Johnnies


This is a hospital.
We are all wearing flimsy, ugly johnnies,
maybe closed at the back, maybe not.
Everybody’s wearing them,
doctors, staff, chaplains, owners.
No nice suits on this planet.
We’re all recovering,
all wearing little blue johnnies.
So get over how silly you look. We all do.
Just focus on getting better.

And that one in the way,
shuffling through the hallway of your life
with his little tree of emotional IV’s,
give him some slack.
You have no clue what a miracle is is
for him to stand.
Don’t you wonder what his story is?
Besides, you’re no ballerina yourself.

Close your eyes.
You’re both
beautiful stars in the sky of God.

        

                           —July 31, 2017

Nothing can separate us

         In all things we are more than conquerors
         through the one who loved us.
         For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
         nor angels, nor rulers,
         nor things present, nor things to come,
         nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
         will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

                  —Romans 8.37-39

Nothing, not your pain, nor your not knowing,
not this struggle and its cruel unending,
nor your most obstinate unbelief,
nor your sin, even the most wretched evil,
can separate you from God’s love.

In the beginning was the Word, the Big Bang,
and the word was God’s love,
and nothing in the universe
exists apart from that.

At the core of your earth is a molten fire,
and it will never be separated from the earth.

                           —July 27, 2017

Intercession

I am the wick
         You are the flame

I am the silence
         You are the presence

I am the space
         You are the stillness

I do not know how to pray as I ought
         But I hold still
         and you pray in me.

I am the seen
         You are the rest

                           
[Romans 8.26]

 

—July 28, 2017

Pearl

Oh, traveler,
the treasure is not far away.
Oh, merchant,
the pearl is in your pocket.
How much of your life is attic junk?
Escape the trinkets that have been hoarding you.
What you can hold isn’t worth grasping.
What you can possess won’t last beyond the sale.
Don’t seek what you don’t already have.
Don’t covet what can be taken from you.
What you can’t hold in a breath
isn’t worth it.
Breathe in.
Sell all your treasures for that.
Once you’ve seen it shine,
it will surprise you what you’ll let go of for it.
Throw your arms around this world.
Buy the field of this whole grand life,
its weeds and rocks, its pains and mysteries,
all of yourself.
Look! Right now,
you are rich beyond belief.

 

[Matthew 13.44-46]

                                                    —July 26, 2017
 

Leavened

         The realm of heaven is like yeast
         that a woman took and mixed in
         with three bushels of flour
         until all of it was leavened.

                  —Matthew 13.33

In this moment
light is hidden.
In the person before me
even as words rise from bed
and look for their clothes
already an ancient blessing abides,
a story of grace seeks its form.
In every suffering,
infected with light,
a dawn unfolds,
a great flowing forth.
Even the greatest injustice
is leavened with grace.
The things of this world are brittle,
but light is always becoming.
Its beginning was before the mind
and there is no end to it.

                           —July 25, 2017
 

Prayer

A bird disappears into a forest
and a song emerges, unseen.
Worms work their alchemy
in darkness beyond me.
Laborers tend shops and flowers

in the city of me.
I don’t know their names.
The city thrives.
Music rises from its streets.

I open the doors of myself
to the blackness within
and You enter to pray.

[Romans 8.26]

                           —July 24, 2017

Weeds among the wheat

         Let the weeds and wheat grow together
         until the harvest.

                  —Matthew 13.30

Your difficulties belong.
What angers and seduces you,
what pains you or confounds you,
are pages of the book.
They are your teachers.
They are the rough desert
where your savior abides.

The story of grace
has many chapters,
and much suspense.
Read the whole book,
every page,
and keep in your heart
the gift of hope:
knowing there is wheat
among the weeds
the Faithful One
knows how to harvest,
knowing the story
isn’t over yet.

                           —July 21, 2017
 

Child of God

         We are children of God.
         We have received a spirit of adoption.
         All of
creation has been groaning in labor pains
         and we ourselves groan inwardly while we wait for adoption,
         the redemption of our bodies.

                  —Romans 8.15, 22-23

How wonderful of Paul to mash up these metaphors,
that we groan inwardly in giving birth,
and we are also ourselves natural born children of God,
and also that we await adoption as children,
and we have already received adoption:
natural issue of God, chosen by God,
like God giving birth, and newborn:
starting new, being changed,
and belonging in ways that can’t be changed.
All of that.
Children of God.

This is what everyone’s groans are.
This is what everyone you meet
is dying to know.
Treat them so.

 

                                                         ―July 20, 2017

Presence

The sun processes up the aisle
carrying the Gospel.
   
Birds speak of the other world
in their own Latin.

A child looks up at me
with those two big brown universes.

A voice stands up in me
that knows how to do this.

What is this, even in my sleep,
but you, touching your lips to mine?

                           —July 19, 2017
 

Beloved child


Beloved,
you are the newborn
who amazes me,
that you issue from me.

You are the baby I hold in my arms,
transfixed.

You are the little one
whose wonder delights me.

You are the child who walks
out of the house pulling my heart,
trailing a stream of my desire.

You board the school bus and all day
I am wondering about you.

I sit on the bed with you
and listen to your joys and woes
without answers.

You are the one I stand beside
as you pledge your faithful love to the world,
and even on sorrowful days
I am full of gratitude and hope.

I marvel as you accomplish
your great things.
On and on your story goes,
through me, and without me.

You have already outpaced me.
Outlive me, Beloved,
go on, go on.

                  —July 18, 2017