Face to Face

Although I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink; instead I hope to come to you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
– 2 John 1:12 (NRSV)

I love the written word. Love the written word.

Some of my favorite images for Christ expand upon the Gospel of John’s Word Made Flesh: the Word Made Verb, the Word Made Ink, the Word Made Verse. Wordplay is my happy place.

The Word that becomes verb is active and adventurous.

The Word that becomes ink is purposeful, pointed.

The Word that is stylized in verse is beautiful and elusive.

The Word when written can swell or break hearts, uplift or devastate lives, comfort or isolate the soul.

The Word is a wonder.

My love for the written word not only extends to my relationship with the Holy but also to my relationship with you. I’m content—delighted, even—to relate to you through the written word. A text rather than a phone call. An email rather than a meeting. A well-crafted, edited, typed-out thought rather than whatever jumble of words might fall off my tongue during an in-person conversation. I will lose sleep over those face-to-face words if they are inadequate in the moment.

Nevertheless, all the written words in the world cannot substitute for the poignancy of personal interaction. The humility of breath in shared space. The interpretation of body language. The fragility of disagreement; the relief of affirmation. The hopes, the fears, the possibilities that cannot be realized unless we are in the same space.

The written word can only describe it. Coming together completes it.

“Here, o my Lord, I see thee face to face.” (H. Bonar) May words never come between us.

written for the Daily Devotional

Generations

Blessed are those who pray in the mountains,
where the signs of heaven are clear, where
the echoes of creation’s praise roll like thunder.

Blessed are those who pray in the dark of night,
when the promise of the sun is distant, when
the LORD whispers secrets to the despairing.

Blessed are those who pray in the cities,
where the revelation is among the people
and faith finds its voice in a collective shout.

Blessed are those who pray at the river,
where God’s life overflows for renewal and
the world’s burdens find welcome release.

Blessed are those who pray in famine and plague,
when the wildness of God and the terror of earth
offer no reprieve, when hope is a stranger.

O you who have answered the prayers of generations,
to whom we have poured out our longing and our joy,
bless the praying and the prayed for, O God of generations!

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

The Hills Are Alive

You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy.
– Psalm 65:11-12 (NRSV)

The house where I grew up is purported to have been a speakeasy during Prohibition.

It’s not too hard to imagine. The house sits atop a hill along a rugged path (not a metaphor), as out-of-the-way and nearly inaccessible today as it was in the speakeasy days, when a rough wagon track climbed the hill and then continued its winding way along the mountain. A traveler would have had to be intent on that hilltop destination to choose such a difficult path.

In my childhood, I explored those old wagon tracks through the woods, but these days, much of the path is overgrown with brambles. Only deer and small wildlife can navigate it easily.

But oh! There are wild raspberries too along that way, when the season is right. Blueberries and teaberries if you know where to look. Blushing mountain laurel and swinging vines.

The overgrown wagon tracks may be intimidating to wagons and wanderers alike, but God’s wild richness on the trail is no less abundant.

Which is a lesson I’m trying to hold onto in these days when life seems determined to take the most difficult path possible: The wildness of the way overflows with beauty and bounty, even when the path is rough. The tracks across the hills are dressed in God’s joy, even amidst the brambles.

Let your bounty, O God, be the source of my joy even when I am snagged by brambles. Let me recognize the beauty of your path even when the way is overgrown.

written for the Daily Devotional

Remember

Though our teeth are set on edge, O God,
let us never forget your name.

Though the night is long with wrestling, O God,
let us never forget your blessing.

Though the sun and moon strike us, O God,
let us never forget your help.

Though the litany of lies grows, O God,
let us never forget we belong to you.

Though justice is slow and faith weary, O God,
let us never lose heart or voice.

Though time is impatient, O God,
let us never forget your fullness.

Though we are plucked up and broken down, O God,
let us never neglect your promise within us.

on today’s Revised Common Lectionary texts,
cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Send Word

Tell the stars to send word, O Creator,
of your faithfulness to every generation,
of your trustworthiness through the long night of injustice.

Tell the children to send word, O Love,
of your accompaniment in places of exile,
of your blessed increase even in the presence of enemies.

Tell the prophets to send word, O Hope,
of your oasis in the desert named oppression,
of your refuge when our homes are not safe from violence.

Tell the Jordan River to send word, O Peace,
of your healing no matter how shallow the waters,
of your sweet relief when our tears overflow like a storm.

Tell the silver to send word, O Fire,
of your grace through fierce judgment,
of your pure beauty that gleams in the midst of trial.

Tell the foreigner to send word, O Mercy,
of your welcome that continuously disrupts exclusion,
of your fearsome freedom for the sake of life and redemption.

Send word, O God,
by wind or horse or messenger,
and we will give thanks for ever and ever.

on today’s Revised Common Lectionary texts,
cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals