ONE BY ONE BY ONE

In Matthew 25, Jesus opens the curtain on a prophetic heavenly scene. As the nations gather before him, he invites the righteous into heaven for one reason: They cared for him when he was hungry, thirsty, naked, sick and imprisoned.

The righteous respond in humble confusion - when had they offered help to Jesus?

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ONE BULLET

He's a ghost in the garden, over by the wax myrtle, next to the street. Three years ago, he was among us, flesh and blood. He doesn't reveal himself to me, but those who knew and loved him come by in the middle of the night to commune with him. They talk, they shout a prayer, and sometimes they play a recording of music. In the morning, I find a rose, a string of beads, a can of beer, a candle or a note they left for him.

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IN MOM'S EYES

I planted the tulips to remind me of her. It was back in 1997, the worst of times, when she had gone into the nursing home. Fifteen hundred tulip and daffodil bulbs would be something to look forward to, I thought: something to remind me of when my mother was straight, young, tall and proud.

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WHAT BRINGS US LUCK?

You're so lucky!" an old friend in college used to say to me. I never knew exactly what she meant. Was there something between the lines here? Was she saying, "You're lucky and I'm not," or "It must be luck, because you sure haven't done anything to deserve it," or "The gods like you better than they like me"? Or was she being gracious and saying, "You are fortunate; you are blessed"?

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A SEA OF SOUND

I hear the sharp tone of the voice on the phone.In response, my own voice becomes more insistent. Iím trying to listen, but my internal chatter is repetitive and destructive. After I hang up, I stop what Iím doing. step outside, close my eyes, tune in, and listen. I let the sound waves lap into my ears, and wait for the sounds to make pictures.

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WHAT DID HE SEE FROM THE MOUNTAINTOP?

On April 3, 1968, the night before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King Jr. didnít want to give a speech. He was in Memphis in support of a strike by sanitation workers. Exhausted, King had asked Rev. Ralph Abernathy to fill in for him and speak at the Bishop Charles J. Mason Temple. But the crowd wanted King, and they demanded that he come to them. He did, and he delivered the "Iíve Been to the Mountaintop" speech; a prophecy of his departing and a summation of his vision.

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DIARY OF A CONFETTI ENGINEER

Times Square, New Yearís Eve, 1999. We saw it over and over again on TV. Lovers kissed, noisemakers bleeeeeped and confetti rained down from above.

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