Huddled masses, He hears each cry,
As you lie wallowing in dust and earth,
Surrounded by the sounds of pain
Compounded with the clanging hammer strikes.
Piece by piece you are chipped away,
Broken from the heavy mountain holding you,
From the only home you have ever known.
The hills echo with your distress
As rough edges are chiseled and polished,
Smooth and more smooth you become with each passing day,
Until it happens:
The work is finished.
You come to rest in your new home,
Where there is peace and a place for you,
And all is quiet.
In building the temple, only blocks finished at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.
1 Kings 6:7
Lord, I am afraid of hope.
No good reason, I know.
Plenty of good reasons, I feel.
I acquiesce your sovereignty
Over clothing and food.
Lily of the valley,
Sparrow of the field,
Yes, even the least of these.
Never mind needs.
Wants are the stuff of hope,
And these I refuse to count on
With good reason.
Good isn’t about getting what I want.
And Lord you are so good.
So you see I doubt myself,
To know good when I see it.
I feel depravity deep in my core.
The heart is deceitful
Above all things.
So Lord I’m scared to tell you
What I want.
I’m afraid it won’t be good enough,
Afraid even that the very speaking will negate
Any positive response
You may otherwise have been considering.
I know all the Bible answers for this problem of mine.
But I’m betting on the fact
That you want to hear from me.
So here I am,
And here is what I want:
To see hopes fulfilled.
To hear YES while I still care.
To trust that somehow
Good doesn’t always mean NO.
To know and feel your love.
For that love to be enough.
Lord hear my prayer.
There is rhythm
Even here, in the click-clack of the keyboard
As I compose another test
In a never-ending line of assessments.
What is this definition
Label the part of speech.
Categorize and explain,
Until at least one small piece of your world
Is neatly quantified and set aside.
Some of the same things.
Mostly the same things.
We are a forgetful people
Circling round and round to remind ourselves
Of what we knew, once.
The heart of my discontent:
Day to day life
Goes by unnoticed.
It needs a filter,
A change in perspective.
Some mask to trick me into seeing
A providential reminder:
Advent arrives every year,
Enters into my impatience,and says
Already, Not Yet.
Already but not yet?
When I was a child I didn’t know what this meant
Outside of gifts under a tree–
Mine, but not yet.
Jesus says God knows how to give good gifts to his children.
I worry about that word “good”.
I think I know what good gifts are, but
God seems to have a different definition in mind.
My parents always asked for a list.
God doesn’t take my list into account.
Or at least
That’s how things stand so far.
Already, Not Yet
Already, Not Yet
Tidings of comfort and joy:
We are the people
Who are given everything,
And we are the people who wait.
You are more inclined to change my heart
Than my circumstances.
You could move a mountain with ease,
Yet are content
To take on the tangles
Of my attitudes and
The dirty corners of my soul.
Of course you choose this way,
Assuring my dependence on you.
You keep the trials in place,
Removing all my illusions of control
Allowing me to know,
Fully and deeply,
That I do not operate well without
Realizing this will be my prayer all my mortal days:
Satisfy me in you.
Because my foolish heart is forever distracted
By the glimmering dreams of this world.
Perhaps their glow and temptation will lessen, someday.
This is the hope which underlies my prayers,
That each morning will find my heart
More drawn to you,
If only by the smallest fraction.
Is this hope enough for you to work with?
I only desire you insofar as my mind
Tells me it is my best option,
This state where you are the context and comfort
In all my joy and all my sorrow.
Yet my heart is vain
And deceitful above all things–
Refusing to know truth,
Believing it can find anchor in creation,
Trusting only in itself and no other.
So here, my prayer and my confession eternal:
I do not love you as I ought.
I am easily led astray by empty promises,
By shadows and shallow pleasures.
Lord, satisfy my heart and mind in you alone.
Lord, you do not grow tired or weary,
Yet I still worry that you will tire
Of my asking for the same thing, again
Asking for what I am still unsure
I actually want.
You know, I’ve become accustomed to Fear;
I press close to it as a familiar friend,
My surety in the midst of all other uncertainties,
Making me, for a moment,
The master of my own miserable little kingdom.
Every day is a gift, so they say,
But I squander these days you’ve given me,
Hoping for a new set that will be more to my liking,
Laid out neatly and just as I prefer:
A future defined and dependable.
So what I ask, Lord, is to be glad
In this day.
The future still stands vague and terrifying,
But right now I plead for Peace, for Hope,
Just for today,
Knowing I can seek you again tomorrow.
Father, forgive me,
For I have forgotten once more,
To trust You.
The promises I think You’ve made,
Or the desires I dream You’ll fulfill,
But You, alone.
Help me, Father,
To be enough for me.
In the new leaves growing boldly in the sunlight,
Drifting just far enough through the window
To shine across your shoulders
And through your glass of iced tea.
The rain sounds creating quiet–
That song playing on the radio,
Evoking a particular sight-smell-feeling memory.
Most of all in how
Saying I love you
Can be so ordinary
And yet mean so much all the same
If you will only pay attention.