Friday, April 15, 2022

Holy Week Poems . . . Monday - Good Friday

Tests and Traps (for Monday of Holy Week)

The day’s wakening brings a stale surge of testing,
careful traps systematically set to spring and sever,
but feet that scale the wild waves worriless
know no fear of capture
and tread lightly anyway on these earth’s thoroughfares
So onward to the throne, splintered and stained,
to the hanging and the humbling
for me
meanwhile flippant and tardy invitees are cast out
manipulators learn of their just end
and a barren tree tells the future
for both the fruitless
and the faithful
The plan is in motion and will not be amended
Today, the serpent-crusher steps with valiant purpose toward week’s end


Holy Tuesday – A One-Sided, Sacred Rap Battle
Come, it’s time to stir the pot
He’s got rhyme they can’t dispute
Root up pride, ye hypocrites,
Sit and burn ‘neath rare repute
All you fam think you’re so righteous
Slamming doors on seeking souls
God abhors such cold, blind guides
With dead insides, hell’s loopholes
Filthy phonies! Sons of snakes!
Own your guilt and count the sum
Of sin, plumb through holy shade
The God who made you, Christ, has come


How to Savor Silence (Holy Wednesday)
Before the genesis of the eucharist
Before the humble handling of those filthy feet
Before the olive grove
and the blood splatter
and the guilt-laced kiss
there lay
a day
of quiet
betwixt parade and passion
But how could He savor that silence
when he knew what awaited
the cosmic chaos, the torture and tearing slated
for the other end of the reprieve?
Oh, He knew the quiet would soon turn to clamor
Yet rest thrives best inside a deep pocket of sovereignty
The tunnel’s dark end
can cast no shadow when
each moment is bathed in the light of holy confidence,
confidence in the good Maker Almighty
in His goodness and purpose and
His steadfast love that King David sang so loudly of
and for you, dear one, confidence in knowing that on that Wednesday
yes, the God-man knew
and He still chose you



Glimpses of the Good Shepherd Within the Shepherd’s Psalm (Maundy Thursday)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want
*And when the hour had come*
He makes me lie down in green pastures
*He reclined at table*
He leads me beside still waters
*He poured water into a basin and began to wash their feet*
He restores my soul
*“I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer”*
He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake
*“Father, I have glorified You on earth”*
Even though I walk through the valley of deepest darkness
*“My soul is very sorrowful, even unto death”*
I will fear no evil, for you are with me
*“Father . . .”*
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me
*“Your will be done”*
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies
*Judas answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?”*
You anoint my head with oil
*“. . . she has done a beautiful thing to me”*
My cup overflows
*“drink . . . this is my blood poured out for the forgiveness of sins”*
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
*“take heart, I have overcome the world”*
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever
*“. . . in my Father’s kingdom”*

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives



Darkness Dawns and the Price is Paid (Good Friday)
Darkness dawns and the price is paid
This rate of wrath for all I’ve done
A cruel cross for the holy Son
Through lace of lies each charge was laid
Now darkness dawns and the price is paid
Mid-day mourning masks the sun
The seemingly “forsaken” One
Cries out beneath the burden weighed
Darkness dawns and the price is paid
Oh, wilting Savior, heaven-shunned
It feels like death has almost won
Hope is slipping and I’m afraid
As darkness dawns and the price is paid
My God, I’ll wait ‘til glory’s spun
And I’ll take no ease ‘til Your return
The Light of Life has been betrayed
Darkness dawns and the price is paid

Thursday, January 20, 2022

On 1 Corinthians 10:12 & 13

 

We usually start the thought in verse 13:

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

It’s a word of encouragement. A “you’re not alone” in the trials and things with which you struggle. And then more encouragement in that “God is faithful” to help you hold up underneath the crushing trial and temptation.

That’s good stuff, for sure. And necessary.

But if we step back and start the thought in verse 12, another vital layer is added to this passage:

Therefore, let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

Read that part first because preceding the encouragement is a dire warning. “Take heed lest (you) fall.” It’s not just that all temptations are common to all people, but that ANY temptation is a real possibility for ANY person. Do you see the shift in mindset? Verse 12 reminds you that you are not above or immune to certain pulls or trials or wandering longings no matter how strong you may think yourself to be. You can never underestimate the depths of depravity lurking in your own heart. So be on guard. “Watch and pray” as Jesus taught his disciples in the garden “that you will not fall into temptation.”

Be warned, but also be encouraged. Because the eternal takeaway is that “GOD is faithful,” and, even in the baseness of our fallen world and in the sickness of our own human hearts, He has made and is making a way for you.

 

Friday, November 5, 2021

Echoes of Genesis Three

Image by klbz from Pixabay.

Our Maker determined that we should be
able to choose

Built with a will to select either the warmth and peace and providence of
perfect Presence
Or to choose to lean into the curiosity of
the other
and for that bend to bleed and to weep
to face futility and heart wars
and to be cast out.

He built us with this blessed choice mechanism
by His own choice
and I must assume the Almighty Creator was bound by no
outside requirement to do so

He gave us ears tuned to receive all the voices
not just His own
Crafted eyes that are able to take in
even the beauty of poisonous things 
things not meant for our frail consumption
Engineered minds that can step outside the curtain of
His proven faithfulness and love
to wonder wanderingly,
“did He really say . . .?”

So I have questions

Questions that swim all around “why”
Because even now in this moment
I am able to use those heaven-ordained faculties to
choose to consider “why did He do that?”

