Friday, November 30, 2012

What Did The Mayans Know?


"There will be storms of solar flares irradiating the Earth. XXX spam and laser porn will be reflected off the moon's surface. The stars in Hollywood will prophesy. The governments of the world will be swamped by tidal waves. People will be faint with fear of what corporate news tells them tomorrow will bring. Heaven will shake in labor. Then will come again the Son of Man in all power and glory.
 
When these things start, look up - freedom comes!"
 
Then Jesus instructed them: "Look at the trees. When the leaves sprout in spring, you know summer is coming don't you? So too with these things. When you see the signs sprout, you know the Kingdom is nigh. It will happen in your generation, as it happens in each and every generation. The old separated Heaven and Earth will end for you, but my Words will live on in a newly unified Kingdom."
 
He continued: "Be ready. Don't despair. Don't spread your passion thin, calling lust 'love'. Don't try to escape the mud through drugs or other easy ways. They are all traps. The Kingdom comes - it comes for all.
 
Be ready. Pray for strength. Pray for the confidence to stand tall before the Son's love."
 
(Luke 21:25-36 retold)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Psalmic #Poetry - The Prayer On My Money:

1. To You O Lord
,
We lift up our money.
2. "In God we trust"!
Don't let America be embarrassed.
Don't let America's foes triumph.
3. Don't let patriots be shamed.
But let the traitors be ashamed.
 
4. Make Your will known to us.
Teach us Your Way.
5. Lead us to Your Truth.
Teach us to no longer lie.
You're our saving Grace!
We wait and wait for You.
 
6. Don't forget Your Mercy!
You love us forever and more -
With Alpha and Omega Love.
7. Don't remember our yore,
Our weaknesses and sins.
Remember that You love us
Forever and for even more,
Because You are Good!
 
8. You are Good and Right.
Lead us down that Path.
9. Make us Good and Right.
Give us light to see the Way.
10. All of Your many roads
Lead to Love and to Faith:
For those who truly love;
For those who're faithful.
 
(Psalm 25:1-10 retold by Tiwago)
 


Meditations:
  • When we look on our money, how many of us leave it at verse 2?
  • Is verse 3 and exceptionalism becoming a greater factor in our public life?
  • Do we trust in God as a motto or as a prayer?
  • Do we trust God to make us powerful because we are right, or do we trust God to make us right through His power?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Love Letter To The Church:


How can we thank God enough for you, given all the joy we have because of you before our God? Night and day, we pray more than ever to see all of you in person and to complete whatever you still need for your faith. Now may our God and Father himself guide us on our way back to you. May the Lord cause you to increase and enrich your love for each other and for everyone in the same way as we also love you. May the love cause your hearts to be strengthened, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his people. Amen.
 
(1 Thessalonians 3:9-13; The Common English Bible)
 
 
 
Sometimes:
 
Sometimes, my little church can be a pain in the butt.
Sometimes, The Church is a bigger pain in the Butt.
Sometimes, I forget to love my church and His Church.
Sometimes, the churches love themselves too much.
Sometimes, The Church forgets to love itself enough.
 
~ Tiwago

Monday, November 26, 2012

Prophetic #Poetry - The Coming Dawn:



 
 
 
The Lord's Day
Surely coming!
The Lord says
He'll fully fulfill
To the people
The Promise.
 
In those days,
A branch'll grow
From the dead
Forgotten stump
Of David's tree:
Justice returned;
Righteousness.
 
In those days,
God's people
Will be saved.
The Kingdom
Done come!
No more Israel.
No more nations.
Reborn, renamed -
Jehovah Tsidkenu
 
(Jeremiah 33:14-16 retold by Tiwago)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Who Do You Say I Am?

(Duccio di Buoninsegna: Jesús ante Pilatos)

When Governor Pilate returned to HQ, he had Jesus brought up from the dungeon. "Are you really the King of the Jews?"
 
Jesus asked back: "Do you really want to know, or have you already made your decision based on hear-say?"
 
Pilate did not expect defiance: "Do I look like a Jew? It was your own people, and the leaders of your own faith, that betrayed you. What the Hades have you done to piss them off so thoroughly?"
 
Jesus answered Pilate's first question: "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, the Legions of the Host would have prevented this moment. You say I'm a king? It is for this very moment that I was born - for this trial that I came into this world to testify. Everyone who knows Truth knows the sound of my voice."
 
