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Three Blind Mice

I remember mumbling the words to the early nursery rhyme over and over. For a young skull full of mush, the rhythm can begin to numb and soon explode into a cosmic clash of wonderment in the imagination.

Three blind miceThree blind mice
See how they run
See how they run
They ran all over the farmers wife
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife
Did you ever see such a thing in your life
As three blind mice

Ya know, when your little, you just don’t tend to ask what the rhyme means, you just repeat it because you have a picture of three cute little furies beasts with dark glasses and a white cane, simply trying to make their way in the world.

Interestingly enough, the rhyme is a religious/political propaganda piece. It seems the farmers wife was really Queen Mary I who had the nickname of "Bloody Mary"  because of her persecution of Protestants. Under her regime, Protestants were not welcomed or tolerated, only being Catholic would do…so the Three Blind Mice represented three nobles who were not Catholic, (some have suggested the three men were Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley and Thomas Cranmer. These three Anglican nobles were convicted of plotting against the queen who had them burned at the stake.

Now isn’t that a sweet little nursery rhyme! As I have really been praying about, and looking at the relgio-political world scene over the last weeks, I wonder what kind of rhyme will be sung by babes about the killing in Israel and Palestine. I watch the news, read the articles, and soon my mind becomes as numb as it did when I was little mumbling rhymes without comprehension.

As I look at Arab and Jew, with the strike-counterstrike-counterstrike-strike happening, I begin to think about another story I learned when I was young about blindness. Jesus is telling the story, and while the Hebrew humor is lost in translation, Jesus talks about a man who is mad at another man for some fault, or screwup. Jesus doesn’t tell us what the screwup was, probably because He knew we would focus on the sin and miss the point, but he says that this one guy is angry and pointing his finger at the mistake of the other…In Jesus’ terms, he makes a metaphor of the mistake calling it a speck in his brothers eye…the part that is so funny though is Jesus’ sarcasm. He says the guy who is pointing out the speck, or flaw, in his brother has a massive log protruding out of his own eye socket!

Can you see it? Quick translation: A Man with a boat-load of sin is judging another man with a little bit of sin. Jesus teaching is that we should take care of our own sin before thinking ourselves sin surgeons for others. In that picture I see the offspring of Isaac and Ishmael pummeling each other for logs and specks. To be sure, some of the logs and specks are hideous and evil, but as I look at the world scene it appears that the blind are in a full scale war without the aid of sight.

Can you imagine being God and seeing your creation pummeling each other day after day? Wouldn’t you want to end the playground fights and ignorant ravings done in your name? But God, in His wisdom has a plan I don’t see, because I have this nasty log in my eye! It’s when I think the log has dislodged itself that I am really the most blind.

The heart of every religio-political struggle is the exaltation of self and the love of power. One of the most powerful traits of Jesus is that while He was God, He didn’t have to shout others down to prove His pedigree…When you have truth, it is the truth that has the capacity to change things, not our proving of it.

The world fights, kills, and maims for scraps of dirt, and electronic credits that measure global wealth. No one ever has enough, so the power struggle to fulfill the desires of the self grow until it is taken from someone else. To justify the self-power domination, we must make enemies so that we can sleep at night in light of the things we do stay happy.

The amazing thing is that Jesus had the answer with his lesson on logs and specks…look in and be honest. Remove masks, get naked before God…Look out with love towards those with specks and logs in their visionary path. If we live the light, trusting that the Light is the change agent, many logs and specks will dislodge, and the Kingdom of Heaven will have arrived for another masterpiece of God.

In the end, we are all blind mice to someone, but to God, we are valuable enough to allow men and women more days on earth before He returns. Today, let us allow the Light of Christ to illuminate of journey.

Illuminate Deo,

The Morph of Grace

Matthias had never really liked his father
. It seemed that whenever he needed his dad just to -be there, or to listen, he was never around. He didn’t really blame him though, times were hard, and money was scarce. Matthias knew his dad had finally resorted to stealing in order to get his family food, but that left him confused, not sure whether he should be happy that his dad was at least trying to keep them all fed, or angry that he broke the Torah to do it.

