Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Proverbs 31 is an acrostic poem

The "Ode to the Capable Wife" in the Hebrew is an acrostic poem, so here's what it might look like translated as such:

Proverb 31:10-31 as an acrostic
A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
Believe me her husband trusts her fully, and he’ll gain much.
Choosing wool and flax, handicraft is her work.
Delightful foods from far away she brings, for she is like a merchant ship.
Early to rise she is, providing food for her family and tasks for her help.
Fields she looks at and buys; with the fruit of her hands she plants vineyards.
Gaining strength and holding great power is what she does.
Her merchandise always turns a profit, and she works at all hours.
I am amazed at her industry when she works with wool
Just look at her generosity! She is always there with open hands to those in need.
Kindly take note, her house is always in good repair and looks quite friendly.
Look at her home made clothing, look how exotic and elegant it is!
Men from all over talk about how virtuous her husband is, she’s behind that too!
No one out sells her when it comes to garments, both at home and abroad!
O’ look how well she dresses, so prepared for all seasons.
Proverbs and wisdom spill from her mouth, she teaches kindness all her days.
Quiet diligence is what they call her home, it is never idle.
Rightly her children praise her, her husband, her whole family.
Saying, “There are many good and successful women, but you, you surpass them all.”
Truly she is a woman of wisdom, who “fears the LORD.”
Unleash her on the world, they’ll praise her everywhere.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross

Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross
Jesus, keep me near the cross/ where you were slain that fateful day
Keep me near to Calvary/ where God was hung for all to see

Jesus, keep me near the cross/ for it is so foolish and simple
Keep me in its shade/ so I do not chase after my vision of wisdom

Jesus, keep me near the cross/ for it is weak, frail, and feeble
Keep me close/ for I strain and twist away to gain power more and more

Jesus, keep me near the cross/ for upon it is salvation
Keep me close/ O Lamb of God

Jesus keep me near the cross, near you on Calvary.
          May I go up with you to Jerusalem, among the many pilgrims from the countryside. May I stand by your side as you debate and argue about the things we always argue about, life, death, and taxes to Caesar.
          May I understand your street theater, the donkey and branches, the symbolic attack on the Temple, rearranging the money changers.
          May I stay with you even as the powers that be, both Religious and Roman, flex their muscles against you.
          Keep me near you in that lonely garden, as you pray those fervent, frantic, and faithful prayers. May I stay awake with you.
          Keep me with you through betrayal and trial—keep me with you through scourge and thorn—Jesus keep me near the cross.
          Keep me there, next to you, with the criminals and the thieves…
keep me there in this massive tragedy perpetrated by the wise and the powerful, keep me there in the weakness and the foolishness.
Keep me near the cross, for on that cross hangs the Son of God and reveals all else to be idols.
          Keep me near the cross—that foolish tree.
          Keep me here, beside the cross, for otherwise I will fly away.
I’ll seek you in the clouds, I’ll find God in sweet nothings connected to nothing meaning nothing.
I’ll create the God I want and not see you here, foolishly upon that tree.
          Keep me near the cross, or I’ll stomp and storm and do everything I can to make you appear,
I’ll seek the advice of specialists,
I’ll be a very religious person, knowing the whole song and dance… and dance right by you, not seeing you there.
I’ll explain you without knowing you, without the cross nearby.

          Keep me near the cross—powerless and unimportant.
          Keep me here, beside the cross, otherwise, without so much as a second thought, I will side with the Roman Empire.
I’ll turn my back and walk away, marching to the beat of success, influence, and fortune.
I’ll ignore or use those little people, I’ll build myself up by knocking others down.
          If I maintain some semblance of religion, it will be the religion of success or conquest, baptizing the brutal powers that brutalized you, Dear Savior.
A religion of if I do this/then God will do that.
Or a religion of violent fanaticism, the religion of the Conquistadores and witch hunters and ISIS.
          Keep me near the cross or I will scoff at the small acts of kindness, the fruits of the Spirit, and the fragile connection that build up your body.

          Keep me near the cross—dear Lord, for I am filled with neither pious wisdom, nor strength.
          Keep me near the cross for beneath my facade is foolishness and weakness.
Sandy, Katrina, 13 years ago on 9/11— The tragedies and terrors of this life are ours, and yet you meet us in them, here on the cross.
          When our pretenses are stripped away, there we are, on the cross
—we criminals and thieves,
we crying out for healing,
we widows,
we orphans,
we tax collectors,
we sinners.
We are in need of you, and you come to us.
          You come to us and bear our pain.

From the cross you bring me healing.
Here your love and mercy found me.
Here I met the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Here I can walk in the shelter of the cross until that time when I pass to the other side of the river and meet my Savior face to face.
Amen and Alleluia