(John 18:33-37 retold)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Revelatory #Poetry :

(Limbourg Brothers)

Grace to y'all
Shalom from He
Who is, was, shall
Shalom from the
Sevenly ghosts
Before the Host
 
Peace of the Son
Witness of truth
Death's firstborn
Ruler of the Earth
And all its kings
Let's together sing
 
To our bridegroom
To our emancipator
He made a Kingdom
He made us pastors
In Him lies the glory
In Him lies our story
 
Down through clouds
All will see Him stride
Even the blind crowds
Who pierced His side
In fear they'll seek haven
So be it upon us, amen
 
"I AM at once the Start
And the final End of all"
The Lord of my heart
He who is, was, shall
Shalom from Patmos
To the seven outposts
 
(Revelation 1:4b-8 retold by Tiwago)

Monday, November 19, 2012

#Poetry - David's Last Psalm:

(Le Roi David by Marc Chagall)


 
 
The last words of King David
Last words of Jesse's child
Last words of God's exalted
Last words of God's anointed
Last words of God's favorite
Were God's everlasting words:
 
"The Spirit of God is on me
My tongue - but His words
I prophesy what He speaks
Our Strength He said to me:
 
'One who rules
Over My people
Ruling in justice
Ruling in wisdom
Is the glory of dawn
Is the new sun
In a clear sky
Is the twinkle
Of rain drops
In the pasture
 
'My rule was such
God and I together
Swore each an oath
Order and security
My cause to prosper
 
'But the godless
Are cut brambles
Too thorny to touch
With bare hands
So they must
Be burned up
Then and there.'"
 
(Retelling of 2 Samuel 23:1-7 by Tiwago)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tarnished Bling

(“Tree of Life” by Tiffany)
On the way out of church one Sunday morning, a student pastor exclaimed: "Wow! Did you see the amazing stained-glass windows and beautiful altarpiece?"

Jesus replied: "So you like this church? Not one bit of it will long remain standing." 
 
He sat down in the park across from the church with his best seminarians: Pete, Jim, John and Andy.

"Professor," they asked, "when will this church fall? What warnings should we be looking for?"
 
Jesus began to teach: "Watch out for those who would lead you wrong with fear and hopelessness. Many will come who claim to speak for me, and many more will believe them. Many will be lost to the dark side. When you hear about all the wars going on, or worry about all the wars that could erupt at any second, do not fear. These things happen in a fleshy world. It doesn't mean that the end-times have come or are right around the corner. Nations will rise up against other nations as they always have. Rulers will vent venom on other rulers as they always have. There will be earthquakes, volcanoes, and hurricanes as there have always been. There will be plagues and famines as there has always been. Membership will dwindle and giving will decline. These are not the signs you seek. These are not harbingers of the end, but the labor pains of the Kingdom coming into the world.

(Retelling of Mark13:1-8)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

#Poetry - Hannah's Bodacious Prayer:





My heart races
With his presence.
And muscles grow
With His strength.
I spit on my foes.
Enjoying my victory.
 
Only God is holy.
Only God is God.
No rock is there
Stronger than He.
 
Stop all your boasting.
Shut your selfish lips.
Your words? Weightless!
The God of Knowledge
Will weigh your actions.
 
The strong'll be weakened.
The weak'll be strengthened.
Those with full bellies
Are just prostitutes.
Those who're hungry
Will be made fat.
The fruitless will bear fruit.
While proud parents
Will be be abandoned.
 
The Lord takes life.
The Lord gives life.
The Lord fills hell.
The Lord empties hell.
 
The Lord created us all,
Both the poor and the rich.
He brings low the exalted.
He exalts the lowly.
From their dirt floors
He raises the poor.
From the ashes of their lives
He lifts up the needy.
He makes them royalty.
He sits them in thrones.
 
He has created the worlds
And made them alive.
He watches over His little ones
And evil shall be no more.
For might 
     does not 
          make right.
 
My God!
Those who oppose
Shall be broken.
He will thunder.
He will judge.
He will empower
His anointed one.
Praise be
The anointed one.
 
(1 Samuel 2:1-10 retold by Tiwago)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Elkanah the Early Feminist?