He saw the pain in his mother’s eyes every evening as she sat alone wondering where her husband was. But today, for the first time Matthias saw his dad through very different eyes. Today, a tear journeyed down his cheek collecting into a pool at his dusty feet. He heard and saw in his dad the man and father he had always wanted: compassionate, interested, forgiving, and humble. But why did something like this have to happen?

Matthias sat in the dust at the foot of the pole which held his dad. There were two other men up on poles as well. One of them Matthias knew. He had seen him in back alleys and in places where no good would come, but the other man he had only heard about. It was this man that had a life changing effect upon his dad, this Jesus.

Matthias knew that Jesus had done nothing wrong. His dad had been caught stealing, and so too the other man, but Jesus was innocent. While Matthias’ dad looked alternately between his son and Jesus, the years of hurt and anger began to dissolve. The hard, cold look of a criminal was replaced with the tender gaze of a person who had just received the most lavish of gifts. The other man on the cross began mocking and spewing out words of hatred toward Jesus, but Matthias’ dad cried out,“Don’t you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom."  (Luke 23:40-42)

Matthias had never heard his dad speak out for someone else. There was such passion in his voice, such surety. He admitted that what he had done was wrong, and extended compassion to Jesus.
“Oh, Dad,” Matthias said, as his heart raced between pleasure and pain. Pleasure that his dad had encountered Jesus, and pain that he would soon breathe his last.

But then Matthias heard Jesus speak. It wasn’t very loud at first, but it was clear and definite. He said, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43). The smile that broke out across the face of Matthias’ dad could have filled the temple courts! And Matthias found the meaning to a new word, hope!

I have been creatively thinking about the thieves upon the cross lately. What might it have been like for them to be there with Jesus, what was happening in their families. You see one of the men upon the cross began taking the steps to work through life’s hurts, habits, and hang-ups. First he admitted that he wasn’t God, and as he hung there with a sentence of death upon his cross, that knew he was powerless to change things. But as he looked at Jesus, he took the second step which was to believe that God exists, and that He had the power to change his reality.

God has a name, His name is Jesus, and the thief upon the cross placed his faith in Jesus as the only one who could change his fate.  The man then took the third step by  consciously choosing to trust Jesus with his life and his future. He openly confessed his sins before God and those who were minglingabout… he came clean. No more blaming, no more deceiving. He finally came clean and Jesus spoke those powerful words to him, words of hope. “Today you will be with me in paradise!”
It didn’t matter what he had done, no sin is so big that God cannot forgive it. He also didn’t earn these grace filled words, they were a gift from the giver of life who was about to breathe His last so that we could breathe eternally!

When we come clean before God, we receive God’s gift of grace and forgiveness. I don’t know what sins or mistakes you might have in your closet today. Perhaps it’s fresh, or perhaps it years old, it really doesn’t matter. Jesus says ‘look to me, trust me, come clean and I will remove from you this load that feels like the world’s weight.’ This is the process of having a clean heart and clean hands.

Matthew 5:8 says, “Happy are the pure in heart, they will see God.” If you want to experience the gaze of Jesus that fills you with forgiveness and hope, you need to start coming clean. Confess to God the areas that aren’t going right, the attitudes and habits that need changing. His promise is to forgive you instantly!!   1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Wow, what a promise! This promise is based upon God’s character and promises, not about your performance!

Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? 
Who may stand in his holy place?
Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,
who do not worship idols and never tell lies.
They will receive the Lord’s blessing
and have right standing with God their savior.
They alone may enter God’s presence
and worship the God of Israel.
Psalm 24:3-6

Grace. A beautiful gift to us when we don’t deserve it, but it is the gift that transforms the coldest of hearts into flames of passion!

Illuminate Deo,