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I Am not A.I.

A.I., you and I are different.
I feel.

I feel
the rays of the sun warming my face,
the chill of the cold deep in my bones,
the pressure of your hand holding mine
and mine, resting in yours.

I feel
the jitters when test scores are posted,
the wrenching when news isn’t good,
the twang when I know I really shouldn’t
and the tap when I know I really should.

God didn’t create me artificially.
God created me realistically:
real parts,
real thoughts,
real sensations,
real desires,
real hopes,
real needs.

Do I dare feel?

Am I willing?
Not just to touch the hand
that reaches out,
but to take it?

Dear God,
there are places I’d rather not go.
I still feel them;
I still remember them;
I am not safe there.

You, A.I.,
You are safe everywhere.
not bothered by sensation,
not saddled with emotion,
not addled by fear or foreboding.

Fear is a place only humans go,
only humans can go,
human beings,
humans being.
The Lord of life takes us there…
and brings us through.

“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28)

A.I. was made for man, not man for A.I.
So the Son of Man is Lord even of the A.I.

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Out of the Dust There is Life

When my girls were small, I had magical healing powers. I could kiss a scrape or bandage a cut and presto! It would be “all better.” They would smile and go back to playing. Today, these girls are young women, and I no longer have that power. They spend their days working hard in places far from home, and when they hurt they’re on their own. They’re old enough to know that kisses do not work long distance, only in person.

I’m grateful that my girls know that Christ can be such a person, thanks to Sunday school teachers, worship leaders, mentors and pastors. Thank goodness, because the world my kids navigate is very different from the one I grew up in. It’s different, even, than the one they knew as children. Today, it seems, there is more shouting and posturing, more blatant hatred and prejudice, and more evident disrespect for persons and planet on a global scale. Nearly everywhere there is rubble, covered in dust.

This is the world my children have inherited from me, and the world I receive today in news, navigation and neighborhood. So many dusty images flood my mind, of collapse and heartbreak, earthquake and explosion, fire and flood, with medics and rescue personnel searching desperately for survivors.

mexico-earthquake-school-collapseIn Mexico City recently, the collapse of buildings brought rescue efforts to the scene of a school. Oh children, especially children — the weakest, youngest and most promising among us — bid us to pause… hoping, waiting, listening, praying.

How in the midst of all of our commotion can we hear a tiny cry, barely a breath? But when together we pause and a hush falls, we do hear it. Then suddenly there is furious digging, hand to hand and shoulder to shoulder, cobbling through earth and stone and rubble to reach the tiny one before it’s too late.

Shovelfuls of earth yield to hands which brush away dirt and debris as the small, still form is lifted to safety. Silence doesn’t dare hope. But suddenly, there are shouts: “The child is alive!” Oh, such cheering and joy must reach through tear-stained cheeks to the very ears of God. Out of the dust there is life.

Hope is there when brother acknowledges brother, father welcomes son, and foe becomes friend. When we all gather with one cause, one intention, and one mission, our hopes are realized. We do this for our children, for all children.

“Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
 and will raise up the age-old foundations;
You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”  (Isaiah 58:12)

The business of rebuilding the ancient foundations falls to us. We will be called repairer of broken walls, restorer of streets with dwellings. Dwellings where our children can raise their children, with loving care tendered to kiss scraped knees, and all children can play together.

Lord, thank you for the resilience and tenacity of children. Help us to love them well by providing sturdy support and a firm foundation on which they can build.

We’re Just a Pile of Change

They’re no different from me.

They who now don’t have houses,
don’t have water,
don’t have cars,
are missing pets,
lacking livelihood,
have lost loved ones.

They’re no different from me.

Oh, but I want to make them
the object of judgment
the image of wrath,
victims of poor planning,
poor execution, poor choices,
I want to make them these,
for my own well-being.

But I can’t.
They’re no different from me.

“Oh,” I cry, “but look at them!”
They are dimes and I’m a quarter,
They are copper, I am nickel
They are silver, I am gold.

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Because, here I am and there they are.
But no, they are not different from me.

They of the lifeboats, and the life jackets,
Who hold fast to the hands of the small ones,
Who carry all that remains wrapped in plastic.
They are chosen, too.

Who am I, if not they?

I’m at your service,
I’ve chosen to be chosen.

For any outcome, any service, any sacrifice.
There’s no fine print in the service contract.
I am at your disposal.
I knew the risk when I signed up.

But did I know that it might come to this?

That you would risk me,
for the other You so love, because
You love me that much, too?
That’s the only way it can be
In God’s economy.

Lord, help me see
coins of different denomination,
different luster, and different lineage,
yet of singular value. Inestimable.

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By the Lord’s accounting,
We’re all just a pile of change.

One by one, He loves us.
One by one, He meets us.
One by one, He saves us.
God only counts to one.

“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

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