River

         Aware that power had gone forth from him,
         Jesus turned about in the crowd and said,
         “Who touched my clothes?”

               —Mark 5.30

His power was available for anyone,
rich or poor, privileged or despised,
the power of healing, the power of life,
to be requested or stolen,
without his even knowing.
A river of grace flowing through him,
it was free,
and he was free in the giving of it.

I would be like this, Giving One,
to walk with the power of your grace
waiting in me, at the ready for anyone,
flowing through me,
free,
that I myself could be truly, powerfully
free.

   —June 29, 2018

 

Faith

         “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.”
               —Mark 5.28

Holy One, O Sea, I sit before you,
and your vastness opens within me.
I open myself to you and become part of you.
Your waves fall and rise in me, fall and rise.
I sunbathe in you, surrender myself to your wind.

A great strength stirs, a blessing flows, unseen.

Even in the smallest place
I reach out for the hem of your garment.
I reach out. I open myself,
and your vastness opens within me.

O Beloved,
in sick rooms and busy streets, in conflicted places,
I open myself to you, longing.
I place myself in your field of healing,
your love’s willing sunlight.
I reach out,
and I feel you open within me.

   —June 28, 2018

Daughter

         There was a woman with a flow of blood….
               —Mark 5.25

A ruler, privileged, Jairus by name,
requests of Jesus healing for his daughter
by honor’s protocol and a father’s care.

A woman—a woman—poor, without name,
powerless, isolated by disease
and impoverished by quacks,
does not ask but steals up behind Jesus.

Her improper, unworthy larceny he honors,
as generously as the proper.
He tends, as the privileged waits.
He relates, where disdain has failed her,
and in a gift perhaps greater than cure,
claims her, cares for her as his daughter.

There is no rule he won’t break to heal her,
no ranking, first or last,
he won’t subvert to include her.

Check the lie that you are unworthy.
Your inadequate plea opens his heart.
He claims you. More than flesh is healed.

Who is she, where do you see her,
hidden in the crowd?
Who will plead for her?

   —June 27, 2018

 

Terrified child

A child cries out, severed from love,
afraid of darkness,
in a cage of need,
cut off, alone,
in trembling need of reassurance.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Pray for her in her powerlessness.

The terrified child,
if not healed,
can grow up to terrify,
his cry a regime,
shadowing his trauma into the world.
Pray for him in his power.

Resist the terror,
be tender to the children,
create a lovelier world.

   —June 26, 2018

 

A reckoning

In a dream I’m in a park
with my four year old son.
Behind him a boy, about nine,
kicks a soccer ball which hits my son in the head.
He falls, unconscious.

Angry, I say something like “Nice shot.”
I kick the ball at the boy.
It hits him. I am surprised.
He falls.

I bend over my son.

I wake, worried
for all three of us.
 

   —June 25, 2018

 

In the boat

          The boat was being swamped.
                    But Jesus was in the stern, asleep on the cushion.
          And they woke him up and said to him,                    
                   
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
                                       — Mark 4.37-38
               

Storms rise.
          Dark, threatening, chaos.

God seems asleep, inattentive, uncaring.
          We cry out., not unheard.

          •

No matter what the storm,
          Jesus is with you.

What harm can befall his boat
          you would not choose?

          •

If you go down,
          you go with him.

Indeed we are perishing.
          In Christ we “sleep” and rise.

          •

He is in your worried boat.
          He is at peace. Asleep!

He says, “Peace, be still”
          Inwardly, a great calm.

          •

His peace calms the storm
          of other boats, too

so you can go to the other side
          and serve, risen.
 

   —June 22, 2018

 

Just as he is

         They took him with them in the boat, just as he was.
               —Mark 4.36

Not the holy, jewel-encrusted Jesus,
not the Son of God believe-it-or-else Jesus,
but the teacher from Galilee, plain, just as he is.

No emblems, no gesture, no crown.
No doctrine, no special powers.
Just his presence, his open heart, his willing flesh.

Let him go with you. Take him as he is.
He will change your journey (You will be frightened.)
Just get in the boat.

   —June 21, 2018

 

A psalm of lament

God of grace, have mercy on us.
         Judge our evil, O God,
         and free us from our abominations.
The blood of the innocent is on our hands,
         the cries of infants are in our ears,
the sweat of cruelty pools on our brows,
         from the effort of our crimes
         against those those of tender age.

Break our hardened hearts, Loving God.
         Grant us holy anguish and grievous dread.
Gift us with sorrow and burden us with grief,
         and forgive our paltry resistance.
Give us the anger and hope to lament;
         give us voice to cry out, to weep, to rage.

Bless those we have hurt.
         Save them from our evil.
Heal and protect them.
         Accompany them in the darkness.

Forgive us for our complicity.
         We repent in dust and ashes.
Give us the courage to bear
         the horror we have caused.
Grant us wisdom to speak, and courage to act.
         Support us with your mighty hand to do justice,
         to assail the mighty, and to stand with the weak.
Break our hearts, O God,
         and if need be, break our backs,
         that we may cease our cruelty.
Convict us, O God, and turn us to kindness.
         Have mercy on us, that we may have mercy.
For you are a gentle God, kind and life-giving,
         and you redeem us from our fear and hate.
 

   —June 20, 2018

The other side

         When evening had come,he said to them,
         “Let us go across to the other side.”

               —Mark 4.35

You know, don’t you, that he never simply means
the far side of the lake?

The other side.
The other side of the tracks.
The other side of the border.
The other side of life.
Beyond the familiar, the safe, the manageable.
The other side of the argument.
Another viewpoint.
The other side of the conflict.
The other side of yourself.
The other side of the veil. The unseen.
Let us go there.
Let us explore the dark side of our hearts.
Let us stand in solidarity with those who are “other.”
See the world in an “other” way.

Don’t worry.
The Beloved will go with us.

   —June 19, 2018

Dance partner

In this season many pastors and churches
are changing partners.
You are dancing; you are not married.
               
Receive your partner with love.
Welcome them warmly.
Remember they’re a person.

Open your heart.
Listen for the music.
Let the Spirit lead.

Remember who you are.
Honor who they are.
Listen for their song.

Forgive them already.
Walk with them.
Come to serve, not to be served.

Focus on serving the world.
Check your assumptions.
Make it work.

Embrace change.
Be willing to change.
Embody resurrection.

Begin with Yes.
Imitate Jesus.
Pray always.

Follow God with them.
Dance while the music lasts.
Let them go when it is time.

   —June 18, 2018