Is it sin to think such?

Because here we are
the progeny of the first chasm created
continuing to choose the divide
Still hiding among trees
having again discovered a new layer of shame and regret
of dirtiness

And the eternal Eyes see and saw it all

Yes, Sovereignty is a certain thing
It’s a thing my heart grasps only with slippery fingers
and yet I do believe that “it is good”
Even today, He calls to me from beyond questions
and I hear the Spirit’s hovering whisper
beckoning us all
like He did in ages gone
with a plan already shaped and
completed
as from the brink of eternity’s shore
through nails and sweat and sacred blood
He chooses again and again and forevermore to reach out
asking for an answer He already knows:
“where are you?”

 


Thursday, October 7, 2021

Again. - a Poem, a Plea


How do you talk yourself into trying again?

Whether to make a friend
Or to trust in love
Or to sketch out the perfect landscape
Or to blanket a blank page with your brilliant nonsense

 

How do you will such bravery to be?

When the mirror mocks you
When time *tsks* its taunting finger in your face
When you have grown admittedly lazy and
The sparkling silver shows not your wisdom but your weakness, your weariness

 

How can you talk yourself back out onto the ledge?

To remember once more how to fully forget yourself
To stop overthinking and leap again into that fantastical unknown
To dare to believe that flight could be possible this time around
That this landing might actually stick and grow deep roots and bear sweet fruit

 

How do you shut down and shut up the patterns of the past?

And do away with the demons that tripped up your progress
And close your eyes tight enough to not notice the ghosts hovering
And hold in a big breath with your chest punched high
To then finally exhale all the years and scars and every sly thing that has pressed STOP

 

How?
How do you muster the madness to try it again?

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Rest & Work -- A Poem (sort of)


 . . . free writing is a messy freedom. Here we go . . .


I said again that I would wait to create until
after a little rest
A little closing of the eyes and folding of the hands
because I am always sure that
once my mind has been refreshed and my eyes
open wider to truth, unincumbered
then
then I could get to the work
But suddenly the day’s currency is spent
like each day before
and this soul slips haphazardly into easy Spectacle and flighty Flavor -
Distraction and Disillusionment then come to pay ready penance
A reminder that, frankly, the work seems too hard on a tired, old soul
And refreshment too, too far away
I hardly notice that the hours in waterfall rush me toward forever’s sea
But I do wonder if perhaps feeling fresh is more
about going to The Well than mustering
More opening up and less closing the deal
So before my mind has remembered
the villainous cast of naysayers swimming frantically inside
“Quick, now, before they steal control!
Move, child!”
Yes, I’ll Insist that Weariness take a seat there next to Anxiety and
I’ll busy Self-Absorption on some fool’s errand
and leave them and the others behind and close the door hard
Then go to another mental room taking only Wonder with me
I’ll be sure to check under the desk
where Apprehension is prone to lie in wait, salivating
He's there - shun him
If Doubt shows his face, I won’t send him away, but I’ll use him up
Let him watch what happens next
Because Wonder is holy and patient and will stay and will deliver
See, I have rested too long
And the work won’t wait
Eternity won’t wait
My mind is only aging and my bones growing gray
More so and more so every blessed day
So this little life, I’ll use it up
Use
it
all
up
On beauty and truth and God’s calling
Rest comes later and forever

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Mary - An Advent Poem

 


Mary                                                                                                                                


Precious girl,
even now we follow your lead.
You who welcomed such fearful visit
of strange heavenly tidings,
that a worldly impossibility would be swallowed up
to herald all Creation’s redemption.
You who chose to believe it --
we trace similar steps to bow and worship
the God who generously makes all things possible.

Blessed girl,
we hunger for a faith so simple and pure.
You who saw youth and station and ridicule as
no obstacles to God’s mighty work
within you,
for you.
You who quietly cradled the Eternal One incarnate
into this unredeemed soil and dirt
and reverently loved
with a mother’s love
the I AM steeped in flesh.
We watch you and observe how to handle
holy things with care and with fear and with great joy.

Chosen and willing vessel,
we are grateful for your ordained place in His story.
You who bore such monumental pain
in His coming,
then in His going,
and yet clothed yourself in obedience at the call of your King,
prayerfully patient.
You who abandoned common manmade dreams to follow your God --
your humble faithfulness kindles a fire in our bellies,
bears bold fruit even now
as an offering of worship,
a legacy of godly devotion and of love.



Thursday, December 17, 2020

A Prayer for Mission Week




One of our grown babies is helping with a mission effort this week throughout the city. As with all short term missions, things are pretty intense, a little scary and completely exhausting. Here is the prayer I'm praying for her and her team today, and I would absolutely love it if you'd join me:

 (Based on Psalm 23) 

LORD, be their Shepherd in all things this week.
Let them fully and constantly sense Your loving Presence
Give them good rest when it is time for rest
Give them refreshing sustenance for strength
Restore their fervor for You again and again
Lead them on these preordained paths
For the sake of Your Name and for Your glory

Even in uncomfortable and possibly dangerous situations
LORD, make fear flee from them
Let them feel your protective hand surrounding them
And be comforted to their cores

Before those who would oppose their Gospel work
Show Yourself as Provider in lavish, abundant, undeniable measure
Pour upon them an extra measure of your wisdom and strength in the Spirit
Let Your goodness and mercy pave every step before them
And follow closely on their heels
And be their guard to the left and the right
Grant to their souls firm assurance that You, O LORD, are their true home