Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

Emmanuel: God Is With Us!

Yesterday as I was out with Tritty I met my neighbor on the road walking with his son. My neighbors son moved to Boston and had become a pediatric heart doctor. He was always a very fine boy and he had grown into a very fine young man. He had recently become a father and he asked us to stop by to see him. I asked him what he had named his son. He answered Matthew. It gave me reason to pause because my nephew Matthew passed away seven years ago a few days after Christmas. After a third relapse Matthew succumbed to Leukemia at the tender age of sixteen.

Later that evening my family gathered at Matthew’s home for a wonderful Christmastide celebration. The house was packed with the aunts, uncles and children of four families. The food, drink, music and gifting created a festive air of joy but the mirth of the season is always tempered by Matthews absence and the association of his death with Christmas. This time of year is particularly difficult for Matthew’s father. They were exceptionally close and my brother-in-law carries Matthew’s absence in a somber heart that seems to grow a bit larger this time of year. As the evening passed I related my story about meeting my neighbors son on the road that day and the appearance of Matthew. This news uplifted my brother-in-laws spirit. He smiled and said “thats Matthew letting us know he’s around.” Matthew continues to be a real presence in the lives of those who knew him and loved him. In a most real sense he continues to dwell with us.

Emmanuel, means God is with us. God dwells with us. Many believe this to be patented nonsense. They point to the endless string of calamitous events and abhorrent tragedies that plague humanity. If God was loving why does the Benevolent One allow such misfortune to befall his children? If The Omnipotent One is all powerful why does he not come to their aid? If God is the embodiment of love why does the power of evil and the treachery of man seem to multiply and grow laughing in the face of an impotent God? I must admit as a person of faith it can be difficult to answer these questions. Asked in the spirit of truth they are not easily dismissed. A Pollyannish response is not sufficient to halt the eroding power of pessimism, the ambivalence of fatalism and the cynicism it voraciously breeds.

What is our answer?

We have sifted through the rubble strewn streets of Port-Au-Prince.We have extracted our beloved ones from their prisons of concrete and twisted rebar. We worked until utter exhaustion overcame us. We labored in the fervent hope that our exertions would not be in vain to find and liberate one more soul awaiting deliverance. We administered inoculations to ward off the plague of cholera. The awful stalk of the grim reaper has been arrested. The indiscriminate threshing of souls has abated. The construction of new dwellings arise out of the rubble to house those saved from the prisons of concrete and the sickle of disease.

America’s wars rage on. The conflict has mercifully ended for some combatants. Some will experience the joy of a reunion with families, others will find rest in an eternal heavenly peace.   A fragile peace reigns for yet another day on the Korean Peninsula. Dispassionate reason has cooled the temper of belligerence as blessed ones continue to witness for peace to end the abomination of all these unjust wars.

The egregious ecological wound of The Gulf of Mexico is beginning to heal. The good work of vigilant environmental stewards deeply engaged in the work of restoration remain in attentive loving service to our gracious Mother Earth.

The economic distress of the unemployed has been salved with government service and the kindness of family and friends.

The plight of the evicted has been eased. The foreclosures on millions of families has peaked, homes have been opened to those seeking a places to live, shelter workers keep the light of rooms brightly burning so the those in need of a bed may find one.

Sudanese huddling on the windswept desert of the Great Rift Valley, Mexican immigrants crossing hostile borders of the Sonoran desert and the terror stricken LGBT community will come to realize that it will get better. That their situation is not hopeless. The ardor of intolerance will abate and the peace of reconciliation will reign on the throne of understanding and acceptance. All will find sanctuary.

Israeli’s and Arabs with a dogged determination come to the table yet again to talk about the prospects for peace in Palestine.

Missionaries of hope spread the message of peace and reconciliation.

Healers without borders doctor to the distressed.

Carpenters are building hospitable habitats for the homeless.

Teachers are reaching troubled children and adults most needing to hear kind, thoughtful instruction.

Emmanuel! God is with us. Yahweh is forever faithful. The Beneficent One moves across the trouble waters of time to unite Gods Children in a single river of humanity, where justice flows and the Good Shepard finds all lost sheep. Allah softens the hearts of the zealous. God informs a sober reason to the obstinate. The Holy Spirit swaddles all in a blanket of divine love. The Prince of Peace is with us.

As I walked through the doors for Christmastide services I was asked by a church brother if I would sit in with choir. Like the Prophet Samuel I heard the call and answered “here I am.” It was a special unanticipated grace to process into the church on Christmas Eve. The Lord asked me to make a joyful noise and walk with him on this Holy Night. It is a blessing to walk with the Lord as a real presence.

