Sunday, March 28, 2010

Luke 19:28-40, Palm Sunday, "The Colt is on the Loose"

Before Trasie and I moved back to the US from Chile where we had lived for our first year of marriage, we went on an adventure!  A seven day horseback/ backpacking excursion from Cochamo bay in the 10th region, east 25 miles to Argentine border.  Our guide Luis--who had keys to the alerce shingled church across from his house, provided us with two horses, and it wasn't long before Trasie's was being dragged through bushes, slammed against trees, and going in the wrong direction.  That horse, while small, was wild. After one day, bruised legged and sore ribbed Trasie demanded: "Chester, we're switching horses."

No problem for the guy who at the age of 12 earned the super duper pooper scooper award at horse camp!  I managed, after a little fighting, to settle that horse down, and get it going where I wanted it to go, when I wanted it to go:  That's right, super duper pooper scooper!  I also won this prize because I didn't mind scooping poop. 

I bet Jesus had some good ridin' skillz.  He had to. He's ready for coronation--entry into Jerusalem where a fickle crowd, would welcome him, celebrate his coming with shouts of Hosanna and Halelluia; but by the end of the week they are shouting Crucify Him Crucify Him and crowning him with a crown of thorns! Jesus, according to scriptures, knew his fate.  He goes anyway...motivated by a seemingly greater cause than his own well being. He does so out of obedience for the sake of the world.  So he set his face on Jerusalem that Palm Sunday long ago.  But before he can make his grand entry, he needs a ride....and he's going to ride on a never been used before colt...still had that new colt smell to it.  Right there he would have to break it in and keep it under control. Teach it a little lesson in obedience.  Like I said, I bet he had some good ridin' skillz.

Isn't it kind of odd how Luke tells the story of the disciples being sent to fetch a colt for Jesus. In the midst of the great and suspenseful drama of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, Luke devotes almost half of the story to fussing about this seemingly insignificant matter of Jesus’ transportation?  But this also is the story of the disciples’ act of obedience, which could easily be lost in the hustle and bustle of the day.  But, Luke doesn't lose it. By getting the colt, they do as they had been told and in so doing, their small and tattered strands of their lives are woven into the great story of redemption. They go because they obey.  THey obey because they are hopeful.  Full of anticipation about what lie ahead in the city of Jerusalem for Jesus, and for them.  Maintaining hope is largely a matter of obedience. It has been said, "People who strive, without pride, to meet the responsibilities they encounter in their historical and personal situations will . . . encounter Christ."1  

Obedient Jesus, Obidient colt, Obedient Disciples. What about us? 
Are we seeking, during our lenten journey, to live in greater obedience to God.  Is it our responsibility in our historical and personal situation, to restore our relationship with Creation through simple acts of obedience...? 
My lenten journey has consisted of small turning down the heat when it's not needed, turning off lights, using less water, riding my bicycle instead of driving, praying and giving thanks for those who participated in my food arriving to my plate....Are these  acts of obedience?  

The problem we encounter is that often we would rather run free and wild, like and unbridled colt or mare on the loose.  We think that if anything infrindges upon our freedoms, or is in any way inconvenient, or we just aren't willing to make the time or effort for, is something that is against us.  But the story of the passion of Christ, his descent into Jerusalem, his trial, and death, show a different way of viewing the world and our responsibility in it and to it. 
The command was simple: untie the colt and bring it to me, ..
Is the command now: take care of my creation
                        ......journey toward God.  

Jesus needs, Jesus empowers! disiciples to act and do for the sake of the world.

When we began this, I asked a very special and beloved person, Sander van Doorn, to share some words of encouragement.  He told me he was very busy and didn't think he would have time to share with us.  I told him not to worry, it could be another time.  But, then this past week, the video arrived, with a note of hello.  

I'm going to let Sander, aka the colonel (get it..), conclude the sermon this morning...
Do note that this video is 7 minutes, but is quite entertaining as we might expect from Sander...
Look and see how Sander and his wife Chrystal, as disciples of Christ, seek to live lives of obedience, focused on the cross, and hopeful for the future.  
sit back and enjoy this gift:

1 Glenn Tinder, The Fabric of Hope, as quoted by Tom Long. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Joshua 5: Son, you have a problem

Westminster Presbyterian Church, Santa Fe, NM  March 14, 2010
Fourth Sunday of Lent. 

Son, you've got a problem...  I can help, call me. That was the message Trasie's grandfather --affectionately known as Paw Paw Dan--left on my phone one late afternoon Spring of 2005. Trasie and I had been working outside all day, in what was our first attempt at planting our own vegetable garden.  See, Paw Paw grew up on a farm. And everywhere he went in his life, including a large part of his adult life in Fort Bliss, the base outside of El Paso, Tx, PawPaw always kept amazing gardens...tomatoes, squash, beans, eggplants, cucumbers, lettuce, collard greens, okra, turnips...If it would grow, he would grow it and he did it until the day he died.  He loved it.

He hand wrote for us a how to plant and harvest his favorite crops; so we had to try it out. (Pictures and journal)

But, it wasn't as easy as he made it sound.  We called him a lot while working in the garden: What kind of seeds?  What about the dirt? What about the frost date?
He always had the answer.  But I had to be readyIf I asked a question that he had already answered, even if he had told me weeks or months earlier, he would say, SON, You're not listening.  

He loved that we were getting into it, carrying on this legacy, and so that's why I got the phone call that one afternoon.  "You've got a problem...I can help.  Turns out, I did have a problem and he helped!

How many of your parents or grandparents had a garden? Or even a farm?  

Staying where you are...

One of the more significant spiritual disciplines in an age where people move at a frenetic pace is to stay where you are. Actually, the desire to move and change location is not something new to the 21st century obviously.  And it was some 5th century monks who considered it a spiritual discipline to stay, as monks would bounce from monastery to monastery, hoping for a deeper experience with God.

One of my best friends from college, Jeff Hammer, talked a lot about his grandfather, and his love for the ORANGE-that's Syracuse, and particularly their basketball team. Since we are in the midst of March Madness, it was cool that the university did a story about my friend's grandfather.  His life with the Orange, demonstrates the spiritual practice of stability.  I love this neat story of Jeff's Papou...

Proud of my Jackets...

Maurice Miller #3 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets reacts against the Duke Blue Devils during day two of the 2008 Men's ACC Basketball Tournament at Bobcats Arena on March 14, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
These boys let me down a bunch this year, but when it counted they came through.  Mo (pictured here) has really stepped up his play after not getting much PT at all.  The are a 10 seed in the tourney, and play Oklahoma St. in Milwakee on Friday at 5 MWT.  Go Jackets!