“Put out into the deep water.”
The deep is not out there, of course,
deeper than words and ideas,
deeper than feelings and images,
past murky depths of deeper fears,
wounds submerged and mossy,
in the dark of the utmost terror and joy,
dreams shifting in the half light,
light shining down into the dark mystery,
the unseeable deeps,
the sea-deep silence, dense and still,
where the subterranean seam of blessing
rivers through unnamed hurt,
beyond you, in dark holiness,
where you are pressed in on but perfectly free,
as if the deeper and darker you go the lighter it is,
in the depths that know you, wait for you,
where everything only is—
grace swims, shimmering, always beneath,
seldom visible, always deeper.
A prophet is never accepted in their own hometown.
Mother of Wisdom,
open my ears.
What is that truth-teller
closest to me
trying to tell me
that I don’t want to hear?
I give thanks for my defensiveness,
for it is my clue
that someone has struck truth.
Give me wisdom to listen,
courage to hear,
humility to accept,
and grace to change.
God is a box
propped up on edge
on a stick.
Under the box is some bait.
God is the bait
you are the bait.
The hunger for yourself
“Now I have put my words in your mouth.”
Beloved, I am not a prophet;
but you have placed your grace in me
like a treasure in a chest;
you have planted the seed of your love in me;
you have put your Word in my mouth.
What is your Word in me today?
How shall I speak forth, in word and deed,
Give me insight to discern,
courage to proclaim,
and wisdom to heed your Word.
God is patient; God is kind;
God is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.
God does not insist on God’s own way;
God is not irritable or resentful;
God does not rejoice in wrongdoing,
but rejoices in the truth.
God bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
(1 Corinthians 13.4-7)
Jesus said “There were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
How dare he point God’s grace toward the outsider.
How dare he uncenter us, the right, the normal.
Oh, we want so badly for Jesus to be like us.
To praise our kind, to fit in, and bless our fitting in.
But he will not. He will stand outside our lines,
athwart our expectations, the sickness of our normal.
He will not fit, and make unfit our fitting in.
He will be the one we judge and label,
and all who are not our kind, and try to throw away.
But we can’t be free of him.
Even as he lives on the edge of us
he passes through the center of us.
This queer savior, this noncompliant master,
this misfit, is the uncaged Word made flesh,
whose ways are not ours.
Beneath our fragile costumes of class and sect,
in our honest lives undressed, ill-fitting and not right,
unpacked and unconformable,
there, there, is our place in him, and our salvation.
My dearly Beloved,
You may seem in the minority,
but you are vast;
while so few hold all the power.
Don’t let that fool you.
Love is the only real power.
It rises through the earth,
overflows you, and warms the world.
It takes courage to hold the flame,
but that I have also given you.
In the darkness it is me
you hold in your hands, radiant;
and I am also the darkness.
Do not be afraid.
Love in the darkness will prevail.
He stood up to read.
He found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of God is upon me…
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim the year of God’s favor.”
And he rolled up the scroll,
gave it back to the attendant, and sat down.
Watch how Jesus does scripture:
the passage in Isaiah actually says,
“to proclaim the year of God’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God.”
But Jesus stops with favor,
leaves out vengeance, and sits down.
Call it cherry-picking.
Scripture is replete with images
of God as vengeful and God as forgiving.
But vengeance is not forgiveness.
God isn’t sort of this and sometimes that.
You have to choose. You don’t get both.
(He quotes Hosea: “I desire mercy, not sacrifices.”)
No matter what your sacred books say
you have to choose:
the way of vengeance, power and domination,
or the way of courage, love and nonviolence.
Though he has reason not to,
Jesus chooses the side of love.
And when he asks you, and you falter, don’t worry.
He’ll still choose the way of love.
Oh body, how I love and resent you,
want you well and want to flee you,
see you a thing, as if from outside.
How you have fooled me
thinking I am wee and all alone,
a stone among stones,
most at home with stones like me.
How hard it is to know,
yet, breathing, I do know
I am a cell among cells
of one great Being.
How we, so many kinds, require
and bless each other!
How all stuff, even most mine, is only ours.
Oh, One!, how I, with all,
am made and given in you,
one breath, one spark, one Living.
Oh Body, this Being,
how I love you beyond me.
Now you are the body of Christ
and individually members of it.
—1 Corinthians 12.27
The Spirit of the Infinite One is upon me,
because God has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
The Beloved has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of God’s favor.
When you strive for justice,
when you stand with the poor,
when you speak out for the care of the earth,
and forces descend against you,
remember: they are fueled by ignorance,
by fear and self-serving. These are small engines.
The spirit that empowers the work of justice
is as given as your breathing,
and as deep as all of our breathing together.
It is the breath of the whole earth.
It is of the very fabric of the universe,
and is gentle, strong and infinite.
expect gusts of divine energy,
with periods of deep calm.
Watch for large structures
to come apart.
Hopes high through the day.