After the nights services as I was leaving the church I witnessed two brethren sitting side by side in the now empty pews. They were father and son. About the time that Matthew died, the boys mother, the mans wife passed away after a heroic fight against cancer. As they sat in the presence of their God, father and son were present for each other. I imagined them also to be in a rapturous communion and loving embrace of their very present mother and beautiful wife.

Emmanuel!

God is with us.

Our expectant hope is realized.

The Word has been made Flesh.

God has broken through.

God remains ever faithful.
God dwells with us.

A good and present helper

guide our hands

open our hearts.

Selah

Christmas 2010

You Tube Music Video:

Soul Stirrers, Were You There

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December 28, 2010 Posted by | faith, family, holiday, seasons | , , , | Leave a comment

Marking Veterans Day

Veterans Day is marked today with solemnity, sadness and a renewed expectation that people will find a way to peacefully resolve conflict in a complex world.  Veterans Day serves as a reminder that the cost of war is measured in the sacrifice of human life, the tragedy of casualty and the broken hearts of family, lovers and friends of those wounded and lost in the struggle of deadly battle.

Veterans Day gives us reason to pause and consider the sacrifices of our country’s citizen soldiers.   America’s professional armed services personnel comprise a very small percentage of our citizens.  Yet the brave and select few are asked to shoulder a disproportional burden in the prosecution of our decade long wars.  In many respects the great majority of Americans are insulated from the cost and pain of war.  We go on with our day to day lives while at this very moment a soldier, sailor, airman or marine is walking post under the gray and uncertain clouds that shroud their theater of conflict. Veterans Day helps us to remember that war is real, ever present and remains closer then the names of the honored dead silently scrolled on this weeks honor roll.

Veterans Day is good day to remember the special needs of returning servicemen and women.  They have offered much in service to our country and we must be mindful of their special needs.  Jobs, education, social services, health-care, substance abuse, family counseling and suicide prevention are critical support programs this acutely at risk population dearly needs for their successful integration back  into society.  It is also important that we recognize and care for the emotional and psychological scars of returning warriors.  The  emotional wellness  of the returning veteran is critical to the restoration of their wholeness as a human being.  This takes time, patience, understanding and a good portion of unconditional love to heal the spiritual wounds of our beloved brothers and sisters.

Veterans Day is also a good day to remember that peace is a virtue and that there is no higher calling then its pursuit and preservation.  The wastefulness and abomination of war defiles our humanity and denigrates the Holy Spirit.  Today indeed is a good day to remember that peace is superior to war as life is to death, wholeness to woundedness and understanding to intractability.

We mark today’s Veterans Day with sadness, solemnity, gratefulness and a fervent expectation that the grace of  peace may be with us soon.

Selah

You Tube Music Video: When Johnny Comes Marching Home

Risk: war, peace, freedom

November 11, 2010 Posted by | armed services, death, military, peace, seasons, war | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prince of Peace

At last nights Peace Vigil outside of the Teaneck Armory, I am reminded of the grim number of those lost in the senseless war in Iraq has climbed to 4372.  This day it is particularly right and fitting that we remember them and those that loved them.  Family and friends of the fallen’s pain will be a bit more acute this time of year due to the absence of their beloved.  Our prayers and thoughts are with them.

On this night it is also right and fitting to remember the quarter of a million service men and women who continue to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.  These sentinels remain alert and vigilant on the cold windswept deserts of Asia tonight.   As they stand under star filled purple skies many will pray for their families and friends at home.  Those at home will recite the same prayers and thoughts that their beloved remain safe that they’ll make it through this night and the countless others they have yet to endure until the tide of peace is won.

On this night Christians celebrate the arrival of the Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Councilor whom God sent to redeem a broken world.  It is a divine wisdom,  a miraculous grace that we must heed in all earnestness.  Men and women of good will everywhere hear this call and bring it to all the small places that occupy their lives.   We welcome the Christ Child by keeping a lamp lit so all may find a place at the table of peace.

May the Lords Peace be with you always.

Shalom

You Tube Music Video:  Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel

December 24, 2009 Posted by | holiday, seasons | , , , , | Leave a comment

All Blues

For the Republican Party and their supporters we offer the hand of hope

that can heal our nations wounds and unite us to set our country on a course

to undertake the work to rebuild and reconstitute our beloved republic.


“With Malice toward none,

with charity for all,

with firmness in the right,

as God gives us to see the right,

let us strive on to finish the work we are in,

to bind up the nation’s wounds.

Abraham Lincoln

Blues heals the soul and helps to over come life’s difficulties.

You Tube Video:

Miles Davis: All Blues

Robert Johnson: Hell Hound on My Trail

John Lee Hooker & Carlos Santana: The Healer

Horace Silver Cover: Peace

Bruce Springsteen: Oh Mary Don’t You Weep

Piano cover: Peace

Risk: Disunity

November 6, 2008 Posted by | blues, democracy, elections, McCain, Obama | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment