Mandatum Novum

Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory. You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt. You shall therefore keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year.
Exodus 13:7-10

Remember me, O my God, for good.
Nehemiah 13:31b

Act One:
Blood and darkness and small bread.
The narrative for centuries
Closes with a cry:
Remember us, Lord.
Remember.
Don’t forget.

Intermission:
Six hundred years of silence.
Did you forget us? Will you remember?

Act Two:
Glorious in-breaking of light
As heaven comes to earth:
I remember you.
Now do this in remembrance of me,
(Oh my children who are bound in time,
Who are bound to forget so easily)
Remember me with wine and bread,
With small portions and shadows.
Eat and remember until the final act
When all is revealed and you will know forever
The table and the glory of the resurrected King.

And when the hour came, he reclined at the table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Luke 22:14-19

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Washing

The new-white sheets billow on the clotheslines of my neighbors,
Gracefully proclaiming the dirt washed away
From a multitude of places.
My own line seems empty by comparison:
One sock and a pillowcase
Leaving everyone and mostly myself to wonder
Just how much laundry has been left undone.

The Smell of Friday

Coffee. Black.
Dew-watered grass breathing into the air.
Exhaust fumes from a truck labeled Rocket Rooter.

Coffee.
Fruit Loops in a plastic bag,
Birthday donuts,
Sneaky chocolate bar.
Coffee.

Afternoon sunshine,
Wind filled with leaves and grass.
Sweat. So much sweat.

Soccer cleats in sports bags falling from lockers.
Eraser dust,
Felt-tip pen: lime green.
Crumpled homework pages.

Sigh of relief.
Freedom.

Both at Once

I’ve been calling them my Attitude Class.
I named them for their hinge,
Which bends this one way for now,
But tantalizes me with the potential for a reversal.

The challenge of them crowds my mind.
I feel for the other classes;
The very joy they bring
Is what allows me to rest from them.

I wonder if God is God
Because he can hold Joy and Challenge
All at once,
And yet know Joy the most.

Clear, now.

Tell me, what is it
Which moves me,
Here, now.

If I were a photographer, I’d picture
The grasses and trees
Scenting the pitch night air,
And me:
Hair blown in eyes, nose, mouth,
Arms out and up,
Catching sticky, humid air,
Asking for a way to feel
Which does not lead to heart, chest, body
Bursting, with
Joy, Grace, Relief (truly, relief),
JOY.

I have no pictures.
Only words, which reach to half
Of a moment which has happened
More than once.

Thankful

For the usual things
Made more special for their expectedness:
Family
Friends
Food.

For things beautiful and strange:
Books with voices that strengthen my own;
An orange cat with winsome determination;
Crackling fires facilitating laughter and conversation.

And for things unusual:
Love beyond measure,
And grace that finds us
Even in the midst of our wanderings.

Still Learning

They didn’t teach me
How best to express an ache
For people I don’t know,
Or how to help heal a wound
That never closes.

They didn’t teach me
Five steps to fix an evil next door
And a continent away.

But they did teach me how to love
They taught me to stand up
They taught me to be compassionate
Even when I’m afraid.
They taught me grace, grace, grace.

They taught me that no one is perfect
They taught me to listen, carefully.
They taught me “I’m sorry”
And they taught me apologies paired with action.

They taught me to paint with all the colors
Because no one ever made art
Just staring at white paper.

They taught me “all men are created equal”
And Jesus loves me, so He must love you
Just as much.

They taught me so many things

But here I am, still learning.

Never Forget

It’s a sunny and perfect day again,
But this afternoon the airplanes
Remain on their straight paths across the sky.

I see a building with two colors of stone,
And a chronological sea of benches.

I thought never was a long time,
But then fifteen years
Still feels like yesterday.

 

image

A Fortunate Poverty

This is not the grace I was looking for,
This nibbly bit of blessing,
Dragging me through one more day,
But just barely —
Like the painful frustration
Of brushing out every tangled curl
And split-ended knot,
Only to face the same task the next morning.

I’d prefer a measure of Dying Grace,
The kind packaged with enough Courage and Faith
To carry me through many moons
And unto some glorious ending.
Instead here I am
With my plain, everyday ration
Whose meager portion obliges me always
To return for more each morning.