Circling – A Poem

I am spending “wilderness time” alone with God this weekend, so enjoy this poem from the archives.
WindAviator

Life is a circle.
It loops and it circles around again.
It circles back through the beginning
and around and down through the end.
What once was before
now circles round into trend.

 

God knelt down low and breathed
dirt to become man and life.
His breath circles back
to raise man out of strife
when Holy Spirit wind divides
dead heart from new like a knife.

 

What began in a garden
with successful tempting of man,
circled back to a garden
and the culmination of God’s plan.
Temptation was repeated
but this time was banned.

 

God’s love and God’s holiness
leads to God putting on skin.
His wrath pours out on sin,
His mercy pours it out on Him.
When wrath circles back to the cross,
it turns out that love wins.

 

When Word became flesh,
He climbed down into time.
He breathed our air and
turned water into wine.
One day Word will circle back
and earthly life will join the Divine.

 

Life is a circle.
It loops and it circles around again.
It circles back through the beginning
and around and down through the end.
What once was before
now circles into trend.
To hear my blog post read aloud, just click the play button. If you’re reading this in an email, you may have to click here to hear the post on my site.

These Are Gift — A Poem

IMG_5271
Logs piled high with fire bright
to keep away pain of deep freeze snow night;
Brilliant sun rises on even a dark day
reminding that peace our despair will allay;
Fears that are faced with soft laughter
and voices loud that flit high toward rafter;
These are gift
Hand offered up to tightly hold
while heart searches hard to discover it is bold;
One timid smile offered slow
on a troubled day that conspires to bring heart low;
Tiny dimpled fingers tightly wrap
around a thumb with paper skin deep in nap;
These are gift
One who spoke earth and star
is found wrapped in small by those traveling far;
He who is Creator’s song
takes on all our discord, killed for our wrong;
Promise of freedom from fear,
of healing our broken, of wiped away tear;
These are gift
for which we give thanks

edited from the archives

When Advent Gives Way

IMG_9123
I want to hear from God.
I want to see luminous brilliance,
be brought to my knees by incomparable glory,
hear divine language thunder loud.
I want King on white horse, sword in fist, charging in to right all my wrongs.
**
What I receive is a soft, still voice deep inside.
What I receive is minor light,
a golden leaf to seize my senses,
a tune to haul up my heart.
What I receive is Baby in manger, dimpled fists, slipping in quietly to die for all my wrongs.
**
In this world God is mostly still hidden, coming to us in glimpse and slant.
The veil is torn but not torn away.
We see in mirror but not in full.
We dwell in dawnlight but not in brilliant sun.
So we wait for one day (soon, I hope?) when Advent gives way to Arrival.

Circling – A Poem

IMG_1160
IMG_1186
Life is a circle.
It loops and it circles around again.
It circles back through the beginning
and around and down through the end.
What once was before
now circles round into trend.
God knelt down low and breathed
dirt to become man and life.
His breath circles back
to raise man out of strife
when Holy Spirit wind divides
dead heart from new like a knife.
What began in a garden
with successful tempting of man,
circled back to a garden
and the culmination of God’s plan.
Temptation was repeated
but this time was banned.
God’s love and God’s holiness
leads to God putting on skin.
His wrath pours out on sin,
His mercy pours it out on Him.
When wrath circles back to the cross,
it turns out that love wins.
When Word became flesh,
He climbed down into time.
He breathed our air and
turned water into wine.
One day Word will circle back
and earthly life will join the Divine.
Life is a circle.
It loops and it circles around again.
It circles back through the beginning
and around and down through the end.
What once was before
now circles into trend.
To hear my blog post read aloud, just click the play button. If you’re reading this in an email, you may have to click here to hear the post on my site.

 

photographs copyright Made Sacred 2020

edited from the archives

Grief Is Weighty

Grief
Grief is weighty.
Even the word pandemic has
A heaviness contained within;
All those fat and rounded letters
Holding it down.

 

It is a collective grief,
Magnified world-wide, of
A million wailing voices straining
To push through the shattered shards
Of lives and dreams.

 

I turn away from news,
From podcasts and posts,
For who can bear this kind of weight?
One who, with tears tracing paths down his face,
opened his arms to bear it all.

 

To hear my blog post read aloud, just click the play button. If you’re reading this in an email, you may have to click here to hear the post on my site.

Art credit: Grief by Bertram Mackennal

O Antiphons

advent
The O Antiphons are a sequence of seven Advent prayers written in the first centuries of the Church. These prayers call on Christ to come, addressing Him not as Jesus, for in Advent the Messiah has not yet appeared, but by titles given Him in the Old Testament.
The poet Malcom Guite has written seven sonnets in response to the seven O Antiphons. I am going to share two of them here with you today. The first is O Clavis, O Key, and the second is O Oriens, O Dayspring. The first speaks of the darkness of our humanity and our need for the Key to unlock our prison; the second speaks of the rising Morning Star that will come to illuminate all our darkness.
Linger over these. Read them slowly. Read them again. Let the Key, let the Morning Star speak to you in the stillness.
advent waiting
O Clavis
Even in the darkness where I sit
And huddle in the midst of misery
I can remember freedom, but forget
That every lock must answer to a key,
That each dark clasp, sharp and intricate,
Must find a counter-clasp to meet its guard,
Particular, exact and intimate,
The clutch and catch that meshes with its ward.
I cry out for the key I threw away
That turned and over turned with certain touch
And with the lovely lifting of a latch
Opened my darkness to the light of day.
O come again, come quickly, set me free
Cut to the quick to fit, the master key.
advent light
O Oriens
First light and then first lines along the east
To touch and brush a sheen of light on water
As though behind the sky itself they traced
The shift and shimmer of another river
Flowing unbidden from its hidden source;
The Day-Spring, the eternal Prima Vera.
Blake saw it too. Dante and Beatrice
Are bathing in it now, away upstream…
So every trace of light begins a grace
In me, a beckoning. The smallest gleam
Is somehow a beginning and a calling:
‘Sleeper awake, the darkness was a dream
For you will see the Dayspring at your waking,
Beyond your long last line the dawn is breaking.’
To hear my blog post read aloud, just click the play button. If you’re reading this in an email, you may have to click here to hear the post on my site.

