30 Days in Gennesaret: Day 29 Ship’s Log II/Stranded

“After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret. They brought the boat to shore and climbed out. The people recognized Jesus at once, and they ran throughout the whole area, carrying sick people on mats to wherever they heard he was. Wherever he went—in villages, cities, or the countryside—they brought the sick out to the marketplaces. They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.” Mark 6:53-56 NLT *

Ship’s Log II

Left Gennesaret at dawn.

Too many stories to tell.

We just drifted past a lad

walking on water.

Was that the six-year-old?

I am sure it was he.

 

Stranded

Shattered

got here too late—

accustomed to my sanctuary of pain.

Jesus and his disciples have left

the shore – boat outline

receding in the distance

 

“He gives power to the faint,

and to him who has no might

he increases strength.”

 

There is a question

dropped like a pebble on the sand,

“Who do you say that I am?”

jfig     4/2020

 

**Isaiah 40:29

***Matthew 16:15

Recently, a young man asked me, “You have been a believer in Jesus for a long time. What ‘advice’ would you give to a younger follower like me?”

In your lifetime, Jesus will many times ask you this question, “Who do you say that I am?” This is an invitation…

Be honest with yourself, and with Jesus, when you answer. Life-changing conversation will follow.   jfig

Mark 6:53-56 Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
** ***Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011, 2016 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

You can access scripture passages here: https://www.blueletterbible.org/ This is a terrific site from which to access multiple translations, commentaries and concordance info.

Dear Reading Friends: Thank you. It has been so meaningful to have your company on this 30 day journey. One more day… Thank you for reading, for commenting, for pondering and following along. Over the next 30 days, I plan to stop in and see what you are up to. In all things heavenward, Godspeed. jfig

 

30 Days in Gennesaret: Altars Day 28

Altars

There is an art

to the ministry of receiving.

It requires some deep clearing of one’s pride

the cleansing (in me) of resentment

that I can not somehow

be more, all on my own.

Flex my bicep a bigger bump

to carry my own weight.

 

Aaaah, but biceps were made for lifting

not pushing oneself up on whatever crutches.

So carry I did

for a day in Gennesaret.

And the pain loosened round my chest

and my eyes cleared to look at the lost and hurting

and my exhaustion faded

(for a moment).

 

The bicep

(now strengthened)

was reminded to lift in supplication

at the altar in Gennesaret

to One who dragged his robe

through the streets of the marketplace

to make us whole.

Amen

30 Days in Gennesaret: Day 26 Resonate

And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him
and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. Mark 6:54b-55 (ESV)
accident action danger emergency
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Resonate

Today I cried in my car

the radio said

15% of $ raised will pass

person to person,

buckets of silver encouragement

handed down the line

to be poured on the fire of sickness and death.

I could almost hear a spiritual singing out of the slavery

gifts no longer earthbound.

I cried because I know the person at the head of the line

fighting the fire

giving his all

 

Yesterday I cried in my throat

the county food bank picking up slack

of 5 ‘shutdown’ small banks

expanded mobile delivery

no child goes hungry…here

I cried because the effort

blew off the edge of the spreadsheet

shot heavenward

in a silver streak of visioned compassion

 

Last week I cried in my chest

foster parent added one more small wiggly body

to nurture like a fragile sprout

tho will take a while to grow

leaving question marks

what does it cost…

I cried because

I have raised a child – clumsy as it was

it takes more than one has in storage

 

I cried in a puddle in Gennesaret

because the people ran

ran the butcher and the potter

ran the farmer and his daughter

not just for their own

but for all the ones Jesus would own

by the bursting of his heart.

I cried because his heart

burst the confines of sickness

no death here

precursor to the grave

which could not hold him bound

 

Was it respect

with which Christ folded the grave-cloths

dismantling death’s power

but not the grace of having suffered?

Our all is earthbound

but when brought to Jesus – Gennesaret-like

human by human

penny at a time

minute offerings take flight

those ones that feel the coined weight, share the suffering

those ones marked all soar heavenward

toward eternity.

