Holy Saturday

         They returned, and prepared spices and ointments.
         On the sabbath they rested
         according to the commandment.
                  — Luke 23.56
               

In the beginning

you opened up

an emptiness

in yourself

for creation:

space

for darkness to sit in,

then time,

for light to travel.
 

This day of emptiness,

formless and void,

a pregnant pause

of sabbath rest,

space in you,

and time between,

divine abyss

for Creation

to happen.

   —March 31, 2018

Eloi, Eloi

         Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
                  [My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?]
                                    — Mark 15.34 / Psalm 22.1

In the beginning you created pain.
You split yourself. Light from darkness.
         This from not this. Separation.
         But you are the light and the darkness.

You made space in yourself for another,
and you are the other, and the space.
         You are the unity and you are the abyss,
         width and depth, post and arms of the cross.

Yours is belonging, and being alien is yours,
loneliness and its aching distances,
         a world of gap and absence.
         In our pain you cry out to yourself,

Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?
When we can’t imagine closeness
         it is you who cry in us for that return,
         even as we push you away into yourself.

My God, my God, that you know my pain,
that you live in terror of losing God,
         is my salvation. There is no exile
         in which I am not in you.

When I am derelict, abandoned, deserted,
you cry out to me, in me, for me.
         Your agony is mine.
         Alone, I am in your arms.

   —Good Friday, March 30, 2018

Sit here

         “Sit here while I pray.”
               — Mark 14.32

My beloved,
You don’t need to pray great prayers.
I don’t ask for powerful intercessions
or profound meditations.
You don’t have to pray for me.
You don’t have to do anything at all.
I just want you to sit here while I pray.
I’ll pray. You just sit with me.

Do you know how much I want you?
Bearing the sorrows and the healing of the world,
I need you to care enough to stay near.
I’ll save the world. You just sit with me.

All I ever wanted is your companionship,
to follow me— to keep me company.
I never demanded belief or insight,
never required miracles or worthiness.
All I ever wanted on this long road
was for you to stay near.
Not your sainthood,
just your friendship,
just you, my friend.

Please, will you?
Stay near.
Sit here while I pray.

   —March 29, 2018

Body

         While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread,
         and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them,
         and said, “Take; this is my body.”
                           —Mark 14.22

               

The breath slides in and out,
a line of ancestors walking and walking.
Blood flows just beneath paper skin,
the scroll of the law and prophets.
So easily pierced. The way it hungers.
The way it delights. The way it trembles.
Flesh is doorway to the soul, or its garden wall.
Your monk’s cell, where you spend your days.
The little donkey bearing you into the light.
Does it carry us like a taxi we can exit,
or is it too much of who we are to leave?

The Beloved pours himself into his own body,
pours it into us,
making the body the holy temple.

This is where he is now, where his spirit breathes:
in bodies, bodies burdened, bodies beaten, bodies black,
bodies broken at the sacred table.

This is where we fight our battles, where we live and die,
where we claim our victories, where we feel our loss.
Where we separate ourselves. Yet where we are one.
This is where the Holy One takes shelter.
So easily pierced.
This is where we crucify.
This is where we are raised.

Eat the bread. It is flesh.
The work of the Creator’s hand,
the potter’s clay.

The Body of God.
“Take. It is yours now.
You are mine.”

   —March 28, 2018

Surely not I?

         “Truly I tell you,
         one of you will betray me,
         one who is eating with me.”
          … “Surely, not I?”
                           —Mark 14.18-19

           

    
Surely.
I would never betray you, never deny you.
         Surely?

Beloved,
give me the faith to doubt
        my righteousness.

Give me the assurance to question,
to examine myself honestly,
         to ask.

Give me the confidence to wonder
how I might betray your perfect love,
         to see.

Give me grace to confess
how my promises are broken, my heart
         broken.

Give me the peace to be troubled
by my smugness,
         and repent.

Open my eyes to see that you see,
you know, and knowing, you keep right on
         eating with me.
 

   —March 27, 2018

Anointing

         As he sat at the table,
         a woman came with an alabaster jar
                  of very costly ointment of nard,
         and she broke open the jar
                  and poured the ointment on his head

                        —Mark 14.3

Beloved,
may everything I do today
be my anointing of you;
every thought, word and deed
a pouring out of myself for you,
a gift of service, adoration and thanks.
May every act comfort you,
receive your sacred story,
join me to you in your suffering,
embrace your dying
and prepare for what will follow.
In your death may you be wrapped

in the balm of my own heart.
Give me courage to give my gifts
no matter how others may judge them.
May my life give off the aroma
of gratitude and love.
Accept the anointing of my tears,
my prayers, my being.
In your love
I carry the alabaster jar of my life
into this new day.

—March 26, 2018

Gift

         As he sat at the table,
         a woman came with an alabaster jar
                  of very costly ointment of nard,
         and she broke open the jar
                  and poured the ointment on his head

                        —Mark 14.3

You’ve heard the voices
speak your lack.
The life you’ve mangled,
missed, betrayed.

Now something’s touched you,
knelt before you, closed a wound,
and deep, a door unknown has opened.
And for this man, the source of your dawn,
those same voices come.
You know being thrown away—
as he will be soon, too.
You know as only those who live in that shadow know.

How can you give thanks,
what do you have to offer, nothing,
how to accompany him, so alone, stay with him?
Only everything, worthless and infinite, will do,
your life savings, your life, his saving.

You ride the donkey of your shame
through the heckling eyes.
You pour yourself out for him,
your precious everything.

Then come the stones of words.
This is how you know you share his path.

He speaks. He casts a magic circle around you,
thanks and honors you.

In this moment you both know
what the others can’t see:
this love amid meanness,
this last kind thing ever done him
joins you.
For the others he will die.
For you he has already, with you,
and you with him,
and he, with you, is already rising.

   —March 23, 2018

The stone the builders rejected

         The stone that the builders rejected
         has become the chief cornerstone.

               —Psalm 118.22

The king enters the city
on his war horse
while across town
love rides a donkey.

Guns and towers, vast machines,
engines. Generals boast
of victory over the child,
the hard edge over soft flesh.

The powerful strut and shamble,
loudspeakers announce their lies.
If there were money in darkness
they’d dismiss the sun.

God slips in through
the locked gate, the high wall.
In their high offices the light
is invisible to them.

The judge, the warden, the guards
believe you’re nothing.
You’ll never convince them otherwise.
But the stars know. The air knows.

Your peasant heart
rides a donkey, small and tender.
Honor the Royal Majesty
of the heart that belongs to love.

   —March 22, 2018

Untie the colt

         You will find tied there a colt
         that has never been ridden.
                  — Mark 11.2

Jesus entered as a king,
but on a colt, not a war horse,
king of vulnerability,
prince of lowliness.

Am I on a horse?
the horse of being right,
the horse of insisting,
the horse of privilege?

Soul, untie the colt,
the colt of gentleness,
of listening, of humility.
Untie the colt that is not afraid
to not have all the answers,
to still be learning.
Untie the power of your vulnerability.
Ride the colt that knows
the power of powerlessness,
the power of love.

Am I on a horse?
Untie the colt
and get on.
 

   —March 21, 2018

Equinox

Earth tilts and spins,
turns another face to the sun,
and today, mid-tilt,
we all get the same
light and darkness.

For we all are the same,
light and darkness
mixed.
“Hosanna!” and “Crucify!”
mingle on our lips.

South and North
face into autumn and spring.
My repentance looks one way,
yours another,
to face our darkness,
or to live in our light.

We do not lament our differences
or force our repentance upon those
from another hemisphere.
We turn as we must.

   —March 21, 2018