Archive for May, 2013

The Fantasized Alternative

Your author he sits with a heart that is full and yet yearns for a hope incomplete
My people, so lost, from an error so grievous which millions are taught to repeat
Their stubborn refusal to banish their pride, staunch their victimhood and reverse course
I watch helplessly on as they race for salvation unaware they’re astride the wrong horse
As a Jew I was told that forgiveness could come should I mix up the meat with the cheeses
but the sin unforgivable is the blasphemous heart that makes room for the one they called Jesus
Through my guilt I resisted; my shame built a wall. I made a closed trap of my mind
Yet he moved so methodically, patiently waiting, with a smile, just a few steps behind
Then he pounced, without warning; my cup overflowed; in an instant I was a new creature
At once my redeemer, my hope, my Messiah, my savior, my king and my teacher
And so here i sit, a believer and Jew the pairing our Lord had intended
And yet in the eyes of my people, a pairing which renders my jewishness ended
I grieve their aloneness and wonder, perplexed, how they missed that he passed every test
How the one who was sent to teach them about love was a man that they came to detest
I can’t help but wonder what would it have taken for truth to have crushed their denial
A design which would have them exalt him rather than Illegally put him on trial
This scene I imagine is surely no message of a lack of trust in my creator
For I know while his plan may seem unjust today, its truth shall be realized later
But my small human brain with its limited scope can’t help dream of an alternate ending
As my heart feels so strongly the needs of my people who don’t understand they need mending
Yes, the beheading of Jesus’ cousin pre-dated his death on the cross
This poetic license, I pray, will not serve to impede truth from coming across
I fantasize an invitation sent out to the pharisees one afternoon
For a short chat regarding salvation to take place at 6 by the light of the moon
In handwriting simple, not a single word wasted wrote John, a man sent to Baptize
The letter quite slender and meek in its body held a promise of infinite size
“I write to you, friends, with glad tidings, a message you’ve waited for since the beginning
The power of loving forgiveness to wholly resolve every drop of your sinning”
some doubtful some angry they feared blasphemy from this man they perceived so presumptuous
regardless they came for the chance this was true while small It was simply too sumptuous
they arrived in there dressings and staffs adorned heartily with gemstones and rare splendid jewels
prepared to declare both the speaker and the 1 that he spoke of as ludicrous fools
but they listened intently to him who had called them this man they’d pre judged as a joke
And their faces and attitudes slowly would shift as this humble man stood up and spoke
I know at my word you’d be foolish to take me for there are tests which Messiah must pass
But I ask what you’ll say should this man score no less than 100 percent in each class
I ask only that you be willing, should all the parts fit, to proclaim him The One
And promise to all these good people you’ll rightly proclaim him as God’s only son
I see your heads nodding and thus I’ll assume that we’ve all struck a righteous arrangement
That should I succeed you’ll bow down and succumb to the end of God’s wrath-based estrangement
Let us now read from the scriptures and pray for the guidance our prophets set forth
In much the same way that a compass points up its fine needle to show us true north
Our first of these prophecies spoke and then scribed as a promise we’d soon see unearthed
Tells from the womb of a woman of chasteness must this man be conceived to be birthed
So he was, with an energy, powerful,  holy,  protecting those with him from danger
As his family, absent of earthly resources, settled down ‘neath the roof of a manger
Kings, it was told, would journey with gifts, with the purpose of kneeling in reverence
Having seen a star signaling one from above whod fix for us Gods righteous severance
he must come from Bethlehem; must be Nazarene
he must come from Abraham’s line
He must come from Isaac; from Jacob and heir to the throne to be cannoned Divine
His lineage must include Judah as well as the priest Melchidezek to boot
His tribe and his order must be just this pure to ensure there could be no refute
the man must be meek; he must be without guile. and so far he’s passed every test
I hope I’m correct that your promise declared hes Messiah should he pass all the rest
let us reconvene shortly to see how he’s doing something of a progress report
at that time I’ll support you in stoning him as a false prophet if  by chance he falls short
I thank you for listening now I’ll take my leave for I have much baptizing to do
until that time let me ask our Holy Father to grant blessings to each one of you