 

jfig     4/2020

 

photo of kid playing with kinetic sand while watching through imac
Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com
The title, I know…?
Today, listening to stories on the radio, of ways in which people are stepping up to HELP midst Stay Home Save Lives efforts, I just started crying. People are trying so hard both to cope and to care. Giving everything they’ve got to teach at or from home,  to serve frontline or across the lot line, wrestling with questions of safety.
This crying is not new. When our children were younger than they are now, they participated in the Jr Ski to Sea Race, a multi-challenge relay in Bellingham, WA. Every year I watched kids from all over Whatcom county, with varying levels of physical agility to apply, put great heart into this fun, crazy race, I would be moved to silly tears by their all-out effort, their enthusiasm. The same thing happens when I watch a cross-country meet.(I know – some people cry at the movies, I cry at the moving…)
During this reflection series, I have studied different words in the Mark 6:53-56 passage, comparing translations. Often the nouns and verbs change slightly, but this one word ran stayed consistent across multiple translations and then in meaning for more, with the use of the word hurry. When the townspeople recognized Jesus, they went all out, to get their hurting friends and neighbors to Jesus. Perhaps that is why this passage intrigues me so. Jesus gave his all on the cross. He also gives his all here, in Gennesaret, healing each one… The townspeople gave their all, running to bring the sick from among them, running until they had brought them all. Should we let this move us?
On all these occasions, perhaps what moves me to tears, is this giving of one’s heart in compassion toward a person or toward life itself. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in  and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Mark 6: 19-21. Perhaps what catches our hearts in our throats when we see the goodness of others giving their all, is the image of Jesus, captured in that moment, in Gennesaret and in the here and now. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
What have you seen Jesus do, or others do with his heart of compassion, that moves you?
Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011, 2016 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

30 Days in Gennesaret: Day 25 Bandwidth

My friend Nancy talks about bandwidth – how much physical and mental energy one has to apply toward what enterprise.  How strong one is to carry emotional weights.  How able to discern relevance. She also talks about missional theology, and news that tells the truth, about the Psalms, and how they allow us to spill our fearful guts. When I think about women in my life from whom I learn how one might make a difference, these attributes come to mind: informed, determined, passionate, ingenious, focused. They are people who ask questions of situations and the status quo. They are my children and my parents; they are their friends and my friends. They are mentors who process through research, through reading, through listening to stories. And from these stories, these women gather nuggets of compassion whenever and wherever they find them.

When Jesus arrived in Gennesaret, the people immediately recognized him, setting off a community reaction – of running to bring the sick. (This astounds me, given our love for committees and task forces, lengthy assessments and decision-making trees). I am wondering, what stories they had heard…what nuggets they had gathered, by which they entrusted their sick to this almost stranger.

Bandwidth

Disembark, hem still damp

wind-scuttled.

IMMEDIATELY…

only yesterday

 

Jesus and co. navigated to remote space

refuge and rest

bandwidth narrow

 

Disembark rest

to teach

sheep devoid a shepherd

close up photo of a herd of sheep
Photo by Ekrulila on Pexels.com

Disembark the late hour

to serve full banquet – fish and bread

to just 5000 (plus women and children).

 

Disembark the crowds

to pray.

Alone

 

Disembark striding the waves

to calm fear

suspend chaos…shepherd with sheep

 

Disembark the boat

close, but confused company

to heal the masses

 

relevance – we are sick; not he, she, they

these are our sick

can they come out to play?

 

we have heard…

this name

of Jesus.

