It is the experience of God that holds us true,
That truly holds us.
Doctrine merely opens the door, if it, indeed, is true.
The closer we can get to clearing the dross from our preconceptions,
The clearer we can see.
But seeing is not enough.
It takes the deep embrace to truly know.
For me, it is a bit of a catch 22.
I try to clear my head, to make way for my heart.
Yet, my head is not up to this too-big challenge.
I must learn to lean into the embrace from the start.
And that may be the heart of faith,
The faith of the heart,
Learning to trust God’s embrace, rather than my own.
It is God who does the holding.
I cannot grasp; yet, I am held.
[photo by Timothy K Hamilton per cc 2.0]
I need a faith that is bigger
Than my humble hopes and paltry prayers
A faith big enough to touch the wire cages
That hold the refugees I am afraid to recognize
As my siblings and my friends.
I need a faith big enough to offer hope.
And I need hope that is big enough
To draw me from my couch,
Not in guilt or anger, but in energetic love.
Ready to work within the unfolding,
Sure of the partnership of the One who holds us all.
I need a hope sure enough to evoke joy.
I need a surge of joyful surrender,
Rolling down the grassy slope into your lap.
Knowing that your embrace awaits –
An embrace that does not close around me
But opens me up to more and more.
I need the energy of your bracing love.
I need that breath of life that comes
When the emptiness is filled with You.
When darkness shines
And the hollows hold abundance.
When, at last, I know that love is real and all.
I need to know that faith and hope and love remain.
I need to know, to deeply know,
That you have not turned away from me
Or from this world of your creation;
That you can redeem even these moments of pain,
Within the whole of your infolding love.
[photo by Giampaolo Squarcina per cc 2.0]
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]
Faith has the ability
to hold on to hope in a world like this.
Faith resides in the whole self
and grows in community.
Faith is often shaped more by story than by fact:
Faith gives new eyes, new ears, a new heart,
to see the culture of love emerging.
I need this kind of faith.
[photo by Josean Prado per cc 2.0]
I write because I think, perhaps,
That my heart is a fractal –
A small reflection of a larger pattern.
And I think, perhaps,
That larger pattern dances
When I do.
[image by Nick Spratt per cc 2.0]
Dare I catch faith by the tail?
What would become of me?
What would I become?
[photo by GillesVanDamme per cc 2.0]
Oh Holy One,
I am lost in the wilderness.
I cannot see your hand or sense your presence.
My faith is hanging by a thread.
Yet, I desperately want to believe.
Where is my anchor if you are not there?
Where is my hope?
How can I take even one more step?
I take the next step because of beauty –
How it calls to me when it lines up into a resonant whole;
How the pieces answer one another in harmony,
How its fractal presence unites the big and small.
I take the next step because of love –
Because my heart calls to you and is not satisfied until you answer
Because there is a hole that can be filled with nothing else
And so, I must believe, or else I die.
I take the next step because of hope –
And somehow I know that hope is born of you.
It is your continued call, your whisper of promise,
That urges my soul forward.
And, though I stumble,
Somehow, I fall into your arms.
You came to the wilderness before me
And wait to catch me, even here.
[photo by rouge per cc 2.0]