Every year this man went from his hometown up to Shiloh to worship and offer a sacrifice to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served as the priests of God there. When Elkanah sacrificed, he passed helpings from the sacrificial meal around to his wife Peninnah and all her children, but he always gave an especially generous helping to Hannah because he loved her so much, and becauseGod had not given her children. But her rival wife taunted her cruelly, rubbing it in and never letting her forget that God had not given her children. This went on year after year. Every time she went to the sanctuary of God she could expect to be taunted. Hannah was reduced to tears and had no appetite.

Her husband Elkanah said, “Oh, Hannah, why are you crying? Why aren’t you eating? And why are you so upset? Am I not of more worth to you than ten sons?”

So Hannah ate. Then she pulled herself together, slipped away quietly, and entered the sanctuary. The priest Eli was on duty at the entrance to God’s Temple in the customary seat. Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried—inconsolably. Then she made a vow:


"Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
     If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain,     
If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me
By giving me a son,     I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you.
     I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline."

It so happened that as she continued in prayer before God, Eli was watching her closely. Hannah was praying in her heart, silently. Her lips moved, but no sound was heard. Eli jumped to the conclusion that she was drunk. He approached her and said, “You’re drunk! How long do you plan to keep this up? Sober up, woman!”

Hannah said, “Oh no, sir—please! I’m a woman hard used. I haven’t been drinking. Not a drop of wine or beer. The only thing I’ve been pouring out is my heart, pouring it out to God. Don’t for a minute think I’m a bad woman. It’s because I’m so desperately unhappy and in such pain that I’ve stayed here so long.”

Eli answered her, “Go in peace. And may the God of Israel give you what you have asked of him.”

“Think well of me—and pray for me!” she said, and went her way. Then she ate heartily, her face radiant.

Up before dawn, they worshiped God and returned home to Ramah. Elkanah slept with Hannah his wife, and God began making the necessary arrangements in response to what she had asked.

Before the year was out, Hannah had conceived and given birth to a son. She named him Samuel, explaining, “I asked God for him.”
(1 Samuel 1:4-20; The Message)
 


Meditations:
1. Was Elkanah an early feminist despite having two wives? Was he more of a feminist than Hannah?
2. Does love affect how you treat people?
3. How did Peninnah feel about all this?
4. Why did God answer Hannah's prayer rather than changing her self image?
5. What is the meaning of all the eating and drinking going on or not going on?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Beware the Two-Faced Church-Goer:

("A Widow's Mite" by John Everet Millais; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery)


 
 


Jesus taught them: "Beware of the church-goer who wears expensive power-suits and dresses, those who: expect to be treated specially; put their names on bronze plaques through-out the church; and use their money to try to rule the congregation. At work they foreclose the homes of the poor, all the while decrying the loss of public prayer and Christmas in school. When judgment comes, they will be condemned far beyond what we can do here today."
 
He pointed out those paying taxes. The rich bragged or complained about the dollar amount they gave, but it was a poor old widow that Jesus lifted up to them. She made so little, yet she gave her pennies without complaint.
 
"This 'victim'", Jesus told them "has given more generously than all the so-called 'bastions of society'. Where they gave out of their excess, she gave her next meal!"
(Retelling of Mark 12:38-44)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Psalmic #Poetry - A Quiver Full of Arrows:

If the Lord doesn't

Build His Church
We who try to do so
Build in vain vanity
 
If the Lord doesn't
Guard His people
We who try to do so
Guard in vain vanity
 
It's just self idolatry
To go to work early
To stay at work late
To taste stress' bile
 
Shaping the young
Blessings from God
Leaving a heritage
Fruits of the harvest
 
As a warrior's arrows
They're made in care
Joyous are all those
Who have full quivers
 
They'll not stand alone
When an enemy comes
They'll stand together
When an enemy attacks
 
(Psalm 127 retold by Tiwago)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Social Safety Nets:

(art by He Qi)

Ruth was poor, an immigrant and a widow. She worked hard all day and into the night gleaning harvested fields for left-over grain to keep herself and her widowed mother-in-law Naomi barely alive. Naomi could see that they couldn't last much longer: "Daughter, we need to seek a secure place for you so at least one of us will live. The only thing that you have to sell is your body, we must make sure that you find a protector to keep you, one who has familial obligations toward you. You have been working in the field of our  relative Boaz. He'll be out late tonight working on processing the harvest. Go and bath, put on the last of the perfume, adorn yourself in your best dress, and go and meet him after he has eaten and has had his wine. When all are gone and he dozes off, sneak in and crawl under his covers, he will tell what to do then."
 