 

jfig     4/2020

photo of people on street
Photo by Oscar Chan on Pexels.com

30 Days in Gennesaret: Mixed Metaphors Day 23

RW pic compassion celebration
Compassion Celebration: gleanings

Mixed Metaphors

Isaiah 61 has a plethora of mixed metaphors

sprouts, bridegroom, priests

everyone gets new clothes

as many as touched him

Gennesaret met with

extravagant benevolence

Jesus disembarks

strews healing around

prayers like confetti:

Praise and honor

glory and power*

unfurl the banner

market spice

not just anyone

can unleash such compassion

celebrate

we have a Jesus

who heals

jfig     4/2020

RW pic seahorse fern

 

Healer Jesus, we recognize that there is nothing indiscriminate in your extravagance, but that you invite all—all of us anywhere to receive from the storehouses of your grace and mercy; and in the marketplaces of Gennesaret, your healing. We acknowledge that you came to be about your Father’s business—that business of healing the scourges of sin, raising the dead, and giving LIFE in abundance. Restoring the beauty which you created. We are blessed to call upon your name in hope and longing for your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Help us to do our part; reach up the shallow distance to your threads, come to the table and bring others with us. Today we are flying your flag and singing your praise. Amen

 

You can read the full text of Isaiah 61 here: “Isaiah 61:1 (NIV) – The Spirit of the Sovereign.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 26 Apr, 2020. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/niv/isa/61/1/s_740001&gt;.

*You can read the full text of Rev 5:13 here: “Revelation 5:13 (NIV) – Then I heard every creature.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 26 Apr, 2020. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/niv/rev/5/13/s_1172013&gt;.

photo backstory: Compassion Celebration. Sa had recently returned from the Peace Corps, teaching physics in Africa. (in Portuguese!) Overstretched and overfull, she was willing to share all the goodness with cousin Bfig.

30 Days in Gennesaret: Imperatives Day 22

In writing this morning’s poem, I realized that I have come to hold some of it’s ‘observations’ as facts.; when , in fact, they are observations.  Aaah, the lovely thing about Jesus; He holds each story unique. May you feel the power of his reading of your story, and writing you into his own. J

Imperatives

I. we run toward healing

concept of ‘fix’ clutched tightly in hand

imploring

 

healing, the way things were before

before divorce, before cancer

before loss

 

before diagnosis of mental illness

if only we could heal ourselves

I should, I must

whooshing up the chimneys of one’s soul

cyclone-like

 

when the fire has burned itself out

hospice begs one consider another question

healing?

breathing better, or peacefully

allowing to breathe one’s last *

 

II. in Gennesaret,

healing comes

in meeting the Healer

face to face, masks cast aside

 

in ‘condescending’

to receive. Jesus could

heal a man (delicate subject)

while having breakfast over the ashes

 

if you are invited

say yes

one must let go of the clutchings

to take hold of the fringe

    jfig     4/2020

 

cooking pot near burning wood
Photo by @rrinna on Pexels.com

I reality, I have been ‘writing’ this poem for years, pondering the imperatives we bring to God when we ask for healing. The woman who was bleeding: what happened in the twelve long years leading up to the moment in which she finally reached out and touched Jesus’ robe, and He felt the power of faith go out? I recognize that thoughts of peaceful and breathing midst our current picture of Covid 19 seem mutually exclusive. If you are experiencing pain and personal loss as a result of Covid, I cannot begin to speak into your story in the moment. Only Jesus…

If you would like to explore further:

John 21:1-19; Luke 8:43-48

 

30 Days in Gennesaret: Day 21 Puzzles

When we received confirmation from the genetics clinic, of a diagnosis for our seven year old daughter’s disability, our other children were 11, 13 and 14. They had some questions: “What does this mean?” “Well…if Jesus healed her, would he change everything?”

Puzzles

Where are the disciples? Has anyone seen Thaddeus…Andrew, James, John

? Did any come with leprosy. Who brought them? After how many seasons in quarantine??

? Did some wait sun-up to sun-down and into first light, like refugees, lined up with diseases like displacement and poverty, the adverse experience of terror

? Did Matthew really mean all: he was a numbers keeper, you know:

     “soon the people were bringing all their sick to be healed and all who touched him were healed.”

? Was there a panic, what if I can’t get there in time?

? Did anyone get sunburned, lying in the marketplace.

