God’s order is not our own, and the upside-down Kingdom is often led by those whom we might prefer to ignore or condemn. “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” the Pharisees demand. I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Pay close enough attention, he instructs, and if we’re quiet we will hear even the voice of these silent rocks.
I want everyone to have the experience that I had that day – to be in a space where there is true love and acceptance for each member. Where people show up with their whole, unedited selves and are embraced.
As we welcome the new year, we're pleased to share this poem by Mike Bonikowsky.
Like Jazz musicians, church leaders need to become masterful at holding tension and refrain from resolving it prematurely. Rather than encouraging others to strictly preach victory in Jesus, perhaps we need to make space for people to find their own voices and speak their hurts or cry out to God.
The therapeutic response to chronic illness or disability is usually rest and pacing. However we live in a society where that is increasingly discouraged, if not impossible. Most people’s temptation is to change their circumstances or to find solutions quickly, rather than trust that God will provide what is needed. Instead, Mary conveys a sense of peace from the beginning. It is this sense of peace which comes from God, and trusting in God, that I think empowered Mary and can also empower us to respond to whatever we face thoughtfully and prayerfully.
These two stories may seem quite different – in the first I was overlooked and in the second I was singled out – but the experience of both was similar. Sitting on my walker meant that I was perceived differently than the people around me.
This vision of what can be is something I long for. It’s as if I’m nostalgic for what will be, and not what was. These days, diversity in nation, tribe, people, and language are things that keep us apart.
The technicians had very kindly broken the rules and allowed me to stay with him in the room, but I was still outside of the tube. I had the freedom of my limbs. The noises the machine made were not inches from my ears. I called encouraging words to him inside the tube, but they were just more sounds. So I did the only thing I could think to do. ...
…we meet countless parents and family members who are battle-worn from advocating for equality and support for their children with disabilities. These parents can be fierce, because they need to be! They are forced to advocate/argue/fight against systems and societal forces that actively discriminate against their children. Too often, they face these same barriers and oppressive attitudes in churches, synagogues, and faith communities that claim to care for all God's children.
I laid in my stretcher outside the operating room listening to the metallic clink of the doctors preparing their tools and I gave my fears, hopes, and doubts over to God. I had connected with family and friends. Made sure people knew I loved them. The odds were good I would see everyone again but my health had been declining steadily for two years and I didn’t trust my body anymore.