Monthly Archives: February 2016

A Man with a Cross Tattoo

The tattoo was tiny.  I could have covered it with the tip of my pinkie.  I say could have because I did not get that close to the man.

I had gone to a different church for Sunday Lenten service, on the north side of town and stopped on the way to the garden afterwards because I was running on empty.  I don’t like getting gas.  It’s one of the places I feel the most vulnerable.  The most exposed and subject to the whims of others.

I don’t know what I was thinking about but I was a million miles away from where I was. I had seen the man when I first pulled in but he was 3 bays over and quickly forgot about him.

I hear someone talking, I jump and see him standing by the trash can between the pumps. He asks for spare change.  I shake my head and tell him I don’t have any cash on me.  He apologizes for scaring me. I reply it is OK, I was in my head.  He said something about NPR and I laughed.

At some point in the exchange I noticed the tiny blue cross between his eyebrows.  There were other tiny blue markings on his face but I couldn’t tell you what they were.

I finished pumping the gas, thinking about lunch and thought maybe the man was hungry.  I screwed the cap on the tank and walked across the parking lot, looking for the man.  When I did, I pointed to the store and asked him if he was hungry, I could use my card.

He waved his hand no and backed away. He even crossed the street. I do not know why he said no. He hadn’t said why he wanted the money. Maybe he wasn’t hungry.  Maybe he had been told he could not go into the store.

It is illegal for people to pan handle in Dallas and there have been emails warning that some are criminals with violent backgrounds. Hence my distaste for stopping to get gas.  I am fully aware of the dangers of talking to people in the gas station parking lot.

I am also aware given a different set of circumstances, I could be the one asking for change at the gas station.  I just haven’t been hungry or desperate enough to do so.

So if someone talks to me, I will treat that person like a human being. In my response, I will do my best to bring God to the conversation.  I am glad there was a tiny blue cross to remind me to do so.

The Gun Owner and the Thief

I had a dream the other night.  It’s taken me a few days to puzzle out what it meant. And it will take me a while to figure out what I’m going to do about the meaning.

I was in a home, a house I was living in. I was in one of the bedrooms and heard the man of the house yelling out about the guns he kept in the den.  I did not know he had put them there.

In my experience, weapons have a special cabinet and are locked, hidden away.

Another man had entered the house and was taking the 2 hand guns.

I felt concern for the man of the house, the danger he could be in from struggling with fire arms.  I may have even called out to let the thief have the property.

Then a strange thing happened.  The two men became friends, the common bond being the love of the guns.  They stepped out onto the porch and had a lovely discussion about that which interested them both.

I did not leave the bedroom, I had no interest in the discussion. I do not understand the fascination.

And what I puzzled out is that:

The gun owner has more in common with the gun thief than he does the peace maker.

A Message from Esther’s Handmaid

To All who will listen,

I remember when she first came to the palace.  Even then, before the purification, there was something that set her apart from the others.

Many of us were there because our peoples had been conquered. We did what we had to survive. Danger was everywhere even in the midst of all the opulence and splendor.

It was a great honor and responsibility to be chosen to serve her. She was humble and didn’t hit or throw tantrums.  I grew to love her and would do anything for her, even if I had not been her handmaid.

And then she became the favorite.  I kept watch to protect her from the jealousy of others.  I did not know the danger would come from jealousy of her kinsman.

I knew something was wrong but she did not confide in me. I had to wait.  And then she stopped eating.  Alarmed I knew I had to do something.  If something happened to her, I would pay with my life.

I discovered a new law had been written, one that allowed a certain people to be slaughtered on a certain day.  And to inspire compliance, the property of these certain people would pass to those who destroyed them.

I do not understand why anyone would want to kill their neighbor for their possessions but I do know that is the way of man. I had seen to much of death and destruction in my home country. What can one do against such power?

And then I saw a miracle unfold before my eyes.  I did not know that is what it was at the time.  I was frantic that my lady refuses to eat for days.  And then she announces she will go before the king.

No amount of cajoling will dissuade her from her decision.

She has not been summoned and will surely be killed as she approaches.  The only thing that will save her is the king raising his hand.

And he does!

She is that favored. She can be so bold.

He is curious why this lady comes to him and he grants her what ever she will ask.

What does she ask for but to invite him and the most wicked man in the kingdom for dinner.  Now I know she has gone mad. Delirious from hunger, something, for no good thing can happen from these events.

But it does. The king is charmed and offers his lady anything her heart desires.

Another dinner.

Oh, when will this madness stop!? The risks she is taking to have both the king and the most wicked man in her chambers.

I try to warn her. But she reminds me she is the master and I am to do her bidding. With great reluctance  I do as I am told.  Knowing that disaster will strike and we are all doomed.

After what seems like a lovely meal, and the king full of food and admiration, she reveals it is her people that the law was created to destroy.  The wicked man is the one who has created the law. And what is the king going to do about it?

Oh, the chaos that ensues! In those few words, the evening when from an idyllic picture to a life and death situation.  And my lady is the one who brought it about. My heart was in my throat. I could do nothing but watch to see what would happen next.

The king knows he cannot remove a law once it is written.  You would think he would be more careful about what laws he passes. He did alter it and my lady’s people were able to defend themselves.

I had hoped that people would abandon the idea of killing their neighbor for their property when it would not a slaughter but a war.  My hopes were not fulfilled for such is the nature of man.  But many of my lady and her people defeated their foes and kept their lives and their property.

I asked her how she could be so brave and do what is right, even if against the law.  And she told me about her God who is love and is most powerful of all. She told me this God loves even one such as I.

I learned to love God as well.

 

We All are the Anti-Christ

Any time we are not love, we are the Anti-Christ. We are the Anti-Christ every day.

When I call you ‘Jerk-face’, I am not loving you.  Even though I don’t call you that to your face, I’ve thought it.

Especially when you cut me off in traffic.  But I don’t love you when you don’t meet my expectations in other ways as well.

I’ve had neighbors I’ve referred to as ‘the creepy neighbor’  I cannot love him when I think of him in that way.

I do not love you in a myriad of ways.

And you are not loving either,

When you only want what I have and not me. When you lie, cheat, steal.

When you decide it is OK to kill your neighbor all of them that are not like you

or start a rape club

or make a bunch of money even though what you sell hurts other people

or create fear and anger in other people so that they hurt other people

But not all the time.  There are moments in the day you love.

And there are moments in the day I do love you. And it fills my heart with joy, peace and laughter.

If we want to defeat the Anti-Christ, we must start with our own heart, our own choices, our own lives.

And that is why for the rest of my life, I will endeavor to love everyone. And strive to do it each moment.

Love wins.

A Message from Cain

Hey You,

You think that God stopped loving me because of what I did.

He didn’t.  He loves me still.

You think my family stopped loving me because of what I did.

I did, too.

That’s why I ran away.  That and I was afraid someone would kill me. I know how easy it can be, it happened quick. A thought, a lashing out, and it was over.

Anger and fear are powerful and strong.  They change the course of a person’s life if left unchecked.

But love is more powerful

My family still loved me. We might have even been able to reconcile if I had stayed but we won’t know now. But that doesn’t mean we never reconciled.

We did.

And you can, as well.

God hasn’t stopped loving you, no matter what you have done.

God hasn’t stopped loving you, no matter what you have failed to do.

God loves you.

God misses you.

Right here, right now. Be restored.

Cain