Passing Away

Who will mourn death
when it dies?

Who will cry out against
the drying of tears?

Who will offer their shoulder
when pain passes away?

You have promised it, O God, and it is certainly so that all things are being made new. But in our gleeful grabbing at the latest & greatest, in our rush to be done with anything displeasing, we have turned willfully away from the grief and the growing pains and the death that accompany new life. We have brushed aside tears and mocked the weary. “Life and faith are ours!” we crow (and alas to those who haven’t the privilege of joy for surely it is their own fault).

Do not let me hold you back from all that is new, Risen Christ. Pay no mind if I ask a friend to sit with me through an unspoken heartache — then again, if there is room enough in your resurrection for slow-healing wounds, you are welcome to sit with us too while we watch the slow sunset and take the time to learn of new constellations that rise with the moon. I am not so courageous in change, but if you stay with me, I could try.

The bed remains unmade in case death comes quickly or if life dawns without remembering to include us, and we wait beside it while others chase the promised by and by. When at last they run out of breath and their vision blurs in the dazzle of newness, the bed will be ready and we will be there to keep prayerful watch alongside the Spirit who, it turns out, is more like a hospice nurse than a plastic surgeon in Her understanding that death comes to us all.

Do not be afraid to mourn.

Let tears fall as they will.

Feel the fullness of your pain.

Pass away in the love of Christ and wake in the delight of God.

on Revelation 21:4

Lent 38 (Maundy Thursday)

Where to begin?

You are more than I can handle, O Christ,
and beyond my efforts of comprehension;
this I acknowledge as I sit with you at the table
as I wait with you in the deepening shadows
as I try pathetically to offer you an anointing.

What to say?

You are my highest hope and my deepest fear,
my impatient longing and my midnight despair;
this is true — and yet I must recognize that you
are not mine at all, not in the slightest, and
my relationship with you is a vain pipe dream.

How to go on?

In grief I vacillate between the choices that remain:
to love you in blissful ignorance that you are not really
mine to love; to reject you as though we never met
and settle for what good can be found; or to let you go
in full knowledge that the resulting wound may never heal.

What have you done to me?

Lent 15 (Hope)

I believe
that I shall see
the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
(Psalm 27:13)

I no longer want to forestall hope
to locate it in God’s future
so clearly beyond
my reach,
beyond this life

It’s time for hope now, in the
land of the living that is
now — even if now
is only a deceptive tease
a shadow of the living land
on the other side of that curtain

I believe
in the goodness of the LORD
for today, for these fleeting hours
the goodness of the LORD taking on
time and space and beauty and togetherness
against the rush
the noise
the callousness
the neglect

It’s long past time for this land
to be living, so long washed
in a baptism of blood
as if
that would save us
but let the blood flow in veins again
no more through the streets
or under the swingsets
let the blood have being
so that the being might dance
and by the stomping rhythm of feet
the land itself might have
its heartbeat
its pulse sparked
not electrocuted because
the dancing feet will finally teach us
that instruments of death
cannot start life

Stomp! the exclamation point of a demand:
I will no longer delay hope
we will no longer designate hope
for the after life — no
hope after
is not hope at all
but rather
a crumpled article in newsprint
reporting back from the other side
that things will change in the by-and-by
but this day
on this side
of life
I refute
eventual hope