Sunday, November 29, 2009

HOPE

Still Coming God,
we long for a glimmer
a hint
that you are almost here
and our work is
almost done.
We pray
"Make it better"
through the dark nights
and are met
with
silence.
We are troubled to consider
that you are still
teaching us
a lesson:
to believe
what we cannot
see.
Like a woman in labor,
we pray for
easy birthing pains
and
speedy delivery.
But you have already labored
to the point
of death;
we are impatient.
May HOPE be
your Advent gift to us,
not our
indulgent lament
to you,
Still Coming God.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dog Stories: Sermon Illustrations (sans sermon)

Walking my dog MoMo this morning offered a few moments of quiet before a busy day. The air was chilly and calm. I could hear birds calling and singing from amidst the branches of bare trees. The sky was a clear baby blue, with traces of red & pink lining a few scattered clouds as the sun rose.

I realized as I looked around me that this beautiful autumn morning...could just as easily be a beautiful spring morning. Without leaves on the trees to identify the season, there was almost no way of knowing whether it was a day in the midst of a season of dying...or a day in the midst of a season of rebirth.

Where in your life & in your world do you feel yourself worrying that a season of death may be approaching? Could it be that a season of new life is dawning instead?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How's The God Business?

Recently an acquaintance who knows that I'm a minister asked a casual question (or was it?) that caught me entirely off guard: "How's the God business?"

I looked at her for a moment, then chuckled and said, "It's good." At the time I was in the midst of drafting resources for a marriage equality workshop...definitely good work, in my 'umble opinion.

Still, I'm not satisfied with my answer. Is it good, on a big picture level? And is "good" reflective of the work that needs to be done, the work that is getting done, the people (ministers and laity) who are doing God's work, the state of the church, the state of spirituality, the state of world religions...? Or does "good" give witness--more appropriately--to God and God's faithfulness?

All interesting questions, I suppose, but in truth "It's good" was a knee-jerk answer on my part that day. Other responses that I've brainstormed since then: "It's busy." "It's challenging." "It's lively." "It's enlivening." "It sure is somethin'!"

But I think that I would have liked to respond (had I thought of it at the time) by saying: "It's ongoing." A very Kingdom of God answer.

The God business is ongoing. It has started...and it is not yet finished. It's here...but still far off. Full of Kingdom of God glimpses and Spirit-filled moments...equally full of death-dealing divisions and Spirit-less routines. And the God business will be ongoing until the Kingdom of God has fully arrived.

...sounds like an early Advent prayer!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Death Penalty

A moment of silence
for the killing of a man
who killed a man.
. . .
. . .
. . .
To be clear,
ten deaths was too many.
To be clear,
this one death is also too many.
. . .
. . .
. . .
A moment of silence, please,
to reflect on our collective consent to
execution, and a system of vengeance.
. . .
. . .
. . .
Death multiplied by death
does not equal justice, or civility, or freedom.
Zero times zero just equals zero
at great expense to us all.
. . .
. . .
. . .
A moment of silence, if you please.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wilderness

Through the wilderness from Egypt to Canaan
we wander in circles.
Every day is something new...
and every day looks exactly the same.

"Haven't we been here before?"
"No, look: we've never seen that flowering bush."
"Perhaps, but the sting of its thorn feels familiar."

Traversing wilderness in community is a blessing;
the laughter of children, the warmth of fires for cooking--
all suggest normalcy,
masking the desolation and loneliness.

"How long, O God, will we be unsettled?
How long until we can plant crops with roots
and dig into the earth for a permanent well?"

Moses admonishes that the wilderness is necessary;
we cannot reach our destination
except by this way.
So we keep on keeping on:

"Come, mother. Come, child. Walk a little further."
"Please just let me rest awhile."
"Hold my hand: look, there is the cloud of God.
We are not alone."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Praying To What I Don't Understand

O Holiness, O Mystery,
For just a moment, I attempt to wrestle
on the shores of how much I don't know.
For just a moment, I leave on the river banks
my personified god with hands and heart and breath
In order to recognize that You---
You that is It, that is Everything, that is Beyond---
are not the tame-able god that I worship.

O Wild Imagination,
O Divine Contradiction,
You just might be both
Rock and Earthquake,
Calculated Orbit and Chaos Theory,
Devastation and Birth,
Yes and No,
Stunning in power and Helpless in love.

Injure the stable hip of my faith
so that I cannot walk without remembering
how much I don't know.