Tag Archives: Journey

42 SEGMENTS

Most mornings find me walking with the dogs and Hubby busy doing something important – like earning money for us to spend on the fixer-upper or bartering for mushrooms from a local grower in our neighborhood. Each of us on our own separate journey and yet – a joint journey as well.

“I remember how eager you were to please Me
as a young bride long ago,
how you loved Me and followed Me
even through the barren wilderness.
In those days Israel was holy to the LORD,
the first of His children.”~Jer 2:2-3

Jewish traditions have the people studying the Torah and holy books every week of the year. They do it in order; each week dedicated to teaching and reminding them of the depths of the journeys – massei – that they have taken together as a people both in the past to the present day. The studies are taught the same week year after year.

The interesting thing for me is that rabbinical wisdom says these 40 years are the blueprint of each individual’s spiritual journey as well. Our own personal journey in the desert – the dry place far from the Source of Life. The blistering of feet on hot sand of choices. The parched throat from lack of not drinking from the streams of living water. A place where the physical challenges the spiritual – pushing the individual/tribe forward to fall – to find its knees of – teshuva/repentance – to stand once more in the shadow of the cross.

Jewish wisdom says that there are 42 segments of the tribal desert journey – good and bad – as there are 42 segments in our personal desert journey – good and bad – but all leading to a reunification between the Father and His prodigal children.

“But he who looks into the perfect Torah of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” ~Jm1:25

I really need to study this desert journey of the Jewish people instead of just giving it that cursory nod that I have in the past. Looking at the different segments of their journey and comparing it to my own faltering – stopping dead in the desert – throwing down the tablets of law – finding the stream of living water – energized enough to start the journey once more.

Most of the time when I am walking the dogs, I keep my eyes focused on the next hill, cars that are coming a little too fast down the our road, or how close I am to that promise land in the middle where I can sit on the swing on our neighbors’ porch and see the neighborhood world from a different vantage point.

Jewish wisdom also says that as the journey progresses, the less we see overt miracles. Hence the name – a journey by faith not by sight. As long as I don’t lose faith in that Land of Milk and Home/the Promised Land or the One who is preparing my room, I know that no matter how challenging or scary the journey is – how much my knees or feet hurt – how thick the dust storm is that clouds my sight, I will make it. The Living Waters supply the Word that keeps me from thirsting for I know ‘…that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ~Rm 8:28

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me”~Jn 14:1

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Lenten Journey/Journey of the Cross #31

Rabbe Yeshua Barabbas began the last leg of His journey tonight. Betrayed by on friend. Denied by another. Hobbled by His own priests. Beaten by those sworn to His Father’s service. 

We’ve all been there at one time or another. Betrayed. Denied. Hobbled. Beaten. Verbs that bring us to our knees, Actions that break us. Pain that sears our souls. Is it any wonder that Rabbe Yeshua prayed and wept? Don’t we?

And perhaps – that is the short message for tonight. He asked his disciples to stay awake and pray three times that night. (Matt 26:36-46; Lk 22:39-46; Mk 14:32-42) His last words to them: “Pray with me.” “Keep watch with me.” So then should we pray without ceasing. keep watch. and remember – that is what He did for us. He did all of this – for us. He prayed without ceasing. He kept watch.

Betrayed.

Denied.

Hobbled.

Beaten.

And still – He prayed. He kept watch. For us. With us. Always.jesus praying

Lenten Journey #26

Hmmm…not sure how I missed posting this one.  But…

a little late…

a little out of order…

yet…

here it is. =)

 

“For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me…” Ps 31:13

Gossip – bullying – rumors – innuendos swirl around all of us everyday. The advent of technology just made it travel faster and in wider and wider circles. Yet – as you can see, as far back as the OT and King David, the apple was always there waiting to be bitten.

apple_malware_457249The apple sits in the palm of every hand, and every person has that choice in one way or another. Bite off a piece and enjoy the sweet taste…or set it aside. It is tempting to grab a bite quikcly. After all. most of our friends are biting off huge chunks of the fruit and there might not be any left…we do tend to be greedy at times. But like all apples that fall from the Tree of Life into our lap, there is a worm. Hidden among the sweetness and the crunchy meat of the tempting fruit, a worm makes its way to our innards where it squiggles and starts to grow. Craving more and more apples of various types, our stomachs become a roiling, pitching sea of unease.

