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

Rejoice in the Dance

Life holds hands with death
like partners on the dance floor
spinning and sighing and
flirting and melding,
alternately taking the lead
and following, but never parting from
one another’s side: the foxtrot
belongs to life, the tango
to death. So come,
friend, and hold my hand
for lack of any other way to
comprehend their whirling dance
— instead we’ll join them on the floor and
we’ll toast the Spirit who makes
our steps graceful.

heaven and earth will pass away

Stay with us, Gentle Savior.
Linger at our bedside for
we are always dying and
it is hard, so many days,
to live in acceptance of death
in acceptance of loss and
change, in acceptance of
the transience of this life.
Your day may be coming —
and oh! what a glorious day
it will be — but to welcome
your advent is to confess
the sun’s fading, the moon’s
bleeding, the hospice of
the earth and all we know.
So stay with us, we ask you,
through death and into dawn.