Bible Stories, True or False?

Bible stories are an enigma. Some of them are so intimate, private and personal. Some of them are so extraordinary, hard to believe, supernatural. So many are so alien to life as we know it. And who could have originally accounted for each story? When John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb upon a visit from Jesus’ mother Mary, who recorded that story to be passed on for centuries? When Moses encountered the burning bush, when the Hebrews followed a pillar of fire and smoke, when a touch of Jesus’ robe healed a bleeding woman, who wrote down these things? Who told the story to others? So private, so personal. So hard to believe that they came to be part of a book that we read. I don’t think Jesus told these stories. Was it a disciple? An apostle? Who passed it on? Did leaders in the first churches started by Paul tell these stories in church? Before there was a written record from the Catholic Church? So many questions, so many unanswered doubts. The Bible stories are so foreign to life as we know it today. How could they have really happened? Isn’t it more likely that they were made up to enhance the power of the church over its followers? And the synagogue over its faithful people? Other religions have stories that we assume are just literature made up by followers of a religion to give power to their leaders. Why don’t Christians believe the same thing about their own religious books? Is it too terrifying to consider that these stories could be false, made up, simply literature to build up a myth?

Can You Doubt It?

Pools of blood

Gathering beneath

The hanging body.

Breath goes out,

But doesn’t come back in.

Skin separated from the bones.

What is the truth?

They’ve washed their hands

Of any responsibility.

But can they wash away the blood?

Nightmares come

To remind the guilty.

Can you grit your teeth

And bare this torture?

Can you escape the horror?

This man was truly

From God.

Those who witnessed,

Cannot deny it.

Those who saw him later—

Walking, talking…

Breathing, eating—

Cannot shake the image

From their memory.

Restored but still wounded.

Put your finger

In my wrists and in my side.

He is alive!!!

A Reflection on Juneteenth

Crimes unimaginable

Sins unfathomable

Wrongs not righted

With an apology,

A soft word,

Or the stroke of a pen.

Pain to the deepest parts

Of the heart and soul,

The very fiber of one’s being,

A wound that doesn’t heal,

But rather cuts deeper

With every smile,

Every handshake,

On every pay day,

Every trip to the grocery store,

Every night at mealtime,

When they look at their children,

When they look at ours.

Privilege continues

Despite the lip service,

Despite the promises,

Amidst the meager gifts,

The dregs of easy charity

From the tatters of a bursting purse,

The guilt trip laid on thick

To the middle class and even

The working poor.

Those that lack for food,

Clothing or shelter,

Living barely day to day,

Not knowing where one’s next

Meal will come from.

And at the church the preacher

Says try harder, pray more,

Save your dollars

So you can send your little ones

To a good college,

Make them study,

Keep them out of trouble,

Tell them you love them,

That you’re proud of them

For that report card.

What do you say

When the white kid

Calls them the n-word?

What do you say

When you don’t have a job

Because you refused

To kiss your supervisor’s butt

When he would talk to you

Like you were nothin’,

Just a cog in his machine,

A disposable, replaceable,

Optional, neglectable,

Insultable, disrespected,

Used, abused, tossed out

To the street

Like so much garbage,

Black man?

Power

Wrong meets right.

The fight is strong.

Laugh, they will.

Cry out, they must.

Shout, at the top of their lungs—

Justice must prevail.

So many innocent lives

Have been crushed by the fist

Of the oppressor!

So many suffer

Because of the greed

And the arrogance

Of the powerful.

The powerful?

Who is powerful?

What is power?

Don’t you know that

The wind has changed course

On this hot, dry day.

The wind! The water!

The earth! The animals!

The birds! The insects!

The trees! Yes, even the trees!

Look at an old oak tree,

And tell me about power!

Look at a rushing stream,

And tell me about power!

Watch a lion kill its prey,

And tell me about power!

Is a gun, power?

In the hands of a six year old, a gun is just as powerful as in the hands of a grown man!

A gun is just a tool.

It’s what you do with a tool

That makes it useful.

It’s what you do with a tool

That makes it powerful.

And when a thousand voices scream,

That’s power!

When the people speak as one,

That’s power!

Don’t be afraid.

Be excited!

Be joyful!

Be glad!

For power has come to the people,

And they will not be denied this moment.

They have prayed,

And they have worked,

And they have suffered

For this moment.

Listen to the wind blow

Through the trees!

Justice has come like a mighty rush of wind,

And anything that’s old, anything that’s weak,

Anything that’s not tied down tight,

Is gonna blow away!

Those old tricks, old ways,

Cowardly words, weak attitudes,

Straw men beware!

The wind of justice has come to blow you…

Away!

Courageous Relationships (link to video)

www.saintpaulsumc.org/sermon/new-places-for-new-people-courageous-relationships/

Click on the above link to view a sermon by Rev. Dr. Kandace Brooks in which she challenges her congregation to step out of their comfort zones and reach out to others, to ask for help or to be of help, specifically to the mentally ill, suicidal, etc.

A Boy and His Boat, Ch. 2

The little boy, whose name is Jack, went back to his house and went into the kitchen to see if his mother was there. She was, and Jack asked her, “Mommy, when will Daddy be home?” His mother smiled, answering, “Your father will be home in just a few minutes. He should be on his way home from work right now. Do you need something?” “I need help to build a boat,” Jack said. “Well, I’m sure your Daddy will help you, but you might have to wait until Saturday.” “Okay,” Jack said. “I can wait.” When his father drove his car into the driveway, Jack ran out to him. “Daddy,” he said. “Can you help me build a boat?” “Sure, Jack,” he said. “We’ll do that on Saturday. How big a boat do you want?” “Just big enough for me to sit down in,” said Jack. “Okay, son. We’ll do it, I promise.” Jack was excited! He couldn’t wait for Saturday to come. “What day is today, Daddy?” he asked. “Today is Tuesday,” his Daddy said. “You’ll have to wait four days.” “Okay, thanks, Daddy,” Jack said. “We’ll go to the hardware store together on Saturday morning to buy supplies,” said his Daddy. “Sounds great, Daddy!” Jack said. Jack would count the days until Saturday.

Make A Difference

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A Day with You

Serenely sleeping on the pillow, in the morning;

Cracking a smile while getting ready for work;

Laughing in the car on the way to work;

A kiss and a smile goodbye, and “have a good day”;

Joking around in text messages;

Tips, lists and instructions;

Picking you up after a hard day at work;

Chatting over dinner;

Discussing the world while watching the news;

Jamming to music while we do the dishes;

Playing with the pets at treat time;

Back into bed for a good night’s rest.

Where Are You?

Where are you can I come there let’s come back together and sing a song of joy for all to hear I remember the good times we spent in each other’s company it was a happy time except when we would argue and fight but that is all behind us now I want to be your friend and we can talk about the craziness of life and all the crazy people in it.

We Are One

I waited for you

On top of the mountain,

But you didn’t show.

I went down

Into the valley,

But I didn’t see you there.

I sailed on the ocean,

Hoping to catch

A glimpse of you at sunrise,

But I was disappointed.

I prayed to you

To appear to me,

And I looked at my reflection

In a pool of water.

It was then that I realized–

You were always with me,

For you are a part of me.

We can never be separated,

You and I.

We are One.