Archive for April, 2012

Pilate’s Sign

The governor took a black Sharpie pen,

some Chinese plywood, a packet of screws.

With left-handed cursive he scribbled a sentence

“Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”

He put it in Latin, in Greek and Hebrew

In Spanish, in Braille, in the tongue of the Scots

In Semaphore signals, in sign language too

In Morse Code with tiny black dashes and dots

His handyman climbed over Him who was bleeding,

with a cordless drill, screwed the sign on

The crowd all crossed their arms and were screaming

“We don’t understand it . . . we can’t . . . we won’t!”

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Give and Take

I gave my back to those who struck me

My cheek to those who plucked out my beard

Yielded my clothes to the drunken guards.

I was exposed to the shame and the spit

My brow, surrendered to a barbed crown

Presented my side to a soldier’s lance

My wrists and feet to iron spikes,

Offered cracked lips to sour wine.

I gave my mother to my bosom friend

My final question to the black of space

and one last breath to my Abba, God

Then submitted my body to a frigid cave.

I took the keys from an ancient foe

Sealed the tomb of torment

Stripped the power of Apollyon

Brought back saints from beyond.

I fashioned crowns and linen robes

Awarded the faithful, granted life

Conferred my name, bestowed gifts

My version of give and take.

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If we have a crisis in this country which is national in scope, what to do? The answer to this may depend on our preparation. The crisis hasn’t come yet, so we can still prepare.

First of all, get to know your neighbors. Nothing lowers suspicion of strangers more than becoming acquaintances and possibly friends. In a crisis neighbors will depend on each other if for no other reason than geographical proximity.  They may also be able to share resources such as water, food, and other vital items or supplies. Two heads are better than one — multiply that by a neighborhood and knowledge and skills become more valuable. Less material, but just as important, you will have the moral support. In severe cases, neighbors can share even their homes. Neighbors can keep track of one another and evaluate outside threats. They can also travel in groups for safety and accountability.

I remember in the days following 9-11 that ordinary Americans showed concern for one another. Politeness was everywhere, even on the crowed hectic freeways. We must practice that again in our next national crisis.  Remember that a national crisis is simply personal and family crises multiplied over millions of times. If we react in a selfish way, we are in effect saying, “My life is more valuable than another American’s,” and that is not the model of the great one himself –  Christ – or even of common heroism. Laying down our lives for one another during a catastrophe is the core of life itself. For what is life after disaster if there are no honorable standards to live up to, no sacrificial acts to remember?



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