Center Stage

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“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. God this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11

In our time there seems to be an epidemic of actors jostling for their spot on center stage. There are so many ways to promote oneself, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or even blogs like this. While each of these have their place, they contribute to a message that no matter what your personal talents or leanings may be, in order to be successful in life you must promote yourself without ceasing. Widen your platform. Make some noise. The message society seems to be pushing has led to a widening sense of entitlement. “We” is often sacrificed at the altar of “me.” As in most things a sense of balance is called for. Promote yourself and your work? Yes, but even more, we are called to be servants, as Jesus was.

There are invisible
ties of love
linking those
who give all
for the sake of others,
who find
fulfillment
in a supporting role.
Never lonely
when they find themselves
standing at center stage,
gently pushed there
by those they pushed,
enveloped by gratitude’s glow.

© Joel Tipple
#18/14

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Ode to Wormwood (Inspired by The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis)

Your job is not difficult,
junior worker for the dark.
Your task in the main
is to hinder your subject’s work
for the enemy.
It’s no secret
the war is lost
but we have many battles
which we may yet win,
so do your best for the company.

You’ve reported
he is passionate.
Well, that is fine,
passions can be redirected.
His enthusiasm for
memorizing scripture,
sharing his faith,
or uplifting others of the opposition
can be channeled toward innocuous pursuits
the moment they are detected.

You say he persists in meeting with his ilk,
sometimes more than twice a week.
This simply indicates you’re lazy.
How hard is it to suggest alternatives to him?
There are dozens of human sports being played on Sunday.
You can encourage him to stay up too late on Saturday.
If you fail to keep him from raining on your weekend,
talk him into believing that’s holiness enough for one week,
or your scorecard may be grim.

Finally, beginning agent,
among your allies,
in addition to the usual vices
are those modern conveniences
such as the internet.
Oh sure, it’s a portal to all
sorts of invaluable sin,
but the not so obvious boon to our business
is its ability to keep him harmlessly busy.
Keep those hours high,
and you may make senior grade demon yet.

© Joel Tipple
#17/14

Junk Drawers for Jesus

If all God did was clean
then leave us
like a sanitary room
if all we became as followers
was clutter-less
and germ-free too…

If all we became was
silent
obedient
never questioning?
static statues
what good would that do?

Like the junk drawers we all have
full of we don’t know what to do
disorganized and hidden
from view
mystery boxes
we have been bought with a great price
to be renewed.

Do we dare believe
in redemption?
Can God through even us
bring light to the world?
So different
yet so the same
struggling against our sinful will.

As new creatures
redeemed and repurposed
God sorts through all we have and are
when all we felt was lost.
As this miracle transforms us
each the same and yet unique
our rough edges and hidden aspects
are made new by the King.

© Joel Tipple
#16/14

You are Not Enough

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you are not enough
you are not all you need
designed by God, we are meant to be
dependent upon Him
part of community

on belay, with God as our anchor
to arrest our fall
we invite our peril
when we separate
independent of all

we are conquered
when divided
we may withdraw on a whim
but Jesus calls us back and back
home to be with Him

© Joel Tipple
#15/14