Posts Tagged With: children

Lectio Divina Poem

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Lectio Divina Poem on

Mark 7:24….

Jesus on the move

One place to another

Sent to the lost children 

Of Israel, yet…

Why is he here

Where the Gentiles live?

Like a magnet pulls

He draws the hungry,

The thirsty, the sick

The poor, the desperate

The greater the need

The louder they call

His meal disrupted

A noisy, needy

Foreign woman

With a child

He heard her cry

And turned his attention

Questions and answers

“Even the dogs eat 

The children’s scraps”

For this answer

She is rewarded

Her child is healed

Her faith commended

Do we see these

Women? mothers?

These men, fathers?

They will do anything

To save their child

Do we hear them?

Or do we turn away

From the disruption

And finish our hearty meals?

© 2019 Julie Clark

Categories: Autumn Poems, borderlands, children, Dogs, Faith, God, lament, Peace and Reconciliation, Poetry | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

It’s Complicated”

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I have been hearing this phrase more and more lately.  It’s a handy little phrase. I’ve used it myself many times when I am struggling to understood an issue or a situation.  It is true that life is complicated, human beings are complicated, but I feel like this phrase can be used now as an excuse, a way of not getting involved.  It is a way of distancing oneself from a messy perhaps dangerous situation. There are numerous situations going on around the world that are both messy and dangerous. 

I wonder in a revised version of the Good Samaritan story if one of the religious leaders who crossed the street away from the poor guy beaten and left for dead may have mumbled to himself as he hurried away – “It’s complicated…maybe he deserved what he got or maybe he has a contagious disease, or worse if I stop and help maybe someone will get me next!”

Last night I attended a vigil, calling for an end of the inhumane detention of immigrants in our country. I was heartened to see the church where the vigil was hosted packed out. More and more people are outraged at the news that is coming out and wanting to get involved or at least learn about what is happening.  It was helpful to hear from women who themselves endured the indignity of being locked up and treated as a criminal. (No it is not illegal to seek asylum.) Both women mentioned how terrible it was to witness the way children were treated. One saw the the agents tearing children away from their parents. 

There are numerous things we can do to help. We can raise our voices for the voiceless. We can contact our representatives both federally and locally. We can volunteer, we can donate, we can educate ourselves and help others understand.  We each can do something.  

Let faith have wings that lift us to pray

Let hope have eyes that look for solutions

Let love have feet that move us to action

May we take a risk to love our neighbors who are in great need rather than turn our backs on them because “it’s complicated”. 

I do not know what the answers are to good immigration reform. I need to learn. I do know inhumane treatment of immigrants is not one them. Another phrase I am hearing that I like much better is “This is not a political issue it is a moral issue.”

Categories: children, Faith, God, Hope, Love | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Take Care of the Earth

earth space universe globe

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Let’s take care of the earth

All people

Everywhere

It is our only home.

The stars and the planets

Are too far away.

They were not given to us

To inhabit with these bodies,

but to guide and inspire.

 

We can be

The gentle

The meek,

The careful

Who inherit the earth.

We can think of our children

And their children

And their children’s children.

We can share her resources

We do not need to hoard them

She has enough for us all.

Enjoy her beauty

She feeds your souls

Be inspired to create

More beauty

More abundance

We can do this together.

 

© 2018 Julie Clark

 

Categories: Autumn Poems, beauty, Faith, Hope, Life, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Will It Take

silhouette of boy standing near barbed wire fence during golden hour

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What Will It Take

 

Today I am adding my voice to many who are speaking up for the children being separated from their parents at our borders.  I am appalled, grieved and angry. I know this is not the first time our nation has done this, but I pray that it will be the last. I pray that men and women in our government will take responsibility and quickly return these traumatized children to their parents. Children are being used as political pawns all over the world and they need us all to speak up for them.  Today is not the time to be silent or sit and watch from the sidelines.

 

What will it take

For those harming

The little ones

The children

To awaken

To the gravity

Of their own plight?

 

You are being watched

Your actions are being noted.

Will it be a vision

Of a millstone

Necklace being

Crafted for you?

Or

Will it be a later cry

“Lord, when did I see

You as a child

Being torn

From your parents?

The answer,

“What you did

To the least of these

You did to Me.”

 

Speak up!

Lift your voices

All mothers

Fathers

Grandparents

Send your help,

Else who will listen

When someone comes

For your children

Or grandchildren?

 

© 2018 Julie Clark

 

Categories: children, Faith, God, lament, Poetry, Prayer | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Maundy Thursday: Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

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Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God. Trust also in me. (Jesus) John 14:1

 

What about when violence seems to be in the water we drink, in the air we breathe, the rule of the day?  What about when lives of children are taken without a second thought, gunned down on beaches, in airports and by drones taking out whole families?  When a president of a private christian university encourages students to arm themselves and take out people of a different religion?

 

How do we live in these days when politicians skew all decency and accusations fly through the air waves thick with fear and racism?

 

Do we pull back and hide, stockpile goods and arms?  Protecting ourselves and a few others perhaps?  I seem to recall One saying “if you choose to save your life you will lose it”.

