I take up my cross

         “Take up your cross and follow me.”
                  —Matthew 16.24

The cross is not an annoyance,
not a burden thrust on me,
but willingly entering
the suffering of the world.
Jesus, help me.

I behold your love,
overflowing from your cross,
love piercing my suffering,
your love buried in my death.

Your love overflows in me for others,
to suffer in care, in forgiveness, in blessing,
to be for them even when they are against me.

Give me courage, strength and endurance
to listen, receive, accept and bless
despite all whips and nails.

To associate with the lowly,
to weep or rejoice with them,
to overcome evil with good.

To cry to Pharaoh,
bold, firm and vulnerable,
to let my people go.

Letting go of fears and desires,
I take up my cross
and follow you, close.

It is your cross.
You are here with me.
This is where I want to be, close to you.

And ah! amazing grace:
you carry all the weight.
It is your hands they pierce,
your death I bear,
and your rising.

August 31, 2017


         When you pass through the waters,
                  I will be with you;
         and through the rivers,
                  they shall not overwhelm you
         For I am the Holy One your God,
                  and I love you.

                           —Isaiah 43.2,4

In the flood that is this life
some waters will sweep your home away
and others stop at your doorstep.
There is no choosing, no deserving
in their rising or receding.
On any given day one of us is picnicking,
another swimming for our lives.
For all of us some day waters will rise,
and with them,
beside us in the water a reaching out,
above the swirling flood a reaching out.
So many reaching out.
This is what we have to stand on.

                           —August 30, 2017

While you were sleeping

While you were sleeping
the ocean was moving inside you.
Rivers were making their long journeys.
Couriers walked through the darkness
knowing the way, finding places.

In the morning when you sit to pray
your prayers return to you
from their unseen journeys.
By the time you say them
they are tired.
They have done good work.
Let them rest
on a soft bed of silence.

                           —August 29, 2017

Child of God

I am a child of God,
         God’s beloved, in whom God is pleased.
I dwell in the arms of God.

You are a child of God,
         God’s beloved, in whom God is pleased.
You dwell in the arms of God.

We all are children of God,
         God’s beloved, in whom God is pleased.
We all dwell in the arms of God.


                                                           ―August 28, 2017

Who do you say I am?

         “Who do you say I am?”
                  —Matthew 16.15

You are the Beloved,
you are my bread and wine,
my peanut butter and jelly, my chocolate.
You are my teacher, my rescuer,
lover of heaven, light of my way.
You are God’s selfie,
and my best mirror.
You are the One in whom I meet my many,
the world’s many, all of us one.
You are my breathing coach,
my soul’s midwife,
the reaching out in me,
lover that lights my love,
comedian in my tragedies,
pitcher my hope pours from.
You are the hole through which
God springs out of my life.
You are the one who knows,
and who never makes fun of me.
Trickster, host and scout,
you hide in every low place,
find the question in everything
show me the holy in everything.
When I burrow into my ruin
you are the one I met there,
preparing a table.
You laugh at my sin, hold my despair,
sleep in my boat, stand on my forgiveness,
walk my way, die my death.
You are my next life, germinating in me.
On my cross, in my grave you wait for me.
You are my resurrection.
And so you are for the whole aching world,
for this holy, spinning universe,
that sings in harmony for you
our thanks to God.

                                                          ―August 25, 2017

The ear and the voice

         Do not be conformed to this world,
                  but be transformed by the renewing of your minds,
         so that you may discern what is the will of God—
                  what is good and acceptable and perfect.

                           —Romans 12.2

Society presses upon you to copy
dress and manner, thought and value,
what will anger or attract you.
Ignore it. It’s fear whining for company.
It’s a shield against celestial radiation.
Tune out the market’s frantic clatter.
Be changed by a new way of thinking:
not thinking: an opened awareness,
a mind of wonder and gratitude
and the strangeness of being loved.
Conform to nothing but the grace of God.
Each moment the Mysterious Blessing
dawns in you, allows a newness,
sings a song their ears can’t hear.
Let the Great Love in you make harmony.
The tune is already there,
the ear and the voice.
Let it meld in perfect harmony.
Passersby will hear songs from your door,
from the woods rises music
that’s lovely, good and beautiful,
the delight of God.

                           —August 24, 2017

Living sacrifice

Beloved, we are all one in this.
The Spirit is yearning in you,
the mercy of God birthing in you.
Give all of yourself to God,
not just your mind:
your hands and eyes,
your breath and loins,
your hungers and your energies,
your skin and its secrets,
your frailties and weaknesses
and their graces.
Put yourself on the line,
your meat and bone.
Burn yourself up on the altar of God,
given over entirely,
every word and every move,
a living, complete dedication to God.
Trust that you are perfect for God:
a holy, gift, delightful to God.
All your worship in pew and in private
is prelude to this:
today your body is the vessel of God.

                           —August 23, 2017

Eclipse II

solar eclipse.jpg

Who knew it would be so like
looking into the human soul,
the wonder and mystery,
the light and dark so mingled,
each made glorious by the other,
the awe at how one can overcome
and the other relent
for a while—
and how unlike,
this celestial dance
laid out since the beginning,
while your next shining or obscuring
is now and always,
unknown until you make it,
a choice.

                           —August 22, 2017


Womb of light
from whom we shine,
but whom we cannot see
but by looking away,
only the unseen hides you,
eye of darkness,
ring of light,
mystery of day’s bright night.
We too are you, eclipsed.
Let our horror of losing you remain.
What conceals you
reveals you, but only
the merest edges of your flaming face
we can never see straight on.
We gaze anyway
at light and dark
strangely embracing.
The light is changed.
We look through a glass darkly,
we stare down at pages oddly lit,
we close our eyes to see.
We walk through the rest of our day
and even into the befriended night
looking, seeing, changed.

                           —August 21, 2017


in morning stillness
I walk among you.
From dark earth beneath
you branch out above me.
From dark space beyond
you shine down among us.
In darkness hidden deep
your invisible angels
of bug and fungus fashion glory,
working their feast of rot and fermentation,
your millioned resurrections.
Your trees and I breathe each other,
in and out.
They branch out in me.
I breathe in them,
each breath a hymn.
I move through you,
the holy space between us;
the air of you is charged
with light, with birds, with praise.
Our flights are song,
our greenness is praise,
even our stones,
their silence your purest praise.
I waken to my belonging.
How could we
         — even I—
ever stop
                  — even in death—
praising you?


                           —August 7, 2017

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