What is truth”?


Pilot asked “what is truth”?
he didn’t expect an answer
today I ask, “what is truth”? and …
I do want an answer, but …

where does truth reside
within the cold, hard shell of facts, or …
within the shifting gaze of time?
will once I have the “truth” in my hand
will tomorrow it slip away with the birth of a new reality?

truth will not hold still
for me, for you , for anyone
truth will grow  and change with who I will be,
who you will be, with each new discovery
each new reality

does that still make truth true?
truth shifts to meet the new dawn
as reality changes, as beings grow
God, who is truth, will be
reveled in new ways

layers of truth live to be discovered
old truth, new truth, yet to be found truth
all are truth,
facts cold and hard
butterfly wings of truth
all reveal reality

those with ears, listen
those with eyes, see
those with heart, feel

 (C) Ruth Jewell, April 24, 2010

I’ve been working on a paper for a hermeneutics class and was drawn into Pilots question of Jesus, “what is truth”.  I’ve been asking that question for years but in the last 3 years it has taken on new meaning.  Just like every one else I’ve been told the “truth”, but I feel all of that is shifting beneath my feet now.  Truth is way trickier than you’d think and has many colors and shapes.  Fr. Mike says truth can be facts, cold and hard and those are important for grounding ourselves, but real truth is reveling, it revels our reality, our way of being …  G-d.  And to my great amazement there is no ultimate truth!  Truth will shift as our reality shifts, so that what is true today may not be true tomorrow, because tomorrow I will not be the same, you will not be the same, reality will not be the same.  That is both wonderful and … scary, but it is …  the truth!

(C) Ruth Jewell, April 24, 2010

One Sunday Morning

One Sunday morning
Everything changed
I lost who I was
Found who I am

Who is this new person?
Ten years spent seeking
Only now awakening
Foundations lain down
Fears laid bare

Eyes bright with new paths
Ears ringing with new voices
Mouth joyful with new words
Heart beating a new rhythm

Grace of the Spirit
Surrounds me
Calls me forward
Draws me on

In the distance
The garden beckons

(C) Ruth Jewell, April 2010


The last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about where this crazy journey began, and how it’s growing.  I think I’ve always know I was supposed to do something in ministry; I just didn’t want to listen to what it might be, or accept that I was the one being called.  But in the last 10 years or so I’ve learned that God can be very persistent and that saying no gets harder as the years go by.  God is very good at wearing you down until you have to sit still and pay attention.   I didn’t start listening until that fateful Sunday morning when refusing to answer was no longer an option.  I can’t tell you how or what changed.  I can’t tell you I knew where it was headed, I just knew it was a different path and I was going.  I know that sounds scary but it wasn’t, it was a relief.  For the first time I didn’t have to worry about how my story would end because I wasn’t in charge anymore.  Now that is liberating.  To tell the truth at that moment I didn’t know where this would lead and I still don’t.   In fact I don’t know where I’m going with this ramble, this morning I simply re-read this little poem I wrote last fall and in the process of preparing a sermon for Sunday this came out.    In the Parable of the Sower God is a bad farmer who sows his seed even in places that it won’t grow.  Maybe I was one of the seeds thrown into the gravel and somehow and after much struggle finally took root.  Maybe it just takes time for things to germinate, maybe even seed sown in places that appear to be too poor to grow there is hope.  I don’t know after all God is really good at asking questions, answers not so much. 

(C) Ruth Jewell, April 2010

light and dark

light and dark

rock, wind, crashing water
I stand, I cannot see where
I hear my breath, my heartbeat
am I alive, am I dead, do I exist
reach out, please, someone find me in the dark

light, blinding, all surrounding
I stand on a plain, green and gold
a hill rises before me
a light bursts up
I’m coming, I’ve been found

(C) Ruth Jewell, April 3, 2010 


Have you ever been in absolute darkness?  You know the kind where you can’t see your hand in front of your face, well I have.  Many years ago I visited a cave system in Ohio and the guide turned off the lights to let us feel the darkness.  Nothing, I couldn’t see my parents, or my sisters or anyone on the tour.  I could hear them breathing and I could hear the water flowing below us but that was all.  The only other sensation was touch; I remember reaching out to find my father and touched the wall, cool, clammy stone.  For a moment in time I was suspended, this was darker than my mother’s womb; this was as dark as the beginning of all time.  I heard my father’s voice just inches from as he recited “Then God Said, “let there be light,” and there was light and God saw it was good.”  The lights came back on blinding us in its brilliance and it took a couple of minutes for us to separate the light from the dark, and it was good.