 

This terror, this fear is like a vortex, spinning out of control,  if you get too close to it will suck you in and down.

 

There is another way.  It is a way that refuses to lump people into categories of other, evil, enemies, or sub- human.  It chooses instead to pray for, to bless, yes even love our enemies. It chooses to reach out across barriers to the other, the one who is different, has a different hue to their skin, or language on their tongue or culture I do not understand.  It chooses to seek understanding and to bridge the gap rather than build another wall.

 

This is the path of peace, the way of love, the road to life.  

 

Here we are today Maundy Thursday, approaching Good Friday, before we can get to Easter.  What lessons are still here for us to learn as we see Jesus throw off his robe, tie a towel around his waist, pick up a basin of water, and wash his fearful, doubting, even betraying disciples’ feet? This, a precursor to what was to come the next day.  He laid down his life for all.  He calls us to follow Him.

 

“Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.”

 

There is a way through these times.  One deep breath, one step, one prayer, one cry, one embrace at a time.  It is a humble path and no one is saying it is easy. Is it possible?  Well, what is impossible with man, is possible with God.  Let’s choose this path of peace instead of participating in the destruction of our planet.  

Categories: Faith, God, Good Friday, Hope, Lent, Life, Love, Peace and Reconciliation, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Booties on the Ground

Reading to us

Booties on the Ground! My daughter shouted up the stairs as I was looking for my grandbabies little shoes before we headed out on an outing in some wet, cold weather. I found the little booties on the ground as she had instructed, but all the while thinking of the other phrase: “Boots on the Ground!” The meaning of going to war sending our young people in the path of bombs and bullets to send out their own bombs and bullets on “the enemy”.

 

The world  continues to ignite in firestorm after firestorm. Horrific acts of terrorism and war.  Violence in our streets and in our schools.  Natural disasters leaving misery and grief in their wake. It would be easy to lose hope, but that is one thing we cannot afford to lose.  We could do with losing some anger, hate, bitterness, revenge, fear and the like.  Those really need to go, because if we continue to feed them they grow and we suddenly become the very thing we hate or fear. There is a spiritual law that is not unlike the natural law of sowing and reaping.  You plant an apple seed you get an apple tree.  You plant the seed of hate, that is what grows.  I do not think we can stop the wars and violence in our societies with more violence. It is not working!

We continue to have more war and violence instead of less.  I heard a short clip by  Nobel Laureate

Shirin Ebadi. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-sZIl_R_BE

 

She said if we would have thrown books instead of bombs we would not be in this place we are now with ISIS.  Well we didn’t throw books we threw bombs on Iraq and Afghanistan.  Is it too late to undo this?  What can we do to stop this violence?  

 

Back to the Booties.  Are any of us adults considering what we are doing to the children of this world?  What if those in Booties could vote?  Make war or make peace? Have you seen these compelling photos of where Syrian children sleep?

 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/lynzybilling/where-syrian-children-sleep#.saOnqG2Y7q

 

Please take some time to look at these photos.  What would their vote be?  Make war or make peace?

 

Making peace is not easy.  It is easier to flow on tides of hate and revenge. It takes great effort and humility to make peace.  It takes searching of our own hearts.  Where have I errored? Where have I disregarded another people different from my own?  It takes great courage to walk towards our enemy unarmed.

 

The bravest man I know did not arm himself to the teeth with weapons, or call in a numberless army to surround him on his assault against evil.  Instead, he picked up his cross and headed toward a hill.  He did the hardest work of sacrificing himself to make peace for his enemies to know God’s love. In doing so he stopped the spiritual forces of darkness arrayed to destroy mankind.  He was the same wiseman who said, “If we live by the sword we will die by the sword.” At another time he put a little child in the middle of his followers and asked: “Do you want to be great?  Then become like this little child.”  

 

This is my call today.  “Booties on the Ground!” Let us become like children and choose what is best for them.  I think we all can agree that peace rather than war is best for our little ones.

 

Categories: borderlands, Faith, God, Hope, Life, Paths, Peace and Reconciliation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

For the Sake of our Children and Grandchildren

 

I am novice when it comes to crocheting.  I’m making some progress in and learning new things slowly in what my daughter calls “Venture Crocheting”. That is the kind of crocheting where you don’t really follow a pattern just your instincts. Sometimes it works for simple things, sometimes it doesn’t. I am making a baby blanket for her new baby arriving sometime in February.  I got the basic pattern down for a nice little blanket for him.  The one thing I did not do, which I am learning now I should always do, is roll the yarn into a ball first.  I’ve had two incidents now where I have gotten my yarn all in knots and it has taken me much time and help to get it unravelled.

 

The other day we were visiting friends in their lovely mountain home.  A great time to bring out my blanket. It was cold outside, nice and warm inside, great conversation and food.  Unfortunately, I had one of those times where my yarn got all in a jumble.  It was bad. Fortunately, my friends kindly volunteered to help out.  Some of them more willing than others.  We we will not mention any names or gender here.  The interesting conversation we were having did not exactly stop. We were talking about peace and peacemaking.  How can we be peacemakers in our world filled with conflict?