Rabbe Jesus understood this apple very well. He was driven from towns and temples, probably more frequently than we know, because of this apple. As Palm Sunday drew closer, more and more of this particular kind of apple was being eaten by many of the Jewish people. The worm took much longer to raise its ugly head in those days sans twitter/FB/instagram/etc., but grow it did. 5 days is all it took. Triumph to Tragedy. Sweet to Sour.

Feasting on any of these types apples will never fill the stomach. Rabbe Jesus knew this and shared Himself – His words – His life -His love – that we might have enough armor to ward off the pangs of hunger and eat of any apple that falls from the Tree of Life. Yet it is still our choice. The lenten journey is a time for introspection, faith and often – choices.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. Ye heard how I said to you, I go away, and I come unto you. If ye loved me, ye would have rejoiced, because I go unto the Father: for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe. I will no more speak much with you, for the prince of the world cometh: and he hath nothing in me; but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” Jn 14:27-31

Lenten Journey #29

It has been one of those days. Up at 6:30 to watch the grands. Morning full of ABCD’s… counting blocks…Dinosaur Train…Lovely lady butterflies,,,and (an old favorite) Land of Later. Mix in a trip to the store, a broken mouse on the computer (yes, I really don’t like touch screens – mostly because they really, really don’t like me back) a lost Contigo water bottle and getting called into work early and staying late…makes for one “tired momma” as Grandma Mickey would say.

Busy days teach us many things – IF we don’t let all the “busy”ness side-track us. When I think about Holy Monday, I think how about how “busy” it must have been for Rabbe Yeshua. John 12 gives such a vivid picture of the crowds – people pulling strings to meet him – a miracle or two – a few more “teachable moments” squeezed in – and a ministry summation.

It is so easy to see these things laid out in hindsight. It’s like looking at the Blood Moons of the past. If you are looking for the miracle, you will see it; if you are looking for the ordinary, you will see it. “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” Jn 12:24

I can’t remember when I started looking for “miracles”. I think I always have, and I think I always will. It is called: FAITH. I do know that it was cemented into me when my father had his first heart attacK when I was home with him alone. 10 years old, tornado skies and an inner voice guiding my every action. The doctor said I saved his life, but I knew who truly had and it wasn’t me.

I love the way John ends this chapter with Rabbi Yeshua’s summation of His life. It was one set of verses that I learned (either in Sunday School or Summer Bible School) that has always stuck with me: “Then Jesus cried out, ‘Whoever believes in me does NOT believe in me only, but in the One who sent me. The One who looks at ME is seeing the One who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that NO one who believes in me should stay in darkness.’ Jn 12:44-46

It was only much later in life when I came to appreciate this whole passage. The Rabbe Yeshua who stood before all these people on the last week of His life and spoke these words. He knew what was coming, and yet, He continued: “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. know that His command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.” Jn 12:47-50

He was wrapping it all together for anyone who would listen. The ordinary was a miracle in the making, but it is only in hindsight that anyone who lived through these times were able to see it.

blood moon 4 14 14

Lenten Journey #28

palm sundayIt was a good day in NC. Sunny – warm – breezy. A day for working in the gardens with the husband, reading, sitting in the hot tub, playing with the dogs, talking to my big brother and my kids…just a day to shout “Hosanna”. And so it is as this lenten journey is coming to a close, and Rabbe Jesus was a Sabbath’s day journey from Jerusalem:

“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly…’” Mk 11: 1-3

He knew the scriptures that He was born to fulfill. He knew the ones that would be written after He returned to the Father. He was the WORD. (Zechariah 9:9 would be fulfilled today) Every step in His whole life had been leading to this week. He knew the these very questions would be the cement that held this story together.

“They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go…” Mk 11:4-7

His friends still did not understand. They smiled. They joked. They laughed. They spread their coats upon the ass for the King to take His triumphal ride. Did Rabbe Jesus relax and enjoy this day? We always see pictures of Him smiling riding through the streets of His beloved city. Or did He merely camouflage the fear and sadness that rattled about His fully human brain and heart?