A ways down the road the same group reconvened with John once again at the head
Much new information available now. With conviction here’s what the man said:
My brothers, I thank you for joining me here once again that we all may review
And so let us now look at what has come to pass and what God’s been revealing to you
Turning back to the canon of scripture we’re told our man would be betrayed by a friend
That 30 coins would be the price leading him to his capture and soon to his end
What’s more these coins would be thrown down, then picked up and then used to buy a potters field
Systematically each event had to occur for the sin in mankind to be healed
Furthermore, it was deemed that his sheep would all scatter the moment the pendulum turned
And the man would go silently on to his fate. Are these prophesies not what you’ve learned?
Your scholarly acumen answers this question, therefore I must ask you all how
You can justify Christ hanging limp from a cross up on Calvary dying just now?
Did we not strike a deal? Was I foolish to trust you as honorable men of your word?
Do you not see your choice to dispose of this man who had who has passed every test as absurd?
I agree we can’t claim him messiah as yet there are prophesies still to fulfill
How confident are you they’re not coming true as he’s tortured up there on the hill?
For the facts you’re ignoring deserve your attention but none of you men want to bother
To use some discretion to find out if he might be a gift from your Father
And only the blind, the dim witted or those who are hopelessly lost or deranged
Do not know that The Lord does not take too kindly to having his presents exchanged
Now I’ll leave you for I wish to go bid farewell to the man who has aced every test in your class
I’ll return one more time just to see if you managed to find one he just couldn’t pass
I’ll pray for you all as the odds on this gamble you’re taking don’t seem in your favor
It appears that the chances are greater by far that the man you are killing’s your savior
A month and a half passed before, as he’d promised, this man named John came a third time
Just having spent time with The Christ resurrected and feeling a warmth so sublime
Once again he stood up before all of them an energy peaceful and calm
Before this last look at the words of the prophets he read from The 23rd Psalm
Your shepherd, The Lord, brought green pastures before you, and the stream of a water so still
His one son, begotten, to refresh your soul. The meek one that you chose to kill
A path was presented, a path you declined-in the valley so dark you remain
The evil you’ve cast it must full you with fear
For the rod nor the staff can you gain
The enemy coming no tables been set, no oil anointing your head
Goodness and love are not following you
With Satan you’ll dwell when you’re dead
The sinning of Judas and Pilate, his soldiers and Satan were rendered benign
Unconsciously used by the good Lord himself as mere pawns in His blessed design
That their evil, in fact, did support his messiahship, none of them had but a clue
And the prophesies left unfulfilled by these players were tactically handled by you
You murdered him though every one of you studied and taught and knew better than most
That without being slaughtered messiah would be a term that not one person could boast
Of his bones, none were broken, his side it was pierced, and the soldiers drew lots for his clothes
And he rose from the grave three days after he perished and stood right in front of my nose
Now you sit here before me surrounded by people who heard you swear a solemn oath
That you would accept him if proved God and human, and they’ve all seen that he is both.
And my brothers, I see the regret on your faces; I see how you’re filled up with shame
But here me, the good news The Christ has delivered, it tells us that God does not blame.
He does not hold grudges, he does not give up, your mistakes have not turned him away
For debt you accrued from unjust execution, he paid for them that very day.
The Lord, he still wants you, perhaps more than me, for you’re of the bloodline he started
I’ve come to report that he waits not in anger; your Father, he waits brokenhearted.
We’re not far from the water, and therefore you men are so close to a life that’s eternal
I’ll baptize you just after a prayer on your knees and save you from fire infernal
The only requirement be that desire in your heart back the words of your voice
I ask now my friends, how you’d like to proceed, you must tell me now, what is your choice?
As all who were gathered drew silent and watched for a cue from their fair  Pharisees
A few moments later, Each jewel betrothed man humbly edged off their seat to their knees
With a heart full to bursting, John smiled and said “My dear brothers, prepare to be free.”
And then for a moment, he closed eyes and prayed and said “Simply repeat after me.”

