Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

Let us prove him wrong.

March 16, 2017

God does not need any favors from the likes of us mere humans. Nevertheless, if you are like me–that is, if you call yourself a Christian–you can do us all a favor–you can do this nation a favor–  by proving this man wrong.

Hedges

He opines that we Christians are working ourselves into a fascist movement.

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP5gjrh-3Ew

I have respect for this man and his opinion. Chris Hedges is a smart man, a doctor of divinity; he was a good reporter for the New York Times, and a Pulitzer prize recipient. But his assessment about Christians is incorrect. Or at least I hope it is incorrect.

Let us therefore prove him wrong in his analysis of us.

We are not fascists; nor do we want to be.

Let us remind Chris what it means to be Christian. Let us do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

Let us not do to others what we would not want them to do to us.

Let us demonstrate to Mr. Hedges, and to whomever it may concern, that we live and we act on behalf of the man from Galilee who came to bring good news to the afflicted.

Let us fulfill the command of that prophet who admonished us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to give shelter to the those who need it.

Let us visit the widow, the orphan, the stranger, the prisoners.

Let us act on behalf of the healer who was sent to bind up the broken-hearted.

Let us be advocates for  the the one who was taken prisoner, the one who came to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to the prisoners.

Let us proclaim the favorable year of the Lord, and of his judgement on all of us.

Let us comfort all who mourn.

Let us hunger and thirst for righteousness (not right-wingedness).

Let us be merciful.

Let us love mercy, and do justice, and walk humbly with our God.

Let us proclaim the message of the one who exhorted us to love one another.

Let us heal, if we can, as he healed the sick, the lame, the blind.

Let us speak truthfully, because we shall be made free by the truth.

Let us act honorably, as Jesus himself did on the night he was arrested, when he told Peter to put down the sword.

Let us be bold in our kindness, as he was.

Let us speak confidently about the power of love, compassion and mercy, as he did when he preached on the Mount.

Let us be brave, as Jesus was when he went to the cross rather than betray the redemptive, resurrective mission that had been laid upon his shoulders.

Let us not be haters, nor slanderers, nor liars, nor killers, nor maimers, no adulterers, nor thieves.

Let us love those who see themselves as our enemies.

Let us love those who make themselves our enemies.

Let us not be enemies.

Let us love those who despitefully use us.

Let us love those who abuse us.

Let us love those who accuse us.

Let us not become fascists.

Let us not be deceived by the fascists.

Let us not be used by the fascists.

Let us not be despised by the socialists, nor the communists, nor the jihadists.

Deliver us, Lord, from the jihadists.

Let us project calm on the political waters as you invoked calm on the sea of Galilee.

Let us be Christians who love the Lord and who strive to love all people whom the Lord has brought forth.

Let us conquer death, as you have done, Lord, and then live eternally with you in peace and love.

Let us pray.

Forgive us our trespasses, Lord, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

And Let us not be agents of evil.

We do have a message of mercy for all men and women. We do have a song to sing.

Glass half-Full

Our Given Rivers

June 14, 2016

Oh, give them a river.

Cut it

cut it right out of the earth

RivMesa

with water that bleeds out from the granite,

then circulates life back into heart of this planet

Make it bleed out upon dry ground;

let it gush pure and clear and clean,

gurgling, spurting, splashing

gashing great ravines through this ancient rock.

RivCut

Slash them rock basins;

slice them with your gentle flowing waters

your cascading waters your

raging waters

and these trickling streams . . .

they irrigate our farmish means

RivGreen

and they spring forth with human dreams.

Your rivers we desire;

they’re more manageable than the fire.

RivrCity

Allow them not to vanish.

Banish not

banish not our watery dreams,

Dry them not

Dry up not our springs and streams

Perish not

perish not our ponds and lakes,

our flumes, our fates,

these precious, flowing life-givers:

our trickling and raging rivers.

WatrColr

Glass half-Full

Oh, Give Them

June 13, 2016

Oh give them some land to work with

and some water to make stuff grow.

Give them some tools to turn the earth over

and push all that dirt around,

productively.

Teach them to Plow it and disc it and

tend it and harvest it

and ship the Fruits of it out so folks can

Eat.

And give them some Water; we need

water.

Oh yeah let ’em eat drink and be merry.

Yeah, let ’em do all that

in this our promised land.

Let ’em slice it and dice it and

multiply, divide it.

PlotTown

Let ’em add this that and the other

and subtract what they think they don’t need,

let ’em Seed and Feed.

PlotSqr

Let the wise lead,

and hope they’ve chosen wisely.

Let the simple be fulfilled,

and not by their leaders be killed.

At the Wonder of it all, let us be thrilled.

Let us carve the earth and marvel at it all–

what we’ve done and what

we’ve made.

SouthBay

But hey, please don’t let it go to our heads.

Instead, help us

Try to keep it in perspective with

some eyes on the big picture,

eyes on the prize

not obsessing with the size

of all this stuff.

Give us some Air to breath

and help us put on some wings and fly

AirLand

Oh yeah

but help them limit our negative effects; let them

temper their intrusions, boost our inclusion.