Glory

Glory

Glory

A glimpse of You which 
Must be veiled lest
We fall blinded on the road.

 

The light which shone
On Moses’ face was
Caught from being with You.

 

You say be still, yet
It often feels as
Though the darkness remains.

 

What is the secret of
Beholding You, of 
Letting You blaze through me?

 

Time, time, and more,
Forty years if even
A day spent with You.

 

All of my time is
Worth giving away for just
A brief moment in fire and cloud.

 

I long for a touch of
Even Your hem, to
Soak and steep in Your

 

Glory.

 

To hear my blog post read aloud, just click the play button. If you’re reading this in an email, you may have to click here to hear the post on my site.

Art credit: photo from NASA

If This Is Creation

To hear my blog post read aloud, just click the play button. If you’re reading this in an email, you may have to click here to hear the post on my site.

 

Creation
If this is creation,
from the cold and unapproachable star
to the velvety and pungent sage,
if this is creation,
that matters.
It makes this world,
from the Alaskan wilderness
to the plumber under our sink,
a gift to cherish rather than a commodity to be used.
It makes all of knowledge,
from the how-it-works of the sciences
to the what-is-it and why-is-it of the arts,
a discovery of reality rather than a making of what we wish life to be.
If this is creation,
we cannot consider any aspect of this life in a truthful way
without also considering the Source of it all.
The very novelty that is you,
your distinctive character and perspective,
only occurred because
the thought of you occurred
in the imagination of the Creator.
The Creator who was, is, and will always be
Creating
Moving
Holding all things together.
If this is creation,
that matters.

Breathe

To hear my blog post read aloud, just click the play button. If you’re reading this in an email, you may have to click here to hear the post on my site.

 

Breathe
He knelt down, leaned in close, and
breathed into the dust.
Dust became man and man
breathed in His image and life.

 

He breathed His Word and
Word gained skin and
breathed life into twelve who then
breathed that life into more.

 

Spirit became fire and
breathed mighty wind into
hearts and minds which then
breathed change into the world.

 

We breathe a human breath then
slip under the waters where
all breath stops and when
we come up we now have His
breath in our souls.

 

One day our lungs will
breathe one last breath and we fall
asleep but when we wake we
find Him leaning close and He
breathes into us perfect life everlasting.

Art credit: Holy Spirit painting by Jakob Häne

edited from the archives

Lightening and Love

To hear my blog post read aloud, just click the play button. If you’re reading this in an email, you may have to click here to hear the post on my site.

 

Be adored among men,
God, three-numberèd form;
Wring thy rebel, dogged in den,
Man’s malice, with wrecking and storm.
Beyond saying sweet, past telling of tongue,
Thou art lightening and love, I found it, a winter and warm;
Father and fondler of heart thou hast wrung:
Hast thy dark descending and most art merciful then.
With an anvil-ding
And with fire in him forge thy will
Or rather, rather then, stealing as Spring
Through him, melt him but master him still:
Whether at once, as once at a crash Paul,
Or as Austin, a lingering-out sweet skill,
Make mercy in all of us, out of us all
Mastery, but be adored, but be adored King.
~ Gerard Manley Hopkins
poetry as art
lightening and love
I am struck by how much truth can be contained within the words of a poem.
This poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, for example – though you would grow weary long before I reached my end, still allow me to pull out just a few of my favorite bits.
Thou art lightening and love, I found it
God’s is a dangerous love. He is a holy fire that purifies. He pulls us from our filth and rebellion and makes us sons and daughters, and demands nothing less than all of us. Lightening and love.
Father and fondler of heart thou hast wrung
God demands our whole being. We are to pick up our cross, deny ourselves to follow Him. Our hearts are wrung, more, they are transformed into something new. And the entire painful time, He is holding us close, gracing us with His Father presence that will never let us go.
With an anvil-ding
And with fire in him forge thy will
Or rather, rather then, stealing as Spring
Through him, melt him but master him still
Some of us require the anvil and fire in order to mold our hearts into the likeness of Jesus. Others of us have hearts that can be melted slowly, as the spring melts the snow, and remade into Christ’s heart. Yet all of us must be mastered by the One who created us to bear the image of His Son.
Make mercy in all of us, out of us all
Mastery, but be adored, but be adored King
As God our Father, in His great mercy, masters our hearts so that we may show mercy to those around us, let us adore Him as our Lord and King. The Lord be with you all.
This was different from my normal posts, I know. Let me know if you loved it, hated it, or thought it was slightly better than a morning at the dentist. I enjoy hearing your feedback.