A Meditation for March 26, 2017

Scripture Reading:

1 Samuel 16:1-13  •
Psalm 23  •
Ephesians 5:8-14  •
John 9:1-41

Day one Week thirteen Year 2017
March 26, 2017

I was met by a series of thoughts today. I was about to experience something very special. I was driving to San Antonio where I had joined a friend to get his house ready to sell. He had spent the last seven years working full time and caring for his wife who recently died from cancer. A number of things needed attention, plus an overdue upgrade in the colors throughout the house. My friend asked me to come because he had little to no experience in this area. I on the other hand had renovated five homes. As I drove south on Hwy 281 a feeling of excitement was gradually building. The day the house was listed a number of solid offers came in. All of the offers were for more then the asking price. We had succeeded. The work I did succeeded. It felt good. I could identify a task, measure it and declare it done. A normal process had been identified and I was a part of it.

There was a sense the normal process was good. In a way the proverbial status quo worked. The American Dream succeeded. Wow, what a feeling.

Immediately the song from Flashdance came to mind…what a feeling!  Rocky had taken his punches, we had experienced our failures as well. How many times had Rocky been down while laughing all the way to the bank! How many times did my friend and I wonder how this became such a difficult task? In one day, the house has sold. The bank will be the next step.

You might laugh and say Carl what is all this overstatement about? From my perspective it is not overstatement. It is understatement. My whole life was given to a type of work where measuring success was dependent on the success of others. I was to take a back seat, create something then hand it off.  Others could live and work taking over the projects ultimately fulfilling dreams, being rewarded economically, being nurtured in a comfort zone mindset. Now catch this. God and Samuel were arguing. Samuel argued for the status quo. King Saul had given the people victory, had given comfort, but the people in their comfort had forgotten their success had it’s source in God. The people did not want to change. They liked being comfortable. They became a “me” centered society. They were turning their backs on who God was and how God could not coexist with shallow self centeredness. God had set aside people, placed His name upon them to be a kingdom of priests, a people called to reveal a loving caring God. Instead they abandoned this. Samuel argued, Samuel did not want to rock the boat. After all it felt good.  The people had not forgotten their history, being a nobody but now they were a somebody.  After all if he, Samuel, moved against Saul, he would put his own life in jeopardy. He wanted to live and not take the risk.

It reminds me of where we are today with our churches. Churches have become systems. But, how can this be wrong? The system becomes the easiest way to serve the most amount of people. Over the last 40 years in my work I slowly began to observe in churches, educational institutions, social welfare organizations a 70/30 success ratio. If 70% of the population was content and life worked for them why wasn’t that acceptable.

After all you just can’t save everybody.

My primary audience for this writing is concerned with a disease called sarcoidosis, simply no known cause, no known cure. We don’t have the time, the money, the energy to extend ourselves. It is said the system can’t save everybody. Our words say differently. Our hopes build an umbrella of hope. Our hospitals, our research teams, our caring teams will deliver. Unfortunately  our actions are often in conflict with our beliefs. The results still bear the truth, no known cause, no known cure.

For Samuel a battle would ensue. The leadership would have to change. The way of life would have to change. Change was destined to upset the applecart.  God’s love and care for all people was not happening.
So God said to Samuel, change. What was going on was not good. It was not delivering the peace and spiritual prosperity needed to experience a whole mature life style. Making comfort zone life style the goal of your (one’s) existence can often be compared to the story of placing the frog in a pot of cold water on the stove. When the heat is increased the frog adapts. It is not long before the frog is boiled to death. The end result could be argued there is a different calling, a different way of thinking.

Here in the United States we are experiencing the frog’s life. A friend called this week confessing she had never been treated so wrongly. The health insurance “scam” as she called it is tearing her apart. Another friend lost a job this week, how would her insurance be covered? Where do I stop asking the questions.

In my vehicle driving down down Hwy 281 I sang the songs of my childhood. I was feeling good. Psalm 23 is the second reading. In the church it is a text not only talking about God but God’s care for all of us. There are no limitations to this. It is quickly turned from descriptive words about faith to the tone of a promise. The Lord’s will will even be with us as we walk through the shadow of death.

As a child my life knew the stresses of a violent alcoholic home life. (what are the chances this stress could be the precursor to sarcoidosis). Yet so many in the church reached into my life and was there for me.

These songs are the songs of my childhood.

Through It All

It took a Miracle

It is well With My Soul

Powerful songs that years later still stay in my mind yielding a peace that passes understanding.

Today in the sarcoidosis groups we are seeing major changes. We are experiencing safe places to rest, to hope.  One has to wonder if it is enough. For myself throughout the early years of life neither the church, the schools, the police departments, the social welfare structures could not save me. The pain, the violence was unmistakably real. Today, every day stories are related about the failures of all the props used to say things will change. Still, no know cause, no known cure.

A change was necessary. Some 60 years later similar scenarios exists.

The Apostle Paul like Samuel, is confronted with a old message. It is time to get out of the darkness and recognize the call for all who would dare to call themselves “Christian.”

The teaching of Jesus goes a step further and parallels the self centered life with being blind.

Today many of us wrestle with the same issues of the Biblical text. The words of promise exist. The call to change is real. We however experience a unique battle.  The words of challenge does not change. As we move toward April and Sarcoidosis Awareness month as we recognize the struggle of experiencing victories we do not want to see the ultimate victory pass from our vision.

Plan now to join us in this battle. Be a part of “April Madness”, join with us as you reach beyond your comfort zone. Know what is good, talk about it but also be a part of the team making the difference.

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