Ruth looked into Naomi's gaunt face: "I'll do what is needed."
 
So Boaz welcomed Ruth into his bed and she thus became his wife. The Lord blessed the union and she conceived that night.
 
Ruth and Boaz had a healthy baby. The women on their street said to Grandma Naomi: "Praise God who didn't let you starve to death! May your grandson's name be known throughout the country. He has given you back your life, and will care for you in your old age. What a blessing Ruth has been to you. She has done the work of seven sons - and more, she has given you a grandbaby!"
 
Naomi cared for the baby, and became his nursemaid. It was the neighborhood women who named the boy Obed ("Servant of God").
 
And the sacrifices of Ruth and Naomi became family lore handed down by Obed to his son Jesse and his grandson David.
 
(Retelling of Ruth 3:1-5 and 4:13-17)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

You Let My Brother Die!

(Painting by Pietro Annigoni) 



 
 
When she heard that Jesus had finally arrived, Mary of Bethany, black in mourning, sat at his feet like she had so many times in her life. "Teacher, if you'd gotten here in time, my brother would still be alive." Mary wept on Jesus' cloak and sandals. All the village around them wept. Jesus' heart broke, and he too joined the weeping. Some in the crowd said: "See how much he loved and misses our Lazarus!"
 
"Where does my friend lie?" Jesus asked.
 
"Come." they said.
 
He followed them to the graveyard. "Open the tomb." he said.
 
Mary and Lazarus' sister Martha warned: "He's been dead four days now. The stench of death will be overwhelming."
 
Jesus re-assured her: "Remember when I told you to believe in God's love, and that someday you would see His love made manifest?"
 
As the stone was rolled aside, Jesus spoke aloud to his Father: "Thank you for hearing me. I know that You hear me without my speaking, but for the sake of those about me, I call out to You so that they might know." The he commanded: "Lazarus! Come."
 
Bethany that day, saw her lost son step out of the dark pit, still swaddled in the wrappings of death. As they stood in stunned silence, Jesus had to remind them to act: "Release him from the grave's bindings. Free him."
 
(Retelling of John 11:32-44)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Revelatory #Poetry :


Revelation (no "s") is a truth that only poetry can utter:

 
(photography by tiwago)

 
Now I saw a new heaven
and a new earth,
for the first heaven
and the first earth
had passed away.
 
          Also there was no more sea. 
 
Then I, John, saw the holy city,
New Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride
adorned for her husband.
 
And I heard a loud voice
from heaven saying,
“Behold,
the tabernacle of God is with men,
and He will dwell with them,
and they shall be His people.
God Himself will be with them
and be
     their God.
 
And God will wipe away
every tear from their eyes;
there shall be no more death,
nor sorrow,
nor crying.
There shall be no more pain,
for the former things
have passed away.”
 
Then He
who sat on the throne said,
“Behold,
 I make all things new.”
And He said to me,
“Write,
for these words
are true and faithful.”
 
And He said to me,
“It is done!
I am the Alpha
and the Omega,
the Beginning and
 
the End.
 
(Revelation 21:1-6a; King James)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Psalmic #Poetry - The Twenty-Fourth:

(NASA)


 
 
 
The Earth is not mine -
The Earth is the Lord's:
Everything that composes it;
Everything that it represents;
Everything that lives upon it
 
Who'll go to Heaven-Home?
Who'll dwell there?
The pure in deed,
The pure in intent,
Avoiders of pretty lies,
Avoiders of lying prettily.
 
Blessed by the Lord.
Bought back by God.
The lost but open.
The Seekers of "more".
SELAH in the House!
 
Open the shutters!
Open the doors!
Let the Sun shine in!
 
Who's this Sun?
The All-Powerful.
The All-Mighty.
 
Open the shutters!
Open the doors!
Let the Sun shine in!
 
Who's this Sun?
The All-Ruling.
The shining Light.
 
SELAH in the House! 
 
(Psalm 24 retold by Tiwago)