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16 April 2015

Easter Saturday

Easter Saturday

Between the Cross and glory

It was on a cross only yesterday

That cruel man took his life away
They hated him and what he had to say
But We are left to live on Saturday

What are we to think with the master gone

We believed that he was the chosen one
We saw ourselves what he had been and done
On Saturday we live  with our hopes all gone

We never quite knew what to make of him

He said he was bringing God's kingdom in
He said he was the the long awaited king
But on Saturday he's dead before he could begin

We felt his love for the lost and poor

The deaf were healed and the blind they saw
He did so much we'd never seen before
On Saturday we don't know what he did it for

He said the way was not by sword and fight

He said that love will win and not military might
And now after what happened on Friday night
On Saturday it's clear he was wrong not right

On Saturday we have only doubt and gloom

On Saturday our master lies in a tomb
On Saturday we have no rabbi, no hope and no home
On Saturday we don't know whether to go or come

On Sunday it started to fall into place

On Sunday his tomb was an empty place
Dare we believe that we have seen his face
That Sunday not Saturday is not the real space

Just now 2000 years have passed

We live by faith from first to last
The risen Jesus - we have to hold him fast
For sometimes Saturday feels like it hasn't passed

[John George]

The Lost Son

The Lost Son

Jesus would almost certainly have told a more detailed version of the parable stories than are written in the gospels. Let’s do it ourselves:

Expanded paraphrase of Prodigal Son story

A wealthy farmer called Ezra
 Was the richest man in the town.          
He was generous, honourable and caring
A man of high renown
He had two sons to run the farm
As different as chalk from cheese                                           
Jeremiah, the elder was too mean to spend a cent                         
The younger a playboy, Joseph Never had a cent to spend
Jeremiah was a control freak who had to have his way
Joseph, not keen on work, gambled all the day.

When Joseph got the chance he asked Ezra
"Dad it's your lad. I know this sounds bad
But if I had my inheritance now
I would have enough to look after myself
And I would get out of Jeremiah's way.

 Said dad, "my lad I didn't know it was so bad.
 But it is a sizeable sum? Let me talk to your mum

Ezra was as kind hearted
And loving as you'd find
He gave Joseph his cash. it was quite a stash, 
To realize his dream
Of pleasures extreme
He left home for a town
That was renowned for every excess

Going out with friends
It was always his turn, to pay.
Like bees around the honeypot
These friends spent a lot
On excesses of pleasures and fun: to choose
Gambling, women, drugs, and booze
How could he lose?
This is the life he wanted.

But life has its way to make you pay
For selfish indulgences
Ignoring the twist to manage his risks,
He squandered the money away

Then disaster came on them
Dreadful famine engulfed them
Sweeping across the land
It struck Joseph severely,
He paid rather dearly
It took entirely his whole bounty.
With not a cent left in his hand

Joseph had lost the lot.
His friends wouldn't help him,
They shunned and disowned him
He had no digs, was left feeding pigs,
And himself on their fare

He was filled with despair

This isn't my dream
The joy is in tatters
The fun isn't fun,
The cash has all gone
These friends are not friends
The laughter is hollow
They left him to wallow
In pigs swill.

He was lost in a failed dream
Lost to his family,
Lost all his dignity
Lost his inheritance
Lost in poverty


What can he do?
There was a way through
Swallow his pride
He could go home,

home sweet home
Throw himself on dad’s mercy
"Make me a servant
Not as a son, that is too much to ask
But as a servant, I’ll do any task.

"Yes I'll do it" he said,
He rolled up his bed
Stole some new sandals
And started for home

Home was a long way
His stomach oft empty
His clothes became dirty,
worn, torn and smelly.
For all, he looked like a tramp

Sometimes when he doubted that
his father would accept him
 he was tempted to give it away.
Only remembering his father’s mercy
Kept him from going astray

Jo entered his home- town, looked rather down
At heel.
The rumour went round, Joe has been seen
In the street.

Ezra soon got to hear it,
He hardly could believe it
He said with tears in his eyes
I must rush to meet him
I really want to greet him.
My son, who was lost
Has been is found

so Ezra threw off his coat and
ran down the road
to welcome Joseph home
he threw his arms round him
praise God we have found him
my son was who was dead is alive

“father “Jo started “I'm not worthy to be counted..."
“hush” said his father, “I’ll not hear that talk”
“You're My SON, no matter where you walk”
“my son, you've come back, you've come home”

Let’s throw a party; Joe is here hale and hearty.
Give him the best clothes to wear
Get the best food prepared
The fattened calf of the herd
And the best wine that money can buy.

