Midnight on New Year’s

Would that I could escape this second, stretch out from the bubble that is this hour, and touch the hem of your robe there where you wade on the horizon, there where you watch the world go by out-of-sequence, there where you midwife death into birth and mourning into dancing, there where the soft shadows of yesterday’s dawn dance across your holy face with the blazing lights of tomorrow’s sunset. Would that I could be with you beyond time, without panic that joy is something to be lost, without fear that love is only a flower that fades, without despair that healing is beyond the reach of these days. Would that I could — but o! most Eternal God — if I cannot, then hide me in the hem of your robe until I see clearly the limits of the clock and the frailty of my faith.

on Ecclesiastes 3:11b

Coventry

Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child
bye bye we say this day.
Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child
bye bye along your way.

O brothers, all, see how death falls;
let anger be displayed,
and to this child wrapped in a shawl
sing you lully lullay.

Dear sisters, too, might we undo
the violence and dismay
for peace and love to yet break through?
Bye bye lully lullay.

Herod in rage across the age
steals life as though from prey;
his love of pow’r becomes a plague
and God he thus betrays.

Woe to the child and woe to we;
raise our lament today.
May Christ preserve our spirits free,
bye bye lully lullay.

Based on the Coventry Carol and Matthew 2:16. The Coventry Carol came from a series of medieval plays that brought bible stories to life — in this case, the story of the Slaughter of the Innocents. In the play, mothers of the children murdered at Herod’s command sang a last lullaby to their children.

Christmas Creed

And now what has been
is forever again;
And now these days we have watched
are as a dream fading at dawn;
And now the best of our longings are idle fantasies
as the Desire of all creation takes its throne;
And now we catch our breath and bend our knee at This:
the holy Triumph that has come and will not end.

on Hebrews 1:10-12

Eschaton

And when the world is over, when life changes so utterly that we no longer recognize it, when the heavens break just as disastrously as our hearts, when the earth trembles and buckles and knocks the wind from our sails, when death descends to the bitter silence of the angels’ song;

When the mountains melt into the rivers and the rivers rise to conquer the oceans, when the labor pangs yield to new birth in a pool of blood that cannot be returned, when the moon bows its head in shame and the trees drop their arms to resign from praise, when there is nothing left, when the refining fire burns out and even the shadows do not bother with us anymore;

Then at last we will be done with ourselves; then our vanities will turn to ash and our bodies will give up their struggle; then we will throw back our heads and release our voices to the task of keening what is lost, and having surrendered, then in our beings we will wait to see what is coming.

And who can imagine what is coming!

on Psalm 97:4-6