Why Leadings?

Not to lead, but to be led            -- by the Holy Spirit.

See Leader, Servant, or Slave? in the section below, "Walking the Walk".

Jack in Denali National Park, 2012.

God's Wrath

Why was Sodom destroyed? Ezekiel tells us in chapter 16, verse 49: "This was the sin of your sister, Sodom: Pride, full-ness of bread, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

That's also why Jerusalem was destroyed.

And now, with greed as our national virtue, what hope is there for the United States of America? We are afflicted by imperialistic pride, obesity, and entertainment addiction, and we are all called to do our part to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

"Strengthen the hand" is the King James wording. Modern translations say "help the poor and needy." And there's a world of difference between the two. Helping the poor = as little as throwing some cash in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. That's charity. It's doing for, not doing with.

My Grandmother was right about charity. On a below-zero day, she went out on the back porch with a skillet to throw hot grease on the back-yard snow. She shivered as she re-entered the kitchen and said, "Wooooh, colder than charity."

Strengthening the hand is much different. We get personally involved with another person who needs help, and we work with her or him to get the needed help. That's risky. You're vulnerable. It takes prayer, time and patience. You need knowledge and wisdom from the LORD. There are great rewards, however. You get a brother or sister.

Strengthening the hand is great work for our churches -- which we ignore far more often than we perform. Why? Because we're afflicted with the Ameri-can curse of individualism. Christians are to be a tribe -- a tribe that takes care of each other. In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls us "the Israel of God" -- the new 13th tribe.

Jesus said, "The poor you shall always have with you." He didn't mean that as a curse -- the notion that the poor are an inevi-table nuisance and expense, to be hidden in the slums. Rather, He was saying, "You shall always be among the poor."

When you strengthen hands, you fulfill Deuteronomy 15:4-5: "However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God . . ." It's a glorious responsibility and promise.

And how do prosperous Americans fulfill that promise? Generally, by making sure they have no contact with people who are poor -- and we have been that way from our beginnings in the 17th century. Early villages in Massachusetts solved the problem by out-lawing poor people. Today, we deal with the same problem by confining the poor in urban reservations, our slums.

As the Supreme Court Bailiff says at the beginning of each session, "God save the United States of America..." 

Saturday
Mar212015

UNBELIEVABLE NEWS

Cast

Mary Magdalene

Narrator

Peter

Time:  The morning of Jesus' return from death. Easter Sunday.

Set:  The disciples' hideout.

At Rise:  Peter is sitting with his head in his hands. He is seriously depressed and speaks with a flat affect. 

 

Version 16

 

NARRATOR:  Matthew, Mark, and Luke all report that the disciples did not believe the news of Jesus' resurrection on Easter morning. Why? Because it was reported by women. To us, that's sexist, but in the first century, it made sense

This play, Unbelievable News, occurs on the morning of Jesus' Resurrection. We see Sylvia Marley as Mary Magdelane. Peter is played by Art Hanley.

MARY M:  Peter! Peter! I have great news.

PETER:  Ummmh?

MARY M:  Jesus has risen from death! He's alive.

PETER:  Ummm.

MARY M:  Isn't it wonderful?

PETER:  Um.

MARY M:  Oh, I'm so excited. I feel like jumping out of my skin.

PETER:  Ugh.

MARY M:  Oh Peter, aren't you thrilled?

PETER:  No. You conned me once today. You're not going to do it again.

MARY M:  "Conned?"

PETER:  Fooled. Tricked.

MARY M:  I never—

PETER:  Sure you did. Luring me and John to that empty vault.

MARY M:  But you saw it. He's gone. He's alive.

PETER:  He's gone. . . .Ever hear of grave robbers?

MARY M:  But I've seen him. He talked with me.

PETER:  When?

MARY M:  Just now. After you and John left.

PETER:  Anyone else see him?

MARY M:  I dunno. What does it matter?

PETER:  The priesthood isn't wrong. They don't let women testify at trials. Too emotional—fooled by their fancies.

MARY M:  I'm not fooled. I saw Jesus. I talked with him.

PETER:  Did you touch him?

MARY M:  I wanted to. I wanted to hug him. He wouldn't let me.

PETER:  How do you know it was him?

MARY M:  I just knew. Like right now I know I'm talking with you, Peter.

PETER:  Ummph.

MARY M:  Oh, Peter, come back to the garden with me.

PETER:  And be a sucker again?

MARY M:  He's there. I know he wants to see you.

PETER:  If he's around, he knows where to find me.

MARY M:  Oh, you're impossible.

PETER:  Yes.

MARY M:  Why can't you trust me?

PETER:  I . . . don't . . . trust . . . me.

MARY M:  Oh?

PETER:  Even if he was alive, I wouldn't rush to meet him.

MARY M:  Why not?

PETER:  Thursday at supper, I bragged I'd die with Jesus. . . . I chickened out.

MARY M:  But he loves you.

PETER:  Maybe not. What's lovable about a traitor?

MARY M:  Is that how you see yourself?

PETER:  Sure. And worse, he told me ahead of time I wouldn't have the guts to stand by him. . . .And when my time came to be bold, I was terrified. I was gutless. . . . I'm ashamed.

MARY M:  But Peter—

PETER:  And I'm scared. (Beat) Death is the penalty for treason.

MARY M:  But Jesus loves you. He'll forgive you. He'll—(Mary M touches Peter sympathetically.)

PETER:  DON'T TOUCH ME!

MARY M:  (Mary M is frightened by Peter's reaction. And she starts complaining to the Father. In the following prayer monologue, two events happen:

(1) She is in combat prayer mode. So, she doesn't put her hands together or kneel or look up piously. She paces and reacts to what she hears.

(2) The LORD talks to her. She is amazed.)

Father, help me. I don't know what to do for Peter. He's being so hard- headed that I can't—(Pause)

What? Leave him alone? (Pause)

You'll take care of him? But can't I— (Pause)

What? . . . .I'm not nagging him! (Pause)

Oh. That's how it feels to him? (Pause)

I'm talking with you. You're talking with me. That hasn't happened before. (Pause)

Oh this is wonderful. You mean I can talk with you any time I want to?

(Pause)

Thank you. Thank you. This is too much joy for one day. (Pause)

So what can I do for Peter? (Pause)

Well of course I'll pray. (Pause. Surprised)

You want me to tell him that? (Pause)

Alright.

(Mary M timidly says:) Peter?

PETER:  Ummmph.

MARY M:  Our Father has a message for you.

PETER:  Oh. What?

MARY M:  "Go fish."

PETER:  Fish? Yes. That makes sense. Soon as I can, I'll go back to Galilee. Take the others with me. This disciple stuff hasn't worked. We'll go back to fishing. (Peter exits.)

MARY M:  Well, he's something. (Beat) But others will want to hear this great news. (Beat)  JOHNNY!  JOHNNY!

 

BLACKOUT


____________

Purpose of this blog is to compile books for my grandchildren to read in 25 years.

Copyright © 2014 by Jack Towe

____________ 

I welcome your reactions.  Please click below on "Post a Comment.”