Saturday, May 27, 2017

Prayer Haiku

Vocation

Praises climb my spine,
through the throat, buzz inside cheeks,

adjust my heading.

Friday, March 24, 2017

At the Ground Level

The map below comes from an article on City Lab.com about current economic conditions around the United States.  Green represents counties where kids living below the poverty line might make it into the middle class given the social safety net available where they live.  Red marks counties where those currently born into poverty don't have the community support they'll need to make it out.

I look at this map and am reminded that the playing field is not equal.  We don't all start out with the same prospects to live the American Dream.  If you live in a red county and are struggling financially, there may be systemic reasons why you are finding it difficult to get out of the hole.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Riding the Bus

A poetic moment on the bus.  Putting my hospital chaplaincy training to use.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Epiphany, Age 5

Spooked

The theophany occurred in the basement of the home of
William Jennings Bryan,
which by then had been converted
into a daycare center for the children of
the staff of Bryan Memorial Hospital.

I was in the play room by myself,
surveying the toy kitchen appliances,
the plastic food and dinnerware,
content with my aloneness
because I knew I really wasn't,
God was here and would be my playmate.

As soon as the belief was thought,
I sensed a presence start to move towards me,
from beyond the cinderblock wall to the West.

Suddenly, the room’s atmosphere felt weighty,
as if an intensifying thundercloud was drawing nearer,
the worst storms always came from that direction,
and I knew with awful certainty,
that this room would be too small
for what was heading my way.

The instant I became aware of the limitation
of my current situation,

I fled.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Reject the Numbness, II

Myrrh


And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.
-Mark 15:23

Why did you refuse their mercy?


Without it, the impact of nail through
tissue-bone-tendon
drove undeadened into the brain.


The agony of gravity
reverberated undampened
against the ears.


How thoughtless of you Jesus,
to make the moment more difficult for them.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Reject the Numbness

Jesus was offered myrrh-ed wine (ἐσμυρνισμένον) before the crucifixion, but he didn't take it.  (Mark 15:23)  Apparently, such wine was commonly offered to the crucified because of myrrh's pain-deadening properties.

The image a Jesus rejecting myrrh keeps coming back to me as I read tweets and Facebook posts.  So many people are anxious and feeling unsafe that I'm tempted to numb myself to their pain.  The number of hurting and worried people is that overwhelming.

There are plenty of ways I could choose numbness over engagement -- block Twitter and Facebook accounts, ignore certain news outlets, spend my free-time pursuing pleasant distractions.  Then I remember Jesus facing the cross without cutting the pain, and the temptation to dropout fades.

Why did Jesus choose to feel the pain of the crucifixion when he had an alternative available to him?  His choice was a brave one, and it makes me feel brave.  I can face what's happening in society because I am in communion with this type of Savior, one who can endure the pain and triumph over it.  I anticipate that he will give me victory over the anxieties of today, too.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Negative Teacher

Wave, a revulsion
gaining momentum.
Contempt for another,
threatening to crest.


Then I confess, and
the loathing recedes


Where did the sickness go?
Whence came its antidote?


The answers will come
when I behold God.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Baptism of the Lord Sunday: Affirmations

Based on Matthew 3:16, 17 -- The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God’s Spirit—it looked like a dove—descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.”  (The Message)

I approach the font, touch the water, and remember --
  • I am cleansed.
  • I am filled.
  • I am claimed.
  • God is pleased.
  • I Am Cleansed
    • My sins are forgiven.
    • My mistakes are no longer held against me
    • My faults do not define me
    • My bad choices do not determine who I will become
  • I Am Filled
    • The Holy Spirit cleanses me
    • The Holy Spirit empowers me to live a life patterned after Christ
    • The Holy Spirit has imparted to me the gifts of Christ's peace, kindness, and joy
  • I Am Claimed
    • God claims me as part of the Body of Christ
    • I am a member of God's tribe
    • In this extended family, I have brothers and sisters from every race, ethnicity, class, and ability
  • God Is Pleased
    • God is proud of me
    • God welcomes my attempts to serve
    • My efforts are acceptable to God

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Passing Peace?

“Passing Of The Peace”

It was their High Holy Moment:
a cheery “Morning” followed by
a brief handshake.
The congregation’s circulation
more family reunion potluck
than the exchange of divine grace,
the external power that helped me

endure their act of worship.