draft, 3 after easter: a third thief

draft-the third thief, after easter 3

Luke 23:39-43 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

‘One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”’

Corinthians 9:15 New International Version (NIV)

‘Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.’

Jesus is always with sinners and Pharisees; lepers and wedding quests; the hurting and those who quest. He is always near, by ‘bottoms’ and the outcasts. Even at his death moment on Our cross, he is with thieves. And what do those on the ‘bottoms’ desire?

A thief speaks for me, for us, and asks ‘ Jesus remember me….’Luke 23:41

With all my failings and thefts, with all my hurts and joys, I desire someone to hold me safely, to remember – me. I desire Jesus’ thoughts. To be remembered.

Eternal salvation is tied into memory. From the movie ‘Remember the Titans’ to Remembrance Day in the U.K. and the musical ‘Carousel’, all of us desire in some way to be Billy Bigelows and thieves of time. If remembered, we control time. But we can’t humanly control the present; forgot controlling about future. Until…

….this third thief.

And because of this third thief we can steal time. The future; present and especially the past. Jesus, the third thief, steals from the evil one the power of troubling thoughts of life’s meaning: why am I here? do I have purpose? Will she, He, my children or grandchildren remember me? Does my past doom me?

These questions could have had ultimate power over us. How? They hint at a possibility that our lives and who we are do not matter. But they do …

because of him,

Jesus redeems our lives; our memories; our times. He is our Bilbo, a burglar who takes from the evil dragon Smaug. He steals back for Dwarves their memories, their past, and their futures.

And this is what Jesus steals back for us.. He promised the thief beside him that ‘together’ they will that very day me in paradise . So Jesus promises us the same as thieves. Eternal life and memory. A home. Why?

Because thieves matter. The homelessness of a cross by Jesus’ theft becomes a home. A thief’s home.

This is why Jesus lived and walked; laughed and cried with us: to create a safe eternal home from a stark and splintered cross.

Jesus cares for …

all feelings, all people, all -matters . He is home.

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holding

eq (essential questions) :

thoughts, questions on ‘holding’

what am I holding? what is holding me? Into whose hands have I placed myself? Into, into whose hands, to whom, will I (be) long to?

what am I withholding? what do I think, imagine, feel, sense is being withheld from me ?

who held me…who let me deeply, deeply allowed me to hold them on, in my past ?

who holds me? today, tomorrow!?

my safe-home is where I can hold and feel held. Home.

we love

our risen Jesus of 1 John 4:19

We love fo He first
loved

We sing for He first sang over
us

We can pray as first prayed over and then taught
us prayers

We meditate because He
listens to our breathe

We walk because He walks with, among all

We fellowship because He ate, sat, slept, thirsted with
Pharisees, sinners and disciples

We laugh because He loved
life

We cry as He
wept over death

We serve for He first
served us

He knows us; He feels us; He touches, breathes, understands me, us, better than we know ourselves

Jesus is closer to me than I am to
myself

He rose for us

 

advent epilogue

advent epilogue 2017, His touch
my deep darkness, His glorious light 

NAS 1977 
“For behold, darkness will cover the earth, 

            And deep darkness the peoples; 

            But the LORD will rise upon you, 

            And His glory will appear upon you. -Isaiah 60:2

My life was covered with darkness from my birth. A unexpected twin, my mother emotionally overwhelmed at my and my brother’s birth, kept one for the first six months of our lives and gave the other to her sister to care for. That other was me. My mother and I never bonded. I left home at 17 to live.
All of our lives are broken, ruptured, in disrepair. Deaths; divorces; I’ll health; social inequality and global injustice with environmental distress touches all. Our darkness, my darkness and it deeply covers. It especially touches me at this Advent, Christmas time- a time of year of less light. 
Yet, from Asian culture and His word, I am washed, covered, touched. The story of the Japanese art form of “Kintsugi” 

“Kintsugi (金継ぎ, きんつぎ, “golden joinery”), also known as Kintsukuroi (金繕い, きんつくろい, “golden repair”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-technique. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. “(Wikipedia)
Isaiah speaks not just of the dark but of as ‘deep darkness.’ He gives us this image in an attempt, as blind John Milton in his description of hell, to make ‘darkness visible.’ (Paradise Lost)
Deep darkness in both these texts is absence- the absence of Light, hope, live and especially if God. 
I see, I live with, I am felt by my deep darkness. It is with me touching all the time. It is also is throughout Isaiah book.
As he does at the end (Isaiah 60: 2); the middle (Isaiah 45:7), Isaiah weaves deep darkness in beginning of his work,
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)
Jesus is life. His coming is celebrated by gifts of value for those we value: we give gold as Magi to bless and heal; to touch and be touched; to love those who are hurting.
Today in the U.K. and other countries is Boxing Day. It is a day of rest and reflection. My daughter in Florida asked me why is it called ‘Boxing Day.’ While none are sure, the best story is that on this day in Medieval Times the Lord of the Manor placed gifts of food and coin for the servants and poor of the estate to bless and honour them. 
These small boxes must have been like a Magi’s gold, a thread of glorious light for those without.
Today, plan to give a box of gold to another: a word; a gift card; a smile; a hello- give light, touch.

advent 4, first draft

Usually I just posts drafts without comments

This will be an exception. This draft is a slight cheat …why?

