Before I meet Bart Wrinkle

when it’s all said and done here.
look me up.
I’ll be kicking back, slinging jawbones
with samson
who made it in the door by the grace of God
same as noah
found grace
discovered it

(he happened upon it or rather it happened upon him)

i’ll be listening to stories of limping jacob and stumbling bartimaeus
I’ll be all ears– smiling and wondering about weak eyes, pharisees and romance
discussing it with the miracle boy of Jesus’ mud pies

look! there’s Paul (no longer writing with big letters–the lasik surgery is divine)
he’s catching up on his reading
checking out the far flung analysis of lettered theologians
from barclay to barnes to hal lindsay (just for fun)
I will not dare disturb him.

and Jesus is smiling
His kids–the whole crew is back home
all of them
He’s feasting on the vision He’s been waiting to see

me?
i’m the guy way over in the back of the family portrait
next to a man named bart wrinkle (of whom i have not met)


 




I Run to You

I run to You like streams
that are drawn into the sea,
like a fire to kindled tree,
like a child to dreams.
like time to eternity
my one and only destiny
You are full.
Fill me.
I don’t want to be more me.
I want to be new.
No me.
All You.
I want to hear Your voice.
Don’t turn me away.
Bless me Father.
I won’t leave until You do.




Modern Lamentations I

The image that swirls freely in perilous realms between sleeping and awake
my banner of fullness in grief embodies every impulse.
Fissures on the surface unveil the aspects of consequence
And echoes of confusion and understanding.
That feeling of helplessness when tragedy is unstoppable
Regret stands in the foreground
How could things have been different?
(But these wonderings are barren tables built for food.)
Madness filled the spaces between clarity and fogs of dementia.
Shouting across the lake, I knew I could not be heard, nor was I ever.
O the ugliness of There-is-nothing-we-can-do–
The anger of lost years when things that could be reconciled were not.
Truth elusive and yet garish
These mysteries rise in a silent season and whisper their cold commentary
But still there is more, (though I dare not guess).
I stand by the unmarked graves of both thanksgiving and deep wounds-
now scars.
These are the moments when you wonder if you failed even as you survived.
And what is left, is an unseen mist.
There is no fixing when peace and truth are shrouded beneath the strong arm of will. 
Like the unraveling of precepts when the narrative spins a tale of dissonant perplexity. 
May the dawn of all things reconcile the pieces like glass stained in grief
assembled in the aperture of the soul. 

 




Today is Most Noble

God holds the future and redeems all of yesterday.

But today is closer to me.

What an amazing concept today, right now, really is. Today- I hope you aren’t planning a siege on your enemy. I hope you aren’t judging the person in the room. I hope you aren’t swallowed up in regret. I hope you aren’t poisoning your time with trivial, toxic thoughts of your own wealth, vanity or scheming revenge. I hope you are in the moment for this moment fashions eternity.

Today is a gift which is moving forward faster than thoughts or plans

Today is where i am right here and right now.

Today is an opportunity to change the little things

Today is closer. tomorrow is a promise and yesterday is an eternity from anything I could attain.

Today is most noble!




Holy From Beginning to End

Before the first man had first breath

Before the mystery of death

Angels worshiped the Holy one

The majesty of God’s own Son

From infinite past he was and is and is to come

Holy

Holy above all living things

Before the glory of every king

Holy beyond man’s striving for power

Holy beyond man’s grandest hour

Holy

His fingers cast the stars in place

Holy

The fiery jewels in distant space

Separating land from sea

The master of eternity

His grand design, His perfect plan

To reconcile the fate of man.

Holy

He could not look on sin

Holy

And on a cruel hill

Among the vulgar accusation

The wreck of every wayward nation

He took the cruel condemnation

The dagger deep of dark damnation

The angels watched in disbelief

The sky was torn. a mother’s grief

This God who crafted night and day

This Son of God, had found a way

To take the burden of the sin

The holy one in human skin

No peace on Earth

No Kings would bow

Betrayed, alone

Our punishment- a tragedy

God, why have you forsaken me?

The grand moment of redemption and

The death sentence of hate

History’s darkest hour

The triumph of sins power

Or so it seemed

But in this act

Man’s deepest shame

Is now redeemed.