We need to regulate it and yet we need

to deregulate it help us

figure all that part out that

delicate balance

sensitive valence.

We gotta prioritize it  and sensibly control it.

Let ’em have a firm hand, a steady hand,

but, yeah, a gentle hand.

Let them take care in what they do with the earth

and the air.

Let them share;

and yes, be fair.

Yeah, let us be fair to one another,

and make sure there’s enough to go around

for everybody. I’m not making this up.

Let them prosper and proceed

with their plans

but let them pray

today.

Yea, Let us pray.

Hey God. . .

Glass half-Full

A King’s prayer

December 11, 2015

Oh God, how my adversaries have increased!

Many are rising up against me.

Many are saying of my soul, “there is no deliverance for him in God.”

I’m just thinking about this, and praying.

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head.

I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and He answered me from his holy mountain.

I’m just thinking about this, and praying.

I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me.

I will not be afraid, even if ten thousands of people have set themselves all around me.

Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God!

For you have slapped all my enemies in the face. You strike the wicked people.

I know this: salvation comes from you, Lord.

Your blessing be upon your people!.

Prayer for all Nations

April 11, 2015

I hope you will believe in God, if you don’t already. When the Son of God walked upon the earth, he visited the temple of his people, in Jerusalem. Jesus said many things at the temple. One thing he said was:

My house shall be a house of prayer for all people.

Toward that end, I included this scene/portrait in my 2007 novel, Glass half-Full. From chapter 4:

Beneath a cold, clear, azure sky the city of Jerusalem lay stretched upon the mountains and valleys like a fuzzy glove upon God’s hand. People from all over the world had gathered here to unearth evidence of God at work among the people of the earth. Some sought a temple that no longer exists. Some sought a mosque where a prophet entered heaven. Some trod upon the cobblestones of ancient, holy real estate, pleading for reconciliation, seeking atonement for the human condition.

A man wandered beyond the dome, past the blocked-up eastern gate; curving around northward, he noticed a large open area beside the mosque. Was this where the former temple had stood? What a beautiful mosque.

Could not the owners of this hill sell the adjoining, vacant acre or two to those pilgrims who, standing daily at the wall below, were wailing for their wonderful temple? Why not make a deal? Such a deal. Cousin to Cousin. Temple and Mosque, Mosque and Temple…Mosque Shsmosque, Temple Shmemple. Such a deal. Everybody happy. You pray your way; I pray mine.

A man traveled outside the wall, beyond the ramparts of human religion-building, pushing the envelope of mortally human strife… through the Kidron Valley below, to the vanity-laden valley of struggle, along the groves of Gethsemane; he trod among the graves of the prophets; he ambled along the graftings of the profits. He wept. Mankind, like a flock of fluttering chickens in a barnyard, clucking, headless…why can’t we get it together?

A man walked up the other side of the valley, through Arab neighborhoods, to a Jewish cemetery. Oh wailing trail of human history, why allowest thou such holocaust? Turning around, he looked back across the valley, to the mountain where he just had been, with tears:

Sons of Adam, argue all you want about real estate on your holy hill. “I’ll be over here on the other side,” thought he.

But the walk was over now. It was time to go to work. John Demos, reporter for XYZ, was scheduled to do a live broadcast three hours from now. The American Secretary of State and her entourage were in the ancient city to prevail upon, once again, the ancient brothers and sisters to settle their ancient differences. And John would be covering the event for XYZ.

***

Half a world away, John’s face could be seen on the TV in the Jesse James Gang Grill.

He was reporting to the world about the latest official Middle East peace initiatives. Hilda Hightower interrupted her flower-watering chore for a few minutes to watch his report…

DomeRok

Wailing Wall

JerChSepulc

JerGoPeace

Glass half-Full

While flying over the Alps. . .

March 25, 2015

Yesterday I heard the sad news about a German airliner that crashed over the French Alps. 150 people were killed.

When I heard about the crash, I thought about my daughter. In a few hours, she would be getting on an airplane to fly from San Francisco back here to North Carolina.

Will she be safe?

Don’t even think about it. Just pray.

As I write this, our other daughter is settling into a long trans-Pacific flight that will land her ultimately in Vanuata, the tiny island nation recently devastated by a hurricane.

Will she be safe?

Don’t even think about it. Just pray.

I’ve been thinking of a line in an old song from John Denver, singing about a plane trip . . .

“it’s a long time from this place to Denver, a long time to hang in the sky.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VATSdTRtK

Being a songwriter myself, I have always appreciated that line. . . a long time to hang in the sky. . .

How many people are hanging in the sky right now, at this moment?

How many people in the world are waiting at airport gates, about to walk onto an airplane. How many are walking through the aisle looking for their seat, then stuffing the walk-on bag in the overhead, having a seat, and . . .

and what?

We never think about what might happen, or what might not happen. We politely ignore the flight-crew’s recorded instruction about flight safety and emergency procedures.

