Archive for October, 2012

Jesus and the disciples have just helped renovate a house in Tiberius on HaGalil Avenue. They’re in the backyard during the open house, celebrating. They did the job for a rich young ruler who had earlier flunked out of discipleship training.

Frank, the Rich Young Ruler (coming through the glass sliding doors onto the patio): Guys, thanks a million. I paid $500 for the property. Made $250 in renovations — in spite of discovering it needed plumbing and electricity. I’ve just gotten an offer for $1000, plus three camels and a market cart!

Jesus (high fiving): Wow! Nice work. It cracked me up when you, James, and Simon sledgehammered the old kitchen cabinets and the roof caved in!

Frank (shrugging his shoulders): Crazy. Well, thanks again. Anyway. I figured you’d hate me when I didn’t drop everything and join up.

Peter: You’re not the only one. We have guys not joining us all the time. In fact, we had two concrete finishers who didn’t join us just last week when we were doing the terrace.

Jesus: Yeah, Frank, if we had a dime for every one who didn’t join us, Judas would be rich.

Frank (looking around): Where is Judas? Seems he vanished when the demolition started. Besides, you know I inherited my wealth, I didn’t ask for it. I try to do good with it (sighs). I’m just good at making money, I guess.

Jesus (looking into his eyes): Frank. You still think it’s about the money?

Frank (looking down): What? You said to sell everything and follow you. I can’t sell everything. My brothers are partners and I’ve got payments to make on half-a-dozen properties here. It would be immoral to walk out on my debts and family.

Jesus: No, the problem is, was, you think you’re ‘good enough’ and have kept the law. Remember? Back in the Bible verses? You asked me what to do to be saved and said you’d kept all the law. Really? Kept the law? Hello?

Frank (kicks at some grass): Well, I guess I exaggerated some — okay, a lot, but I’ve been a very good Jew.

Jesus: Remember what I said about ‘good’ — you aren’t that good. Truth is, you can’t any more keep the law than you can drop everything and follow me. It’s impossible for you. That was the point.

Frank: So, I’m screwed no matter what? I’m not good enough and I can’t follow — what am I supposed to do?

Jesus: Trust me. Follow me and find out.

Frank: But I can’t. You know I can’t.

Jesus: Just trust me.

Frank: I want to, but…

Peter: Frank. Trust him. Give it up. He’ll take care of you.

Frank (resigned): I’ll try my best. Okay. I’ll follow (hands his clipboard and beeper to his assistant), Clint, tell them at the office. I have dry-cleaning at Sammy’s. Here’s the receipt. You can have it all — two suits, five tunics, light starch, and one robe.

Jesus (grabbing Clint’s shoulder): Just a minute, Clint. Frank, now that you are following me, here’s what you do: stay here in Tiberius and love everyone like I do.

Peter (smiling, nodding to the other disciples): I always like it when he does this.

The disciples gather round Frank.

Jesus: Everyone’s tied up and caught by sin, but my gift to you is life — right here and now. Follow me — love God and love others.

Jesus takes the dry-cleaning receipt, clipboard and beeper from Clint. Hands them back to Frank.

Peter: Guys, let’s circle up. Andrew, pray for Frank and Clint.

Tr8: It’s not the stuff, it’s Him — He IS God. Trust Jesus completely and he’ll take care of everything.

Matthew 19:16-22

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Jesus and Murphy (the non-disciple) are in the market at a taco cart. They’ve just come from a Carpenters Guild meeting. Murphy’s wearing an eye patch and limping from a fight he had with some scribes and pharisees who tried to stone a gay guy. The pharisees were in Forest Lawn Memorial Hospital in Capernaum.

Jesus: This is my treat.

Murphy: Really? Aww, thanks. I’ll get ’em next time.

Jesus (to Jose Fuentes, the cart owner): Jose, we’ll take four ‘El Gigantes’  and two Jarritos.

Jose (grinning): ¡Jesus! ¿Esta bein? (Jesus hands him some coins, but Jose refuses them.)¡Qué! Your denaro is no good here, Salvador.

