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

Storytime

Tell me a story of love that grows like an apple tree; and anyone can stop to rest in its shade or relieve the gnaw of despair with its fruit; and there are no illusions that it’s pristine & pretty because everyone knows apple trees are gnarled with tight, knobby branches and rough bark; and no one believes that “pretty” is the point anyway, so no one is deterred or discouraged or distracted by a perfect row of tulips.

Tell me a story of love that pours like a summer rainstorm; and no one runs for shelter or says gloomily “When will it stop?” or hunkers under an umbrella or glares when they’re splashed; and the common experience of being absolutely drenched & deluged by love makes everyone a little kinder, a little more playful; and everyone realizes as they skip through puddles that the rainbow isn’t love’s beginning but its fulfillment.

Tell me a story of love that trembles like an earthquake; and no one is safe from its impact and everyone is at risk of losing their hearts’ walls in the rubble; and the foundations of self-interest are no match for the wild strength of love; and the measure of it looks like a jumping needle or a pounding heart or a quiet spirit; and no one ever really gets used to the unexpected ways that it shifts your worldview in the flash of a moment.

If you know that story, would you live it aloud so that others might know it too? I’ve been looking for a little inspiration…

on 1 John 4:12

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.