We Never Meant to Love You

Though we pressed our bibles to your hands
and promised you life in the deep chilly river
we never meant to love you
and prayed Christ would forgive you for not
being like us, not even at the threat of death.

Though we survived by your blood and thrived
on your charism and consumed your resources
we never meant to love you
and resented that your resilience outlived us,
defied us, but never saved us from this death.

Though we pledged to embrace your spirit
distinct from its desires & needs & dreams
we never meant to love you
and made of your affections a golden calf
for which we killed faith & preached death.

Though we traveled the world in great hopes
of far becoming near and the strange familiar
we never meant to love you
and now you are too near so let us not risk
familiarity, else we care about your death.

Though we etch in our hearts “God so loved”
and pontificate amply of “brothers & sisters”
we never meant to love you
and build walls of ignorance around our hearts
for fear God might put our worldviews to death.

Though we cling to Your name as our own and
make Your body ours with every crumb & cup
we never meant to love You
and crave only a free ride on Your coattails for
our own self rightness against doubt & death.

What Will Destroy Us?

Ahab will come
armed with scripture
and swords and prophets
to say ‘you are wrong’
to say ‘your life
is anathema to mine’
to say ‘it is my
god-given task
to make your life hell’
and he’s right — not that he must
make your life hell but that he can, that he
can choose to destroy
without guilt or consequence.

The mountain too may threaten,
perhaps not with the same conscious intent but
with power and indiscretion
nevertheless:
roaring as a wind
that shouts to be heard
and does not stop
to listen;
breaking as an earthquake
that defies permanence
without regard for
safety;
consuming as a fire
that idolizes its own quick tongue
as the authority on all life
without noticing
the ashes drifting
in its wake.
All these too
will destroy without care.

But as we run from Ahab
as we tremble in the mountains
may hope be found, snatched,
held,
claimed and
proclaimed: that only One
will not destroy
only One will plant broom trees
for shade, only
One
will send angels
whispering “Get up again,”
only One will well up fresh water in
a toxic wilderness,
only One
will bind our hearts
for the long journey, only
One
will love our lives
when
kings and queens
and earthquakes and fires
otherwise rage to destroy life utterly.

What will destroy us? Too many things
but not
the Holy One.
Let mercy find & convict us
where we have lied to one another
in this regard. And may the One
forgive us when we
destroy.

on 1 Kings 19:1-13

Unpacking

boxesI relocate
hope
Take it back from
finite places and
finite people
where I imagined
it belonged
Wash off
the crud and
cynicism
it’s gathered
Place it in
that Holy Fire
where it can be
an incense
warming
and emanating
a sweet perfume

I unpack
faith
from the boxes
on the shelves
in the closets
where it has collected
dust
instead of growing
roots
Take it outside
to let sun and rain
alike fall on it
Nestle it deep within
that Ground of All Being
from which
comes life
to which
returns life
by which
all life sings

I excavate
trust
from my own heart
where it has grown
stiff and sore
(also stubborn
and vain)
Hold it in my hand
with compassion
at last for
its brokenness
Give it to
that Wise Storyteller
who might oh so impossibly
reimagine it
alongside such fairytales
as justice
and love
Wait and listen
for a new yarn
to be spun

Happy are those whose help
is in the LORD their God.
(Psalm 146:5)