Original One

         Original One,
you for whom so may things
are our desperate substitute,
the only
         One Thing
at the heart of all things,
who we abandon
for so many replicas,

I am astonished
at your abundant generosity,
on this street watching so many
kinds of beauty,
         you

endlessly
         in us
replicating
yourself.

    —May 31, 2018

 

I sat down to my prayers

I sat down to my prayers
and I heard angels singing at the window.

I got up to look
and there was only light.

I returned and there was
a lion sleeping in my chair.

I let my prayers
go where they will.

My prayers are wild,
I do not argue with them.

Beloved, you bend over my chair
and behold your likeness.

   —May 30, 2018

Do good or do harm

         Jesus said to them, “Is it lawful
         to do good or to do harm on the sabbath,
         to save life or to kill?”
         But they were silent.
         He looked around at them with anger;
         he was grieved at their hardness of heart

               —Mark 3.4-5

Harm is being done by racism, violence and greed.
Unless you resist it, you assist it.
There is no neutral position.

Is it faithful to let evil go on,
or to stand against it?
Silence is hardness of heart.

Does your faith lead you
to tolerate it, or to intervene?
There is no neutral position.

Evil will tolerate your anguish
as long as you tolerate evil.

In no choice do you save the world,
but in every choice you do good or do harm.

God give us the faith and courage
not merely to lament the harm we do,
but to do good.

   —May 29, 2018

Memorial Day

To honor soldiers who have died
is to confess the monster of our violence.
Regardless of how noble,
they are victims of our fear and rage.

Remember fallen soldiers,
and those who have fallen at the hands of soldiers,
those who have given their lives
and those who have taken,
those who have served in war,
and those who have served in peace,
giving of themselves without violence
for the sake of justice.

Let this be a day not of celebration
but repentance.
In memory of all who have died
by the violence of nations,
we pray for peace
and live in peace.

   —Memorial Day, 2018

 

Open

O Holy Trinity,
you who are beyond all,
and at the heart of everything,
and living in me,
I open myself to you.

You are the Lover
and the Beloved
and the Love flowing between.
I am yours,
and part of you.

O, Thou Mystery,
I give you my wonder.
All I seek to understand
I set aside,
only to be present in you.

O Beloved Presence,
I confess my need.
You are kind,
saving me
from what is brittle.

O Flowing Grace,
your compassion for all beings
is already in me.
I release my small desires
and open myself,
a clear and wiling vessel
for your infinite beauty, patience,
love, courage, and delight.

   —May 25, 2018

 

Spirit of adoption

         You did not receive a spirit of slavery
         to fall back into fear,

         but you have received a spirit of adoption.
               —Romans 8.15

You have a Word to speak,
         a song to sing,
         word of yourself, song of God.

The stage awaits you.
         What are you afraid of?

They won’t like your word?
         So? Their likes, hidden from you,
         are already different from yours.

You aren’t a slave to their likes.
         You only imagine those chains.

You fear they won’t like you.
         You’ll be all alone, unloved.

Child, you are already adopted:
         chosen, belonging, beloved.

What can they do to that?

Remember whose you are
         and
         sing.

   —May 24, 2018

 

Newborn again

         No one can see the Realm of God
         without being born again from above.

               —John 3.3

Womb-nestled, bathed in God,
wrapped in heart-throb, heart-warmed
in umbilical darkness.

Waiting without knowing for the unknown,
unaware of boundarylessness,
enslumbered, unimagining.

Then, unwilled, thrust and kneaded,
potter-thrown and pushed by pulsing music,
through a grave-thin valley shriven.

Drawn by darkness into light,
uttered out into the world,
choiceless, falling into the air.

So much ceased or left behind, or cut,
the warm and safe, contained,
the unknown known of who you were.

Borne, bare and blinking into brightness,
into arms, into hope, into a life
reaching out in all directions.

Needy, nursed, and crying, held,
a stranger, named, a pain and a delight,
set free and still belonging.

New and tender, weak, at risk,
unknowing, small, and wondering,
the only wisdom learning.

Beginning, now, and now again,
each breath, a birth of love,
and God alone your mother,

each of you the center of the other’s life,
both changed, both rapt, and bound,
your calling now to be, and hers to love.

Held in her arms through every wind.
Borne on her back,
and carried where she wills.

   —May 23, 2018

 

Send me

         Then I heard the voice of the Holy One saying,
         “Who shall I send, and who will go for us?”
         And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

               —Isaiah 6.8

I am an unclean person, living among the unclean.
Our complicity in oppression and injustice is deep.
Our privilege is an entrenched addiction.
No angel can cauterize my racism with a single burn.
No single vision can open my eyes all the way.
But I can be led. I can grow. I can risk for God.
I can let the Spirit light my fuse and send me out
to witness, to speak out, to proclaim justice.

My resistance to public witness is my resistance to the Spirit.
That’s the limit of my faith, the edge of how far I’m willing
to be guided by the Spirit, to experience God,
to be vulnerable for the sake of the vulnerable, to be born again.
Out on the street, speaking your mercy, at the limit of my power,
there is where I will be born again, a new person,
a dependent infant in your strong and loving arms.

Your Spirit burns in me, and either it burns me up,
or it sends me out with light and warmth to the people.
Yes, I am unworthy. Yes, I am unprepared.
Yes, I am a little afraid. But send me.
Touch me with your fire, and send me.

   —May 22, 2018

Cups of water

We who live by compassion
are so small in this world.
It seems sometimes as if
we face a forest fire
of fear and violence
with little paper cups of love.

They appear like magic tricks
in trembling hands,
not much, just little cups,
but we offer them,
the great baptismal, birthing flow
in little cups, mere drops
of God
that flood the world,
that never run out.
 

May 21, 2018

Sighs too deep

         We do not know how to pray as we ought,
         but the Spirit prays in us with sighs
         too deep for words.

               —Romans 8.26

Deeper than my words,
deeper than my knowing,
Spirit, pray in me.

I open the door of my heart for you.
I hold the arms of my spirit open for you.
Welcome. Spirit, pray in me.

I only hold the space.
I do not hear your prayers,
your sighs too deep for my hearing.

I do not know how to pray.
I only know how to be still,
Spirit, as you pray in me.

   —May 18, 2018