Yesterday, I sat in the church garden on a concrete bench in front of the cross there were birds singing and I smelled flowers I closed my eyes and lifted my face and felt surrounded by light and heat from Christ (though some would say the Texas sun) but with my eyes closed, He was still there on the cross not held by nails or with thorns on His head but by his love with a royal crown ruling from the weakness of the cross and as those thoughts moved through me I felt a sting on my foot and just like that, a fire ant reminded me that I am still in the dirt, and I smiled up at Jesus knowing I would be back
ground shifts memories sift like so many grains of rough sand once upon a life soft, comfort and warm til time breaks edges and darkens what was clear and easy now smudged and torn and scattered like broken glass boldness melted puddles truth swirls like smoke wrapped around hard to grasp but knees locked and eyes closed so if the edge is near it will be unseen and real as faith jerky steps stumble through and stick the landing
Sometimes when the problems of the world are too big all we can do is climb a tree and bear witness to the light perched on a skeleton with feet sunk in the mud we can tiptoe out to the very edge toes clutching tiny limbs where wings can spread and let the sun paint us asleep
as the trees hug the shore of the chilled lake a lone tree bears witness to the sinking sun twigs reaching for the last rays of warmth orange fades to gray, blue fades to black rooted and nourished, drinking deep from rain to lake to tree to sky and round and round like earth and seasons spinning sun to night and come the morning all begins anew
The sound of the drill as screws are driven into boards. the plink of a dropped screw hitting concrete a cardinal sits in the tree complaining as though we are infringing on his territory the sun reflected on the living room wall after tree limbs were trimmed
masks hanging off the shifter in the car our new normal as grocery shopping becomes an adventure discussed and prepared for instead of a taken for granted weekly chore
roped off pews and covered faces choir loft empty, hallowed places Facebook comments, dropped amens lonely blessed praying faces carry memories through halls seasons passed and cold winds shiver
shaggy uncut hair doctor visits online no hugs choosing what social activities are worth the risk of not knowing the anxious feeling of being too close to strangers who used to be friends
waiting for the spring to come hoping for reprieve to poke our heads up like tiny shoots of grass through cold leaves who will we be?
I wander in the field tall weeds catching on my clothes you can’t walk here without taking some of it home hitch hikers, stickers and burrs, bits of pollen, a dead leaf each needing something even if it is just to walk with someone for awhile and the sun is warm as my fingers brush the plants in passing bits of husk and seed float away on the fall breeze I wonder what will take root what will feed and what will become pieces of nesting to cradle next years infant birds for the moment, I just breathe that is the gift.
Bible study this time is John, the Gospel of Light and Life by Adam Hamilton. Excellent book, each chapter covering part of the gospel of John. Tonight’s session was all about Jesus’ last words to His disciples. It reminded me of a poem I wrote in 2013. We need to serve each other, every one. we are filled with the spirit, only to pour it out on others and glorify God. We need to feed each other.
The pond must know a secret, it fills a hollow place, beauty mirrored in stillness, quietly waits in grace, weathers drought with patience, faithfully refilled. The pond must know a secret. How did it get so skilled?
The pond must know a secret. See all around it grows. It’s silence sings to living things, even the marsh grass knows. The trees are fed and cluster near, cradle nest and fruit and seed. The pond must know a secret, made to be fed and then to feed.
This morning since church was canceled due to virus concerns I watched churches streaming online my pastor posted the text of his message and I read it I “went to church” more than I would have if I had well..went to church maybe that is the answer to a question we don’t even know to ask how to get through this peculiar and unsettling time read your bible check on each other talk to each other pray for each other because no matter the media no matter the worry drawing closer to God and to each other (though not in large groups please!) is good.
I am afraid fifteen didn’t amount to much. I have shingles and day before yesterday was the worst (I hope). If you have never had shingles and you are old enough to take the vaccination, I encourage you to do so. This stuff is painful.
So much is broken these days Elijah lived in a broken time He fled to the wilderness and angels found him They had a message from God Elijah, you need a nap the way is too long They had another message You need to eat, Elijah. Elijah was in need of a sabbath Maybe in broken times we all need a sabbath instead of buying up toilet paper and hand sanitizer maybe we need to take a break eat a little chocolate have a nap Practice a little self quarantine It’s worth mentioning that after the nap and a good meal Elijah got up and took a trip to a mountain where he would meet God in a surprising way. He thought God would arrive with parades and trumpets storms and drama turns out the creator of the universe doesn’t need fancy hats like a royal wedding Just a quiet whisper Elijah was so gobsmacked he hardly noticed that nap time was over and God gave him his next assignment something to keep in mind After this mess, there will be work for all of us.
In the book of Mark there is a story about a man named Jairus whose little daughter was sick before he got to the house people came to tell Jairus that she was dead Jesus went in the house and people ridiculed Him the bible says after He had put them out He took the child by the hand and she got up sometimes some things have to be put out before you can get up
It rained today and brought a memory a conversation with a friend the bible says God sends rain on the just and the unjust I always saw it as rain being a punishment forgetting biblical geography I try to remember that perspective affects my theology
what it must have been like when You lit the sun with a word just moments before light breaks a lone bird is perched on the back porch chirping the sun up he worked so hard that when it finally broke through he hushed in awe and I said a prayer of thanks
I smelled spring today working in the yard and I wondered how You could have put so much thought into creation that the changing seasons have their own smell the light is different the birds know and plants start to poke up tiny new shoots a promise of new life Your fingerprints are everywhere
it’s crazy at a deep level we have a need to journey back to you we arrive so very vulnerable and spend our lives trying to be not that we stack up the blocks decide what rules will make us feel safest and crawl into our forts strong, independent, adults we say we need you but the walls are thick, the rules are comforting and yet you have ways to get to us if we pay attention
Teach us kingdom thinking help us keep our hearts from sinking we are needing more not less you bend to us in our distress Your spirit lives in jars of clay we long to hear what you will say but all around there is the sound of broken people, sin abounds and masks the message you would give to love, to heal, to feed, to live we think we have the truth to hold we beat it, mash it, fit the mold but you would choose to die for me the gift of grace that sets us free how an it be? how can it be?