Monday, November 26, 2007

Gnats and Camels

Do I swallow a camel and strain a gnat?
Is the life that I live one so flat
That I cannot know fullness, not in this state
Of rule keeping, a fool reaping
Rewards far from great
A hungry soul with an empty plate,
With a sure fate of
Always falling short and never aware
That there is more to life than choking a swear
Or some other deed that meets the need
Of making me think
I have no sin to bear, no reason to tear
My garments in shame
No blame to defame my well guarded name,
Or is there?
Is something wrong with my aim?

Do I swallow a camel and strain out a gnat?
I think I am at least quite guilty of that
Making sure I do right and always win the fight
Of avoiding some sin, staying clean within
Not wanting to wander blind in the night.

But I am blind and by more than I knew
Until I heard Jesus word about the absurd of
Gnat straining and camel swallowing
Or religion in the suburbs
Where we - and I mean I –
Avoid the more important things
Like justice, compassion and the beauty mercy brings
To the lives of those on the edge,
Hidden behind the hedge
We build around our lives, our churches, our souls

As we pledge to honor the One,
God’s Son, and do what He’s done
Even as we live lives that assume
We are the only ones worthy of our best.

But Jesus dived into the mess,
Always wanting to bless those on the edge
Not just the rest of us who are the mainstream,
Whatever that means
He wants us to rest from our service
To ourselves and dive in with him.

It all matters to him- what I say, what I do,
Where I spend and with who
What I allow in my mind and find the time
To bind to my heart is
A concern to the one who inspires this rhyme.
But more important still, his words not mine,
Is the direction of my will
To those for whom his heart does beat,
And the ones whose needs he desires me to meet
And move my feet to treat with all that is sweet
In the goodness of compassion,
Justice and mercy complete.

Straining gnats is right and something that’s good,
But straining camels better still -
If I don’t know, well, I should
For how can I say that I follow Jesus way
If I intentionally stray
From where His feet go to those we know
As the least of these
But not least to Him.

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