 

As we were unravelling my knotty yarn, I thought about the knotty problems we were just talking about.  Wars, conflict, ethnic cleansing, apartheid situations that are happening today.  It was a great metaphor as we worked together and didn’t give up, hopeful that the yarn truly would be unknotted.  And finally it was.

 

I thought how for the sake of our children and grandchildren we must do this work and not let the world “go to hell in a handbasket.”  There are obstacles and often it seems impossible.  There are naysayers who don’t believe it is possible, just cut it off (the yarn)!  But how often do we want to cut people off?  Or worse?

 

What if we all were engaged in some way with bringing “peace on earth, good will towards men” and not just waiting for the angels to do it? What if we all have a part in the world we live in or we are called to serve? What if the great areas of conflict were addressed with “faith, hope and love”? What if we practiced forgiveness and truly learned how to “live in peace with each other”? I’m quoting lots of Bible verses here that some will recognize.  Sometimes we who claim to be followers of the Prince of Peace are missing a really important part of the message that He brought us.

 

I was encouraged in my little yarn fiasco.  I have learned a lesson about rolling my yarn ahead of time.  I also had faith and hope it could be worked out.  I had done it before. I want to have this kind of faith and hope when I approach conflict today.  “All things are possible for those who believe.”  It is hard work and takes time and perseverance.  For the sake of our children and grandchildren let us do our part, small or great in this good work of peacemaking.

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Categories: Faith, God, Hope, Life, Love, Peace and Reconciliation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Where is Ruth?

Where is Ruth?

It is hard to say

Love has grown cold

Now she is hiding away

 

Violence in the streets

The children cry

The strong take little notice

While the helpless die

 

Mercy is her sister

She has all but disappeared

without the both of them

It is Ruthless, as we feared

 

© 2014 Julie Clark

(Ruth means compassion.  As I reflect on the shocking violence in Gaza I wonder how the world allows compassion to be so overrun by ruthless leaders. How easily we forget that violence brings more violence.  If we live by the sword, we will die by the sword. The end never justifies the means.  They are one. May God have mercy on us all!)

Categories: Gaza, God, Life, Love, Peace and Reconciliation, Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Disciple or Discipline?

Recently I read a blog that took an excerpt from the book Eight Secrets to Highly Effective Parenting by Scott Turansky, D.Min. and Joanne Miller, R.N., B.S.N. The passage compared running to disciplining children. The writers emphasize the primary goal of parenting to be teaching children to obey.  This doesn’t sit right with me, even though at one time in my young parenting I might have agreed with them.  They refer back to the Biblical 5th commandment of “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long full life in the land the Lord your God will give you.” (Exodus 20:12) The Apostle Paul also writes  “Children obey your parents”.  He also speaks to fathers and says:  “Do not exasperate your children.”  I propose that when we make obedience our goal in raising children we can very easily exasperate them, and even wound them, which would lead to all sorts of trouble for these children as well as trouble in our relationship with them.

If we look to the founder of our faith, Jesus, whose example Christians are meant to follow, I believe the goal of our parenting is love.  We are to teach and train our children to receive love and give love. Jesus emphasizes the two greatest commandments in which we are instructed to love God, others and ourselves. (Matthew 22:38-40) Jesus’ example in the gospels of receiving and blessing children, even rebuking his disciples when they harshly tried to keep them away from him, is the one I want to follow.  He delighted in them, blessed them and affirmed them.  He even honored them by teaching his disciples to become like them.  Jesus also taught us that if we love him, we will obey him.  So obedience flows from a heart full of love.  When I know him and love him, of course I want to please him and do what he asks of me.  I want to make his heart glad, put a smile on his face and make him proud of me.

As a Pastor, Healing Prayer Counselor and Parent Coach I have seen too many children and adults who have been wounded by this kind of harsh obedience orientated parenting, my own children included.  (Thank God they have forgiven me!) Instead I propose that we let love be our goal.  I am not saying this is easy or promoting a wishy-washy kind of permissive parenting where anything goes.  I am promoting engaged, creative parenting where we are committed to disciple our children, rather than merely discipline them.  As we teach and train with the long-term goal of raising loving children, they will become loving adults who respond to God’s love as well as love themselves and those around them.

Categories: Faith, God, Love, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Family

Did someone tell you it was easy?

They lied.

This is where we roll up our sleeves

And engage in the hard work of love.

It does not just happen.

We need to learn it.

Children need to learn it.

It isn’t always pretty.

Have you noticed?

Not a one of us is perfect.

Don’t give up.

Fathers, Mothers engage your children.

Teach them the art of:

Conversation

Boundaries

Respect.

Patience and Kindness are our friends.

They guide us along the path.

Children need to be taught by the ones who love them the most.

Not once,

Not twice,

But all of their growing up years.

Challenging?

Indeed.

This is not a path for the faint of heart.

But don’t worry.

Even the faintest of hearts can be revived.

I know.

I have one.

© 2010 Julie Clark

Categories: Poetry | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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