THE LIMITS OF HUMAN IMAGINATION

Genesis 17:1-7 — Contemporary English Version

Abram was ninety-nine years old when the LORD appeared to him again and said, “I am God All-Powerful. If you obey me and always do right, I will keep my solemn promise to you and give you more descendants than can be counted.” Abram bowed with his face to the ground, and God said: I promise that you will be the father of many nations. That’s why I now change your name from Abram to Abraham. I will give you a lot of descendants, and in the future they will become great nations. Some of them will even be kings. I will always keep the promise I have made to you and your descendants, because I am your God and their God.

I Can’t Imagine

The Limits of Human Imagination
Genesis 17:1-7

Can you name a few things that you
can’t quite
bring yourself to believe?
There are some people
who are totally credulous
and will believe
anything any friend might say:
that the Moonlanding was fake
and staged out
in the Arizona desert;
or the earth is flat;
that women are
not as smart as men
because their brains
are smaller.
Pick a nationality,
race, gender, social class,
and you’ve heard
some unfounded
and salacious garbage
about their character.
Rumors and gossip
always tell me
more about the individual
spreading them
than about
the ones at whom
they are aimed.
But here,
today,
we read about another kind of
unbelievable,
inconceivable
tale.
A story so implausible
and so far
beyond the imagination
the even the person
to whom it happened
found it hard to believe.
A ninety-nine year old
fathering a child?
Wow!
It was a promise kept by God.
It was beyond comprehendible,
but it came true,
and I am led to ask,
what promises has
God made to us?
what do we think of
people who claim
that God makes them promises?
Have we ever experienced
the unimaginable?
It is crazy, you know,
to think that God
would make us a promise.
It is still crazier
to think that God wouldn’t.
Can you bring yourself
to imagine God’s
promise of eternal life?
Can you imagine the healing
stories of Jesus
being real?
Can you imagine hope?
Can you even imagine
the consequences
of the sharing of
bread
and cup
at the Communion Table?
I think we should
be careful about the limits
we place
on our imaginations.

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WHEN THE CALL IS FOR HEALING

©Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved
based on Mark 1:29-39

When the call
is for healing
the call
is not just to be healed,
but to heal others as well.
When the call
is for healing
the call
is not just to stop our own pain,
but to help ease the pain of another.
When the call
is for healing
the call
is not only to work at the healing of others,
but to take the time to let healing happen
for us as well.

When the call is for healing…

Called to heal;
called to be healed.
Called to be present to the process.
Called to be the process.
Called to hold the process.
Called give away the process.

When the call is for healing…

Still,
so many do not heed the call.
We want to help
others to become healed,
yet we
seem to stay unhealed.
We resent
being thought of as in need of healing.
We become angry
at the notion that we might be broken.
We resent being named.
We refuse to do
the work of our own restoration.
Why is it that
it is alright for Jesus to touch,
heal, renew, recreate,
step into another’s
history, space, life,
but it is meddling
when it comes to us?

When the call is for healing…

A RETELLING

A Place for Retelling

Deuteronomy 5:1 & 18:15-:16

Called to speak.
Called to listen.
Called and answered.
Called and chosen.
Threatened —
by God —
do it right or else!
This book
has an interesting history.
Deuteronomy is purportedly
a “lost” book
found
after the Exile of the
Hebrew people
to Babylon.
It had been hidden,
and turned up mysteriously,
then
“found”
by the new order of ruling priests.
It is full of laws,
holiness codes,
and or-elses from God.
The strong suspicion
by some biblical scholars
is that the
“finders”
actually
wrote it themselves
as a means of establishing their
own power and rightful leadership
in a community torn
apart by being exiled from,
then returned to,
their homes.
Homes that after 60 years
just did not exist anymore.
There is something powerful
here about this
re-construction of hope.
Something worth paying attention to
in the re-telling of old stories.
Remembering that these are the words of priests,
not so much Moses, or God,
we can then see
a desperate attempt by to build hope
and re-construct a sense of place,
of home.
The Hebrew people thought that they
needed these stories to build their
national and personal
self-worth.
This is revisionist history,
and in and if itself
is less than the best way to facilitate healing.
History happened.
Life happened.
Still there is something compelling
in re-telling a story with a different outcome.
Not to actually history,
but to change
how we can change our own outcome
with a different telling.
There is healing in imaging
ourselves surviving trauma
and emerging strong,
not wounded.
I am not promoting denial,
rather exploring a
re-storying where our victimhood
changes into strength and energy
and inner power
and strength.
What stories do we need for this?
How do we need to revision our old stories?
What do we need to hear
that bolster us
in times of distress,
when we feel dispossessed
out of luck,
unloved,
and short on hope?
Who will we listen to
in an age of “false news”?
Who has been called, chosen,
to tell us these stories
we need so desperately to hear?
Do we need stories of conquest?
Are we seeking stories of greatness?
Or,
is it a story of hope,
of love,
of salvation and
fulfilled promise
that we so desperately need to hear?
How would we re-write
our old stories
so they reflect
our own heart’s desire?

CAN ANYTHING GOOD?

John 1:43-51
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. When he got there, he ran across Philip and said, “Come, follow me.” (Philip’s hometown was Bethsaida, the same as Andrew and Peter.) Philip went and found Nathanael and told him, “We’ve found the One Moses wrote of in the Law, the One preached by the prophets. It’s Jesus, Joseph’s son, the one from Nazareth!” Nathanael said, “Nazareth? You’ve got to be kidding, can anything good come out of Nazareth?” But Philip said, “Come, see for yourself.” When Jesus saw him coming he said, “There’s a real Israelite, not a false bone in his body.” Nathanael said, “Where did you get that idea? You don’t know me.” Jesus answered, “One day, long before Philip called you here, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael exclaimed, “Rabbi! You are the Son of God, the King of Israel!” Jesus said, “You’ve become a believer simply because I say I saw you one day sitting under the fig tree? You haven’t seen anything yet! Before this is over you’re going to see heaven open and God’s angels descending to the Son of Man and ascending again.

