This week's "Suessified" Bible reflection (Kindly words that are just not absurd) underwent a huge change - into something more heartland rock style - and with a new title "No Matter What" - as part of today's sermon at St. Paul's UCC inn Downers Grove.
"Overcome Evil With Good" podcast
Kindly Words That Are Just Not Absurd
By Kirk Moore
(my apologies to Dr. Seuss - and to myself - for re-imagining my own work from a few years back)
Keep your love real, not fake, or pretend
Hold on to what’s good – and make a new friend
Have a contest about being nice to each other
Serve well and work hard for a sister and brother
Be happy in hope, and when bad's in the way
Listen and pray and listen and pray
When folks are so nasty, bless them – however
Stay away from a plan to hurt anyone ever
When smiles are around you smile too – really try
And when tears are flowing it’s OK to cry
We're not better or worse - there's no sense keeping score
Make friends with folks others tend to ignore
Do you best to be kind and gentle and pleasant
Don’t try to get back at someone who isn’t
If you’re nice to an enemy – giving food or a drink
It will first turn them mad – but then happy, I think
Take this advice – don’t get into a rut
Find a way to do good – no matter what
© 2011, 2014 Kirk Moore
Let’s shout out the names of some heroes!
- Levi’s wife! What’s her name? We’ll have to look for it . . .. Jochebed! (From Exodus 6:20)
- Moses’ sister . . .. Miriam!
- Pharaoh’s daughter . . . Let’s do some more digging for her name . . . Bathia! (Find it in the Talmud)
Shiphrah, Puah, Jochebed, Miriam and Bathia are heroes. They saw opportunities, took risks, and made it possible, ultimately, for the Israelites to be delivered out of slavery in Egypt.
I wish we had more written about these heroes. I wish we would never forget their names, either.
Shiphrah, Puah, Jochebed, Miriam and Bathia.
Joseph forgave his brothers. He invited the brothers who conspired to kill him, but instead sold him as a slave, to come and live with him. He told them to bring their father that they all would be able to thrive during the time of famine in Egypt. Joseph told them that all of their actions were part of God’s plan to save them.
It’s easy to look back and see how one path led to another and then to another and how everything worked together to bring a person, a family, or an organization to the place they are now.
But who’s to say that it had to happen that way?
Did Joseph need to be sold as a slave for the brothers to be saved years later? What if the brothers had never conspired? What if they all got along and Joseph still dreamed about a famine? What if Jacob had never given Joseph the long robe with sleeves and made the other brothers exceedingly jealous? What if any of the parts of the story of the life of Joseph had been different? Would the brothers have survived?
I don’t know. No one knows. We have no idea how different or the same things may have turned out if parts of our story had been changed.
It is wise to study history. It is wise to learn from the mistakes made throughout history so that we don’t repeat them.
But I’m not one to look at history and say, ‘It had to happen this way, otherwise it . . . couldn’t have happened” or something like that.
I am one to say that whether you’re moving forward, in reverse, or standing still-- embrace the continuing journey.
And be nice.
In the United States we consume far too much. The CDC reports that more than a third of all adults in the United States have a body mass index that classifies them as obese. 17% of children and adolescents are in the same condition.
When I read about Jesus feeding 5000+ beginning with just five loaves of bread and two fish, I can’t help but think of “all ate and were filled” through the eyes of our overstuffed stomachs and supersized meals.
Something in this week’s reading goes well beyond cultural views, however. It goes beyond the questions as to whether this is about food magically appearing out of a bottomless basket or if the real miracle is that Jesus got a group of 5000+ folks gathered to share what they had.
I think the “today” message of this week’s Bible reading is that worldwide, humankind is failing in our job to distribute what is enough for everyone.
What do you think?
God’s neighborhood is like:
- A mustard seed
- A merchant in search of fine pearls
- A net thrown into the sea
- The master of a household
You get it, right?
This week’s Bible reading from Matthew 13: 31-33, 44-52 gives offers opportunities to get confused and then start thinking. Here’s are a few thoughts for pondering:
- The mustard seed: It seems so little – but has huge potential
- Yeast: Favors rising over falling
- The merchant: Might miss other valuable things in the search
- The net: It includes everyone.
- The master: A cultural misstep that forgets about the worth of all.