Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Road to Jerusalem

And taking the twelve, he said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written of the Son of man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon; they will scourge him and kill him, and on the third day he will rise."

But they understood none of these things; this saying was hid from them, and they did not grasp what was said.

Luke 18:31-34 RSV

It was a perilous road, sometimes,
the road to Jerusalem,
winding through rough country.

But you were not alone.
About you were your followers,
who warmed themselves next to your holiness,
who thought they knew you after all the miles travelled,
who had heard you speak, learned your message,
and shaping it into what their hearts desired,
they built you into their image of the holy one of God.

How what was to come would shatter this mold they were casting you in,
and give them something more they could not yet comprehend.

They bickered sometimes,
and jockeyed for favor and position,
as humans are always wont to do,
ignoring those deeper truths you told them,
yet patiently you repeated the same lessons over and over.

And now, it was time, the last time you would walk this road,
the last time you would come to this feast,
the beginning.

Did you look at them fondly
as you walked the road to Jerusalem,
this motley crew of friends and followers,
weighing each of their strengths and faults,
how much they had grown,
how much more they would grow.
In the darkness that was to come,
you knew that they would be like steel
heated in the fire of your agony,
plunged into the waters of your death,
and polished by your resurrection.
Forged by God, they would be the blade
to cut through the darkness
to spread your message.

Some would think it folly to expect the world to be changed by such a handful -
Folly, yes - the folly of God, stronger than the wisdom of men..

Susan E. Stone, 2006


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Wood (2)

Wood has grain
that tells the carpenter
how to use it,
where to split,
how to hew.
When the carpenter looked at this log,
deciding how to work it,
whether it could be split smooth with wedge or froe,
or needed to be squared by axe,
what would he have done
if he had known who was to use it,
who would carry it down the narrow streets?
Would he have tried to smooth the wood,
finish the edges,
or hands trembling,
been unable to complete the job?

And yet this simple rough beam
shaped plainly like so many others,
became a thing of wonder
more beautiful that the most elegant woodwork,
for it was destined to hold God's gift
for a dying world,
burnished by his own sweat,
stained with his own blood,
polished by his own death,
a work that only the Master Carpenter of them all
could have created

Susan E. Stone, 2006

Monday, February 20, 2006

Breaker of Bonds 

O Lord, Breaker of Bonds,
Emmanuel, God with Us,
O Jesus, you who call my name,
I hear your voice on the wind this night,
when daybreak seems so far away
and the shadows seem so heavy and close.

O Lord, Breaker of Bonds,
At times like these,
when the tempter comes to whisper
how little I am worth,
how flawed my life is,
thank you for your sweet voice that comes to remind me
how you chose to walk the long hard road
from Bethlehem to Golgotha to tell me that you care,
you who come to me as the Bridegroom
dressed in the thorns and welts and bruises and piercings
that are your wedding robe,
bearing the cross that set me free.

O Lord, Breaker of Bonds,
You who are the Bread of life,
You who feed me with your always living self,
how much you have given to show me
that although my strong right hand is not so strong,
your hand, scarred for love,
has broken apart the bonds of death,
that my will cannot save me from the blows of sin,
but that your grace is sufficient for all my needs,
that my friends, well meaning or not, all stumble,
but you are the one who will be with me at the very end,.
the ever living Word, there before the creation began
who comes to show me the truth that will not fail.

O Lord, Breaker of Bonds,
teach me to trust in your love and mercy,
this day and always,

Susan E. Stone, 2006

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