Choosing

Today out of sight some where
Electors are making a choice
that will rock the world, one way or anther,
and make possible a certain future.
It’s a powerful moment; much hangs in the balance.
They are empowered by a Constitution,
some are bound by state laws;
who knows what other values and commitments
will sway them?

This moment, beyond your sight,
God is choosing,
bound or swayed by nothing,
but acting in pure love,
choosing for us—
not for a party or a position or a belief
but for all of us,
choosing us as a spouse chooses,
forever, with all of God’s self,
with the power that says “Let there be light,”
power that dwarfs electors
and their decision and their nation
and its history and its future,
power that dwarfs every emperor’s,
love that dwarfs everything else.
This moment and forever
God is choosing us, saying, “I am coming,”
and making possible an unimagined future.
Let this choosing bind your own,
and live in this light.
 

 

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Simple star

Simple star,
shine through my tangled darkness.
Healing glory,
pierce my earth, my stone.
Secret angel,
whisper in my dreams, my nightmares,
my forgetting,
your impossible promise.
Heavenly choir,
do not wait for me to listen.
Sing your verses till I waken,
even if my whole life
is nothing but the final amen.

 

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Come, Christ

         
Come, Christ,
come here, not far away,
come here to our little suburban town.
                  
No, wait.
Come to Aleppo,
where they need you,
where the children are being slaughtered.

No, wait.
You are already there
among the oppressed.
From the beginning
this is how you come to us:
as the assaulted and discarded,
the crucified.

No, come here
to our white suburban town,
come to us with power and privilege
not to comfort but to awaken us
to care, to act,
for the sake of our little Christ child,
before we have to,
to know
we have to.
 

 

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Holy

          Joseph, being a righteous man
          and unwilling to expose Mary to public disgrace,
          planned to dismiss her quietly.

                           —Matthew 1.19

Imagine if he had.
Imagine how often we dismiss the holy
because we don’t see it as holy.
How often we judge,
come to our conclusions
and make our plans,
without knowing we’re dealing with God.
How easily we dismiss or avoid
people or relationships,
issues or awareness
unmindful that God is present,
unbelieving that something unseen
and possibly glorious
may imminently appear.

The door you close
may open of itself.
The Unexpected One may emerge
from that one, or another.

Learn to expect the wholly unexpected,
the holy unexpected.
Look on your disappointments and discouragements
with eyes of faith.
God is coming.
God is already here, gestating.
God is not done yet.
 

 

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Joseph walk with me

          Joseph, son of David,
          do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.

                    —Matthew 1.20

Joseph,
walk with me
into this darkness,
the not knowing.
You have to marry the mystery
before everything else.
Surrendering all claim
to outcomes or knowledge of them,
you commit to the love at hand,
and it is enough.
The very undoing that confounds you
is the love that finds you.
The answer you seek is no answer,
but only presence,
this woman who also must not be afraid,
this child who will not be revealed
until after you say yes,
this God who is not at the end of the journey
but your companion on the journey
and the dark road itself, Emmanuel.

We have to say yes
before anything, don’t we?
Joseph, walk with me.

 

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Hand

Look at your hand.
It’s not perfect,
though it would look silly on anyone else.
Fragile, yet strong.
The back and its forested hillsides,
the little hairs, the ridges and furrows,
the blue veins mysteriously tunneling.
The palm like a desert, eroded, sere.
Imagine all it’s held,
places it’s been,
what it has caressed or struck,
created or ruined.
What it has done, could do, might do—
most of it not alone,
but meant to work with another,
or even more.
You love it, don’t you?
You wouldn’t lose it for anything.
You need it, count on it,
even with its age and imperfections
delight in it, marvel at it.
You look at your hand, as if from a distance,
yet you are in it, are you not?
It is you, isn’t it?

God is in you
as you are in your hand.
Jesus is not God’s only one.

Near the speed of light
the divine Impulse comes to you,
Word made flesh.
 

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Annunciation

Greetings, Beloved.
God is with you.