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Adam & Enosh


Enosh: Hey grandpa.


Adam: Enosh!  Come here, son.  Sit with papa and tell me what is new.


Enosh: Grammy Eve gave me figs and apricots.


Adam: Oh, yes.  Grammy Eve makes a yummy fruit jubilee.  So, how’s life treating you, my boy?


Enosh: Um… I’m fine, I guess.


Adam: You guess?  What’s to guess about?  I’m asking about you, son.  You live inside of there (pointing to the boy’s heart.)  Does it feel fine in there or does it not?


Enosh: Well, how do you know if you’re fine or not?


Adam: Ah, now that, my dear Enosh, is a question as juicy as the fruit jubilee filling your tummy.  Why don’t we try a different question?  What, in particular, feels less than fine?


Enosh: Sometimes, I fight with my friends and I don’t really know why.  I mean, I like them a lot and I want them to always know that, but sometimes they do stuff- like, not big stuff- and it just makes me really mad.  Mad, in a way, that just sort of feels… I don’t know… like too much.


Adam: You mean that you experience a level of anger that feels out of proportion what is actually taking place?


Enosh: Yes, right!  That’s it exactly.


Adam: Okay.  What else?


Enosh: Well, I guess- no, I don’t guess… I know…


(Adam smiles at his grandson catching himself)


Enosh: That sometimes I just wonder whether I am really a good person.


Adam: Because of the fights with your friends?


Enosh: Yeah, that.  And… other stuff.


Adam: And what is this other stuff?


Enosh: I’m afraid you’ll get mad.


Adam: Enosh, you have my word.  I will not get mad.


Enosh (hesitantly): Sometimes I worry that… that… sometimes I worry that there is no God.


Adam: Aha.  I understand.  And why did you think that this would upset me?


Enosh: Because you believe in God.


Adam: Yes, I do.  Do you think that this means that I never doubt?


Enosh: Kind of.


Adam: It does not mean that, Jacob.  I do struggle with my faith.  Quite often, as a matter of fact.


Enosh: Really?


Adam: Yes.  Let me ask you a question.  Is your struggle actually that you worry that God is not there or is your struggle that you fear that he is not watching over you; that he doesn’t love you?


Enosh (after a pause): The second one.


Adam: Hmm.  And I wonder, is there one central reason that you think such a thing might be true?


Enosh: Um, well… yeah.  I mean, it seems that if he really loves me, he would, like… I don’t know… like show me what to do; like, in my life, y’know?


Adam: You feel like a God who loved you would provide you with more guidance?


Enosh: Right.


Adam: You know, Enosh, you have blossomed into a wise and curious young man.  With this in mind, I suspect that it is time for grandpa to reveal to you some important truths about your lineage.  You are aware that Grammy Eve and myself were the first people created by God, yes.


Enosh: Yup.  Daddy sometimes calls you people kindling.  I don’t what that means, but I think it sounds funny.


Adam: That is funny.  I’ve not heard that one.  It’s also fairly accurate, I suppose.  So, The Heavenly Father, in his infinite grace began his relationship with what were to be known as human beings by breathing life into me and, shortly thereafter, that I would have the ability to be begin the processes of filling the earth with more just like me, he pulled a rib from my side and created your grandmother.


Enosh: Wow.  How did he do that?


Adam: That’s the fascinating thing about the power of our Creator, Enosh; even when one is present for the miracles he performs, we still cannot comprehend how he does such things.  That is a key factor in understanding that God is God and we; we are not. Therefore, there is much that we are simply not meant to know.  Does that make sense?

Enosh: It does.  So… uh… what was it like when he made you guys?


Adam: It was perfect.  But then… we ruined it.


Enosh: You ruined it.


Adam: We did.  God gave us everything.  He told us that we were free to enjoy, revel in, every inch of this splendid reality he had created just for us.  But he had one rule.  There was a single tree from which we were not to eat the fruit.  But we disobeyed him.  We ate the fruit.


Enosh: But why?  Wasn’t there lots of other trees with the same kind of fruit?


Adam: Oh, yes.  There were endless trees replete with every kind of fruit the mind could imagine and many that it could not.


Enosh: So why did you eat from the one that you were not supposed to eat from?


Adam: Because, my beautiful boy- the nature of the perfection the good Lord granted to us could only be understood in retrospect.


Enosh: Huh?


Adam: Let’s say I handed you something that you had never seen before.  A small item with a shape and a texture utterly foreign to you.  Let’s say that I told you it was called a ‘chapin.’  I further told you that what you were holding in your hand was a perfect chapin; and that it was the only perfect chapin in the world.  What would it take for you to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that what I had told you was the truth?


Enosh: Um… that I would have to see a chapin that was not perfect?


Adam (smiling broadly): That is correct.  Do you see?


Enosh: Oh, you mean that because perfection was all you had ever know, the idea of something not perfect was impossible to fear; or even to imagine.  But once it happened…


Adam: Yes; it was too late to get it back.


Enosh: Gosh, what was that like?


Adam: I cannot imagine that there could possibly be a worse pain in the world.


Enosh: Well, so, what does this have to do with me, grandpa?


Adam: Unfortunately, it has everything to do with you, Enosh.  You see, all of the difficulties that you have been sharing with me; essentially, they are all my fault.


