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One Sunday on Facebook

(this was a while back..)


One Sunday on Facebook somebody wrote:

“…..what he does state is equally problematic for us” — “he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.” Taken at face value, God created the man blind from birth in order that years later he could be healed as a show of God’s power!? That, in my opinion, is just as bad as the standard thinking of his time. So let us try it this way instead - The man was born blind not because his parents or he was a sinner. The fact that he was blind, however, was an opportunity to reveal God’s work. In other words, every situation where help is needed is an opportunity to demonstrate, to reveal God’s loving work by Christian people.” (My italics)

My thought: God is all-powerful because the Source of All only does one thing. Adonai does not meddle in our affairs because doing so would establish limitations. The Incarnation reveals that there is only one response to God, and it is the same as the one thing that God does. …

Shepherds & Dharma Gates

John 10:1-18 (CJB)

1“Yes, indeed! I tell you, the person who doesn’t enter the sheep-pen through the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 But the one who goes in through the gate is the sheep’s own shepherd.

7So Yeshua said to them again, “Yes, indeed! I tell you that I am the gate for the sheep. All those who have come before me have been thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the gate; if someone enters through me, he will be safe and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.

11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand, since he isn’t a shepherd and the sheep aren’t his own, sees the wolf coming, abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf drags them off and scatters them. 13 The hired worker behaves like this because that’s all he is, a hired worker; so…

Lenten Vow

“Lent” is a shortening

of the word "Lengthen" —

which is what the light does

all through those expectant days.



I've shrunk with the shrinking days;

been filled from edge to edge

with withered, meager light

on afternoons of crystallized smog.



In the days of ‘Lentening’,

I will elongate and broaden

in matching increments,

keeping company with the sun.



I will open the blinds

until the sunset is over,

and I am flush with the kindly, sturdy light.

I will sit on my zafu longer.



All this will happen bit by bit;

until that familiar moment comes again—

when the days gladly spend their light

to feed the turning of the year once more.

Despising Phantoms

73 (0) A psalm of Asaf:


(1) How good God is to Isra’el,
to those who are pure in heart!
But as for me, I lost my balance,
my feet nearly slipped,
when I grew envious of the arrogant
and saw how the wicked prosper.
For when their death comes, it is painless;
and meanwhile, their bodies are healthy;
they don’t have ordinary people’s troubles,
they aren’t plagued like others.
So for them, pride is a necklace;
and violence clothes them like a robe.
Their eyes peep out through folds of fat;
evil thoughts overflow from their hearts.
They scoff and speak with malice,
they loftily utter threats.
They set their mouths against heaven;
their tongues swagger through the earth.
10 Therefore his people return here
and [thoughtlessly] suck up that whole cup of water.
11 Then they ask, “How does God know?
Does the Most High really have knowledge?”
12 Yes, this is what the wicked are like;
those free of misfortune keep increasing their wealth.
13 It’s all for nothing that I’ve kept my heart clean
a…

Eat Up (Koan)

Preface:

Abraham holds fiercely to the present, still loving what he’s losing. Trust cracks the bones of love and loss to get at the juicy marrow. So— eat up!



Main Case:

Genesis 22:1-18 (The story of Abraham and Isaac; CJB)

He answered, “Here I am.” (v. 1; v. 7; v. 11)

Hebrews 11:23-31 (How trust works; CJB)

“By trusting..”

John 6:52-59 (Jesus once again shocks the authorities; CJB)

56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I live in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live through the Father, so also whoever eats me will live through me.



Appreciatory Verse:

Here it is—
Old Jesus still holds the trusty knife:

No loss, no life.


Commentary:

I remember, more than thirty years ago, reading Kierkegaard on the story of Abraham and Isaac, and feeling an odd, but certain, sort of understanding about how God never gives us the answers. My understanding wasn’t confused; but it wasn’t clear either.

Recently, I’ve been reading an author who bids fair to be a modern prophet: Ste…

Not So (Koan)

Preface:

“Did not! Did so!” Who’s contradicting who? Is somebody scared of falling? Meanwhile, windy arguments get blown off course in the dark. When fear is agreeable, instantly there’s solid ground.


Main Case: (Lectionary 2-1-20)

Genesis 18:1-16
15 Sarah denied it, saying, “I didn’t either laugh,” because she was afraid. He said, “Not so — you did laugh.”
Hebrews 10:26-39
31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!
John 6:16-27
By now it was dark, Yeshua had not yet joined them, 18 and the sea was getting rough, because a strong wind was blowing. 19 They had rowed three or four miles when they saw Yeshua approaching the boat, walking on the lake! They were terrified; 20 but he said to them, “Stop being afraid, it is I.” 21 Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and instantly the boat reached the land they were heading for.




Appreciatory Verse:



Out on the water in the dark—



Sliding off the thwarts

butt in the bilge

blinking away the wind-shear.



In the teeth of t…

Less Than a Hairsbreadth

Hebrews 4:1-13

12 See, the Word of God is alive! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword — it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow, and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart. 13 Before God, nothing created is hidden, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.



Thisreading always reminds me of a passage from a text famous in martial arts circles—

“The Unfettered Mind” by Takuan Soho; which talks about “not even the breadth of a hair.”

Here it is:
“THE INTERVAL INTO WHICH NOT EVEN A HAIR CAN BE ENTERED”
“There is such a thing as an interval into which not even a hair can be put. We can speak about this in terms of your own martial art. “Interval” is when two things come one upon another and not even a hairsbreadth can be slipped in between them. When you clap your hands and, just at that instant, let out a yell, the interval between clapping your hands and letting out a…