ironical

Archive for the ‘faith’ Category

cleansed

with 2 comments

This morning I sat in a pew, on the edge of my seat – watching, listening, waiting.

And it happened.

The miracle happened over and over. People of all ages stepped into the water and looked out at us, some smiling, some clutching nervously at the edge. They wore t-shirts mostly, a pastor held their shoulders, reassuring and firm. People I know, people I’ve never met, children who are dear. They stood, and we heard their stories – clear, halting, full of emotion. Simple. True. A few sentences summing up the decision that will define them. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

November 25, 2007 at 10:50 pm

Posted in bryan, church, faith, life

unreasonable and indispensable

with 6 comments

She sat across the table from me not that long ago. We were talking about something that had just happened – she was talking, really – I was listening, trying to make sense of my thoughts.

She was frustrated. I was too, and tired. Tired of facing the questions that creep around inside, the ones that pop up and hit you when you’re least expecting it. The ones that twist and nag and say things like it doesn’t really matter, anyway and who do you think you are and just go home and go to bed.

Maybe that last one is just me. My thought process often presents this one as a reasonable and well-thought out alternative to living life in the real world…

So I sat and listened. The things she said were true, even though we don’t want them to be, wish that they weren’t. The world around us is a hard place. People don’t change easily, or often. I know all this. And I don’t think that answers are easy – at least they never have come easily for me – and so I don’t give them easily. I was not a lot of help in this conversation, I’m pretty sure.

I mostly watched. And while part of my brain spun with the enormity of the problems we all face, another part just looked. Listened. Tried to find the clue.

I think that day I found it. I don’t know why, when I miss it so many other times.

As I sat across from her, the silver necklace she wore winked in the sunlight. I glanced at it, knowing already what it was – she wears it every day. But I saw, again, the word inscribed there – so tiny that you can’t see it unless you are close enough to it already.

The word she wears, on a thin silver chain around her neck, is hope.

And I thought of how like that word her necklace is. How tiny. How dear. How much I need it to blink in the sun, how much I need to keep it close.

Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

October 9, 2007 at 9:24 am

sunday morning

with one comment

what’s shaping your life?
what’s shaping mine?

i could look around the room and try to recite
all the unwritten rules that guide our lives

don’t oversleep
go to church
comb your hair
press your shirt
marry the right one
don’t go into debt
keep everybody clean and fed
live on a nice suburban street
it never hurts to keep things neat
so tidy up your little life
keep all that messiness inside
yourself – we don’t really want to know
how you struggle with all those things

like staying with your husband
reaching for a drink
looking at that picture
lying through your teeth

no, all that’s better off ignored

and while we’re ignoring, might as well
ignore some other things too

those messy ones outside our walls
we pretend they don’t exist at all
those ones with addictions and wrecks of lives
unpaid bills and nothing to drive
they live in apartments, trailers, on the street
children with not enough food to eat
dirty clothes, torn up shoes
if only they looked more like me, or you
it’s really their fault
the choices they’ve made

we say to ourselves
in a thousand different ways

now there’s a situation where you turn the other cheek
look the other way
walk right past the weak

because these rules we live by don’t include the messy parts
the parts that look like failing
and we’re not about to start with anything that doesn’t fit or meet the status quo
we’ve shaped ourselves
and shaped our lives
to fit the world we know

and as long as we’re surrounded by good Christians in their pews
basketball for Jesus
the Fox nightly news
as long as we can sit within this bubble we’ve created
and not look in
and not look out
well then, looks like we’ve made it

but –

there still is one more question that should be pulling at our souls

when did Jesus ever say that all of this would make us whole?

if we’re going to live by rules, shouldn’t the rules be set by him?

he says – repent
and – you must be born again

surely you’ve heard that one before
oh, but wait, there’s more

come to me
believe in me
love me
listen to me
abide in me
take up your cross and follow me

these are all too familiar to me
they bounce off the surface and skip away
maybe i’ll change another day

we think we’re doing what’s good and right
what Jesus said to do
but are we?

my life will never change
just stay the same

until I listen, until I choose

to worship God in spirit and truth
rejoice and leap for joy when hated
always pray
do not be anxious
about anything – any thing at all
love my neighbor who doesn’t mow
love my God with all my soul
love even my enemies
hold on to mercy instead of anger
cherish the truth – say yes or no and mean it
do not store your treasure here
but humble yourself through sacrifice
let your light shine for all to see
do this in remembrance of me

these things these things he said to us
and though i’ve heard them all before
it needs to make a difference now
there could be so much more

so i ask
what’s shaping my life?
what’s shaping yours?

Written by Sarabeth :: the dramatic

September 10, 2007 at 9:44 pm