Month: December 2011

2012 here we come

January 1st 1970  The nation was worried about the Vietnam war, rock music, and hippies. (I was ten and wanted to be a hippie)

January 1st 1980 We worried about 16% mortgage rates and the Iran hostages.

January 1st 1990 I was worried about turning 30 – why?  It seems ridiculous now.

January 1st 2000 Something called Y2K.  Will are computers shut down?

January 1st 2010 Real estate crashes, bank crashes, national healthcare?

January 1st 2012 Mayan’s say its all over.  It feels like it’s been over for awhile, we just don’t know it yet.

Reflection, Memories, Changes, Challenges, Dissapointments, Disasters, Joy – Life and Death.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”” John 16:33 NKJV

Happy New Year – I hope that His footprints in the sand are clear to all of us this year.

The least of these . . .

Christmas Day – I opened my heart to the destitute and dying.  I woke up at 4:50 in the morning and walked with another volunteer to the motherhouse for the experience of a Catholic mass.  I sat there, surrounded by foreigners and rituals.  It has all been so strange coming from Howrah where I have been living with the locals in a village, and where seeing a white person is a rare thing.  Even Mother Teresa’s feels like a tourist volunteer site.  I was assigned to Prem Dam – a place for the destitute and sick, right next to Kalighat, the home for the dying.  We washed laundry for over an hour, only stopping twice to see two bodies, wrapped up in white sheets, carried by on stretchers.  Soon I found myself in the women’s quarters, massaging gel into arthritic joints and rubbing coconut oil through their short hair.  There were perhaps 150 of them, most having vacated their beds, all sitting, waiting for lunch to be served.  Some were still bed-ridden, nothing but skin and bones, unable to move.  How could one even begin to know all their stories?  These women, all having been found somewhere on the streets, were a living mass of human woes.  It was almost like a form of hell – a picture of missing limbs, deranged minds, open wounds, excrement, burns, groanings, murmurings and unintelligible shoutings.  And then one lady caught my eye.  Sitting on a plastic chair, her body rocked violently and her legs and hands quivered continually.  Over two eye cavities were two, big, white pieces of gauze.  Where her nose used to be was nothing but skin covering cartilage and her lips were pulled back to reveal her teeth and an expression much like that of a skeleton.  “What happened to her?” I asked a volunteer walking by.  “Acid.  She probably had it thrown in her face.  It’s very common here.”  “You mean, if a girl does something to ‘disgrace’ her family?”  “Or if someone is just angry.”  I walked over to her and squatted down.  Taking her hand I spoke the little bit of broken Bengali I knew.  She responded, but there was only so much we could say.  I sat there, holding her hand, talking to her in English instead.  It didn’t matter that she couldn’t understand a word.  Suddenly, amidst her quivering, her stiff, burnt hands reached out and touched my hair.  She felt the braid and then stroked my head.  Tentatively, her fingers touched my cheek.  I took both of her hands and placed them on my face letting her fingers trace over eyes, eyebrows, a nose, and lips – all things she will never have again.    –   Rebecca Simpson, India

 

 

People cynically ask me “Why do you give to foreign missions?  There are people hurting in America.  You should help them first”.    “True” I say, “but if you haven’t seen the suffering in developing nations, you haven’t seen suffering.  There is no welfare, social security, food stamps, Medicare, etc. etc.”. 

 

Blessings to all of you today.  May the peace of Christ rest upon you, encourage you, build you up, strengthen, and cast new vision for the days ahead.  Miracles will be performed by your hands – not out of human force but by the divine grace and mercy of our Father.

 

Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’

The wrong gift

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

We don’t like getting presents that we don’t want or that aren’t quite right.  You know, the wrong size, the wrong color, the wrong whatever. 

Imagine how the Israelites felt, waiting for years for a Messiah, a King to ride in and take over, a King to rescue them, a King that was flashy and had power.  They got a poor baby, born out of wedlock, born in a barn, in a crummy town.  No power.  No rescue.  No flash.  A gift that was the wrong size and color. 

People are still saying that today.  Forget the arguments over celebrating Christmas, they don’t want the gift period.  Some of us grew up in a time when people fought over prayer in schools.  Now people are fighting over football players dropping to a knee on the field. 

They don’t want the gift.   How sad.

People will rush out the week after Christmas to exchange all the “wrong gifts” and will try to find something that they “really want”.  It reminds me of people trying to exchange the “real gift”.  Maybe they can exchange it for something that fits better.  For all the resistance to the Gift, I like to remember Simeon:

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”