Practicing Parents

No Asterisks*

here is the world

~ by Jill Clingan

I can count on one hand (one finger, actually) the number of times that I have woken up in the middle of the night with an idea for an essay.  Last night, for whatever reason, I jolted wide awake at 12:04 a.m. with verses from Matthew 24 running through in my head and the words, “No asterisks.”  Maybe I had been dreaming.  Maybe God woke me up.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I lay in bed for an hour pondering these verses and these words:

Matthew 24:35-36

For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.

No asterisks.

Before I write further, please know that I write this post from a position of humble searching.  I am not writing from a soap box.  I’m writing from my knees.

My faith and what propels my beliefs and actions are based on the above verses in Matthew and the command from Micah 6:8 to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God.

Whatever your political persuasion, even if it’s vastly different than mine, I long to believe that we can at least find common ground in a desire to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.  Your idea of justice, mercy, and walking with God might be different than mine.  But if both of us can meet each other quietly and with listening ears rather than angry shouts and disregard, that’s a start, don’t you think?

There’s a war going on, in case you haven’t noticed.  There is the war “out there”–the one with bombs and guns and blood and death.  But there is also a different kind of war going on that is also deadly.  Hate versus love.  Strife versus peace.  Fear versus courage.

I am right there too, in the middle of it all, caught between the tangle of hate and love, strife and peace, fear and courage.

But last night, those verses from Matthew were floating through my sleepy brain, as well as the random words, “No asterisks.”

Jesus didn’t say,

For I was hungry, and you fed me.* I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink.** I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.*** I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.

*But first, show me your tax statement so I know that you aren’t mooching off the system.

**But your breath smells strongly of cheap liquor.  Get sober first, and then I will give you a drink of water.

***But I can’t be sure that you are a real refugee, so please huddle up with your hungry children under this tattered blanket and make yourself comfortable out in the cold.

Honestly, I don’t have the answers.  I am a broken girl looking out on a broken world.  Some days I just want to gather my children, throw blankets over our heads, and hide from all the brokenness.  But I refuse to give up.  I refuse to give up on my brokenness, on this world’s brokenness.  When Jesus taught us how to pray, He said, “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

While it would be so easy for me right now to sweep my arms grandly across the landscape of this shattered world and declare that the sky is falling and the world is ending, I choose, instead, to stubbornly look with hope at the life right before me, to believe that God has not yet given up on His will being done on earth, as it already is in heaven.  I choose, instead, to stubbornly point my children to look with hope at the life right before them, to believe that God has not yet given up on His will being done on earth, as it already is in heaven.

My faith is founded on a Middle Eastern man, woman, and baby who were once in need of refuge.

I am a midwestern girl with a soul in need of refuge.

There are sad and lonely and cold and hungry families tonight in need of refuge.

My guess is that your soul might need some refuge, too.

I don’t have the answers, but I believe in

feeding the hungry

…with no asterisks.

offering water to the thirsty

…with no asterisks.

sheltering the stranger

…with no asterisks.

standing here with open hands to give and receive love, peace, and courage

…with no asterisks.

And I pray love and peace and courage to you

…with no asterisks.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s