? What ointment did they have

? Who carried cups of water

https://water.cc/

? What questions did the children ask  ? What answers were they given

? Did people talk to the beggars – or were they considered ‘unclean’ And at the end of the day?

? Did anyone, listening to the stories, sneak away to the harbor,  freshly healed—to attempt walking on water. This I would really like to know…

? Were some taken aback at transformations; others’ ills completely unknown. Not just acquaintances, but family members, friends…

? Were the newly healed, newly clothed. By what method?

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10 ESV

? what did healing look like. The way things were before, or did God’s kingdom coming in the Healer Jesus bring a new normal

? did old scars go away – the jagged lines disappear

? Does Jesus see me

? Who is He – really…………………………………………………who will I say that He is?

jfig     4/2020

 

“Matthew 14:34 (NLT) – After they had crossed the.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 24 Apr, 2020. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/nlt/mat/14/34/s_943034&gt;.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

“Isaiah 61:10 (ESV) – I will greatly rejoice in.” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 24 Apr, 2020. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/esv/isa/61/10/s_740010&gt;.

Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011, 2016 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved

One response that you could make to this post, is to share your heart’s awareness of  the names of organizations/nonprofits that you feel are carrying out the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. Thanks…j

Message from the Woods

 

Little Miss Sweetness and I took to the woods. Some of us are occasionally creeping out to isolated places concerned that to not do so might bear worse consequences than our exposure to the elements. We brought back a message for any who need to hear it.

RW pic H
h is for ‘hello’

h is for hello: We are your woods, growing still because some wise individuals collaboratively discerned that you would need us. May you have wise individuals still. You are not here; we have noticed. That is okay. We are practicing being: being green, flashing our native color, and growing, after  winter’s semi-hibernation. And we are taking an arguably needed sabbath rest. We are all in this together…

Do not worry. You will return to the woods once more; the Douglas fir and hemlock will be waiting, sentinels for your return.

 

RW pic ll sand
love letters in the sand

love letters in the sand: the nematodes and copepods are dancing;

we will be so*excited!!!to see you~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Today was just hard

In spite of having what we need of food and projects and space, I felt blue – that unsettling mix of thankful and sad. It was sad, to see cars in people’s yards with fresh ‘for sale’ signs. Demoralizing to see a SWAT team at the foodbank in a rural county. It feels heavy to hear of friends’ struggles to homeschool for the first time without the benefit of distance, the perspective that one’s children will survive. In reality, many of you have been teaching your children from day one. They will bloom because of and in spite of you. They will benefit from your efforts, but they will survive in large part because of God’s mercy, and his bold creative design that gave us curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. Our brains LOVE having problems to solve.

On the other hand, our hearts were built for nurture – of bodies and other beings.

RW pic message from the woods
the nurture tree

 

I wonder how many living, growing things this stump has nurtured – seedlings to saplings to trunks. An army or two of ants. Squirrels, lichens, ferns. It appears that we have been taking nurture for granted: teachers, transit drivers, nurses. When I was growing up (about a hundred years ago) the school cooks made sweet rolls for the teachers on meat and gravy day. Now the cooks and librarians are packing lunches and shipping them on the short bus to a neighborhood down the road. I wonder if school levies will pass more readily now; teacher salaries go up? Truck drivers, and maintenance workers and the kid at the pizza shop. Volunteers, and anyone who whistles or sings. In January, there was an article in the Week magazine, “Bad bosses: Will they ever reform?” This month, my friend’s boss is giving her unmandated hazard pay, because she is grateful for her staff, and wants to nurture their being…

My friend Nancy says, never waste a crisis. We are learning that some of our collective strength is found in the least celebrated places, and in our willingness to try something new; in being creative, and being brave. Everyone I know is tired, because we are all working hard to feed the cells of society; sending pipelines of aide up and down the stories of real, or imagined, class.

