Lent 36

Come, friend: the world is hard enough.
Let’s not argue over access to God or
qualifications for loving one another.
We’re walking in the same direction (and
goodness knows I have much to learn),
so if you will keep me honest then
I’ll watch your back, and we’ll simply
take this thing one step at a time —
but let’s not forget we’re in it together.

on John 12:20-22

Lent 33

Creating & Advocating God,
would that we (like you)
could speak a word and
it would come into being!

Then we would say, “Love!” and suddenly
all would be their brothers’ keepers.

We would say, “Peace be with you!”
and the wars between us would cease.

“Justice!” would no longer be lip service
but actual restitution and restoration.

“Healing!” would not be a prayer for tidy solutions
but a commitment to join the messy work.

If we spoke “Truth!” it would step off its soapbox
to open its ears and to love people’s stories.

And proclamations of “Faith!” would not
burrow in pulpits and bibles but take
long strolls of curiosity, share songs of joy,
trust in the least of these for its very livelihood,
and give hearts the courage to grow together.

on James 2:14

Lacking

i cannot worship you adequately

i cannot serve you
in the fullest, whole-est ways you should be served

i cannot follow faithfully — my reliability is non-existent

what can i do, O God, but plead at the foot of your grace

what can i do but
silence my tambourine and let the angels make their praises

what can i do
but hide away under the meager shrub where i am lost

now at last will you have mercy

now at last will you gather up my faint heart

now at last
will you grant me shelter in the shade of your holy mountain

The tree is a tree (and other expressions of faithfulness)

There goes the tree again,
shifting its cloak from summer green
to the fading olive of something fresh that has
been in the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer too long.
Lively harvest hues are soon to come (to my eye’s satisfaction)
then the death that is burnt brown, before
shameless nudity and winter.

There goes the sun,
never bored or tardy in its course:
horizon to horizon like a runner making laps
as though it is the most fulfilling thing in the world to mark
the same landscape over and over again, round and round and
around again; and to the sun it is delight enough
to follow that path.

And there goes a song,
catching my heartbeat in its rhythm;
I might pause the metronome or press mute
but still the song strains forward: ABA, chorus, bridge,
da capo al fine, ti ever longing for do from Beethoven to Bono.
The song sways, swells,
falls, rests.

Faithfulness conjoins
our fullness and our finiteness;
the tree is a tree in all seasons, also the sun,
even the song knows its bars. I would do well to learn:
to let my faithfulness include the willingness to be finite, which
then allows God to be faithful in infiniteness
and full within me.