“When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted…” Mk 11:8

People came from their homes and the fields (that were a Sabbath’s journey) from Jerusalem. They laid their cloaks upon the road so that their King would be shielded from dirt of the road. They brought palm branches from fields and nearby trees symbolizing Our Father’s bounty, love and unity. They shouted out their love

“Hosanna! ”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Mk 11:9-10

Late in the day, He arrived at the temple. Did His head hurt? I know mine does after a full day spent among crowds – jostling – touching – beseeching… Were the Scriptures tumbling through His head as He looked at His Father’s temple? Was Caiaphas there to greet Him? And the disciples? What were they doing when they got there? Was His family there? His mother? Out of all those that lived upon earth, did she understand all the parables that He had been telling them?? Somehow – I think she did.

“Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.” Mk 11:11

If time is not a linear line at all, like some people suggest, then someday I would like to observe this day in what we consider the past. By all accounts,it was a beautiful day just like it was a beautiful day here. Soon, the Rabbe would become Yeshua barabbas —– Barabbas —- Barabbas —- hmmm – which could bring up a whole ‘nother discussion.

Lenten Journey #27

I’m tired. It has been a full day of cleaning and transplanting dirt and bushes and flowers…with a few periods of throwing ball for the girls.  I imagine Rabbe Jesus knew what tired was better than me. He must have also been tired on the Sabbath before Passover. He had been traveling for weeks. Fielding questions from his followers – and from his enemies. Was He already within sight of this beloved city? Did he manage to find a way to escape everyone after the Seder for some peace and quiet? Did He sit in the growing light of the moon knowing what had to happen and pray for strength?

I often look at the moon and wonder as well…especially this week. On Monday night at sundown Passover begins. On Tuesday night the first of Four Blood Moons will occur. According to the Jewish calendar, it is the year of Jubilee (49th year of 50) and Shemittah (7th year of 7) as well. Throw in a full solar eclipse smack dab in the middle of the blood moons (that all occur on Jewish holidays), and I sorta have to wonder. After all, I don’t think God says things in the first book of the Bible that He doesn’t mean.

“Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years…” Gen 1:14

The amazing thing – I may never see or understand the heavenly signs that I am contemplating. It may only be visible to those who will have hindsight. What I know and what Rabbe Jesus knows, is that Our Father always keeps His promises. “His word is His word” (where do you think this old adage originated?). Still…still…it doesn’t keep me from wondering and praying and watching. After all, that is what a lenten journey is all about – a faith journey – trusting God to see what we can’t.

NASA Four Blood Moons

Lenten Journey #25

It has been niggling – right there – at the corner of my mind for the past 24 hours. A nebulous concept shifting in and out of focus like a shape shifter that can’t decide what shape to take.”Be strong in the LORD and in the strength of His might…” Ep 6:10

Yesterday at my after-school program, 5 of the fifth graders, another teacher and myself were sitting around debating a homework assignment. Actually. a very good homework assignment – wasn’t from the Common Core Standards book  – and students were engaged. As tutors – so were we. In fact, by the time we finished the homework page, there were several of the older students also interacting with us. Everyone was communicating and learning about a subject and themselves.

“…you shall love your friend as you love yourself.” Lev 19:18shoes b
Shoes. It all started with a survey about shoes. The survey question: How many pairs of shoes do you own?” There were 8 questions that the students had to fill out that dealt with math – range, outliers, total number, average, charting… Got the picture, right? While doing all the math, communication was developing as well…and on many different levels: cost of shoes; why shoes are important; pairs of shoes parents and teachers had; shoes that someone had seen at the Holocaust Museum; affluence, poverty…it was good to listen and watch all of it unfold.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luk 12:33contemporary-shoeracks

We are an affluent country. The students in the group said their teacher did put a limit on claiming more than 11 pairs of shoes. Two of the girls in our small group said they had more than 11 pairs of shoes. That is when the shape-shifter started darting around the corners. I came home and counted my pairs of shoes. I counted my husbands pair of shoes. I went to my daughter’s house and counted their pairs of shoes (only the ones in the hallway – I didn’t go crawling under the beds or backrooms  ). WE HAVE LOTS OF SHOES! (My husband and I both have 7 pairs of shoes – in case you’re wondering – surprised me…I thought I had more  )

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” Matt 6:19holocaust shoes

Clothes – shoes – toys – technology gadgets – food in the pantry and fridge – rooms full of stuff – we are a comfortable society…for the most part. For those of us in the middle income/affluent income, it is easy to complain we don’t make enough – bemoan our lack of money – run up the charge card – buy the newest necessity – play the lottery – But it makes me wonder and wonder some more. Where is our treasure?

