Are You a “Good Samaritan”?

I don’t enjoy planks, but I do them anyway–because I am middle-aged and I need them.

They are so unpleasant that they always remind me of Jesus on the Cross all those merciless hours.

An eternity, really.

But today I was reminded of Byreon Hunter as well. What I wrote about him before seemed too insignificant to the task of grief for such a sweet little peanut.

His story seems to mirror the story of the victim in the parable of the good Samaritan.

Idolatrous culture, outcast guy, acts suspiciously like the peerless Storyteller.

We forget that to his listeners there was no such thing as a “good” Samaritan.

I personally think he was quite real. Which means so was the brutalized victim.

Make no mistake: no human punishment can ever atone or pay for doing that to a child. Ever.

But Jesus took every blow, every wound, all the pain.

He pays the whole price for our brutal rebellion, knowing we are all Samaritans without him.

To be a good Samaritan? That takes Jesus.

And the planks, those God-forsaken miserable planks…on the cross

For us.

Byreon Hunter

Little Byreon Hunter was an abuse and murder victim before anyone began to look for him.

The details of his abuse, torture, and slow agonizing death are more than any of us want to face.

But face them we must. Humans, parents, bad boyfriends do unspeakable things in our midst.

This is America. And if we don’t like what happened to Byreon Hunter then we must insist that his murderers face the full force of the law.

Knowing, as we do, even that would not be enough.

The Stories We Tell Each Other

I am up too late looking for Jesus.

A friend of mine has lost someone she loves and I write about this kind of loss, knowing I tread on hallowed ground because I have walked there before, myself.

Took my shoes off and wept there. In the valley of the shadow of death.

I look at words, priceless words, captured in time by social media and I think of Malachi 3:16–one of my favorite verses and the verse that defines my faith in the power of us, telling our stories.

Malachi 3:1,7-8,10,16-17 (NIV)
“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. [7] Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty. “But you ask, `How are we to return?’ [8] “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, `How do we rob you?’ “In tithes and offerings. [10] Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. [16] Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name. [17] “They will be mine, ” says the Lord Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him.

I find and grab more than I was looking for.

Sure, I need sleep. But I need Jesus more. We all do.

The 10,000 Hour Rule

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I am sitting on the dock at the cable lake discussing my middle-aged woman philosophy of wakeboarding with the cable operator, an erudite young fella.

I told him that I figured whatever my limitations (prodigious), I had to commit to practicing.

He told me about the 10,000 hour rule.

K. Anders Ericsson and then Malcolm Gladwell (in his wake) have put forth the notion that if you spend 10 thousand hours doing something you will master it.

I don’t think I will ever master wakeboarding, but I figure I will be better after 10,000 hours!

10,000 hours is about 3 hours a day for a year or an hour a day for three years.

What we do with our time matters.

What beautiful things would you like to master? Don’t wait. Start today.

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For the Pagans

Been working on the Sermon on the Mount. Tonight it was:

Matthew 6:32-33 (NIV)
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. [33] But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

I look for signs of God in the world. I look for signs of love. But I also carry with me the people I love.

Some of them are pagans.

So now I have my touchstone verse–for the pagans.

If you read the whole passage it is hard to ignore.

All our pagan hearts.

When God Moves Away

Matthew 4:12-17 (NIV)
When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. [13] Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali— [14] to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah: [15] “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— [16] the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” [17] From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”