Apology (Third Sunday in Lent)

I saw you trying to catch my eye, trying to hold my gaze long enough for the shields to drop, but you were too late — or perhaps too early — and I could not meet you honestly. I chased after you, to be sure, and I called your name, but I kept my distance and preferred to adore the illusion of you. Divine Love, forgive me. Try again someday, I pray.

Lessons (Lent 13)

What example shall I be, O LORD, for the blessing of your name? If an example of grace, I might be tempted to idolize and (try to) enact a perfect persona. If an example of faith, I might fold doubt beneath my coat or tuck it into my pockets like cold hands in winter, lest faith be revealed for its fragility. If an example of love, I might never love for fear of failing to live with a heart so generous as yours. If an example of mercy, I might betray how desperately we live without compassion for ourselves or one another, If an example of hope, I might be swept away be the despair of dreams unrealized. What example shall I be, O LORD, for the blessing of your name?

on 1 Corinthians 13:13

Tissues (Lent 3)

Close to You, I am
close to tears
for Your beauty moves me like
a sunrise, like a baby’s breath, like
the second movement of Beethoven’s seventh
and never will I be able to fully articulate
how Your grace renders my heart
useless except to cry.
I miss You
even though You are here
because I cannot grasp You fully; like a dream
You dance just out of imagination’s reach
though I string together all my best
words to try to understand
and impress You.
Let me
adore You, not even
love You, just gaze through tears
and sniffle at the wonder
of You. I am
blessed to have even
an inkling of You
and to have glimpsed even
the barest shadow of Your eternal elegance.
It is too much to ask that You love me;
only bless me never to forget
the delight of You.

Love Never Fails

Love-Never-FailsTime and time again, I am blessed to know the good people and the beautiful work of Paraclete Press. Most recently, I am moved by the thoughtfulness of word and art in Paraclete’s new book, Love Never Fails: A Journal to be Inspired by the Power of Love by Hilda St. Clair.

Love Never Fails is a creative book for such a time as this: a touchstone of love to hold fast in a landslide of fear; a stimulus toward generosity amidst an inundation of selfishness; a reminder to be faithful in the ways that change the world: listening, caring, connecting.

With compelling quotations, gentle prompts, and blank space for writing, drawing & coloring, Love Never Fails is a visually-engaging invitation to reflection …

love-never-fails-baldwin… and not just inward reflection, but outward engagement: living with love in the world, working for reconciliation in relationships, stepping across misjudgment to understanding, breaking open a spirit of gratitude.

Or at least, that’s what Love Never Fails does for me when I read it. And, having read it once, I’m planning to engage it more thoroughly a second time by making Love Never Fails my daily journal for Lent.

I encourage you to do the same — whether for Lent or not, if you find yourself discouraged for lack of love in the world or overwhelmed for a place to start, let Love Never Fails bolster your spirit and inspire you to greater love-filled living.