Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Jesus Christ

Pillage: I loathe this word

I loathe this word I don’t want to say
Nothing about it attracts me
Or suggests anything to say about it
Much less use it in a sentence 

My abhorrence lies in its power
To bring images to mind —
Images that compound this world’s evil
Leaving no peace for victims 

Yet one image alone gives me hope
It’s stronger than these robbers —
The image of Jesus Christ
Whose birth we just recognized 

I imagine JC—not the Superstar
And not Jesus meek and mild
Rather, JC storming the bastions of hell
Within and without 

Cleaning out the stench of our stables
Knocking relentlessly on our doors
Anointing our scars and wounds
With oil of healing and compassion 

JC turns pillaging on its head
Inside out and upside down
Not with the flick of a magic wand
But in his life of full allegiance
To the One who sent him to our aid —
Victims and perpetrators alike

How can we not welcome his appearance?

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 28 December 2016
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Pillage

“Cherish is the word I use….”

Cherish image, happy_married_couple

I, Elouise, take you, D….
To love, honor and cherish….

Cherish is the word I use
To complain as in
You don’t have a clue
How to cherish me Read the rest of this entry »

Terror and Faith | 9/11/2001

Today I couldn’t stop thinking about this piece I wrote in response to the 9/11/2001 attack on the World Trade Center. I still believe every word I wrote back then, and find them both comforting and challenging given our current world situation. Thanks for reading and commenting if you’d like. Elouise

Telling the Truth

It’s difficult to focus.
Voices and images
clamor for my attention,
my response,
my analysis of what is beyond all reason.

I force myself to stay close to the bone,

View original post 498 more words

He Stands by Us

Karl Barth, one of my favorite theologians, preached periodically to women and men in the Basel, Switzerland prison during the 1950s.  Following each sermon, he and they celebrated Holy Communion.  The following excerpt is from a Christmas Communion sermon in 1958.

Barth’s sermon challenges me to take my place with the “Dear Brothers and Sisters” to whom he preached it.  The sermon isn’t elegant or literarily stunning.  Barth simply tells the truth in a direct, personable way to women and men looking for someone to stand with and for them right there in prison.  The excerpt is from the end of the sermon.

* * * * *

Luke 2:7:  And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

“. . . We probably find ourselves in a stable or an open-air feeding spot for animals.  Certainly not in a nice and comfortable place where people like to dwell because it looks so cozy and homely, or at least decent.  No, it was a place compared to which the cells of this house might well be called luxurious.  There were animals right beside, oxen and donkeys, as many painters have represented it.  In this gloomy place Jesus Christ was born.  Likewise, he died in an even gloomier place.

“There, in the manger, in the stable next to the animals, it happened that the sky opened above the dark earth, that God became man, to be wholly with us and for us.  There it happened that this fellowman, this neighbor, this friend, this brother was given to us.  There it happened.

“Thanks be to God, the parents and the baby for whom there was no room in the inn found this other spot where this could happen, and indeed did happen.   And thanks be to God, as we now consider the Savior’s coming into our own midst, [that] there are not only the various inns where he stands outside, knocking and asking.  There is quite another place where he simply enters, indeed has already secretly entered, and waits until we gladly recognize his presence.

“What kind of a place in our life is this?  Do not suggest some presumably noble, beautiful or at least decent compartment of your life and work, where you could give the Savior a respectable reception.  Not so, my friends!  The place where the Savior enters in looks rather like the stable of Bethlehem.  It is not beautiful, but quite ugly; not at all cozy, but really frightening; not at all decently human, but right beside the animals.

“You see, the proud or modest inns, and our behavior as their inhabitants, are but the surface of our lives.  Beneath there lurks the depth, even the abyss.  Down below, we are, without exception, but each in his or her own way, only poor beggars, lost sinners, moaning creatures on the threshold of death, only people who have lost their way.

“Down there Jesus Christ sets up quarters.  Even better, he has already done so!  Yes, praise be to God for this dark place, for this manger, for this stable in our lives!  There we need him, and there he can use each one of us.  There we are ready for him.  There he only waits that we see him, recognize him, believe in him, and love him.   There he greets us.

“What else can we do but return his greeting and bid him welcome?  Let us not be ashamed that the oxen and donkeys are close by.  Precisely there he firmly stands by us all.  In this dark place he will have Holy Communion with us.  This is what we now shall have with him and with one another.  Amen.

“O Lord our God!  When we are afraid, abandon us not to despair!  When we are disappointed, Let us not grow bitter!  When we fall, leave us not lying there!  When we are at our wit’s end and run out of strength, let us not perish!  Grant us then the sense of your nearness and your love which thou hast promised to those with a humble and contrite heart who fear thy word.  Thy dear Son has come to all men and women in despair.  To overcome our plight he was born in the stable and died on the cross.  Awaken us all, O Lord, and keep us awake to acknowledge and confess him! . . . Amen.”

Karl Barth, Deliverance to the Captives, Harper & Row ppb (1978). pp. 141-43.  Translated by Marguerite Wieser from Den Gefangenen Befreiung, published by Evangelischer Verlag AG, Zurich, in 1959.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 21 December 2014

Food, Money, Sex and the Earth…

Here’s a timely piece from Oswald Chambers (OC).  It’s the daily reading for today, November 26, from Daily Thoughts for Disciples.  During his life, OC commented more than once about long-faced, dour Christians.  He found them unattractive.  Sadly, when OC was traveling in the USA, he saw a considerable number of Read the rest of this entry »

Terror and Faith | 9/11/2001

It’s difficult to focus.
Voices and images
clamor for my attention,
my response,
my analysis of what is beyond all reason.

I force myself to stay close to the bone, Read the rest of this entry »

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