“Yeshua said to him, ‘My Kingdom is not from this world…’ ” Jn 18:36

We know where Christ considered His treasure. On His three year journey, Rabbe Jesus traveled with only a handmade robe, woven by His mother, between him and the elements, one pair of well-worn sandals to protect His weary feet, a shawl to cover His head in the temple – cradle His head at night – protect His head in unseemly weather, and the dust dyed everything.

“Put on the full armor of God…” Ep 6:10

I think that nebulous shape-shifter is starting to become more focused during this lenten journey, and so I pray – and pray some more. “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God is one.”

shoes a

Lenten Journey #24

Today, the disciplinarian teacher in me came out in full force, and there were a few third grade boys who were not thrilled. (Hmmm…haven’t forgotten that teacher tone of voice at all) As for myself, it was good to touch base with that part of me again.

That being said, I should have known. The first devotion I read this morning (Thank you very much, Miss Tiki) was about jobs. I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching with this retirement thingy. As ready as I was to get away from the idiocy of Common Core Standards and the daily nonsense of things that have nothing to do with educating our youth, I was not ready to quit teaching. (For a person who never considered that I would EVER walk into a school after high school graduation, I had to laugh at that last sentence.)

Our life journeys sometimes surprise even us. Teaching was one of my surprises. Yeah – sure – I did get “volunteered” to help teach the little kids in Sunday School. I did start a group to teach “Little Majes” how to twirl a baton. I babysat. I tutored and read to little kids while working at our local library. I joined Future Teachers of America, but only because my mom wanted me to join a club (and it got me out of class sometimes). I even fought my parents about going to college. School was boring. School, for me, was mostly about daydreaming, doodling or writing poetry…stories…songs… Certainly, nothing productive ever came out of sitting in a classroom and taking notes and tests.

And yet — 40+ years later — I don’t think I’m done. Unlike Rabbe Jesus, I’m not sure of what lies ahead. However, I am getting the idea that He is about to let me know. “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD…” Jer 29:11

I have no idea how this will work, but I think today was all about reminding me who is in control. Luckily, while my teaching day started out with the disciplinarian me, it ended with the “Miss Grammie” me. Three 1st graders sitting on my lap – waiting to read their minute stories, running accounts of mistakes, re-read the stories, 2nd graders hanging over my shoulder waiting for me to get to them and their vocabulary questions, integers being added and subtracted (I called for help – literally – I used my phone’s calculator to double check what I told them =) ) , algebraic word problems which needed to be re-stated in numeric form (do you know how hard that is for someone who intensely dislikes math – let alone the 6th graders who were struggling?). No one ever said that the plans He has made for us will be without a few bumps. sigh.

BTW – one of the 4th graders spent his time-out writing “I am stupid” until he filled the page. When I came back to where he was sitting alone, he dug it out of his book bag and handed it to me. Now either he is the smartest one in the group of boys, or he was sincerely sorry. In any case, we had a talk. Told him if I ever heard him writing such a thing again, we would have another talk. Second, he got out of time-out while the others had to stay in. “Miss Grammie” got a hug, and I wondered why he chose to write the words he did. I’m still wondering…and praying. I like to think that is exactly what Rabbe Jesus did on His lenten journey. When he found one of His lost sheep, I’m pretty sure He wondered how it got so lost…and then He prayed. The neat thing??? He hasn’t stopped interceding for us with the Father. When we pray??? We eventually stop – get sidetracked – forget, but not Christ. He continues walking with us and interceding every step of the way.

“The name of the LORD is a fortified tower, the righteous run to it and are safe.” Prov 18:10 jesus-christ-sermon-mount

Lenten Journey #23

ser·en·dip·i·ty
ˌserənˈdipitē
noun
1. the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. “a fortunate stroke of serendipity” synonyms: (happy) chance, (happy) accident, fluke

Many times when Our Father thinks that I’m not paying attention very well – He likes to slam things through various readings, encounters, and… even… a few FB posts. By the end of the day, I’m usually shaking my head and saying: “Enough already – I get it!”

But if I don’t act on it, did I really ‘GET IT”?