Murphy (smiling): Forget what I said ’bout next time (as he carries the Jarritos to a nearby table under an umbrella).

Jesus smiles, nods, grabs some napkins and carries the tacos in a small cardboard box over to the table. They sit.

Murphy: I’m still not sure why you let yourself be seen with me.

Jesus (unwrapping a taco): You’re my kind of people, Murph.

Murphy: Thanks, but you know I’ve really messed up my life. It’d take me forever to remember everything…if I could.

Jesus: I know. Listen, don’t worry. I’m fixing it. In fact, it’s already fixed. I’ve even fixed the stupid things you haven’t done yet.

Murphy: What?

Jesus: Yeah, I’m going back, forward, whatever and cleaning things up. By the time we get to the Father, it’ll be finished. You know the outhouse you set on fire when you were 13 in Irbid? Behind your grandparent’s house? I’ve already fixed that. Good as new — standing in heaven with a new coat of paint.

Murphy: You fixed it?

Jesus: Yep. Adam screwed everything up. I’m unscrewing it.

Murphy: I don’t get it, but I guess I believe it. You’re saying you can redo history.

Jesus: I can, and am, redoing history. You’ll be amazed when you see the Father’s original plan completed. Adam and Eve are really pumped about this.

Murphy: You are going to go back and straighten out my mistakes and make things good?

Jesus: Murph, in me, you are a new creation. Old things are gone ALL things are new. When I forgive sin, I clean up the mess. If you believe in me, believe also that I go and do as I please. I please to redo history from Adam onward. On your way to heaven I’ll fix things. You’ll see heaven after I’ve cleaned up your messes.

Tr8: Trust Christ completely with your past. What can’t he do if he has a mind to? What can’t he make new?  2 Corinthians 5:17

abortion abortion, free at last

the One who rules all time and space

can go back to the very place

where ill-conceived

in lust consumed

a life began

doomed

your frontal lobe was almost new

you carelessly had more than a few

the heat    the passion    the final step

remains unremembered

how stupid

regret

you found out later in the month

planned parenthood    he wrote the check

the volunteers smiled

he wasn’t the sort to be a dad

parents     church

friends    family

unthinkable

guilty now of mortal sin

no one knows the space you’re in

a secret you’ve kept so long

no one knows   you’re doomed

alone   lost

depressed

the One who rules all time and space

can go back to the very place

and un-conceive conception

redeeming the child

and you

faith

One is love and died for you

he runs the clock and hits reboot

the Love will graciously reverse the act

abortion abortion

forgiven

free

at

last

Tr8: In Christ all things are new. Want to go back and change things? Trust the one who can do it. Pregnant? There’s a better way. Talk to someone who loves you like the One who loves you and your child.

Related: when i lie with you

“Redeeming the time…” Ephesians 5: 16 (KJV)

It’s 8:30 and Jesus is at Starbucks ordering a grande French roast, black, and a whole wheat bagel with creme cheese. He’s supposed to meet with Peter, Andrew, James, John and Nathaniel at 8:30 for coffee and bagels.

Maggie (barista): Back again?

Maggie hands Jesus a grande Pike’s Peak blend and plain bagel. He takes them over to a table where a bunch of guys are seated. Just then Nathaniel comes through the door.

Nathaniel: Whew! Missed the bus. What time is it?

Jesus: 8:30. Right on time. Have a seat over there (Jesus hands a mocha light and an ‘everything’ bagel to Nathaniel).

Nathaniel: Thanks!

Peter (walks through the door, sees Jesus and Nathaniel): Hey, Jesus, Nathaniel. Where is everyone? What time is it?

Jesus: 8:30. Have a seat (an Americano and apple fritter are on the table next to Nathaniel).

Nathaniel: Hey, Peter! Coffee’s still hot. Jesus just brought it over.

James Zebedee (with John behind him): Sorry, guys, John forgot his phone and we had to run back to the apartment. What time is it?

Jesus (points to a table where Nathaniel and Peter are seated): 8:30. You nailed it (Maggie hands a Coke and cinnamon coffee cake to James and Jesus hands a vente Sumatran and cinnamon roll to John).