We are also being more honest, about when we are frightened and lonely and sad. We are wearing cloth and paper masks, but we’ve taken off some of the invisible ones we used to hide behind. Donning gloves, but looking for new ways to touch each other.

RW pic bleeding heart
bleeding heart

I believe in us, in the Creator’s God’s design that imbedded his image, creativity and nurture and sacrifice.

‘You will return to the woods once more; the Douglas fir and hemlock will be waiting, sentinels for your return.’

They will have grown. perhaps so will we.

jfig    4/2020

To my regular readers; I apologize for the radio silence. Poem 20 has been a challenge, both it and the fig fam needs refuse to stay within the necessary margins for concentration and productivity…everything keeps popping out at the seams. Just want to let you know that I have not given up on the poems or you.

30 Days in Gennesaret: Presence Day 18

Presence

The air in the market

electrified the dawn

Bow scarcely nudged shore

and people were running

 

We thought Him a ghost

but what stole our breath

was the sea settling still

beneath Jesus

 

If the sea ‘believes’

then might I?

 

His damp hem

people persist in touching.

The still—move

the agitated—still

 

If the frail believe

then might I?

 

The able-bodied rally

no riot – just intense industry

passing the ‘poor in body’

toward holier translation of peace

 

If the strong believe

then might I?

 

Jesus keeps walking

step by even step

until his feet land—

at me.

“Who do you say that I am?”

 

If He believes

then might I?

 

I am struck again, Lord Jesus, by the fact that you keep presenting yourself to us – to taste, to feel, to touch – your broken body, your proven suffering and scars, your wearied robe. Do you know that we aren’t allowed to touch stuff in museums? And that we get impatient when kids tug our skirts? You present yourself to us, for grimy fingertips, and the rare bottle of expensive perfume. Today we pause, to see you, not just the insistent need that we bring, but you. Tell us your story – the one in the garden, or the one at the tomb, or even the one with breakfast on the beach. We will try to sit still, long enough to hear your voice. J

jfig     4/2020

 

30 Days in Gennesaret: Was Anyone Six Day 15

Was Anyone Six  

for anyone who has ever loved and hoped for a sick child

 

Was anyone six

who lay on a bed

bruised and broken

afore he had…

lived?

 

First trip to market—

or do child and corner already belong

claimed by a cup

where alms trickle across his palm

(instead of caterpillars)

 

Did someone tell a story?

Who first

Jesus or lad,

imagination’s energy quite different

from one small.sickly.frame

 

Is mother at home?

heart shackled to his side

hope her companion

she – begging

for life

 

Did Jesus speak?

some have heard these words

“I know what she needs…”

“She is merely asleep.”

“Rise up and walk.”

“No one sinned.”

“I might be glorified” through

one small.child’s.dance

 

What did the child hear?

“Shhh…it’s our secret…”

pound right here

 

Did he remind Jesus of seven

hide-n-seek in the crowd

the game of a thousand temple questions?

hammer and nails…

hammer and nails…

 

There are bumps and bruises to be had

I must be about my Father’s business

hammer and nails…

 

Was anyone six?

did Jesus hold back a grin

for another tale to be told?

what hearts did he heal

as child clambered up…

 

Finish the market piggyback—

Does this not offend?

Child swagger

grounded

in hanging on to a bigger hem.

jfig     4/2020

 

IMG_5182

 

Dear Reading Friend,

This poem took me on a lot of tangents. In following them, I stumbled onto ideas I’d never considered before, so it was worth the journey. Thank you for joining me.

Questions to ponder: 

?   In what way is Jesus inviting you to ‘hang on, childlike, to the hem of his garment?

?   We are often reminded to ‘have childlike faith.’  In what ways do children uniquely image their creator?

The poem references these passages:  Mark 5:35-43; John 9:3; Matthew 18:3; Ephesians 5:1. You can access scriptures at https://www.blueletterbible.org/

Also, I lost a day somewhere…I’m not going to worry too much about that.  If you are still on day 15, we are not lost from each other, nor hopefully from the one who is leading the way. jfig