Enosh: No, they’re not!  Don’t say that.


Adam: I must say it, my sweet boy.  What I owe you; what I will always owe you,

Enosh- is the truth.  And this is the truth.


Enosh: But how?  How is it your fault?


Adam: Well, to answer that, perhaps we I ought employ another one of my ‘papa quizzes.”


Enosh: Oh, c’mon, not a papa quiz.


Adam (smiling): Sorry, buddy.  A good teacher never just gives his student the answers.  Okay, so here is your quiz.  It’s a short one.  One question; four parts.  ‘What are the four ways in which human beings are clearly superior to all other species in the animal kingdom?


Enosh: Um… wait… I know this… is one of them that we, like, make choices between being good and being bad?


Adam: We are moral creatures, yes.  What else?


Enosh: The we… that we think about whether God is there or not?


Adam: Very good.  We are spiritual creatures.  Third?


Enosh: I can’t think of anything else.


Adam: Yes you can; c’mon.


Enosh (looking frustrated): I can’t- Oh, wait, I know, we have this- this sort of an idea that there’s a reason that we are here?


Adam: Yes, excellent!  We are missional creatures.  What’s the last one?


Enosh: Oh, man.  I don’t know, Grandpa.  C’mon, just tell me.


Adam: Interestingly, you are missing the most obvious one.


Enosh: I am?


Adam: Think about what is taking place right here; right now.


Enosh (clearly thinking very hard):  Oh, we need each other!


Adam: We are relational.  That’s my boy!


Enosh: That was a good papa quiz, grandpa.  But I still don’t see what it has to do with me.


Adam: Well, you asked me earlier what the grace of God’s perfection was like.  While I could never explain it in a way that would provide you a genuinely clear picture.  But, utilizing the four components you just correctly located, I can give you some indication.  You see, after your grandmother was brought before me, the perfect reality of our world could, in part, be located by us externally; the stark beauty of the foliage; the scrumptious flavors of the food; the ideal temperature, etc.  But, far more powerfully, the perfection was something that we felt internally.


Enosh: How so?


Adam: Let’s look back at our papa quiz.  Morally, we were perfect; we knew only goodness and justice and humility.  Spiritually, we were perfect; joined as one with God, feeling agape streaming through every cell, and out every pore, of our bodies.  Missionally, we were perfect; we knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that we were placed here to be fruitful and multiply and to lord over all the animals on the land, under the water and in the sky.  And relationally, we were perfect; grandma and I were awash in a love so complete, and so effortless, that it literally felt like we were joined in a womb.


Enosh: And when you broke the rules, it changed?


Adam: ‘Changed’ falls so short of describing the overwhelming nature of the shift, but, yes, it changed.  You see, the way in which we came to eat the forbidden fruit was as a result of the temptations of Satan as played out through a serpent in his name.


Enosh: A snake.  I hate snakes!  They scare me.  Did it bite you?


Adam: No, no. That is how Satan operates, Enosh.  This is very important for you to know.  Satan does not attack; he beckons.  He does not yell; he whispers.  He does not intimidate; he charms.  The snake simply slithered over and had a conversation with Grammy.  He questioned whether she had correctly understood God’s warning about the tree.  She was still adjusting to her new life and was easily confused by the serpent’s wiles.  He tricked her into eating the fruit and, my undying love for her temporarily blinded me from what I knew to be true, and I soon followed suit.  So, ‘papa quiz part 2.’


(Enosh groans)


Adam (steadfastly continuing): Four questions this time.  Question one; we had been morally perfect.  What effect did the snakes ruse have on this?


Enosh: Uh… you were, like, bad now?


Adam: Close.  Not so much bad.  We had been morally corrupted.  I’m feeling generous.  I’ll mark that one correct.  Now, after we ate the fruit, and realized we had done something horrible, we feared God’s wrath.  So we went and hid.  Question two is: what part of perfect internal condition do we see effected in that choice?


Enosh: The one where we wonder why are here; or, like what we are supposed to do with our lives?  Misha- something.


Adam: Very good.  We had become missionally confused.  Now, when God found us- which, I suspect you can imagine took very little effort- he why we were hiding.  When no answer came, he asked me if I had eaten from the forbidden tree.  Rather than directly admit my sin, I blamed grandma; who then, in turn, blamed the snake.  So, question three- what had been effected here?


Enosh: Your relationship.


Adam: Exactly.  We became relationally fractured.  And, finally: question four- what do you suspect happened to us spiritually?