James: Hi, Maggie! Business good?

Maggie (smiling): Great! Thanks. Hi, John.

John (waves): Morning, Maggie.

Andrew (rushing through the door, nearly tripping): Wow! Did you see the cart wreck on Dirt and Third? Traffic was backed up to the Temple. Two lanes closed. Sorry to be so late. What time is it?

Jesus: 8:30.

Andrew (looking at the guys sitting with coffees and food and an empty seat with a coffee and bagel waiting): Thanks for ordering for me.

Jesus: No problem: I got you a double-espresso with cream, a plain bagel, toasted, with lite creme cheese.  We’ve a minute or two before we begin. I’m going to get another coffee and bagel. Matthew’s gonna pop in and I’ll ask him to join us. He thinks he’s supposed to be at traffic court at 9:00.

Matthew (walking through the door): Hey! What a surprise! Hi, guys, Maggie. And you got my favorite — Pike’s Peak and plain bagel? Cool!

The gang talked for a half-hour or so about the afternoon’s food kitchen project. Matthew rises to go to traffic court.

Jesus: Matthew, take a few more minutes. It’s only 8:30.

Jesus stands and walks over to the counter.

Maggie: Good morning! How can I help you?

Tr8: Jesus controls time and he knows what you need. You have enough time to do as he wishes and he’ll provide what you need to do it.

The location is traffic court in Jerusalem. The City Courthouse is located down the hill from the Temple and Palace near the Water Gate. Peter’s coming down the hill to handle a parking ticket.

Peter: I’m here for a court appointment, S. Peter, 10:45, Judge Anthony. Citation says I was parked by a hydrant, but they haven’t been invented yet.

Court Clerk (scanning register): Um, let’s see, you must have your date or time wrong. I got J. Goldberg on the docket at 10:30, J. Christ at 10:45 and J. Boggs at 11:00.

Peter (scratching his head): Well, cool. That’s weird.

Another day…

Simon the Zealot: I’m here for court. S. Zealot, 3:15, Judge Perkins. See, right here on the citation. Officer McGuffy said I was going 5 in a 3, but the law says I have to exceed the limit by 3.

Court Clerk (checking register): Well, you’re not in the book. J. Christ has the 3:15 with Perkins. Maybe your citation has been withdrawn.

Simon (scratching his head): Hmm. Go figure.

Another day…

John: Good morning, I’m John Zebedee. Is this traffic court?

Court Clerk: You got it.

John: Good. I have a ‘following too close’ ticket from the market. But for Pete’s sake, it was market day and really crowded!

Court Clerk (looking up): Tell it to the judge. Appointment?

John: Yeah, 9:30, Judge Minsky.

Court Clerk (checking register): Not today. I don’t see your name. J. Christ goes before Judge Minsky at 9:30. That guy seems to be in here all the time. Must be a lawyer or something.

Back at Mary’s house the guys are gathering to watch the Jerusalem Braves take on the Hillcrest Samaritans in the divisional championships.

During the seventh inning stretch:

Peter (stretching): Anybody been to court lately?

John: Yeah, I went down for a ticket this week. It’s weird. I couldn’t get through the door.

Simon: Me either.

Peter: Same here.

James: Really? That happened to me a few months ago.

Christ (smiles, takes a pull on his Coke): No court for you guys. I have you covered in this analogy — you have no business appearing in court. Just forget the courtroom. If you are in me, you’re above prosecution. I paid the fines.

Another day…

Judas (10:05): I’m here for court, citation says I was going the wrong way on a one-way street, but I wasn’t going that way and no one was on the street when I turned in. Anyway, you probably won’t find my name. Judas Iscariot, Judge Perkins, 10:00. Maybe check for Mr. Christ.

Court Clerk (checking register): No, you’re right here and Judge Perkins has been waiting — hope you brought your checkbook.

Tr8: In Christ, you are beyond prosecution. Get out of the courtroom! You are not guilty — go back to Christ.