Because Luke 1 has the Angel Gabriel famously (though the verse post 1989 NIV radically changed this phrase) in response to Mary’s query, ‘how can this be?’ 

‘Nothing is impossible with God.’

In Mark 9 Jesus tells the tearful father: ‘everything is possible’

So, I still am prayerfully considering the connections of these tropes.

What you all have below is a truly incomplete first draft-

Jesus’ prayerful touch

In Mark 9:24 a father brings his son to Jesus for healing of a possessing spirit. He asks Jesus have ‘pity on us’ and to ‘help us …if you can’

 Jesus replied, ‘if you can? …all is possible for he who believes.’

 The father speaks in this ‘exclamation’ 

‘I believe, help my unbelief.’ His language switches from using ‘us’ in his first plea to ‘the use of ‘my’ here. 
 Why?

 Because the father of the possessed child is praying. 

Now it is personal for the father; it is about his personal response to Jesus. 

 The father’s crying out here is prayer. The word describing the words and the person of the father is ‘exclamation.’

“Exclamation” (NIV) should be translated as speaking in tears, a cry. He is crying over his unbelief. 
Unbelief can be seen as a defective, a flawed, a weak faith. And if unbelief stays unspoken, unshared, it would remain so. Yet moved to tears the father speaks it to Jesus. And by bringing this weakness to Jesus he and his son experience healing belief. He comes to Jesus, torn hurting, un-believing, and yet, paradoxically, also a believing man. 

 I am this man, hurting, troubled, believing and awash in unbelief. 

 His beautiful prayer is also mine ‘I believe – help my unbelief.’

When Jesus debriefs His disciples on why they couldn’t exorcise the spirit, He tells them that this type of spirit can only come out through prayer. Prayer. 
That is all that is truly needed – a weak, crying, humble prayer- the prayers of a broken man, a loving father, or mother; a prayer that is ever reaching out to Jesus. 
This season: believe; pray; then reach for Him. He will touch in return. 
 

draft 1 of advent 3

First draft below
Final draft at charlesosewalt.com

advent 3, to touch His word, Jos flesh
The Incarnation of the Word of Life

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes,which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life,which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard,so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete. 1 John 1: 1-4

A woman I work with believes that where a tattoo is on a body clearly indicates the possessors’s age. Millenniums favour the leg and ankle area; baby boomers arms, and especially for men, chests. People desire to see words on flesh; they desire to have their words touch, join, become part of their flesh. Their desire is for the eternal; for words that will last beyond flesh. 
Advent is, as John tells us in his letters and gospel, when we reflect on God’s word becoming flesh. He sent in the flesh; a metaphorical tattoo for all to see, read and possibly to wear on our hearts and minds. A baby; a child in a temple; a teacher, Saviour. His life story is the words we internally wear and live for.
Jesus takes on our flesh in the end to cover our sins. He was to express in words the Father’s, the Spirit’s and His love for us. These are words that touch and heal. Jesus heals with words and touches. He touches the blind man’s eyes; he touches the Samaritan woman at the well by sitting and speaking with he; he speaks words that heal, instruct, direct and encourage. His words are loving touches for us. They are joys.
This season share His life; His words; a part of His touch, with another. You will make joy on, to your world as you do.

advent 2 first draft

Ana & Simeon, voices; touching words
 Prophets see and speak with the sight and voice of God. 

They see what and how God sees. They are caretakers of vision and cannot add or take away from the vision, images, or sounds and words given to them, or even dreams. 
Prophets speak; and they voice what they feel by His Spirit.
In Luke chapter 2, two prophets, Anna and Simeon, see in a beginning, a fulfilling ending. 
Both have been promised by the Spirit that they would see the Messiah; both are at the end of childless long lives; both have stayed true to a promised vision; and both see the vision fulfilled. 
What do they see, feel?
Redemption, and their rescue, by a new-born babe. Simeon sees and speaks first. But his words only come after he touches, holds our Saviour in his arms:
 “When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord …Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout… and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit; he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.’
This child’s coming dismisses the prophet in peace; and holding the child, touching him, inspires Simeon to speak. Hopeful touch inspires faithful, prophetic and fatherly words.
Anna, a prophetess, sees and feels next. She is in the temple at the same time as Simeon. They speak as one and of one redemption, a child, Jesus:
“There was also a prophetess, Anna. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”
 “At that very moment.”- here- at that very moment’- there is no time lag; no time for hearts to think; only a time to feel. Then Anna speaks to all; after His touch she can not stop speaking, feeling. 
What does Anna see in the promise of this baby? 
She sees eternal redemption, a new and full life. A childless widow honoured, blessed, with a beautiful child. A Naomi touched, redeemed.
Anna gives thanks as she speaks about a child, a saviour to everyone. Redemption is here, for all, and especially for her. Waiting exists no more. 
She holds the child, dearly, with all her love, in her heart and words.
 Two older servants, Anna and Simeon, faithful till the endings of their lives. What do their lives mean for them, for us?
They, and we, have had our souls “pierced” with Jesus on the cross. Why? So hearts can speak thoughts in a new way. So our voices can speak; so what pierces, can also touch, and love us with its harsh touch.
This season look for some faithful people around you. A teacher or a GP; a caregiver or a vicar; a police person or a cleaner. Pray for an opportunity to encourage them, even if it is with just a smile, for their faithfulness. Look for Annas and Simeons, the faithful. 
Touch them with love, words, sight. Touch and speak.