Fractured parables — Lenten post 7

The concluding of this Lenten devotion for 2014. Thank you for reading.

Praying the parables – April 14, 2014
Gospel of Thomas 97 — the woman with the jar of meal

Jesus said: The kingdom is like a woman carrying a jar full of meal. While she was walking a distant road, the handle of the jar broke (and) the meal poured out behind her on the road. She was unaware, she had not noticed the misfortune. When she came to her house, she put the jar down (and) found it empty.

God, as I travel this long Lent,
or whatever my journey is these days —

thankless job or a work-mare
of my own devising.
tough parenting,
a love-aching care for elders,
the frustrations
of any struggle for justice,
the daily small indignities
of an illness,
or a betrayal by partner,
lover, child, sibling, friend,
my knees,
or my own memory,

the many miles of grieving,

or simply the step after step GPS
of so many details –

may I notice just in time
the cracks in the jar,
and not come home to find it empty.

Praying the parables – April 15, 2014
Luke 13:6-9, citing Mark 11: 12-14, John 20:15 — the unprofitable fig tree parable with two Holy Week passages

Christ, I’ve been to Hospice House today
and I am pretty clear that
if you are in the blasting-fig-tree business,
I have a date with the Buddha.

But you are in the Gardener business –
hose-profligate with living water
hands-on with the manure …
pruning and tending
and loosening root balls
and giving all the unfruitful ones of us
another year.

You were mistaken for a Gardener
for a very good reason.

Praying the parables – April 16, 2014
Luke 18:9-14 — the Pharisee and the tax collector at prayer

God, if I am listening to this parable
I am a certified “Pharisee.”

It doesn’t matter
whether I am less than anonymous
about just how powerless
I am over alcohol,

or anything else that
highlights a slight smear of humble pie
in the corner of my mouth –

that’s just another kind of brag,
like … growing church, deep prayer life,
mission trip, street ministry,
drum circle, or Easter trumpet-lily-
helicopter egg drop …

or not having a helicopter egg drop.

The tax collector role
will be played by anyone who can
move far off, look way down,
and then shut up.

Praying the parables – April 17, 2014
John 6:33-35 — the Bread of Life

God, I met a girl today
who chews three or four Bazookas,
then swallows them
so indigestible bubblegum will keep
her stomach from hurting.

You are the bread of life —
just joking
or just parabling –
you are the pita, naan,
tortilla, rice cake, gluten free,
cassava, bread of life.

Make it real, now,
get off the Maundy Thursday paten,
stop playing with candles,
and feet that get especially clean
to come to church.

Make it real
for the family choosing
between pampers and cereal,
the one trying to eat scratch tickets,
the one where hidden anorexia
is turning bones to lace.

If you are the bread of life,
do something.

Maybe … bake me.

Praying the parables – April 18, 2014
John 15: 1-8 — the True Vine

God, when I think of a Vine,
I think of late summer sunshine and
clusters of beauty
maybe grandma’s grape jelly
simmering on the stove.

I don’t think about being trampled,
or being pressed so hard —
it makes mammography like a kiss.

I don’t think about vinegar on a sponge.

When I think about branches,
it’s not cross-pieces,
lifted like a pieta in the sky.

So in the fridays that come
to my life that are good like this one,
I pray, dear Vine,
for a mercy of less thinking,
more abiding.

Praying the parables – April 19, 2014

God, of shovels
for treasure backhoe-deep in a field,

alternative education
for the kid with the mouthful of pig slop,

a friendly beagle tongue
when the world kicks out my teeth,
and I lie hungry
at my neighbor’s door,

for my sad excuse for a fig ministry,

God, of the quiet harrowing
of this day,
I give thanks that you never stop
telling me stories.

Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee


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