Saturday, December 31, 2016

numbering our days

Teach us to  number our days aright that we might gain a heart of wisdom. ~Psalm 90:12

Annie Dillard once wrote: "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.  What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing."  I think she must have understood the concept of numbering our days aright.  She realized how easy it could be to get lulled to sleep in our lives and lose touch with the fact that we have the responsibility to use our minutes and our hours and our days to live the life we have been given to live, rather than simply allowing life to live us.  We are not merely passive observers, but are active participants.  There is a certain stewardship required to this life we have been given; to use it as the One who gave it to us intended.  Our lives are not our own.  They do not belong to us, but to Him.  Thus, we do not establish the work of our hands for ourselves; we ask God, as Moses instructed, to establish the work of our hands for us. (Psalm 90:17)  That takes a lot of time and effort, a lot of being still and making space, a lot of listening and paying attention.  If we are to have any real hope of knowing exactly what the work is that we have been given to do, we must first receive that direction from God, rather than just charging ahead, into our lives, determining for ourselves what our work and our direction will be.  When I finally begin to understand this I can actually hold some hope of someday becoming wise enough to know what it means to number my days aright.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

pierced

And a sword will pierce your soul too. ~Luke 2:35

there is something beautiful
about the sword-pierced soul
a necessity for growth in grace
simeon knew it all too well
he had been around the block a time or two
and therefore saw with a clearer eye

he knew that somehow
through our wounds
a kindness enters in
something that wasn't in existence before
enters the bloodstream
and softens the heart

something is opened up within us
and compassion is born
in a brand new way
a care has taken up residence inside
one that changes our perspective
moving us from i to we

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

seeing and hearing

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:20)


the shepherds
saw and heard

is that because
they were not
so preoccupied
with their own
plans and agendas
but were
open and receptive
to whatever
or whoever
may come along

what if the angels
had come
to the bankers
or the lawyers
or the doctors
or the businessmen
or even the ministers
would they even
have noticed

apparently not
or the angels
would've come to them
on that first christmas day
as the world
was too busy spinning
in their own lives and worlds
to pay attention

not much has changed
in two thousand years

Monday, December 26, 2016

a new song

light has come
into our darkness
sing to the lord
a new song

that sad old refrain
of angst and despair
is no longer
our reality

the sun has risen
on our dark night
hope has been born
in our midst

a new song
has taken up residence
among us
and within us

a song of
life and light
a song of
joy and gladness

sing it
o my soul
shout for joy
and sing

for the king
has been born
the lord our god
is in our midst

Sunday, December 25, 2016

unto you

unto you
a child
is born
unto you
a son
is given

all that
you see
and celebrate
this day
was done
unto you

therefore
this birth
this son
this savior
must also
become
your own

Saturday, December 24, 2016

christmas eve

its almost time

not just by the
tick of the clock
quantitatively
but in terms
of fullness
and ripeness
and readiness
qualitatively
pregnancy time
god is ready
to come forth
from a virgin womb
to be born
into his world
and born
into our hearts
anew

its almost time

come

Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes...Psalm 96:13

come lord jesus
bring us your joy
bring us your peace
bring us your salvation

bring your light
into our darkness
bring your hope
into our despair
bring your love
into our selfishness

for only
by your coming
do we have a chance
of becoming
what we were
created to be
both individually
and corporately

Friday, December 23, 2016

emptied

o the mystery
the wonder
god emptied himself
into man

he belonged
to us
so that
we might belong
to him

grace
upon grace

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

bethlehem

born in
tiny bethlehem
raised in 
lowly galilee
jesus lived
the first
thirty years
of his life
in utter obscurity
there has to be
something to that

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

magnify

the things that grow
large within me
mostly do so
to my own detriment

but you o lord
when you are magnified
in my soul
instead of my fears and doubts
my anxieties and insecurities
you bring out the best in me
and fill me with your
joy and peace

for my soul was made
to be filled with you
and not all of the
trinkets and trifles
that i regularly allow
to occupy me

for there can be
no room for you
in my soul
when i and so full
of myself

Monday, December 19, 2016

traveling companions

there is a loneliness
to this journey
to this life of faith
that is unavoidable
and undeniable

it is a loneliness
that must be acknowledged
and embraced
rather than denied
or escaped
for no one
can take our journey for us
it is ultimately
ours alone to navigate
as the spirit leads

but there is a kindness
given from time to time
as you provide companions
to travel with us
on our way
kindred spirits
who are familiar
with our path
who understand
our plight
and can walk alongside us
for a time

it is the same kindness
you offered
mary and elizabeth
as they traveled similar
and unfamiliar terrain
you did not have to
give them the gift
of each other
but of course you did
because it is just like you
to be kind to us
and present with us
even when we feel like
we are all on our own



Sunday, December 18, 2016

enveloped

the most high
will overshadow you
he will envelop you
in a haze of brilliancy

he will wrap
his love around you
and conceive
his love within you
in an unspeakably
intimate way
so that you are
pregnant with god
so that you are
changed forever

o the wonder
o the sheer delight
to be enveloped
by the divine

it is more
than we dare
ask or dream
and yet it is
the promise
of the season

so come holy one
in a shining cloud
of glory
and envelop me
in such a way
that there is
no more of me
but only you

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

zechariah

i wonder why the angel made you silent
and unable to speak after you uttered the words
how can i know this is true for i am an old man

was it punishment for unbelief or was it simply
because God didn't want you speaking about
something that you had yet to fully comprehend

so he plunged you into the womb of silence
where what he had just conceived in you
would have time and space to grow and develop
in the warmth and the safety of your own soul
without interference or distraction

could it be that God placed something of himself
in both you and elizabeth at the exact same time
and wanted you to be partners in this becoming

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

theotokos

all god needs
in order to be born
is a womb
a nurturing space
a receptive heart
in which he can
be conceived

in which he can
grow and take shape
within us
so that he might
be born into this
dark and broken world

for we cannot
make it happen ourselves
we cannot
manufacture or produce
what can only happen
organically

so we must wait
willingly and openly
as mary did
and we must say
i am the servant
of the lord
may it be unto me
as you have said

Monday, December 5, 2016

prepare the way

there is much work to be done
in this season of advent
as we prepare the way
for the coming of the king

straight paths must be made
valleys must be raised up
and mountains made low

much construction
and deconstruction
within us and among us
will be necessary

what is crooked
must me made straight
and what is rough
must be made smooth

all in an effort
to prepare for his arrival
whenever and wherever
that may be

come, lord jesus

Thursday, December 1, 2016

God showed up

in the middle of
our broken world
God showed up
in the middle of
our sadness and sorrow
God showed up
in the middle of
our loneliness and isolation
God showed up
in the middle of
our fear and insecurity
God showed up
in the middle of our
darkness and despair
God showed up

that is the beauty
of the season
it always reminds us that
God shows up
maybe not like we
demand or expect
but he shows up
nonetheless
for he cannot stay away
he loves us too much
its just who he is

and since
God showed up
so should we
that through us
he might bring
light and peace
healing and wholeness
hope and compassion
to a broken
and hurting world