Hardened Heart (Lent 12)

Where you have broken my heart, O God,
a callus has formed instead of a soft scar.
Probably not what you intended, but then
healing is unpredictable and necessitates
ongoing treatment, persistent grace, and
the massage of lovingkindess over time.
I pray that You do not leave my calluses
unattended, that you do not stop working
on the hardened bits of this broken heart.

Lent 29

I’m sorry that you hurt, God.
I don’t know how you bear it
but I do know that I’ve been
distracted by my own aches.
I’m sorry that I can’t do much
to ease your pain. I’m sorry
that it’s so significant and so
constant. Here: let me at least
share the ice pack with you,
and we can alternate with
the heating pad. Pain meds
are pretty useless, in the
scheme of things — once
they wear off, there’s only
pain remaining — but we can
pretend they do us some good.
Just for fun, we can take out
the bandaids from the closet.
I have a tin of Jesus bandaids:
isn’t that ironic & too funny?
We can cover our wounds
with adhesive strips that say
“Jesus heals” even though he
(you) doesn’t actually make
the pain go away. Most of all,
I’m truly sorry about the pain.

Lent 18

What else can you make of this mess, O God?
We trust — Lord help us, we have to trust —
that you see the mess, that you can imagine
something different from this ridiculousness,
and more than that: we trust that you consider
this particular chaos, this moment of tangled
violences and uncertainties and imprecisions
within the scheme of your eternal landscape
where creative surprises challenge dead ends
and prolific healing invigorates broken bones.
We trust that you are familiar with messes
and we pray that you hold with just as much
hope
our own messy hearts, broken and strained
and make of them what we cannot yet know.

on Ezekiel 37:1-3

Lent 32 (Vinyls)

My heart skips — 33 —
not the wild leap to express joy
but the weary limp to avoid a pain
the wince — 33 — the accommodation
of a long-standing scar
Like scratched vinyl
and a track that misses its beat
so — 33 — familiar that I sing along
with the flawed syncopation
as though
this is the way
the song was intended
as though — 33 —
the lyrics make perfect sense
when that needle skips
the occasional
— 33 —
I learned to dance to broken records
so long ago
that I hardly notice any more
and really — 33 — it’s okay
but sometimes
when the day’s music is turned down
and there’s only
the off-rhythms of my heart
dodging and dancing with the shadows
— 33 — I confess to wondering
how vinyl is really meant
to sound

In the Spirit of Jonah

Do you see me GOD?!

Do you see how grumpy I am?!

You should stop what you’re doing and look at me.

I’m pissed off and cursing and
kicking the dirt.

Do you know why?!

Look at me, GOD. Listen to me.
Right.
Now.
Listen to me.

Do you know why I’m grumpy?!

Because the sun comes up in the morning,
just as it always does
faithfully
day in and day out,
but GOD I want to sleep.

I’m grumpy because the sun sets at night,
just as it always does
faithfully
day in and day out,
but GOD I still have work to do.

And I’m mad because I don’t like to cook
but there’s an abundance of food
in the pantry
so I don’t have an excuse
to go out to eat.

Plus I’m out of sorts and irritated
because the bush that protects me from the sun
— the work that protects my daily living —
withered and refused to thrive
for my sake alone,
and I should be enough reason
for that friggin bush to keep living, GOD!

And darn it, you’re always
overflowing with love, GOD,
just like you always do
faithfully
day in and day out.

Stop trying to make me smile
or enjoy this beautiful day!

I am just
trying
to be
grumpy
so leave me alone already, GOD.

P.S. Jonah, you rock. Keep sittin’ on that hill and waitin’ for Ninevah to spontaneously combust. I’m with you in spirit, dude.