Archive | March 2018

life goes on

bird house gone by

Maundy Thursday drags me

out of the field

into a room

where he bends

toward us

and I see

it is we

fully loved

who will break

and take

and pass

the bread

astonished

at how

life goes on

 

 

lent to be spent

donkey

This week all that I could think about when I was reflecting on the news and on the texts for Palm Sunday was a phrase I read that said “Life is lent to be spent.”

I enjoyed the play on words with the season of Lent. But even more than that joke I am drawn to the truth that our lives are given to us. We do not create them. We do not have much of a hold on them. Our lives are lent to us for a short or long time. We are not asked to hoard the days and years or keep ourselves pristine or strive to be the best little life ever lived. Our lives are lent to be spent fully and gracefully and messily as Jesus spent his life for the sake of the world.

He rides into Jerusalem in a rag tag parade – the king on a donkey. The animal patiently carries him one slow step at a time. The peasants, because who else would care about a donkey riding king, threw all that they had; cloaks, branches, earthy symbols of protection on the ground, the same hard earth that we imagine Jesus being born into.

At the other end of town, a big ol’ parade with horses and soldiers and the Emperor’s men stake out the city, showing by force that the Emperor is the Son of God; not that backwater upstart. The sound is deafening, or deadening. which is the point.

Jesus rides into Jerusalem. He has a good look around and then rides out. It is already late. There is a supper to attend and a disciple to betray him and an arrest to happen.

Lent is almost over. Processions and marches are happening around the world; for Palm Sunday and for a safe and just world. My heart is cracking open as I watch our young ones, whose lives have just begun, spend them so passionately and with so much hope.

This week some of us are rushing to Easter Sunday and others of us are lingering close to the cross. All of us are here only because of the grace of God who revealed God’s very self to me in this spent and life-giving form of Jesus, riding on a donkey long ago and today.

slip of a thing

Let us pray: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found.

small crocus.jpg

This afternoon I walked

in the snowy side yard

chasing after the ball the grandson sent flying

only to find beneath the feeder

in a tumbled bed of rotten leaves

sticks and stones

rubble from a hard winter

a slip of a thing

pushed up with the strength

of Goliath.

Nothing;

not earth

nor snow

nor dark nights

or frigid days

or the world’s harsh word

could hold it down.

Speak to me

vibrant flower

herald

of spring.

Fix my heart

turning point: John 12: 20-33

mid-way through Lent

we have set our clocks forward

the sunlight lingers into evening

we are at a turning point                               woods walk

now we get to choose again

this time listening more closely

when the guide advises

love your life as it is and turn back

so you can keep your  illusions

or leave certitude

and stay by my side

you have no real idea

what is coming

admit it

 

 

 

the path to heaven

new path

Forgotten and worn/ Old stone sidewalk resurrects/ Pooling rain at last

I started my day today by reading one of Mary Oliver’s poems. It came to me as part of a Lenten Devotional that I have been reading called “Mary Oliver and the Poetry of Lent.” Some of the poems resonate and some fairly shout. Some bring me full circle to places that I have been and to other poetry. Today the poem circled me back to my haiku above – written during a rainy week last fall. Now, here is Oliver, talking about where she has found the path to heaven (which in my business is also known as “salvation.”) From the poem, The Swan.

“Of course! the path to heaven doesn’t lie down in flat miles. It’s in the imagination with which you perceive this world, and the gestures with which you honor it.”

I copied that passage on to a small piece of paper and put it in my pocket and during the day pulled it out to read, recite, and digest. Sometimes I do this with scripture as a way to get the Word into my being. So too with poetry.

Heaven is somewhere, I know not where. But the path, O the path, is right here, beneath our feet and in how we perceive the world. And not only is the path in how we perceive where we are plunked down but within the gestures – how we honor, act and react in ways that bless or curse this crazy, beautiful, awful, ordinary, extra-ordinary world.

A stone path, overgrown with grass and years of dried up leaf mulch and fern came strangely alive one day when the rain beat the dirt back and slicked the stones so that they shone like new. The path itself leads to nowhere most days. On the day that  my imagination was seized and I strayed off the sidewalk to follow it in the rain, I could see that long ago those stones were lovingly and with great craftsmanship laid out so someone could step, one foot and then another, around the side of this dear old house to reach an open door.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and so it ugliness and uselessness and commodity and trash… The impact of our seeing is understated and a cause of celebration and great sorrow. What gestures do I extend to the world at my feet or across the world in space and time?  Our salvation – the salvation of the given world, is both a seeing and a doing path. One without the other is a dead end. Together, who knows where we will go?