June 27, 2012

Health Care and Healing


Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse.
- Mark 5:25-26


It’s one thing to have health care.  It’s another thing to have healing.  This woman in Mark’s Gospel who had suffered for a dozen years had plenty of health care.  Like so many people today, the health care system took all of her resources, and yet, she had no healing.  It was in her encounter with Jesus that she found healing – and that came without payment.

We live in a strange era when health care is enormously expensive for so many people, with insurance premiums out of reach, medical bills that bankrupt, and prescription drug costs that leave some without money for dinner.  And yet, we have so many who have little or no true healing.

In our time of politicizing of health care, we should ask openly:  Where is the healing?  Why does the system take so much and heal so few? 

It could be the place of the church today to do two primary things:  Speak on behalf of those who are left out of our health care system, and who are bankrupted by medical bills.  And, offer the healing that comes freely:  Grace without price.  Love in a community that accepts all.  Food that heals the soul.  Faith that trusts in God alone, whether in health or illness, life or death.  How radical the good news  when health care is so expensive, that healing comes only when it is free.

June 20, 2012

What Job Meant to Say Had He Girded Up His Loins


Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind:
            "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
  Gird up your loins like a man,
           I will question you, and you shall declare to me.
  "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
           Tell me, if you have understanding.

- Job 38:1-4


Since you queried, O Great One, where I was
while you were making such a big deal expanding space
slamming atoms together, kneading time to sticky dough,
doing that song and dance with planets, coaxing corpuscles,

I was weaving reeds together into rope
and using rope to scale the mountain
and stood atop the mountain on tippy toes
reaching up to the stars you playfully put beyond my reach

and then looking out at the sea and the waves
you so impressively contained by land as gates and walls
I saw the dolphins pirouette and sea spray fly
and I picked up a praying mantis and we prayed as one

so yes, you crush my pride with sublime brush strokes
but then, I get your number now, you do take delight in us
because who else but we crickets of men and women could answer 
even your rhetorical questions with such gorgeous, harmonized chirps

June 11, 2012

Automatic Earth


He also said, "The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.
- Mark 4:26-28

The automatic earth does her spinning thing while you
nap and eat buttered toast and make love,
walk the dog, curse at the traffic, make plans for next Tuesday
and forget why you went upstairs with the hammer

the wheat head bursts forth and spills seed
into the soil and it gets interred and forgotten --
just like you fear your burial, your englobement
-- but remembered by the sun-warmed humus and the sun’s sun

the river does not need you to push it with webbed fingers
the flower does not require you to pry its petals open
the clouds glide effortlessly without you puckering and blowing
the sea tides know when to go out without your lunar expertise

yet you think this world could not tick-tock along
without your MBA skills and calculus and voting ballot
you think, don’t you, that you must do something
for the magic to happen when all you have to do

is feel the enchantment happening inside you when
you do exactly nothing except enter the river, the flower,
clouds and sea, and your own eyelid twitching just now
without you starting or stopping any of it

the mystery of the cosmos is calling you into itself
the divine is singing her siren’s song for your quivering ear
do not grope for the winding mechanism to turn
release the urge to cause or be caused

slowly breathe in and out and in and be the universe entire,
the growing seed, the open flower, the pulsing sea tide, the whimsical clouds
the unpushed and unhurried river, the hammer in hand
and you’ll remember why you went upstairs, and also why you forgot

June 4, 2012

Institutionalized Jesus


When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him,
for people were saying, "He has gone out of his mind."
- Mark 3:21

he is out of his mind, can’t you see?
you get the straight jacket and
I’ll get the hypodermic sedative
maybe we can restrain and institutionalize him enough
so his insidious words and soul-rending power
will stop harassing us and pushing us to
the threshold of transformation and the terrifying life
of living in utter abandon in the universal love

he is out of his mind, isn’t he?
he is too far gone to be domesticated
like a grazing bovine chewing its cud
like us eating and spitting up
and chewing and swallowing obsessive-compulsively
the same old fibrous indigestible news
that this life is only what we earn and spend
protect and steal, war over and control

he is out of his mind, right?
his gyrated irises look so full of larger consciousness
his nostrils flare with majestic being and potency and spirit
maybe if we loosen one or two straps
on his gurney, maybe if we let him writhe and speak
a couple more words of astonishing goodness
he can crack our skulls and let loose our suffering brains
our restrains, our imprisoning anodyne normalcies
and we might live in his craziness and abandon
meld with his love and his enthusiastic holistic mind
not he out of his, but we out of ours