Swaddling

Be not afraid, o my soul,
to hold Love close to your breast,
to wonder at its fingers and toes and eyes,
to marvel at Love’s sweet breath.

Swaddle Love gently, tightly,
as though it is the labor of your womb,
the offspring of your heart, the flesh of your flesh,
as though Love is your whole world.

Hover by Love’s side, o my soul,
to count its breaths and nurture its growth.
Send Love out into the world until your heart breaks,
then see how Love returns to swaddle you. 

Love

How is it that my Lord can love me
from the depths of hell to the heights of heaven?

How has it come to pass that I am the beloved
of the Sovereign of angels, the Commander of the dawn?

 Yet there is the sun — a sign in the east —
greeting me across the chasm of the universe.

And there is the child — a sign of new life —
delighting in honey no matter the world’s bitterness.

How has my disgrace been hidden from ridicule
so that my name brings joy to the ancestors?

I cannot explain or comprehend such grace,
but only testify that I am saved by Love.

And here is the sign:
God is with me.

Hallelujah!

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Sensual

How beautiful you are, my love,
how very beautiful!
Your hair is like goats along the hills;
your teeth are like shorn ewes that have been washed;
your lips are like a crimson thread—so lovely;
your cheeks are like pomegranate halves.
(Song of Songs 4:1-3)

Sure, maybe it’s a poem about God. This poet wouldn’t be the first one to look at creation and imagine how it reflects characteristics of God: the wind as God’s whisper, the sunset as God’s smile, a sparkling stream as the glint in God’s eye.

It’s also possible, despite (or because of!) its location in the middle of the Bible, that it’s a poem of physical adoration, a celebration of human beauty, an unapologetic delight in the joys of sensuality. The poet gazes upon a beloved and cannot cease in adoration:

Oh my gosh, your eyes!
My goodness, your hair!
Be still my heart—your smile!

Then again, maybe it’s not either/or. To pause in delight, to celebrate a love (and to celebrate the Love of all loves), to be full of wonder, to be satisfied by the mutuality of adoration, to give thanks for the senses and sensualities that make life so acute—these too are gifts of the Creator. As the late Mary Oliver wrote about prayer: “Just pay attention … [this is] the doorway into thanks.”

Thank you, O Love, for touch and affection. Thank you, O Life, for the flood of your beauty through all of my senses. Thank you, O Creator, for putting my spirit in flesh.

written for the Stillspeaking Daily Devotional

What Wondrous Love

What love you have for us, O Merciful One:
the sparrow chirrups faithfully and
the daffodil sprouts through snow,
joy greets us daily with the sunrise
and grace finds us every night.

What love you have for us, O Forgiving One:
that new visions reveal your relentless hope
though the world is overwrought with war,
that your foolishness surprises our hearts
when cynicism has corrupted our wonder.

What love you have for us, O Beautiful One:
trouble has yielded to delight and
miracles have greeted us in peace,
gladness has overflowed our hearts
and redemption knows our names.

What love you have for us, O Merciful One!

cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals

Love Supreme

O Love Supreme,
our foundation and our irritation,
our comfort and our chastisement:

The earth quakes with the marching of racism
(in every generation, new boots carry the same hatred)
but we who know Love Supreme will not be shaken.

The air blisters and scorches with words of hatred
(old words, dusty words, dead words to spark torches)
but we who know Love Supreme will not give up life’s zeal.

The demons burn with the consuming madness of fear
(delusions of supremacy, rationalized and normalized)
but we who know Love Supreme will not be afraid.

The waters rage and teem with threats of war
(vanity & selfishness multiplied by megaphone & weaponry)
but we who know Love Supreme will not surrender peace.

O Love Supreme,
our strength and our humility,
our direction and our deliverance:

Let the peace of your lips
be the confession of our hearts
and the fierce joy of our lives so that no one
is threatened or isolated by the accomplices of evil.

Let the glory of your name
be the rebuke of every prejudice
and the mercy of every hand so that no one
is degraded or violated by the mechanisms of sin.

Let the promise of your word
be the measure of your faithfulness
and the tattletale against death so that no one
suffers in this world without your attention and relief.

O Love Supreme,
our defiance and our determination,
our broken and tortured and resurrected one:

We seek your healing love for Charlottesville.
We seek your unfailing love for those afflicted by bigotry.
We seek your abiding love for the mourning.
We seek your convicting love for the rich and powerful.
We seek your redeeming love for the Church.
We seek your impatient love for white folks.
We seek your supreme love and your transformative presence
always always always.

O Love Supreme,
our hope and our dance,
our sass and our satisfaction. Amen.

“Love Supreme” as an honorific for God
is borrowed 
directly from John Coltrane’s
album A Love Supreme, which I commend
for your spirit’s comfort & groundedness.

Cross-posted at RevGalBlogPals