Friday, February 27, 2009

Tent City

Every year as the end of February hints at the thaw of March (so ok, yesterday it was 86 degrees), a small tent city forms on the edge of our the property of University United Methodist Church in Fort Worth. Here the families who are hoping to transfer their student into Paschal High School gather and wait.

It is interesting for several reasons:
  1. One gets to see just how tough mom really is as she tries to sit on a curb in a lawn chair from Thursday morning until Sunday evening and then spend the night in the high school auditorium.
  2. One finds just how creative humans can be in finding shelter, building shelter, and exactly where they can sleep.
  3. One does wonder, "Where do all those people go potty?"
  4. The crowd grows every year.
  5. The parents line up the church curb because they are not allowed on the school property until Sunday evening.
  6. This one is my personal favorite: These people are idiots. I have watched this happen every year and every year all the parents who are here at 5:30 on Sunday evening get their precious child into Paschal High School.

Sorry, normally I do not get into school politics. But this is just plain silly. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Ok, so this is the beginning of Lent. A time of self-denial and self-reflection as we think about Jesus' time in the wilderness and we prepare for the Great Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter).

How did I start my Lent? With about twenty children ages three to five years. We sang together praising God. We prayed together. We shared a Bible story. Then, I went and played 42 with a group of Senior Citizens. Yep, I got beat two games to none by a couple of ladies in their 90's.

I don't know that this is what most people do as the beginning of the Lenten journey, but I have been blessed in this morning and am deeply reminded of the journey of life from wide-eyed wonderment to the frailty of age.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Scarcity and Faith

This morning, I find myself still thinking, in part because of several comments and questions, on the subject of scarcity. Scarcity means we have an inadequate supply or items or resources. We, as people of faith, buy into a theology of scarcity when we begin to believe that God will not and cannot supply our every need. It was the belief of the disciples when they had only a few fish and some bread to feed 5,000 people, and miraculously, Jesus provided more than enough.

Often our sense of scarcity comes not from a lack of God’s giving, but from our focus on the wrong things. Victor Frankl was one of the many Jews arrested by the Nazi’s. As a psychiatrist, he had written a manuscript and hidden his life’s work in the lining of his jacket. When he arrived at Auschwitz the manuscript was taken from the lining of his jacket along with all his other processions. Eventually, even his jacket and clothes were taken from him.

Frankl says, “I had to surrender my clothes and in turn inherited the worn out rages of an inmate who had been sent to the gas chamber. . . . Instead of the many pages of my manuscript, I found in the pocket of the newly acquired coat a single page torn out of a Hebrew prayer book, which contained the main Jewish prayer, Shema Yisrael.” The Shema reads, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one God. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

We want an abundance of what we think is important, valuable, and worthy. These are often things that have little real importance, value or worth. God has already poured out, many times over, everything that we need for life, for joy, for salvation, and for peace. We do not lack for anything except the faith to trust that indeed God will provide.