Enosh: God didn’t like you anymore?


Adam: No.  This one I must mark incorrect, as, within this answer is a critical lesson for you and for all who follow.  God loved us after we ate that apple exactly as much as he loved us before we ate it- which, is to say, wholly and completely.  And that is because he is incapable of doing anything else.


Enosh: But that doesn’t make sense.  God can do anything.  He’s opti-… he’s omnivore-… oh, what’s the word.


Adam: Omnipotent.


Enosh: Right, omnipotent.


Adam: You are correct. God is, most assuredly, omnipotent.  The word means ‘all powerful.’  God has all the power in the world to accomplish anything he wishes to accomplish… except one thing.  God does not have the power to be something other than God.  God is love; God is righteous.  These are not qualities or character choices.  They are an intrinsic part of his nature.  And because God is love, there is no way for him not to love us.  But, because God is righteous, he also has no choice but to turn away from us.  Consequently, we became spiritually alienated.


Enosh: Huh.  Okay, I think I understand.  But, grandpa, I still don’t really see what this has to do with me or how anything that is happening in my life is your fault.


Adam: You see, son, if we take all four realities I’ve just disclosed to you: moral corruption, missional confusion, relational fracturing and spiritual alienation- and we were to boil them all down to one single word; the word would be ‘Sin.’  Not sins, with a lowercase ‘s,’ mind you.  Capital ‘S,’ Sin.  As a result of the regrettable actions of your grandmother and myself, Satan was given a stronghold within mankind.  Put simply, he has the legal rights to us.  Because of our actions, Sin is not a toxin that runs through all of humanity; and, that, of course, Enosh, includes you.


Enosh: But how?  How does it run through me? I don’t get it.


Adam: Remember when you told me how you fight with your friends and find yourself angry with them on a level which you don’t quite understand?


Enosh: Yes.


Adam: You are relationally fractured.  Didn’t you say that sometimes you wonder if you are a good person?


Enosh: Yes.


Adam: You are morally corrupted.  You also told me that sometimes you fear that God is not there; or that he doesn’t care.


Enosh: Because I’m spiritually alienated…


(Adam begins to cry softly)


Enosh: And I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing because I’m missionally confused.


(Adam’s head falls into his arms as begins to openly weep)


Adam (without lifting his head; barely whispering): I’m so sorry…


(Enosh puts his arms around Adam and hugs him tight)


Enosh: Grandpa, do you remember when you told me the story about Uncle Cain killing Uncle Abel?


Adam (softly): I do.


Enosh: When I got upset and said that it was all so horrible, do you remember what you told me?


Adam (looking up): No.


Enosh: You said, “Enosh, I know this may be hard for you to understand, but in the midst of all the pain and the violence and the sadness is much richness and a powerful opportunity for growth and learning.”  You said, “Without despair we have no reference for joy; without darkness we could not understand light.”  You told me that, even though the tragedy robbed me of an uncle; it may also have granted me insights which would help me become a great man.


Adam: I did.  I said that…


Enosh: So, grandpa, isn’t it possible that, on some level, you and grandma Eve eating that apple might have, somehow, been a part of God’s plan?  Or, at least, that God’s plan is such that the action you took would not be powerful enough to knock it off course?  Because if you knew to tell me that about Uncle Abel’s death than that knowledge must come from God, right?


Adam (tear stained face glowing with a wide smile):  I don’t have the words to tell you how deeply I adore you or how magnificently proud of you I am.


Enosh: I love you, too.


Adam: I think I may have to stop giving you poppy quizzes so that you can start giving me Enosh quizzes.


Enosh (smiling proudly): Not yet, grandpa.  Something tells me that you still have some things to teach me.


(They embrace and sit in silent for some time)


Enosh: Hey grandpa?


Adam: Yes?


Enosh: Will God be able to save us from Sin?


Adam: I have every confidence that he will, Enosh.


Enosh: But how?


Adam: I really don’t know.


(Adam thinks for a moment)


Adam: Although, there was something that God said that has stayed with me ever since our fall from grace.  Just before he told your grandma and I that we’d be cast from the garden, he turned to the snake and said, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals!  You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.  And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”


Enosh: What do you think that means, grandpa?


Adam: I can’t say for sure.  But that last bit seems to suggest that there will be a man.  A man who will come and defeat death and banish sin that we all might be reconciled with our heavenly Father.


Enosh: What kind of man?


Adam: I would imagine… a very great one.



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