Monthly Archives: September 2011

Deliver us from evil…

Jesus Mafa

Matthew 20:1-16

The lectionary text today is one that has captured me all week…because as many have already disclosed,  I struggle with it frequently.  The vineyard workers entering at the end of the day receive the same wages as those who have been working hard the entire day.  What is perplexing is that it is not fair.  I hear those familiar words from my parents, “Life…is not fair.”

For fun, let’s translate the parable into my language.  I have been working on the committee for the new school program since it’s inception.  Late comers to the committee made suggestions to my proposal that the committee liked better than mine.  They actually vote to change the direction of the program.  REALLY!?!


But I have worked so hard!  Mine is just as good, now THEY want to change it.  It will take lots more time.  It might take more money to make changes at this point.  Why NOW?  Couldn’t they have come at the beginning of the project?  There was a chance for them to be here from the beginning, but they chose to come in at the end and steal the glory…

AHA!  That’s it, isn’t it!?!  Pride.  This is a parable about pride.  The value of my full work is more than the value of someone’s partial work.  Right!?!

And this is where Jesus catches us in our web of pride.  ALL work done for the glory of God is equal.  ALL work, not the time spent, the amount done, the first finished, the best looking…ALL work done for the glory of God is equal.

This is what I want to SAVOR today so I will remember it tomorrow.  Our pride can get us off track so quickly.  Deliver us from this evil, O God, that we might be able to let go of the things WE are important and focus on those things that YOU need us to do to further YOUR kingdom on earth.




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9.11 Transformations

My brain is on overload with all the media coverage surrounding the 10th anniversary of the 9.11.01 attacks on America.  It is good to sit here in silence to pull up my own memory of 9.11.  I remember sitting in my living room with my third child, a toddler, glued to the TV screen.  At first I thought it was a movie trailer.  Then shock set in.  I remember wanting to rush to school and grab my other two children (who were in lock down but didn’t know it).  But I knew better than to panic.  So I just sat and watched …not yet comprehending how this day would change the world.

Today looking back, I look at all the transformations that have come from this tragedy.  As a people in general we are more willing to help one another.  I wonder without 9.11 if we would have had the same outpouring of service for the people of New Orleans after Katrina?  Or Joplin, MO following the massive tornadoes?  Or most recently the flooding in New Jersey?

Speaking of New Jersey, did you know New Jersey is the home of a 9.11 memorial presented to the USA from Russia?  This is a transformation that really strikes me as an outpouring of love for one another.

This memorial was dedicated on September 11, 2006 in a ceremony attended by former President Bill Clinton, Michael Chertoff, the Bush Adminstration Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and family members of World Trade Center victims. Recording artist Leann Rimes sang the National Anthem and Amazing Grace at the dedication ceremony.   Putin visited the memorial a few days later.  I don’t recall hearing about this five years ago, but I am glad to know about it today.

What strikes me is that transformation from the 9.11 tragedy reaches far beyond the borders of our country.  Perhaps this tragic day is a lens through which we now see a larger world.  A world where compassion is more important than country pride.  People are more important than politics.  Real tears are shed around the world.

Yet this is one tear that will not evaporate from the tear bottle.  This Tear Drop Memorial is now a permanent reminder of the attack of innocent lives.   David writes about collecting tears in the Psalms: “Thou tellest of my wanderings, put thou my tears in Thy bottle are they not in Thy Book?”  Psalm 56:8 KJV.  These words remind God’s people that God keeps a record of all human pain and suffering.  God understands each tear that is shed.   Reaching out through tears is uniting.  It is a place where the phoenix can rise from the ashes and fly forward, or the anger can keep smoldering and freeze us with fear.

This tear drop is a 9.11 transformation that helps us rise from the ashes.  It reminds us that as we all undergo pain and suffering, there are many around us who are shedding tears, as well.  Reaching out to one another we are released from fear and move forward.

There is no doubt we will all remember where we were on 9.11.01.  Perhaps with the immense coverage in the media we will all remember where we were on 9.11.11.  But where will we be tomorrow?  Why does it take a tragedy such as this for us to love our neighbors?  Why don’t we treat the this was every day?  Surely the world is even busier not than is was ten years ago.  We remember, but are we changed?

This is our call, friends.  Notice how you have changed since 9.11.01.  Do you stop and buy lemonade from the kids next door?  Do you smile and say “hello” to the checker at the grocery store?  Have you baked bread and taken it to an elderly neighbor down the street?  Or are you just back to business as usual?

If you haven’t thought about it, perhaps this day of remembrance is a good time to do it.  How is God calling you to be changed and transformed?




Filed under Breathe, Cursillo, faith, God, Spiritual Formation

An Invitation…Really!!

What a journey it has been!  Eight years if you count my year in the Masters of Architecture program at UTA…the place I finally realized I should be building spiritual foundations, not the concrete variety!!

Consider this an open invitation if you are around the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  If you have been reading along, you are part of the journey.

May your day be filled with many glimpses of God!



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Old and New

Old vines

New Vines










As I walked through a small vineyard a while ago, I was captured by the vast differences between the old vines and the new vines.  The old vines offer protection to the fruit.  There is stability as the vines are interwoven.  It is difficult to tell where one branch begins and ends.

The new vines are vulnerable.  The fruit has little protection from the leaves.  The vine depends on the stability of the form to hold the new vine, keeping it from the intruders of the ground.

As I looked at the vineyard from a distance, there were old and new vines next to one another.  It reminded me of Christian community.  Some people are filled with the wisdom of the old vines.  Others are just growing their first fruit.  Some days are filled with the protection of the old vines.  Others are vulnerable to the world.  Some places are built upon the wisdom of the old vines but no longer bear fruit.  Other places need forms to hold up the delicate new vines filling with fruit.

Yet, no vine is better than another.  Each bears its place in the vineyard.

May you be blessed today with the peace of acceptance to be right where God wants you to be in the vineyard.  You might be filled with wisdom bearing no fruit.  You might be vulnerable with the new fruit that is pulling at the form around you.  Whatever the case may be, may you find the gift in the moment and give thanks for the presence of God.

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