Saturday, March 3, 2018


This is a true story with a few personal bits added from my imagination.  It fits chronologically right between the Hebrew Bible and what would eventually be the New Testament.  Theologically, it is way important. Elizabeth's son John prepares the way for Jesus who would become the Savior of the world.  But each step along the way is fascinating, including Elizabeth's husband having that scary encounter with an angel and coming out literally speechless.  Hers wasn't a virgin birth but it sure must have seemed like it might have to be in her husband's mind!  Here is my version of Elizabeth's story. 


Childless--I stopped hoping for relief from my shame.
Childless—an insult in my world, never a choice. 
Childless—a disappointment, a cause of discontent.
My husband Zach was a priest and it became his time
to serve in the temple; he was gone for several days. 
When he returned, something was terribly amiss.
Speechless, all he could do was wave his arms around
and show me Scripture I was supposed to understand.
He looked frantic and yet tender at the same time.
Life went on as it always had for a while.
Then I began to notice confusing changes in my body.
Three months later, I could not deny that although
past childbearing age, I—Elizabeth—was pregnant.

When I tried to explain the unexplainable to my mute
husband, he smiled as if he were somehow not surprised
that we, at our age, were about to become parents!
In my sixth month, we had a family visitor.
Young Mary arrived and told us her fantastic story.
When she spoke, the child in my belly leaped as if for joy. 
She, too, was pregnant and like Zach, had seen an angel. 
Because of what I had experienced, when she told me
that she was still a virgin, somehow I believed her.
Two women, one old and one young--each pregnant
after a visitation by an angel.

Mary went home to her parents and to Joseph,
and soon our son was born. John the firebrand 
(otherwise known as the Baptizer) moved out 
to the desert and called people to clean up their act. 
John said his coming was meant to prepare the way
for God. His truth telling ended in his death.  
Her gentle son, Jesus, well for a while it appeared
that all was lost.  The thieves, pimps and prostitutes
liked him better than the religious folks, and it was the
religious ones who eventually killed him.  But because
Mary and I both knew the rest of the story, 
we were not surprised when Jesus was seen 
back on the streets, alive. The news spread like wildfire!
Good news has a way of doing that. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018


In my new neighborhood, I've just discovered an alley.  I don't know why, but I like alleys.  As a child, I grew up alongside one.  I know I felt safe there.  Not all children grow up feeling so safe.  I met a few at Juvenile Hall recently and wondered about their stories.  Did they even have a chance in this life?

My back yard used to face an alley (and the neighbors who live on the other side, and the ones who walk up and down).  I used to take this alley for granted, just the way to come home.  But there have been some memorable stories around that little piece of geography.  I looked down one day and noticed a piece of paper folded and just laying there at my feet.  Curious, I picked it up and the words took my breath away, and still do.  I think you'll see what I mean.  I'll change the names but it won't matter.  The paper was a personal note. 

It went like this:  "Momma, They did not let me out.  Call up here and do not talk to the officer that answer the phone.  Ask to speak with Ms. Gray or Fletcher.  Please don't forget.  And ask her if there is a way for you to talk to me.  Because you are unable to accept my call.  If they don't tell you any thing.  Ask them for the Commissioners number.  I love ya Ma." 

I didn't know this young person.  They were obviously in trouble and they called out to their Mom.  Why the note was discarded is a mystery.  All I know is, there's life happening up and down our streets.  All I can do, all anyone can do, is be alert to how we can take our own story and maybe offer a little bit of comfort to the frightened, love to the unloved.  Maybe, if we are Christians, we can share the amazing story of Jesus and how He will love us even if we don't think anyone else does.  

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


Seems I'm noticing stories in the Bible about grandmothers these days.  Here is another one.  


My city of Jericho was in a state of terror because of the Israelites
approaching. We had heard about their Lord drying up the Red Sea.

Frankly, our men lost their courage.  I listened to these stories; one day
I realized that this God of Israel who saved his people from

the Egyptian army must surely be the God of heaven above and earth
below. When the two Hebrew men came to my inn to lodge, I was

willing.  Just so you know, some people in my town called me
a harlot.  Curious, isn’t it, the men pay for “love” and the women

get a bad name.  Later, my God would claim my loyalty and I changed
my business practices. That night the Hebrew men needed only

a place to stay, and I welcomed them.  Soon I heard that they
were in danger so we had a little talk.  I offered to let them escape

from my window--my house was on the city wall--if they would
protect me and my family when they returned. They agreed.

 “Tie this cord of scarlet thread in the window and when our men
come back, your family will be saved.”  That’s exactly how it happened.  

Israel became my new country and my people, and their God became
my God. I wish I could say that my new countrymen remained

faithful followers of Yahweh; many false gods competed with The One.
Over and over, Joshua called the people back.  We had to decide, he said.

“Choose for yourselves today whom you will for me and my
house, we will serve the Lord.”  I had made my choice.

Oh, when your scholars do the genealogy of the Messiah, look for my
name:  Rahab.  I am a great great great grandmother of the baby Jesus