The Compassion Couch – Good News for April 15

15 04 2010

Acts of the Apostles 5:27-33

When the court officers had brought the Apostles in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders did we not, to stop teaching in that name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”

But Peter and the Apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.

The Daily Path: I may get into trouble with some readers over today’s Path reflection, but I always share what is in my heart.

I’m deeply concerned about much of the dialogue going on in the United States. Conservatives are battling liberals. Christians are attacking other Christians. Those who have the blood of immigrants flowing through their veins attack refugees. People who profess belief in God hold up religion as a dividing principle. A lingering racial chasm lurks hidden just below the surface. Our God given Garden of Eden – Earth – grows sicker while industrialists fuel consumerism with inadequate regard for sustainability. Meanwhile we consume with unequal regard for those who do not have the means to achieve even the most basic human dignity.

I feel as though a modern Sanhedrin is at work in a world where the true teachings of Christ are overwhelmed by the shouts of crowds whipped into a frenzy by the high priests of our age. Where is the dialogue of compassion? Sure, you might say that it exists… but not before we get our cut. Not before our interest is met.

ME FIRST.

ME IS JOB ONE.

ME ME ME ME ME

“We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree.”

When they heard this, they became infuriated and wanted to put them to death.

How often do we figuratively “put someone to death” because WE is in conflict with ME?

I’m a flawed human being. A poor example of a follower of Christ. (Perhaps I harbor anger at myself because in so many ways I still allow the Sanhedrin to have power over me.) In my weakness I want to shake those who don’t see the teachings as I do… just as they want to shake me. But as weak and flawed as I am, the teachings of the Son of Man have touched me in ways that nothing else has. I know I’m not alone. Why then can’t we do more to find common ground and engage in the dialogue of Jesus’ teaching?

If I had the means I would buy a sofa and a van. I would take my sofa all over the country. I would ask people involved in the great debates – and those impacted by the outcome – to sit with me on my couch. I would ask them to tell me where compassion has touched their lives. And I would ask them where compassion exists in their position in the great debate. Then I would ask them to assume for a moment the opposite position and repeat the question. (If they answered that compassion didn’t exist in the opposite position, I would encourage them to try again!) After listening to their thoughts on the first three questions, I would ask: What can we do today – as soon as we get off the couch – to realize greater compassion together?

Would it do any good towards advancing the dialogue of compassion and the commonality we share as one in the eyes of God?

If you see me sitting on my sofa will you stop and talk with me?

Am I just a nut case? Don’t answer that.

Send your donation to Kin’s Compassion Couch Tour today! 😉

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The Belle of Freedom – Good News for September 18

18 09 2009

Luke 8:1-3

Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

The Daily Path: This week I lost a very dear and old friend. I first met her along with her two pals, Peter and Paul, way back in September of 1963. For the better part of nine months I would listen to her on an almost daily basis. She spoke of social justice, the meaning of freedom and the joys of living. My friend was a beautiful blonde who was older than me. I think I had a bit of a crush on her. She possessed an incredible voice that could be a powerful hammer or tender as a mother nurturing her baby child.

Over the years the interactions with my friend grew fewer and far between. However, when we did connect it as was like we’d never been apart. The old memories would come rushing back as joyous as ever. For a few moments we would bond as we always had, then go our separate ways until the next time. I don’t think I’m the only one who experienced this with her.

Mary Travers died on September 16 after battling leukemia. Her band mate, Peter Yarrow said that “(Mary) was incapable of lying, as a person or as an artist.” I believe that is true. Though I never met Mary Travers in person, the music of Peter, Paul and Mary was played by my kindergarten teacher each day. It was more than a calming influence on me and my classmates at nap time. The music also taught us life lessons that remained with me long after those early school days. At a time in our nation’s history when human beings stood up for the rights of others, Mary’s voice was, as the song says, “a hammer of justice and a bell of freedom.” Paul Stookey shares that “she was brave, outspoken and inspiring – especially in her defense of the defenseless.”

Even though I migrated towards other musical genres later in life, I always stopped to enjoy the music of Mary Travers whenever it crossed my path. I guess the “crush” continues to this day. I’m certain that my friend Mary is now sitting with our Father in Heaven lending her angel’s voice to the chorus. God must be pleased that her gift was used so well while she was on earth.

Picture 3