with love, if I believe in the “open and affirming” claims I make out loud in my life and with my church… it tells me everything I need to know what to do next. It leaves me with both a need and a responsibility to fully explore and understand the answers to the questions: Where do I find love, comfort, unity and support, especially during times of despair? How do I recognize others’ need for love, comfort, unity and support when it looks different from mine, especially in times of despair? How do I share the love I am gifted and entrusted with in a way that can be received by all of those who need it most?



The Hope of the Seed

The Hope of the Seed

Whomever you voted for, however you believe, whatever you really truly think, after this election the United States of America is even more divided than ever, if that’s possible.

All I want to point out here is that whomever you voted for, however you believe, whatever you really truly think, the time has come to think a little more about loving and caring and hoping than ever. We as Americans may not ever come together in full unity, but we do need to be nice and all sides in this conflict need to offer love.

With this said I am posting the lyrics to my song “The Time Has Come For Love,” and sharing the MP3 link again.

The Time Has Come for Love
© Hilary F. Marckx, BMI, All Rights Reserved

The Time Has Come for Love
to Accept Just Who We Are
to Affirm Us One and All
to Let God’s Love Be Real

The Time Has Come for Love
To Let the Outside in
To Affirm the Seeker’s Path
To Let God’s Love Be Real

The Time Has Come for Love
To Accept Diversity
To Affirm in Unity
To Let God’s Love Be Real

There Are Wrongs That Need to Right
Wounds That Hope to Heal
Lives That Seek the Light
And Pain That Prays for Grace

The Time Has Come for Love
To Let the Changes Be
To Set the Dreamers Free
To Let God’s Love Be Real


Let's Have the Party at Your House

Let’s Have the Party at Your House

Luke 19:1-10
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

The story of Zacchaeus
always stuns me a little.
There is no denying it,
God’s ways
are not like my ways.
I’m glad about that,
because it means that
God will accept me as is,
but, WOW,
let’s face it
this story rips
any thinking that
I might have
a right to
right out of
my selfish, judgmental,
little hands.
was what is termed, a
Tax Farmer
This was someone who had been hired
(considered a collaborator)
by the Roman government
to collect taxes,
and Tax Farmers
made a living on what they
charged above what
the Romans expected to collect.
Tax Farmers were Jews
set up to collect from Jews.
They worked in their own communities
and collected from those
whom they knew.
To say that Tax Farmers were not liked
by their neighbors and associates
would be a colossal understatement—
they were loathed and shunned,
considered notoriously evil..
They were a group of Jews
the other Jews
loved to hate!)
But Jesus chooses Zacchaeus’
very own home
to have his
“State Dinner”
with all the local dignitaries.
This story tells us how to act
around those we want to shun—
we publicly affirm them.
We publicly offer
them the exact salvation
we and they both desire.
In the case of Zacchaeus,
as with most,
it was acceptance.
If we think about it
and we can deny it all we want,
our desire for acceptance is,
the very need that keeps us
from accepting those
we deem as unacceptable.