Letting God Out of the Box

I’m always amazed how the church as a whole
is so quick to throw rocks at the sheep in the fold.
We question each other’s theology,
spar over worship philosophy.
We’ve got more fusses than one tongue can tell
while outside the world is going to hell.
We are driven by creeds, and motions, and clocks,
haven’t we learned not to put God in a box?
Would Jesus approve of our political labels
or would He come in and start busting up tables?
Does He tire of us telling Him what He should do,
what gender must teach, what strategy’s true?
Is the Bible the life source or inflexible judge?
Is the church a haven for sinners or a group with a grudge?
Do we think we can settle for boycotts and strife
instead of seeking the lost and giving dead people life?
What were we thinking when in front of the press?
we majored on minors choosing to curse and not bless.
I have to tell you from my point of view
I keep wondering what in the world Jesus would do.
Would He have us disputing which method is best,
or making transformation be our holy quest?
After all that’s what this journey’s about,
not who has more sheep or who has more clout.
I despise the reports of our ugly catfights.
I’m appalled by the task of reading sinners their rights.
When you preach condemnation, consider this fact,
they don’t know Jesus. How’d you expect them to act?
And please understand, I’m not where I should be.
When i’m pointing at you, I’m pointing at me.
There are times when i haven’t lived up to His Name,
when i’ve only the man in the mirror to blame.
But now is the time to reject the mask,
to heed the call, and get back to the task,
to burn the political, decaying façade
for an all out pursuit of our passionate God.
Let’s spend our time living meaningful lives
giving mercy to sinners not dangerous lies.
Let’s bear the cross and drop the rocks,
proclaim the good news and let God out of the box.

 




Grace and Recompense

This Fire of Love
unquenched by Eden’s wreck
and flowing seemingly in perpetuity
toward all that soon will be
in all its violent beauty
He shall hold all hell’s poison and heaven’s glory.
Small beginning, love’s grandest story
from the heartbeat in a virgin’s womb
til one Sunday rising from the tomb
One
for all…
Once
for all…
This is the salvation from garrulous platitudes and languorous days
Advent… in slightest breath, in manger lay.
Ten-thousand kingdoms would bow through ages.
The cause of grace and recompense
From distant past to future tense:
Jesus




homeplace

My grandfather lived

in a rustic house near a sloping cool branch with slipery stones

and verdant woods

I walked slowly toward the treeline where

mystery lay

and there in the shade of autumn’s bough

i see darkness rising

close of day.

but death,

a far

closer

angel visited then and will and again because

it is unchanged, like the virgin nest of the wip-poor-will

though unwelcomed

tender unforgiving visitor on the side of the hill

where i last heard his voice.

away




The Belly of the Beast

Everybody ends up
in the belly of the beast.
There are few exceptions
from the greatest to the least.
You stumble into quicksand.
You’re weary of the world.
Lies wreck your reputation.
Insults, viciously, are hurled.
Addiction lies in dormancy
then rears it’s ugly head.
Depression sinks in slowly,
Like the whispers of the dead.
A chronic, stubborn stronghold
infiltrates your weakened mind
Confidants betray you.
Sometimes, friends are hard to find.
Childless in your 40’s.
“Will I ever be a mother?”
Inside an unfamiliar place
Near no sister or no brother.
You’re in the doctor’s office
And hear devastating news.
You lose your hair to chemo.
Indeed, no one gets to choose.
Your marriage ends abruptly.
He left you with no choice.
And for others, it’s the silence.
Separated from His Voice.
Adversity just happens
and no one gets a pass.
But this- your devastation,
is God’s Holy Master Class
Yes, this strong Professor
is bolder than the rest,
His challenges are brutal
and He’s silent in the test.
He’s far above all reason
––mysterious is He.
His text book is His Word.
His school–– adversity.
But in each fearful crisis,
we’re cradled by the light
There’s joy within the suffering,
There’s peace amidst the fight
Within our devastation
––the bleak, forbidding war
God shakes us in our deadness,
with His fearsome roar
What we assumed would end us,
And our melancholy tales
speaks only of His grandeur,
His timing never fails.
And in our silent terror,
He’s not worried in the least
Despite how darkness lingers
in the belly of the beast.




Save Me

Do not save me from the storm.
Do not keep me safe and warm.
Save me from my love of ease.
Save me from my vanities.
Save me from deceptive pride.
And all that I, in shame, would hide.
Save me from my foul ambition.
My self-centered, duped condition.
From all that speaks so well of me.
Save me! All I want is thee!