Forget about it. If this thing goes down from 30,000 feet, what are the chances its anything but goodbye cruel world?

Don’t even think about it. Just pray.

Just about six weeks ago, my wife and I were hanging in the sky, high above the Alps, on a flight from Athens to London.

I snapped this picture:

AlpValyGood2
Two days ago, Tuesday morning, 150 travelers were sitting in their assigned seats, expecting to leave Barcelona, expecting to glide over the Alps like nothing happened and then land in a few hours in Dusseldorf.

But they never arrived.

Don’t even think about it.

Flying has always been a kind of escape for me. But the opportunity comes only every now and then, when my wife makes plans with elaborate arrangements for some exotic travel. In between those occasional, adventurous flights of our life, I have embarked on flights of fancy about getting on a jet plane, flying into the wild blue yonder to distant lands. Many a cold, crisp winter morning here in the Appalachian mountains, I would steal a few  daydreaming moments from my maintenance job, gazing up at sky, seeing white jet-trails that criss-cross against brilliant blue sky, wishing I were on a jet plane, flying over an ocean, maybe over the Alps, then having dinner that evening with my wife in some faraway place.

And we have actually done that, many times, because Love is a wonderful thing; we celebrate it as often as we can, by traveling together.

But we always got there, to our destination; and we have always returned home after a week or two.

We never crashed.

Don’t even think about it.

Upon hearing, yesterday morning, about the flight that crashed in the Alps, I was sad.

This evening, two days later, an old song, old sad song, is streaming through my head. It’s a song about a man who was at an airport, but he did not get on a plane:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OCnHNk2Hac

There’s a line in this song that I’ve always liked, although I have no idea why.

“.  .this old airport’s got me down; it’s no earthly good to me, ’cause I’m stuck here on the ground. .”

But in some cases, the ones who never got on the plane would be lucky ones.

You never know. . .you never know. . . Don’t even think about it.

Just pray, today.

 

Smoke

What Muhammad did

October 25, 2014

I have been reading about Muhammad in Karen Armstrong’s biography, and I have concluded that he was a genius.

That prophet’s spiritual presence was so compelling to his first followers that they accepted without question hundreds of utterings  spoken through his mouth. They later assembled these verses as the suras of the Qu’ran.

This was no small feat. The lyrical content of Islam’s holy scriptures is composed entirely of one man’s revelatory pronouncements. (If I am wrong about this, you Muslims please correct me. I understand that the hadiths, written later by others, followed, but are not  considered holy revelatory scripture.)

Compare this Mohammadan revelation to, say, the Bible, which was assembled as sixty-six books that were spoken or authored by a multiplicity of authors over thousands of years. What a legacy the Jewish people have given us. Muhammed benefited directly from the Judaic legacy, and considered himself a part of it–a most definitive and corrective part of it.

What Mohammed had to say about al-Lah to his fellow Arabs during the early seventh century c.e. was quite urgent and compelling. The essence of it is that al-Lah is one God, not some pagan collection of many gods and goddesses. This may sound like religious quibbling to modern secularists, but the monotheistic insistence was downright revolutionary to 7th-century Arabs, especially those of the Quraysh tribe in Mecca. Muhammad’s impact upon the Arabic tribal life and religion was  similar to Paul’s upending message about Jesus Messiah to his fellow-Jews, which had happened about five hundred years earlier.

Muhammad’s message of monotheism, consistent in some ways with the ancient Abrahamic covenant, has spread across the world for fourteen centuries now. It is quite amazing, even as Muhammed himself must have been a quite amazing man.

Not as amazing, however, as being resurrected.

In her biography of Muhammed, Karen Armstrong reports that in the year 621 c.e. Mohammed instructed the Muslims to pray facing Jerusalem. Because the prophet had been taken up in a night vision by an angel, Gabriel, and transported mystically to Jerusalem for certain revelations, the holy city of the Jews was shown to be “central to the Muslim faith too.”

For more than two years, the Muslims adopted Jerusalem as their qibla, or direction of prayer. But in January of 624 c.e., about eighteen months after Muhammed’s hijra (the prophet’s history-shaking, exilic journey to Medina after being rejected by the powerful Quaraysh tribe of Mecca), something happened to re-orient forever the Muslim quibla. On page 162 of her book Karen Armstrong wrote: 

“. . . Mohammed was leading prayers in a mosque . . . Suddenly, inspired by a special revelation, Muhammad made the whole congregation turn round and pray facing Mecca instead of Jerusalem. God had given the Muslims a new focus and a new direction (qibla) for their prayer.”

At that turning point in time, the Muslims redirected their salat devotions back toward Mecca, the place of their origin. I wish that they had, at that point, just left Jerusalem to the Jews. Our present-day situation in that city might have been less contentious.

Now the Jewish caretakers of the holy city would have to deal only with, instead of Ishmaelic Muslims, God and everybody else who claims to know Him.

According to the account of God’s work among homo sapiens that I subscribe to, God’s verdict on the matter is:

“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations.”

Mark 11:17

Here’s a song about it

and another song about it

Smoke