Can Anything Good

Can Anything Good Come?

Can Anything Good?
John 1:43-51

Judgment and stereotyping,
regionalism, nationalism,
arrogance
and good,
old fashioned xenophobia,
right at the beginning of
Jesus’ ministry—
directed right at Jesus.
Credulous, bigoted, knuckleheads.
And those are the ones
who became his disciples!
WOW!
“You’ve got to be kidding,
can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Or Africa,
or Haiti,
or Mexico,
or San Salvador,
or, or, or?
Well the disciples found out,
didn’t they?
But what about us?
Are there those areas,
places, towns—
nations,
where we arbitrarily
discount
those who are living there?
I have heard many,
some of us even,
refer with ugly claims
to those who come from
the Res, Lake County, Nice,
anywhere other than Geyserville.
Meth heads,
crack heads,
trailer trash,
weirdoes.
That’s where the heroin addicts hang out.
Yet,
we are referring to human beings,
the ones
Jesus loves as much
as he does us,
those who carry the Christ
as do we,
deep in their beings.
The main difference
between us and
Jesus
is that he could look
into the hearts of all
and see nothing
but goodness and grace.
But do we not owe it
to ourselves and to others
to see that same
grace in all?
And if we did,
what might we discover?
Maybe that the Messiah
was walking alongside
of us
all along.
Now that would be
something to miss,
wouldn’t it?

SEMMETRY

To continue my poem-journey this week of a poem a day. I am pulling from past and new work that infer an inner spiritual movement — awareness of body, awareness of nature/God-in-nature. The awareness of that unknown entity we understand as that-which-cannot-be-named-known-or-described… nonetheless, discovered in unconditional love of small creatures — and death.

In the Ice of Time

SYMMETRY
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

I discovered grim symmetry
in winter’s freeze.
Tangle of
winter-bare willow.
Rabbit,
raptor-killed-gray
on white-frozen earth:
concentric circles of death
with one red eye
staring death
at center of corpse–
this raptor was
neat–and cautious.

Frozen earth,
soil beneath low branches
of bare willow, where still figure
draws me in.
Circle of fur, two-foot diameter,
shaven from rabbit’s belly
Lays out about carcass.
Death in the round,
warmth near-frozen
in fog-white mirror for earth.

One tuft of fur at a time
shaven from belly in
three-hundred degree circle
of wary movement.

Three inch round red plate of red meat
in center of carcass steams off
last remembrance of life.
Blank eye of rabbit looks at nothing,
and at me, as though I too
have blood on my teeth.
As though I too
might lay belly-bare
on frozen ground–
fodder for some raptor.

I thought: “Here is the glorious beauty
and the
symmetry of my own death.
If I could but die in
solidarity with the cosmos…”

RUNNING

To continue my poem-journey this week of a poem a day. I am pulling from past and new work that infer an inner spiritual movement — awareness of body, awareness of nature/God-in-nature. The awareness of that unknown entity we understand as that-which-cannot-be-named-known-or-described… nonetheless, discovered in unconditional love of small creatures.

Where

RUNNING
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Disco threads ragged patterns
through ploughed meadow grasses.
Starry night
dances the darkness
in red fir and Jeffery pine
patterned on silver.
Where is time?
That magic loom
weaving universe
upon universe.
Ambivalent existence
in trinity.
Tomorrow, Today, Yesterday.
Eternal forever
when I lay by the Jeffery pines
and a yellow dog
kept watch
with restless loyalty
near my head.
A little dog
meant always
for the wild ways
of the forest.
Like me, a runner,
always running.
Little runner
of the wild lands
where do you now run?
Long killed by a city
with no understanding
of how little runners of
wild wood lands
sometimes lose their way
where the grasses
are clipped so short.
But I still have you,
my friend,
fellow runner.
Sometimes
the trail gets too long
and the man
becomes too small,
then I hear
you panting at my heals
and next
ferreting unseen
in the thick trailside brush.
Running,
always running.
I still have that night,
silver moon on fir
and you
ever-watchful,
ever-running
lest I be surprised by that
unknown
living in deep moonshadow.
Still,
I sleep more wary
though
I know you must
now run eternal
on ever-soft fir-carpet.
It is in the dark
I wonder where the asphalt
ended for you
and where
it will end for me.
Ever running.

THE POSSIBILITY OF GOD

To continue my poem-journey this week of a poem a day. I am pulling from past and new work that infer an inner spiritual movement — awareness of body, awareness of nature/God-in-nature. The awareness of that unknown entity we understand as that-which-cannot-be-named-known-or-described…

The Possibility of God

THE POSSIBILITY OF GOD
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Walking along a trail
in a forest
on a wet day.
Raindrops, fog, mist —
the air alive with moist beauty.
God
lurking in the water sparkles.
The leaves glittering God
A day like today:
wet with beauty
alive with drenched light
does not prove
to me
that God exists,
but shows me how
I can walk among
the water droplets that caress
God’s Body,
and feel the erotic
that God is.
I find no boundaries
when God touches
me as I
was touched
by the Presence
of raw and palpable beauty
on that trail.
Sometimes I feel like I
am in an electrical field.
Nerve ends buzzing the
possibility
of God.