Advent 12/21/12

Come, o my weary soul: see the barren trees there waiting faithfully for spring; see the clouds licking wistfully at the sky; lay down on your back and feel the earth heaving in rotation; feel your own chest heaving with breath. Let creation hold your weariness and teach you the depth of its peace.

Come, o my mourning soul: touch the streaks of salt as they dry on your cheek; taste the sting of salt in the foaming ocean waves; listen to the seagull’s impatient cry; and hurl your lament against life at the relentless tide. Let your tears be comforted by joining the earth’s own stream of tears.

Come, o my restless soul: feel the wind driving and disorienting you; marvel as it patiently molds the most stubborn of rocks across centuries; get up and pace the length of the corn field; watch the endlessly shifting dance of the starlings. Let your agitation find its song sung in nature’s modulations.

Come, o my dying soul: count the pinpoints of light from stars long gone; clear your eyes to watch the dawn; recite again the promise of God’s mercy arriving like the sun; paint on your heart the beauty of life and love — paint it even on the scars! Let your tongue echo the heavens, “Great is thy faithfulness!”

Advent 12/20/12

Can we sit quietly together this morning,

O God, like we used to do before

the whole world went crazy?

Sit and drink our coffee in the peace

of familiar friends, watching the geese

overhead in their ever-shifting Vs, letting

the day unfold for a few minutes without us?

And then, when our cups are empty and

our souls are sufficiently warmed,

rise and go our separate ways

to hold hands here and there with other

aching souls who need warmth and friendship?

I’d really like that, God. It would mean a lot to me today.

Advent 12/19/12

I cannot dance, O Lord,

Unless You lead me.

If You wish me to leap joyfully,

Let me see You dance and sing —

 

Then I will leap into Love —

And from Love into Knowledge,

And from Knowledge into the Harvest,

That sweetest Fruit beyond human sense.

 

There I will stay with You, whirling.

 

By Mechtild of Magdeburg, a 13th century German mystic. From For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics, Roger Housden. Hay House, Inc.: 2009. 164.

Advent 12/18/12

And still you are here, despite our sins and our doubts and our failures and our general human ridiculousness. Still you are here, appearing in gentle mercies to the hospitalized and the lonely, coming in simple laughter to the worried and the tired, manifesting in quiet tears to the mourning and the discouraged. Still you are here, drawing us toward you through one another (although we resist stubbornly, violently). Still you are here, steadfast and clear as Venus in the winter sky before dawn. Still you are here, helping us to breathe … and breathe again … and breathe again. Still you are here, despite our best and worst efforts. Still you are here, and we are grateful.

Advent 12/17/12

Sing us a lullaby, Rachel, the kind of lullaby

that you’ve been singing across a lifetime:

a tune to calm the grieving mothers’ tears,

a melody with the strength to wing comfort

to the souls of children interrupted by violence.

 

Sing us a lullaby, Mary, a heart-rending psalm

that leans on God’s faithfulness in the midst of

unpredictable life, in the midst of troubled days;

one like the psalm you sang over Jesus because

who knows how the world will receive any child

as he grows. Sing a swaddling lullaby of blessing.

 

Sing us a lullaby, Hannah, to tune our hearts

to such a faith in the Holy One that we release

our lives and loves and wounds to the One,

to the Great Keeper who can hold this life

more securely than we ever could, who can

make of this life, of our loves, of our wounds

a song of exultation to complete every lullaby.

 

Teach us your song of exultation, Miriam,

you who witnessed generations of children

impoverished, beaten, tormented and slain.

Sing your song for us once, and then again,

until we catch on to its tune and harmonies

intricately woven between lament and promise.

We long to pick up our weary feet to dance and

to sing with faith, “The LORD saves and restores.”