A question for the struggle

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Whom does God love more
The mistaken, but earnest, heretic
Or the proudly intolerant orthodox?
Answer: both.
God loves us both, infinitely.

That is the place we must start.
That is the place I must start.
In God’s love.
In love with God.
In love (with God’s love) with you.

We may build walls with rules
Or circle our wagons in self-protection
But the rain falls on us all:
The just and the unjust,
The correct and the befuddled.

So, we must find a way
To live our best lives
In a world that contains us both.
Try as I might, I will not change you,
Nor you change me, with arguments.

Yet, I know I will change with time.
I know because I have changed, already, many times.
You will change too.
And when we lean into love,
The change is for the better.

The father waits for the prodigal,
Even if the big brother does not.
Even if the big brother was secretly glad the prodigal left.
Even if the big brother left the father, too
And just didn’t know it.

And the father wants us to party together,
When the prodigal makes it home,
When the big brother hears the music,
And wonders why it is not for him.
It is, really, for neither, alone.

The party is for reunion.

I have faith, I have hope, that love will win.
I just wish it would happen sooner rather than later.
I dare to think that is God’s hope, too.
That we would both come to ourselves
And come to the party.

Soon.

[Image modified from photo by Markus Goller per cc 2.0]

defiant joy

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Is it possible
To hold within your heart
A nugget of defiant joy?

It is.

To deeply know
God’s deepest love
For all the deepest parts of you.

To hold to love
Despite the angry shouts
And sadly shaking heads.

To welcome God’s love
So fully, so truly
That it spills out to others.

Even – though they cannot see it,
And don’t know how to receive it,
To those with sadly shaking heads.

That is the miracle of grace.
That we can offer love to one
Who cannot love us in return.

Father, forgive them,
For they do not know
What they are doing.

Let me be a conduit of grace
Let it flow to me and through me
To all creation.

It is. (amazing) It is.

[photo by Michelle Robinson per cc 2.0]

words

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sometimes, words won’t do
they are just too tiny
just too constrained
inadequate

but the absence of words
can leave an awkward emptiness
a sense of isolation
separation

so let us build
a tiny bridge,
a fragile conduit
with our words

let us reach
with faltering hands
to touch the cheek of hope –
the hope that we all share

the hope that we might be
both truly ourselves
and truly one
with all that is

such is the gift of God
selfhood and community
a mystery to be honored
with our tiny, hopeful words

[photo by Jennifer Fred Merchán per cc 2.0]

kludge

 

kludge.jpg

When I encounter a problem, a conundrum, a quandary,
I want to fix it, as quickly as possible.
I work with what I know, and who I am, and what I have
To find a way around or through.

And that, sometimes, creates a bigger problem

My preconceptions get in the way.
If I could back off far enough, or shed my frame,
The problem might just be transformed.

Instead I build a kludge,
A work-around of convoluted wires and patches.
I solve one problem and create another.

Too often, it seems my theology is a mass of kludges –
My own and those of others.

The longer I stay in my head,
Requiring explanation or understanding,
The longer I delay delight.
For somewhere beyond what I can grasp,
You wait to gather me in.

I am bound by my own befuddlement.
But even in that moment,
You find a way to set me free.
Slowly, I am learning to release my questions
And, instead, be held by wonder.

 

[photo by Marco Assini per cc 2.0]

two different strategies for safety

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It may seem like the best way to stay safe
is to build a wall around ourselves,
keeping out all that looks unfamiliar.
That makes for a lonely and limited existence.

A better strategy may be
to build a strong and inclusive community,
where we can look out for one another
and learn from one another.

But, you must know that
neither strategy will shelter you from all harm.
Pain, suffering and death come to us all,
It’s just that they are harder to bear alone.

[photo by Tiziana Peressutti per cc 2.0]

God, herself

When you remember
That whatever you do to others
You do to God, herself,
You see an even deeper reality to
“MeToo.”

Refusing to listen to words of truth
Is a refusal to listen to God
And a denial of the very heart of the relationship
That holds the world together.

Nevertheless, She persisted.

[photo by John Mavroudis from the cover of Time Magazine, 10/18]
[My gratitude to joekay617 for this reminder]

sorry

a tearful eyeSometimes I get frustrated
With how little my actions really do for good.
And then, when I screw up,
I’m grateful that I’m not so powerful.

I want ‘what I deserve’
Until I don’t.
It’s hard to step outside the mindset
Of quid pro quo and reciprocity.

I’ve been so thoroughly trained
In the framework of good versus bad
And the myth of my own superiority
Where my ‘goodness’ sets me apart.

Forgive me, oh Holy One.
Teach me, instead, to be a grateful, gracious part.
Help me not forget to live your love.
Mend my brokenness and the brokenness I cause.

Please.

Teach me how to live, even as I falter and fall.
Help me to accept and to pass on your forgiveness.
Help me to live in this world of scarred beauty
And give you room to make the scars sacred.

I release my mess to you.
It’s all that I can do.

Amen.

[photo by Elba Fernández per cc 2.0]