He invited everyone,
they danced, ate, and had fun
'til the day was done

All except Jeremiah

When he got home he said
"what's the noise I hear?"
"my brother?? What’s He doing here? “ 
“He Spent all the money
 you gave him, outrageously
 have you no sense of decency
He put us in the mire” said Jeremiah
“And now you give him a party?” 
“You never gave my friends a feast”
Said Ezra “My son it’s all yours, yours to do as you like
You can have a party any time you wish
but you are too mean and grumpy

Come in if you want to
Stay outside if you must
But I am going to celebrate
 my son who was lost

The morning after the party, Joe came to confess to Ezra:
You loved me through everything, but I rejected your hand
You treated me as your son but I not you as my father.
You treated me kindly in return I ridiculed you,
You trusted me and I betrayed you,
You taught me good living and I disgraced you
You were honourable in all our dealings but I dishonoured you.
When I came home you welcomed me with abundant joy and I did not deserve it.
You gave me a party before I said sorry
Ezra said to Joe,"Joe I know it is so.
But you have learned by experience

What it is to know hardship
what it is like to be poor,
What it's like to be hungry
What is like to be betrayed and rejected?
What it is like to be humbled
What it to be treated as you didn't deserve
How futile a life of indulgence is?

Jeremiah took Ezra aside.
He said “don’t be soft.
Remember the hurt he has cost
He nearly broke us getting his share
Then squandered it without a care
Dragging your name through the mud
I will tell him his fortune when I get hold of him.
He'll want taken back into the family home
mark my words he will weasel in.
He should bear The consequences of what he has done

"Can a leopard change his spots"
More grief for you is what he's got 
Follow your head and not your heart,
Say "No! No! No!" from the very start
It will save you hurt upon hurt said Jeremiah
Ezra replied Jeremiah -
You have traded on my good name for many years
You have not practiced what gave me my honour
generosity or
Fair dealing

you have been
miserly, harsh,
Bad tempered and domineering
And lived by the letter or the law..

In this you have dishonoured why name as much as Joe.
You are lost in self-righteous, lost in your miserliness
Lost in a world of legalism and consequences.

I intend to open new operations
Where love and generosity rule
Where offences are forgiven
Where the measure is overflowing

Joe is the ideal person to manage this venture
His experience is just what I need.

[John George]

Lost in dark places

Lost in dark places

10 silver coins, 10 day’s wages,
Two weeks of her husband’s toil
All she has for food and shelter.

One has gone, dropped and rolled.
Rolled and settled in a corner
It is lost
through no fault of its own:
It is lost
Content to be lost or found

For the woman it is treasure, lost treasure
What will her husband say.
She wants all ten
she needs all ten,                                        
nine will not do

So she goes to search
with  light and broom
Lighting up dark places
Probing even where the light can’t reach.

Dark places that host secrets
Dark places that must be exposed
Dark places where the coin is hidden
Before it can be found;

She searches every nook and cranny
She doesn't stop until its found.

The dark places have given up their secrets.
Dark places in every human life

Let’s have a party.

The lost is found.

[John George]

29 March 2015

Lost by straying away

The following is an interpretations of parable of Jesus about the lost sheep.
Jesus almost certainly told the parables in greater colour and detail than the recorded versions in the Gospels. So shall I.
We do not hold these out as the "correct" interpretation. They are my reaction to the story written in the Scriptures.

Lost by straying away

"Baa-aaah. A frightened cry unheard.
One of a hundred has
Strayed away.
The grass is greener over here it thought
This way, that way, a dozen wrong turns
Not deliberate rejection and rebellion
Just strayed away
Seduced by short-term gain
Now the sheep has lost the Shepherd
Now it doesn't know the way home
Now the flock had gone.
Alone, afraid, helpless
Strayed into the Darkness of Death's Valley?
Ruled by wolves, exposed as prey for the lion  
As good as dead.
If only it could find the shepherd
Where could that silly sheep be,
The Good Shepherd counts again,
"Fluffy", "spotty", "nimble", ...
ninety eight, ninety nine,
"Black-ears" was not there.
I can't leave Blacks-ears exposed to the wolves.
Every sheep is precious
He knows them all by name
He leaves behind the 99
He takes his crook, coat and light
Out into the night
Risking, his life for a wandering sheep
He searches diligently
"I must find Black-ears before the wolves do.
The sound of a frightened sheep.
His precious sheep,
He takes it on his shoulders
Safe from the wolves
No longer lost, No longer dead
They all celebrate the one lost sheep
that was lost and is found
Every sheep is precious
Lost by neglect
Lost by ignorance
Lost by straying
Lost by losing touch with the Shepherd
Lost and don't know the way home
Prey of the wolves
The wolves of evil, oppression, greed, self-indulgence
That devour the soul.
How we have strayed,
A little here, a little there
Then one day we find ourselves,
Lost, Afraid, helpless, alone
Not knowing the way home
Waiting for the day when our messed-up lives
Are lost and devoured by the wolves
Or found by Shepherd and taken home
[John George]

WestHope CAP Debt Management Centre

See the page on westchurch.nz.