Bread that lasts

         Do not work for the food that perishes,
         but for the food that endures to eternal life.

                           —John 6.27

Beloved, what do you work for? What do you seek?
What do you put yourself out for,
expend effort, trade other things for?
Does it give you life? Does it last?
Does it lead you to deeper life, life in me?

Those little bits of power and control,
they’re not all that filling, are they?
That safety and security, not having to think,
doesn’t really taste all that good, does it?
The esteem, the little confining place of belonging—
it’s junk food, isn’t it?

Take and eat.
Better than earned or stolen,
than made or found,
the food that is given tastes best of all.
Feast on this, offered in love.

Open the mouth of your heart, child,
and nurse at the breast of this moment,
to the deep nourishment here in this air,
what feeds and fills and strengthens you.
Nurse from my breast,
take in my divine self for food,
let the Bread that is this life become you.

Drink deeply of me.
You are what you eat.

July 31, 2018

Honesty

         Nathan said to David, “You are the man!
                        —2 Samuel 12.7

God, give me courage
to look at myself honestly,
to see in myself
the corruption I judge in others.
Hold me accountable
to your justice,
and to your mercy.
Amen.

   —July 30, 2018

 

Jericho Walk

Together we walk around the ICE building
with its walls a thousand miles thick
where behind smoked windows and drawn shades
they interrogate the refugees,
they work their detentions and deportations.
We walk there, and up and down the street, and we pray.
I pray toward the closed windows, toward the passersby.

God, let our spirits be softened.
Open the borders of our hearts.
You who make room in yourself
for us to come out into your spaciousness
and know the freedom of ourselves,
create space in us for each other.
Open our hearts.
We are ourselves only in each other.
Even these hard faces are mine.
Bring down the walls that imprison us
from the rest of us,
that close us in on our halved selves.
Bring us through our Red Sea.
Borderless wind, set us free.
Spirit of love, open our hearts.

   —July 27, 2018

Power over

         David was walking about on the roof,
         and he saw a woman bathing;
         the woman was very beautiful,
         Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite.
         David sent messengers to get her,
         and she came to him, and he lay with her.

                        —2 Samuel 11.2-4

David, up on the roof, knows he has power over,
and doesn’t know.

The crown has a mind of its own.
He who wears it can’t see how it uses him.

As the king rules the horse,
the crown rules the king.

Bathsheba, powerless, is used, and knows it,
though Uriah will not not survive to know.

David knows, but is blind
to the power power has over him.

Beware the man
who is not protected from his own power.

   —July 26, 2018

Crossing

         They saw Jesus walking on the sea
         and coming near the boat,
         and they were terrified.
         But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.”

                                 —John 6.19-20

In the difficult crossing,
the passage to the other side,
the opposing wind,
you are the peace that walks through the chaos,
the presence terrifying in your calm,
upsetting in your resolve.
In the darkness on the sea of Creation’s beginning,
Spirit breathing wildly over it,
the edge of a world,
you are the clarity.
You are the serenity piercing the jagged night,
somehow not just local, but encircling.
Fear is the oar I cling to, the wind I fight.
Straining, I resist the trust that all shall be well.
Beneath the howl of the wind, the waves’ roar,
the pounding of my heart, I hear, I hear
quiet and present, so near,
your placid voice: “It is I.”

You are in the boat with me.
The new creation is upon me.
I am borne, I am on the other side.

   —July 25, 2018

Loaves and fishes

         “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish.
         But what are they among so many people?”

                                 —John 6.9

There is someone here
who has only a shred of faith and mostly just questions,
but what is that beside a God so vast?

There is a woman here
with a broken but yearning heart,
but what is that in a life of such sorrow?

There is someone here
with a tiny bit of love and hope,
but what is that for someone spending years in prison?

There is a very ordinary person here
with a little prayer and some compassion,
but what is that among such great evil?

         And he took them and gave thanks
         and distributed them, as much as they wanted.
         And after everyone was satisfied
         they gathered up the fragments,
         and they filled twelve baskets
.

   —July 24, 2018

 

A plea

Dear God,
I’m getting tired of your mystery.
I feel distant. I can’t get to you.
Like digging in sand that keeps caving in.
Like running and getting nowhere. Reaching but not touching.
There is a thin crust of ice on the surface of my soul.
I want to break through and come to you, to dive into you deeper.
I want to be more here. More present. Deeper in.
What is holding me back? Is it my discipline?
My need to surrender more? May scatteredness?
My over-anxious ego?
Break my ice, God. Break through. Melt me. I want more.
Come to me.

Beloved,
I am here. You are here. You are in me already.
Where do you think you want to go?
Where do you think I am?
I am the sand. I am the ice. I am the space.
I am the longing.
Just stop. Here we are.
Here we are.

I love you.

   —July 23, 2018

 

To hell with modesty

To hell with modesty.
Moderation be damned.
I want you wholly, monstrously,
every last scoop with sprinkles on top.
I desire you flagrantly,
I will hog more than my share,
and completely overdo it.
I fling away any flimsy veil of propriety,
I drop any claim to permission.
I just want you.
I have no shame.
Fill me.

Save me,
before my fear of my desire
swallows me up in a dull, protective,
deadly piety.

   —July 20, 2018

Temple

         You are built together spiritually
         into a dwelling place for God.

                           —Ephesians 2.22

Tourists come to admire the temple,
to take pictures and buy mementos,
but it’s not on their maps.

Pilgrims come seeking
their separate peace in it,
but they they can’t find it.

Eventually the army arrives,
ordered to destroy the temple,
but it has vanished.

It isn’t here, or there,
it isn’t in a place,
it isn’t a thing.
It is empty space.

It is the love between us.
It is not something that “is,”
but something that happens.
Like gravity that exists
only between objects in space,
the dwelling place of God
exists only in the love
we hold between us.
It is eternal.
When we enter that holy space
among us
which God creates
we enter God,
and nothing can remove us.

In the cool of the sanctuary
we listen to the music
and we breathe.

―July 19, 2018

One body

         Within Christ’s own body
         God has created one new humanity
         in place of the two, thus making peace.

                        —Ephesians 2.15

Unless you can feel it,
the one sinew running through our breath,
the one nerve in which we all throb,
unless you know in the worst terrorists
yourself,
and see in the most foreign face
your own heart looking out at the world,
unless you know in your gut
the demagogue, the refugee, the infidel
as part of yourself,
unless you feel in the loveless the Beloved
surely as in you,
you do not yet inhabit your body
and can’t yet be
the one
we already are.

   —July 18, 2018