Today’s scripture reminded me of that childhood experience, an experience  terrifying and, strangely enough, enlightening.  Until that moment I don’t think I understood the significance of how important light is to us creatures.  Unless you enter a cave or lose all of your sight we are never in total darkness, and to experience that is to draw something primal from us.  Feelings of fear, uncertainty, lack of equilibrium, hopelessness, all of the feelings of being small and insignificant in a world we don’t understand.   It is the light that draws us, like moths to a flame, into life.  Light and dark, day and night are not just ways of describing the physical they are also metaphors in how we see our world psychologically and spiritually. 

Genesis 1:1 could just as easily mean the abyss of our souls, the formless wasteland of our lives with the mighty winds of chaos sweeping over us.  That scary place is all too common for many people in today’s world.  In scripture God speaks a Word and Light and Life come into being.  It is the hope of the rest of the reading that gives me strength, to continue on this very strange journey I’m on.  It is remembering dawn follows night and night is not totally dark that gives me the strength to grow into what God intends me to be.  The return of light in the morning renews my faith in the promise of life.  With the words “let there be light” God promised life not death.  When the lights came back on in that cave my family was still standing beside me, I wasn’t alone then and I’m not alone now.

Good Friday

John 19:16-22

Pilate only wanted Jesus to be an example;
             the Jewish Leaders wanted him dead.
Pilate wanted security and stability;
             the Jewish Leaders wanted to protect the status quo
the People wanted a “King of the Jews”;
            Jesus wasn’t what they expected
the People wanted security and stability;
            Jesus brought them to themselves

Pilate got it right Jesus is an example … of love, heart, spirit;
            do we the people understand
 the Jewish Leaders couldn’t stop the revolution of heart and spirit; 
            the world still doesn’t get it
the People are still looking for a “King of the Jews”;
           Jesus still isn’t what they expect
Who plays Pilate and Jewish leaders today; what cross will Jesus hang on

What is it that I want from Jesus;
           am I Pilate, the People, the Jewish Leaders?
What are my expectations of Jesus;
            on what cross do I hang Jesus?
Is security and stability enough; 
            do I just want the status quo?
Can Jesus brings me to myself;  
            am I able to join the revolution of heart and spirit?

(c) Ruth Jewell, April 2, 2010

Reading todays scripture I was struck at the expectations that led to the Crucifixion.  Pilate just wanted to keep the peace for his boss back home in Rome.  Like any typical occupying foreigner Pilate didn’t understand, or care to understand, the culture he was sent to govern.  Why should he, afterall he was temporary, a transient, only in Palestine until something better came up back home.  All he wanted was the people to remain quiet and subservient to Mother Rome because she knows best.  

Jewish leaders, on the other hand, had a relatively good thing going.  Yes they might not have been able to worship just as they wanted, and that would have been irritating.  But if you want to survive, and survive well, then you must make compromises.  So what the Roman governors held on to our ritual objects, hey they’re safe and we get them when we want them.  Ok, so we have to grovel a bit, but, if groveling means I can feed my family and live in a nice house and have some money to spend that’s the way it is.  If I resist then I end up just like those street people, hungry, dirty, no place to live, that ‘ain’t going to happen.’

So what did the ‘street people’ expect?  Well they wanted a warrior Messiah, some who would come in and get rid of their oppressors for them.  It would work best if this Messiah could be divinely gifted and all he had to do was wave his magic staff and plagues and fire would rain down on the Romans and their Lackeys while they stayed in their homes with lambs blood on the door.  Thank you very much!

Did any of these people get what they expected, NO!  The revolution of the heart and spirit came anyway, the Jewish Leaders had their precious status quo upset and the people discovered that God wasn’t going to hand them life on a platter!  Does any of this sound vaguely familiar?  Can you see parallels in the way people are behaving today.  We still have rulers and leaders that want peace and stability what ever the cost, we still have people who can’t give up their comfortable status quo for something uncertain, but more meaningful, and we still have people who expect that Jesus will give them the good life with no effort on their part. 

When will we learn, are we even able to learn?  Why is that only a few understand and even fewer follow?  I don’t have answers, I have only questions and today, on Good Friday, as I read the story of the trial and Crucifixion I wonder if Easter Sunday will ever come.  I don’t mean the Easter at the end of our Lenten journey, this is how we remember the sacrifice we must live.  I’m talking about EASTER when the Christ rises in us all and we truly begin to live as HE taught!    OK, you’re right, I’m trying to dictate to God, I want EASTER now, and telling God that my patience is running thin, only makes her laugh.  My wants and expectations aren’t really the issue here, in because I haven’t lived up the  teachings of Jesus then I am one of the broken cogs slowing things down.  God has her own blueprint for success and while she won’t really complain when I ‘offer’ my help it really gums up the works.  I guess I need to be one of the people who starts living the teachings, and letting my expectation be God’s.  Darn, I think I just answered my questions.