Grace

Smile at me today, O LORD,
and I will dance forever.

Touch me gently like a mother
brushing her child’s feverish forehead,
and I will leap from my sickbed to serve you.

Guide my feet over this treacherous way,
and I will follow you beyond the horizon.

Say that I can never leave your love,
that your love will not leave me,
and my joy will know no end.

Hold this heartache until it eases,
and tomorrow I will dare to hold yours.

Extend relief — unexpected, unconditional —
and my tears will bless the ground.

The grace of God has appeared,
bringing salvation to all.
(Titus 2:11)
.

Day Song

The sun rises as the day’s ostinato.

The juncos interject
their staccato.

The clouds soar in descant,
whistling from the west.

The fox barks out a tempo,
the squirrel chatters out of time.

Melting snow pings out its melody
along the roof and down the rainspout.

A few lingering dry leaves rustle their counterpoint.

The Christmas rose lifts its face
to greet the strain.

And the river
murmurs.

Each day the song
is the same. Each day
the song is brand new forever.

Glory be to God.

on Psalm 96:1

Enemies Without and Within

I am afraid, even all these years later; afraid of what was done, of what else could have been done, of what else still could be done. Afraid at two in the morning when no one knows but you. I know you know, and probably that should be enough to ease my fears, but it is not. My spirit paces like cornered prey; it jumps at the slightest shadow, no matter that the threat is far removed. “Bring peace,” I pray in the spirit of Micah, “peace with a sword and peace with a border; peace with my enemy and peace with my memory. Peace for a just cause.”

Do not be afraid. You who have so long lived in fear, you who have armed yourself for every potential threat: do not fear. Not because there are no enemies, but because I am your Friend. Not because you are perfectly secure but because I your God am perfectly faithful. Not because anxiety is cast out beyond the reach of your spirit, but because I keep you within the reach of my heart. Not because unease is absent but because Peace is present. Come, enemy of your enemies and enemy of yourself, do not be afraid.

on Micah 5:1-6

Laundry

Reds, whites, greens
separated by hots & colds,
darks & lights
with a bit of soap,
far removed from the bells,
the garlands, the cheery carols.
This is Advent. This is
the preparation
for your coming: cleaning,
washing, planning, (re)arranging,
assessing what is needed,
writing what must
be written,
saying what must be
said to make way & make amends,
giving a honest account of our readiness,
adulting to be precise.
I want to wonder
a while
longer, dream
of the work already
accomplished … but still
the work stares at us to be done.
So many ordinary chores for the most
extraordinary Reason, but in truth
it feels simply ordinary.
It is ordinary.
We trim the lamps,
we wash the dirty laundry,
we go to bed tired and wake up
bleary-eyed, because
you are coming.
Because the work isn’t finished.
So come, O Christ.
Quickly come.

on Matthew 25:1-13

Without You

There must be you.
There has to be you.
Without you,
how will I sleep at night?
How will I rest
if not in the knowledge
that you are there — beside, behind, before,
long ago and forever?
Without you,
how will I laugh in the storm?
Only the impossibility of you
makes the impossibility of mirth
possible in this chaos.
Without you,
how will the wilderness bloom?
How will I tell stories
of life, how will I
paint pictures of flowers
sing songs of rocks yielding water
without you?
There must be you.
There must be
a joy of the galaxies
a peace within the oceans
a love of the tree for the soil
a hope beyond the sunset
a testimony of generations
else how will I smile
how will I greet
my sister
how will I walk
how will I wonder
how will I be
without you?
There must be you.

on Luke 1:43