Rich White America

I’m from Rich White America, the human race’s one percent.

I’m from daily dinners with Dad and Mom,

cul-de-sac calm and patio parties

and nothing but failure to fear.

I’m from baby books, photo books

children’s books, classic books –

books that they would read to me so I would ace the SAT.

I’m from big grass yards and imaginary friends;

all the wars I fought were sticks and pirate ships.

I’m from homework help and holidays,

spring break trips and soccer games.

I’m from homemade meals and fresh fruit in the fridge.

I’m from innocence and warmth,

crystallized on Christmas with five presents just for me.

I’m from self-inflicted issues with a satisfied stomach

and a sheltered safe haven from violence;

even sickness was sorry to disturb the peace.

I’m from landlocked tears and

and keeping one’s emotions in one’s room.

 

I’m from everything you didn’t have.

Does it help if shame and loneliness are familiar faces in this fairy tale?

If anxiety and depression are the starlets on this silver screen?

Rich White America is the strangest of normals,

and I’m not saying that it’s fair.

So please tell me instead, where you’re from?

Nazareth!

“…Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” Luke 18:37

Nazareth! Little village on a hill.

Remember those games without toys, invented by dust-covered, poor boys?

All the water jugs filled and brought home, Mama cooking on a stove of hot stone,

Every child to his house, every father sitting down,

Some folks saying bad words loudly, drinking buddies getting rowdy.

A million years, the same things happening. A million souls, the same sins committing.

Nazareth! So much moving, so much staying still.

 

Nazareth! Did you always know it?

Remember when they first came in, young parents with a toddler babbling Egyptian?

Their generations had left markings here, a typical mix of blood, vomit, sweat, tears.

Refugees returning, newlyweds still learning,

Grandma just around the corner, grandpa sure is looking older.

For you nothing much had changed. For them nothing was the same.

Nazareth! Did you realize who’d shown up?

 

Nazareth! Podunk town where God grew up.

Remember how he played those games, knowing all those dirty boys’ names?

Bringing water jugs inside for Mama, mediating sinful family drama,

Helping siblings to behave, callusing, learning the trade.

Angry men discussing politics, angry kids discussing gossip,

And him right there, listening to everything. To man-made things, man’s Maker assimilating.

Nazareth! You taught God a lot about us.

 

Nazareth! A certain time and place.

Remember when you kicked him out? It stung because you could not doubt

That he had loved and known you, that even his true self he’d shown you:

Every alley memorized, every neighbor analyzed,

Favorite haunts with friends and brothers, fresh-baked bread from second mothers,

Particular faces in obscurity. You, not convinced? An absurdity.

Nazareth! You saw the very face of grace.

 

Nazareth! Foolish little plot on the ground.

Imagine! The Son of God’s hometown.

A world of work and food and friends and sleep:

Sweaty human life, the very thing he came to redeem.

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meditations on Holy Week (4): the Risen Lord

If Jesus is really alive – if the resurrection really happened – then absolutely everything is changed.

Christianity is simple, and explosive, because it is based on recorded, investigated, historical events. It is not primarily a moral code, metaphysical explanation, spiritual technique, method for societal change, or anything else other than a story – a history – which demands a response. When Paul defined the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, he defined it in terms of historical events: the Messiah, in fulfillment of all the scriptures, died, was buried, was resurrected, and was witnessed. Because of these events, there is salvation. Period.

If it did not happen, Christians are to be pitied and disregarded – their faith is pointless. If it happened, every human being must come to grips with it. There can be no explaining away of Jesus or Christianity and no excuses if one admits that the events of Holy Week actually happened.

Thus, each of us must ask: did it happen? Did God come to earth, did he die, did he rise from the dead? If you want evidence for the resurrection, there’s plenty: Lee Strobel’s “The Case for Easter” and N.T. Wright’s “The Resurrection of the Son of God” are two books of which I am aware. Do a Google search and you will have no trouble finding resources. Some of the basic evidences are the authenticity of the gospels, the empty tomb, the eyewitnesses, and the endurance of the movement. If you’re curious, find out for yourself. I believe it happened; therefore Jesus is my Lord, my Savior, my all. What other response is there – if it’s true?

The resurrection of Jesus =

  • the cornerstone of the Christian faith
  • the center of New Testament preaching, e.g. Acts 2:24, 31-32, 4:2, 33, 17:18, 31, 23:6
  • the legitimacy of full-fledged confidence in Jesus and the Bible
  • the validation of the effectiveness and saving power of the cross
  • the preview of what the resurrection of God’s people will be like
  • the cause for hope in a world of chaos, in a body of death
  • the reason to fall down in worship of Jesus, to praise God with all of life, to hold nothing back from the cause of advancing the good news of Christ
In Exodus 15, as the Israelites walked out of Egypt as a free people for the first time, Moses and Miriam sang a song of praise and victory, saying “the Lord is a warrior.” Indeed, he is a warrior: he was at that moment on the shores of the Red Sea, and he is in the lives of his children today. Jesus fought sin and evil, he fought Satan, the prince of this world, he fought death itself, and won. “The Lord is a warrior” at the resurrection. That is hope, life, reality. That is everything.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26