And usually – that’s my problem. I “get” the message, but I don’t carry it forward. When Rabbe Jesus was doing His thing, He delivered His messages in multiple stories, knowing that different stories resonate with different people. Twelve disciples + 24 ears + plus a million different interpretations (because we often hear what we want to hear) = a lot of LIGHT to share. And that was the message for today. From the first thing I encountered to the message I read just before I started to type this journal: LIGHT. Even to the childhood song that has been bouncing in my head off and on today:

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

Let it shine, Let it shine, Let it shine.”

Rabbe Jesus expanded on the Jewish wisdom of his time. In Exodus, Aaron was told to burn incense every time he trimmed the wicks of the tabernacle lamps. Then it repeats the instruction for trimming the lamps at night as well. According to Jewish wisdom to get the best light from oil lamps, you have to trim the wicks…twice a day. (Ex 30:7) Simple chores for a “young” people just beginning to grow in their faith.

Rabbe Jesus took it just another step further. Light became not an actual thing sitting in a tent covered by the cloud of God. Rather, it became an internal choice lit by the Son of God within each of us. One that we should pay attention to twice a day… by studying the Bible (giving oil to your lamp)…and prayer (trimming the wick). So that as you go about your daily walk, people will see your “LIGHT” in all that you do. “Let your Light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matt 5:16

LIGHT that we choose to share. LIGHT pleasing and glorifying Our Father (just as the incense was in Exodus). LIGHT illumines the path. LIGHT pierces the darkness. LIGHT spreading throughout the world …”all around the neighborhood”…NOT hidden “under a bushel…as long as we “don’t let Satan blow it out.” Rabbe Jesus did all of that on His walk towards Jerusalem. He went into all the neighborhoods, didn’t hide and didn’t let Satan stop Him. That is His challenge to me and you on this lenten journey.

PS: Needless to say, serendipity does work. Thanks, God.

Lenten Journey #22

Got to looking for ‘THEEEEE” childhood book. You know – the one book that sticks in your memory so well that you totally “see” the dust jacket in your mind’s eye 63 years later. Even better, you know how the hard cover looked UNDER the dust jacket. You remember every black and white picture that had a splash of red thrown in somewhere. The smell of that book as you fell asleep on it because it was the last thing you read almost every night. Once white pages that took on that yellowy tinge over the years also stick in the memory banks. Red crayon markings that you put on the inside cover in childish writing are also there. It’s funny what you remember about that treasured book even the binding that finally broke apart after being used one too many times and the browning cellophane tape seems somehow indelibly lodged into the “permanent file” . That’s the book I’m talking about.ifjesuscame

Mom ended up buying me that book again and then – once again. The first time, I was still living in a small house that I always call the Campbell Street house. It is where I first remember falling asleep with that book; my head cradled in the creases. Looking back, I don’t remember when it fell apart or when I stopped reading it. Essentially, by the time I went to college, it was gone. I know that because when I was taking a children’s lit course in college, I wanted to do a project on that book, but mom said it was gone. However, a couple days later and without calling, she appeared on my door step with a new copy. Mom was like that – especially after my father died. If I said I needed something, she would drive 80 miles and spend the money to make it come true. (I still find my mom totally amazing for all the things she attempted and accomplished for our family.)

Of course, that book remained with me and was read to my children many, many times. Eventually, that copy wore out and mom replaced it again until we had a house fire. Most of my books had been packed into boxes in 2009 because we were trying to sell our home. But this children’s book always stayed with my Bibles by my bedside. On that beautiful September day, I lost a few treasures – including my mom’s dog-eared, falling-apart-highlighted-filled-with-handwritten-comments Bible. Needless to say, the first thing I bought in the first week after the fire was a new Bible (I’m now up to 5 – if you don’t count all the digital ones that I have) and a small children’s book called: “If Jesus Came to My House”.

On this lenten journey, I wondered once again – and perhaps – it will make you wonder as well:

ifjesus1“If Jesus came to my house and knocked upon the door, I’m sure I’d be more happy than I’ve ever been before.
If Jesus came to my house, I’d like him best to be, about the age that I am, and about the height of me.
I’d run downstairs to meet him, the door I’d open wide, and I would say to Jesus, ‘Oh won’t you come inside?’ ~ Joan Gale Thomas.