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Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day

To those who serve,
in any capacity,
know that I observe.

This poem promises not to be empty.
But to those who need be mentioned,
I do pray that it is... jaunty. ;)

To those who gave everything by serving in our military, our firefighters who laid their lives down, our police force and correction officers who fell in the line of duty:

I wish I wouldn't have to say this,
I wish the world would be just bliss.

I can dream of times when remembrance,
is all we will ever do.
Until then we have you.

But it will only ever be a dream.
It's as if there is another force in this world,
another thinking to scheme.

It's a reality and a must.
To remember and honor those who gave...
everything, especially their trust.

Trusting us.
Us, to remember and pursue, to carry on the mission at hand.

Freedom is a gift.
It must be fought for, sacrificed for,
it isn't something to be miffed.

And yet, it's only one day a year, two if we're lucky, three if we would ever remember.

But these heroes... this is their everyday lives:

Why pick just one day to honor the men and women who stand on a wall...
They train, they sweat, they break, they give their all.
They don't ask for anything, but a paycheck that we all earn.
They don't question why... they simply do.
They run through a fire squad frenzy, a war zone circus.
But above anything else...
they stand between them and... us.

Why pick just one day to lift up the men and women who run into the flames...
They train, they sweat, they break, they give up any claims.
Their life on the line to save ours.
They don't question why... they simply do.
They run through a building set ablaze, all caution set aside, zealous.
But above anything else...
they stand between that and...us.

Why pick just one day to thank the men and women who chase crime down...
They train, they sweat, they break, they give their lives for a safe town.
They don't ask for much, just some simple respect while writing those speeding tickets.
They don't question why... they simply do.
They lock up and keep watch over criminals, serving with complete focus.
But above anything else...
they stand between them and... us.

So please consider this,
the very least I could do,
my words don't dismiss,
I hold these beliefs true,
I sincerely applaud, congratulate, honor, and thank...

May we always remember those who laid down their lives... so we could carry on with ours.

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." -John 15:13

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Mark 5 is a collection of three different healings Jesus performs as he moves about through the Decapolis and back through Galilee. Before this point and up through Mark 5, as Jesus moves about He  leaves behind him a trail of transformed scenes and changed situations — fishermen no longer at their nets, sick people restored to health, critics confounded, a storm stilled, hunger assuaged, a dead girl raised to life. Jesus’ presence is an active and instantly transforming presence: He is never the mere observer of the scene or the one who waits upon events but always the transformer of the scene and the initiator of events.

The story of the woman who was suffering from ‘a discharge of blood’ for twelve years before meeting Jesus is slightly different in that regard because this is the only recorded healing that Jesus SEEMS to not even notice until power leaves him. As Jesus immediately looks about he does not find her until she comes in fear and trembling and kneels down in front of him. She explains the whole truth according to our text and Jesus responds by tell her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
I am intrigued by Jesus’ response, no other time that I can recollect does Jesus tell someone to be healed AFTER they have already been healed. It is always before. No other time does another person initiate the healing out of faith, it is always by Jesus’ word and actions. This woman jumped out in faith and was healed because she believed Jesus’ very clothes would heal her, she knew he was more than just a prophet or a teacher. He had the very power of God. Jesus though feels the need to tell her to “be healed of your disease” even after she has already been healed.
The word for healed in that sentence is a word that continues to pop up throughout this scene, the Greek word “σῴζω” (sozo) . In the Bible it is most often translated as ‘to save’. It is a derivative from the noun “σωτήρ” (so-tehr) meaning ‘Savior’. However with deeper study I have found another meaning that the translators have picked up on well for this context. σῴζω, also carries with it this idea of being made well and of being healed. The verb in its purest form means to literally make someone whole, to heal and make one.

This implication of someone needing to be made whole... 
is that they were missing something from the very beginning.
The woman needed something more than just a healing. She had been suffering, the word πάσχω (pah-sko), helps us see that she wasn’t just suffering something in passing, but was truly experiencing the full toll of suffering. She felt it, she had an emotional response to it, and has been worn out from her suffering because of how long its duration. She needed to be made whole again. She had lost all her money from spending it on physicians who as the text tells us did not make her any better but rather worse. The contrast between this woman and Jairus, whom Jesus was following to go and heal his daughter, could not be higher, which shows us a little more insight into just how badly this woman was suffering. The bleeding woman was a female in a male dominated society, physically ill, destitute, and is not even named in the text signifying her status as a nobody in the community. This woman was broken from the failures of the world around her. Because of her illness she was also deemed unclean and would have been treated as a second class citizen for the last twelve years, she could not participate in many of the Jewish worship ceremonies, would have been treated as like an outcast among her very own family, unable to have any children in that time period, and unable to fulfill any sexual desires by her husband if she was even married. (Leviticus 15:25-33) This illness stole her identity from her. Her experience with Jesus though, reversed all of this.
Jesus completely made her whole again by just the touch of his cloak, but more than this, when he found out what had happened he praised her for her faith with the entire crowd watching and he told her to, “go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Jesus reestablished her with this statement. She was not just physically healed, but societally and emotionally restored. σῴζω to its fullest meaning. In light of this story we are left with a question on our own hands, do we want to be made well? Fully well... σῴζω well... and are we willing to reach out to the σωτήρ?
His name is Jesus.