Sunday, 6 December 2015

True Humility is Hope in Emmanuel

Hatred, Ignorance, Nihilism, these are just some of the way we can describe the condition of our splintered and pluralistic North American society this holiday season. We live on the edge of these emotional extremes because it seems there is so much to be thankful for and yet so much to get angry about. If you choose to dive into injustice in both your society and the world it is easy to be become jaded. Is the only option to demand violent revolution or give up on the world entirely? If you choose to embrace the privilege of being born into a society with a powerful economy, the tendency can be to become ignorant to injustice and numb to the suffering all around you. Maybe you are relatively poor in this society filled with wealth and resources. Are you supposed to not give yourself the best chance for survival by shopping at cheap yet oppressive corporate stores?

I think the answer for us today lies in giving up our false pride and embracing the true meaning of humility. Not a humility where we feel too insufficient and insignificant to even care. Nor a pride where we put others in danger for the sake of our own ideology. Choose to watch the suffering, soak it in, understand it, weep for it, and help where you can. Don't ignore it and go back to your shopping because you fear losing your safety and wealth. Don't ignore it because you feel there is nothing you can do anyway. Don't selfishly declare you're too weak to help. But don't delude yourself into thinking you're Jesus Christ either. Help where you can and leave the rest up to God. Today's injustices will not be won through violent revolution, nor can they be ignored and distracted by our wealth and consumption. Our best option is a slow resolve. Love people in small steps and small ways, don't expect to save people, but help them anyway.

Don't expect to end religious violence, welcome refugees anyway
Don't expect to end all poverty, give generously anyway
Don't expect to reverse climate change, care for the planet anyway
Don't expect to end global capitalism, resist it anyway

Emmanuel is coming, place your Hope in him.  

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Syrian Style Christian Poetry

Some beautiful liturgical poems from my wife Deanna following the syllabic pattern of Saint Ephrem the Syrian: 

1st Sunday in Lent

You called us while we
       stood under the tree
reaching for the fruit
       under the fig’s shade
You say come and see -
       the prophets spoke true.

You are the one true vine!

Graft us to the branch
       let us bear good fruit
Give us eyes to see,
       You, the gardener.

2nd Sunday in lent

Healer, Redeemer,
       you heal all who come
We are lifted up
       through your forgiveness
Moses raised the bronze
       serpent to Israel

To you, all creation looks.

You stretch out your hands
       in your compassion
As you are raised up
       creation bows down

3rd Sunday in Lent

One from Jesse’s line,
       You have submitted
to be High Priest;
       brought low to raise up;
Your promise, a bow

       over creation.

Your mercy makes your cross light.

The shoot of Jesse
       takes root and redeems.
You have cleansed the earth,
       making fertile ground.

4th Sunday in Lent

The Lord’s healing hand
       is above all others
Through Him, creation
       hears and speaks His name
Chosen by the Lord,
       Abraham went out.

The Lord calls out and draws in.

We praise the Lord for
      His deliverance!
The land has borne fruit;
       Your promise fulfilled.

5th Sunday in Lent

The way has been made,
       the ram was given;
You hung on the tree
       in your compassion.
The curtain pulled back,
       to heaven itself.

Your grace reaches to the depths.

Your deliverance
       is our assurance.
Ransom for many,
       you clothe us in light.