the turning

morning light.jpg

When I remember
To give you the first fruits of my morning,
When I turn my mind, my heart,
First to your call,
Silencing the pull of other voices,
That is when my heart finds home.

Why, then, do I neglect this turning?

Who knows?
Who needs to know?
These questions just delay the turning.

It’s not about fixing me.
It’s about finding you.

So … I tilt my head,
I tilt my heart,
To listen.

And there you are.
I hear what I cannot quite hear.
I know what I cannot really know.
I find, despite my fears,
That I do believe in you.

I believe just enough to cuddle my soul
Within your whisper.
I believe just enough to breathe with you.

In and out,
We exchange the thread of life.
In and out,
You cleanse my heart of dread,
And seed my hope.

And so these three arrive with my turning
Faith, hope, and love.
Your love, of course, is what evokes my own.
And mine must follow, once I turn and see.

Good morning, Holy One.
Thank you.

[photo by Susanne Nilsson per cc 2.0]

I need a different story

 

held .jpg

You would think all this time at home
Would bring a stillness,
An opportunity to breathe,
A chance to sit and think.

But, as I am now aware,
That takes a disciplined intentionality.
The rat-a-tat-tat of news coverage
Pounds at my soul.

I am not automatically quiet,
Even at times like these.
I must decide to turn my mind, my heart,
Away from insistent distraction.

Yet (take a deep breath)
You are here. Even here.
Your touch can spread peace, rather than fear.
There is no quarantine that can keep you away.

And so, I close my eyes.
I lean my head back, ever so slightly.
I imagine your arms around me.
I can feel your love anoint my soul.

And in your embrace,
I let my prayer become an ointment for the earth.
I see, in my mind’s eye, your hovering hope.
I relax my grip upon control and give it all to you.

The trial of this time,
The real suffering that ensues,
The anger and accusation that rise too easily,
Are not the only story.

You tell a different story,
One that even death cannot destroy.
And somehow I will let myself believe that your story
Is the one that will prove true.

[photo by Roger Ahlbrand per cc 2.0]

true

those hands.jpg

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.
True.

[photo by Timothy K Hamilton per cc 2.0]

a bigger faith

faith.jpg

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]

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]

Fingerprints of faith

fingerprint against the sky
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:
story moves.
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]

a tiny thread

by a thread

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]

assurance of faith

holding faith

My faith is less a conviction, grasped tightly
And more the whisper of grace resting lightly on my open palm.
It is not something I accomplish or hold on to;
It is a sweet gift continually opening itself in my heart.

My heart is opened in return.

It is not so much ‘my’ faith
As it is your assurance deep within me,
Singing a lullaby of love
That bids me rest my soul in you.

And when I do,
That peace,
That love,
That assurance,
Flows beyond the boundaries of my being
Into my small corner of the world.

I have faith in you
(when I am within you).
You have faith in me.
(You placed it there.
It will not be contained.)

Thank you.

[photo by lf-style per cc 2.0]