Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Tree Grows in Cleburne*

So I'm coming out of my fav burger joint in Cleburne and look across the street and see this tree. It's a mesquite tree growing out of a rain gutter two stories up.  I couldn't tell if the tree's roots went all the way down the gutter and through the sidewalk or if its roots are just in the top of the gutter. Either way I thought that was quite an accomplishment. Ideas of tenacity and "bloom where you're planted" themes rushed through my head, except it wasn't planted there.  It was probably just dumb luck, a hard wind, an inconsiderate bird, and poor cleaning of gutters that made it possible for a mesquite tree to grow up there. Still, I kinda admire the little tree. It's a "Little Tree That Could" story I guess.

Life will not be stopped and people can overcome some incredibly harsh conditions. In looking at that tree I was reminded of a line from the original Jurassic Park movie when the geneticists who made the dinosaurs assured a visiting scientist that the creatures where engineered sterile and could not reproduce and overtake paradise. The scientist was skeptical; "Life finds a way."  Yep.

Our world, this nation, our cities and your life have gone through some horrible days, some are recent, some are in the distant past. There will be more of them in days to come-just being honest. But life, when given the chance, finds a way--a way through, a way over, under, or around. The Bible says that Jesus is life, so let Life find your way. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the resurrection and the life. Paul said in Colossians 3:4, "When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you will also appear with him in glory." Life finds a way-- follow and embrace it.

Some days the Christian may appear as out of place in this world as a mesquite tree growing on a roof, but you are alive, a living marvel of faith, and your best days in Christ are still to come.

Keep living; hang in there; keep growing in Christ, who is our life!


*apologies to Betty Smith 1896-1972

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Prayer

Help us O Lord!

We are a hurting, torn and grieving people--
-Our hearts are torn by racial, economic, and religious strife...
-We grieve over the loss of the five Dallas policemen and the men in our nation's cities killed after minor offences.
- We hurt for the officer's families, colleagues, and friends. We should hurt for all those families and communities where fear, anger, and  needless violence leaves widows, orphans, anger and mistrust in their evil wake.

We cry out because in our hurt, torn and grieving heats we are not sure what to do. And yet, maybe the reason we continue to hurt, be torn apart, and grieve is because we know what to do and haven't done it.

       We change policy but not our hearts.
        We seek to control the methods of violence but not our own madness.
          We desire retribution instead of reconciliation.
            We execute vengeance instead of justice, and then we execute each other, and then
             We bury the very ones we should have blessed.

Help us O Lord!

Help us repent and turn from fear, violence and anger to You.
Help each of us take these events personally and determine to be a part of the solution instead of an extension of the problem.
Let us fight for justice for all viewing every life as a life that matters and as Holy and Precious in Your sight. Make us to see the value of every human as made in Your image.
Help us love one another and extend that love across every line of division Satan would draw in our hearts and in our nation.

May we find our unity as a people through faith in your Son, Jesus our Lord. He alone has the power to forgive us, heal us, and form in us His will as He conforms us to His character. Help us love Him supremely and each other faithfully.

 In Him we find our hope, our peace, and our joy.

Help us O Lord.

In Jesus name.

Prayer written in response to Dallas, Minnesota, Baton Rogue and every city where anger, prejudice, and hate have devastated too, too many. Delivered White Bluff Chapel 7-10-16