Do not be afraid.
God delights in you.

In your life
you will embody God’s love.

This divine love will be great,
and fill the world, and have no end.

Don’t doubt this can be true of you,
who are so ordinary and small in the world:

this is the Spirit’s work in you;
what is in you is holy.

Nothing is impossible with God.
With God, nothing is impossible.

Let this be your prayer each day,
each moment, each thought and action:

May it be for me
according to your word.

                  (Luke 1.28-35)
 

 

The price of incarnation

          When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing…
                           —Matthew 11.2

Wait. John was in prison?
Oh, yeah. Right.
When you defy the Empire, it resists.
The light shines in the darkness,
but the darkness doesn’t relent.
This is the awful rub of Incarnation.
God enters our suffering, and we object.
The Child of Heaven comes in human form
not just to enjoy the pleasures of having a body
but to endure the persecution of the body,
to resist evil with one’s flesh,
to thwart our systems of privilege and exclusion
with a vulnerable body,
to suffer many insults,
to see the inside of many prisons,
to die on many crosses.
And yet Christ comes.

We prepare for the coming of such a Christ
by mirroring the mystery of incarnation:
to touch the suffering of the world,
to mourn with those who mourn,
to enter into the prisons of those we love—
and to feel the teeth of evil fighting back,
and its anger and violence,
to endure recrimination from those we confront,
to bear the cost of justice, the price of flesh.
We will be punished for our light.
But take courage: in our lonely cells we will know
the Holy One is with us, the light within us.
Even in the shadow of the Empire
the poor hear good news, the oppressed are set free.
This is how Christ comes into the world.
This is how we prepare a way.
 

 

Incendiary Magnificat

         God has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
                  and lifted up the lowly;
         God has filled the hungry with good things,
                  and sent the rich away empty.
         
                           —Luke 1.52-53

This is no lullaby.
God doesn’t just lift the lowly.
God lowers the mighty.
This is no rising tide lifting all boats.
It’s typhoon, a redistribution of wealth.
This lovely child Mary bears,
this little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes,
will tear apart our hierarchies,
assault our structures of injustice
and upend the world.
This is the divine insurrectionist in the manger.
He will not comply: he will reign.
He will not be amenable to our economics,
our prisons and poverties,
or tolerant of our barbaric systems and slaveries.
Whether we like it or not
the Holy One will impose the Reign of Heaven upon us,
where there is no wealth or poverty,
no privilege, no caste.
To those with power, place and possession
the letting go will be robbery.
         (And your own place will crumble, your confidence
         in the world’s fairness though it favor you;
         from that throne you will be taken.)
They will react against equality.
Evil will defend itself from justice with violence.
They will crucify.

Still, Gabriel was right.
The gentle child will prevail.

         Let this lovely vision comfort you
         and strip you of all the fear and anger
         with which you resist it.

Rejoice in God your Savior,
for the Realm of Heaven is near.
 

 

The one

         When John heard in prison
         what the Messiah was doing,
         he sent word by his disciples and said to him,
         “Are you the one who is to come,
         or are we to wait for another?”
                  —Matthew 11.1
                           
Someone you may not have noticed is waiting,
longing for healing, for justice, for hope.
You only mean to be passing by,
but they see you.
And even if they don’t know they are asking,
they are asking.
“Are you the one?”
Not necessarily the Messiah,
but perhaps one to bring hope,
to be a light in the darkness.
There may be someone in some kind of prison
looking for some kind of encouragement,
someone longing for healing or appreciation or forgiveness.
Will you be the one, or should they wait for another?
There may be people of color who see a white person
and assume racism, until they see otherwise.
There may be a non-conforming person
who assumes you will judge them
unless you clearly don’t.
Will you be the one to shine light in their darkness,
or are they to wait for another?

Sit still in the grace of God.
Let the light that is dawning for the world
dawn in you.
Let that light grow and radiate.
Bear it with you through the day.
You will meet someone who seeks grace,
who longs for a sign of hope.
And for them
you will be the one.