Thursday, January 18, 2018

Today is the Day to Trust, or to See it Come, for Them, But Most Probably For Me

The sun gently eases into the weary sleep and into the ears which may still be listening to dreams.
The sun is coming up outside your room, the glow is fading fast easing you into this day.
The moon and the stars lingered to say goodbye,but they had to hurry on at least for now.
The gentle breeze has words only it knows and reveals only to you.

Today may be very much the same, familiar may be its name.
Today may be novel, asking you to step out of the normal way things are done.
This day seems orchestrated by some that we've only come to know of late.
On this holy day, high and holy trust is felt, heard, seen, and suspected. Maybe touched.

Off as a group we go filled with wonder and delight, with anxiety and joy intertwined.
We enter the basilica with prayer and delight in the company of the Holy One of Israel, arms outstretched, a thorn-made crown caressing his head, and we come to a rare face to face with mystery.

The thorn-made crown is not my taste of wearing apparel. I wince in pain, so no cross I'll own. Too big for my mantel at home. Too showy of faith. Let's look for smaller, more subdued one, if you please. Maybe one made of trees when we live. I feel a little down about the crown, but I think I'll come back around to superficiality.

We saunter the streets make eye contact with all we meet.
Trying holy moments to create even after we just ate and hardly spake.
Space for superficial conversation pushes so as to replace the normal ruminations.
And more serious strains to meet as our paths criss-cross and we greet, and will it be sweet or intrusive.

We have things that do speak of generosity and caring, and we are curious.
Some saints and sinners when let through a front door or back door have little over which to pour, but
When they can sense the holy trust we carry in our back packs and in our hearts, and
With the Spirit of the Holy One we discern their battles, at least from the edges.

We create a holy space in which hearing is done, speaking is done, understanding and  understood are out on the tables of the cafe. Risk is rewarded. Fears are pushed away. We may even feel an extra ray of sunshine on his any otherwise chilly, windy day.

Each day is never the same and each encounter always different.
We are simply called upon to wonder about the wounds carried by the wounded seen or unseen.
For when we lean into doubt, respecting boundaries, and offering hope,

A new thing is born which slowly decodes mystery shared and trust develops and people talk about things that are real relevant life here and now and then even when the then crowded into the now.

When is a trip to the restaurant just that? When is a quick in and out of the grocery store just that? When is a trip to the small BBQ stand on the corner on a Thursday afternoon just that? When is wondering through the shops of all the sales of baby clothes at the going out of business  just that?

When is it more.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Our Relationship is at Risk

Dear God:  

Our relationship is at risk
If the truth is in what some preachers preach
That you chose the man in office
Is this just a bully pulpit reach?

Our relationship is at risk
If you chose such a flawed man
To lead this country down the road
Maybe even bring justice to the land.

Our relationship is at risk
If what they say amounts to much
Your hand reached down and touched him
And made us vote for him and such.

Our relationship is at risk
If I were to believe those folks on the right
All the things they say to excuse him
All come with your holy might.

Our relationship is at risk
If I thought you decided to choose
A man who mocks the poor and the needy
We all have a lot to lose.

Our relationship is at risk
If I have to buy into their theology
That you orchestrated this madness
That I think is just misguided mythology.

Our relationship is at risk
If I thought you cared more for the rich
And for the man who lies and taunts us
And that would be a heavenly glitch.

Our relationship is at risk
If you chose the man with the insult
For Haiti and Africa and their people
While his supports loudly exult.

Our relationship is at risk
If indeed I thought you chose
An adulterer, a liar, a racist
Who tweets insults under our nose.

Our relationship is at risk
If I believe the loud noise
From a man who lies and lies and lies
And we excuse his malicious ploys.

Our relationship is at risk
If the one they say you’ve anointed
Constantly hollers at us
“Fake news” and other words more pointed.


Our relationship is not at risk
No, I know you love your people
You would not impose upon us
A human being so despicable.

No, our relationship is not at risk
You did not hold our hands at the box
We across this land voted our conscience
Though it came out pretty unorthodox.

No, our relationship is not at risk
Because I trust you above all others
You do not punish the innocent
Or destroy a sister or her brothers.

No, our relationship is not at risk.
We have a lot of things to learn
There are processes in place
That will protect us when we turn.

No, our relationship is not at risk
I lean on you most days
To help me keep my head about myself
Above the burning haze.


Come, Lord Jesus

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Are There Tears in Heaven: Meditations of January 11, 2018

Were there tears that day
When Jesus said goodbye
To his faithful disciples
Did you see those grown folks cry?

They’d been together
For a few short years
When He wrapped it all up
Did they do so with human tears?

In some of His very last words
He prayed for Himself and the disciples
He prayed for all believers, too
Me and you, or so I read there in my Bible.

One line really catches me
As things sometimes do
He prayed for complete unity
To let the Father’s love shine through.

That was a long time ago
And today is still today
That prayer is still not answered
And I wonder, what do you say?

The Right has seized the story
At least that seems to be true
The only ones who are true believers
Where does that leave me and you?

Does the Right own the story
Or is it religion that they claim
Whatever you want to call
It causes a lot of pain.

Are there tears in heaven
I this morning do wonder
We have messed up the message
Just one blunder after blunder.

What He prayed for seems like fiction
If the conversations that I hear
We’re no less one in unity
Is what I’ve come to fear.

So, are there tears in Heaven
Does Jesus look on us and weep
Upon this mess we created
We despise His other sheep.

We have our left and our right
Everyone assigned a place
That sure seems misguided to me
Just looking for some sacred space.

Surely Jesus weeps
When political speak
We all do seek
Our own inside ideology we keep.

Does Jesus weep
When we speak our very own labels
We spew them left and right
Right there at our church’s tables.

Are there tears in heaven
When our rhetoric is so loud
If He really sheds a tear
Could we really stand that proud?

Are there tears in Heaven
To me it’s an important question
How we violate that prayer
Today is my one obsession.

Are there tears in heaven
Am I the one to cause
If so, I’ll think it over
With that question will come a long pause. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Amen. God Waits for Our Reply

Dear Lord:

What brings me joy
The phrase pops in my head
Images flow to and fro
They remove my weariness and dread.

Those older boys
They range from here to there
They are so much bigger
And the similarities we share.

Those little ones
So young and filled with play
My heart leaps when I see them
They brighten up my day.

My wife so thoughtful
So loving and so kind
How did we ever hook up
My words she makes to rhyme.

Conversations here and there
About things that ultimately matter
Amidst the dross and fog
They cut through the noisy chatter.

A good cup of coffee
To start each and every day
Brewed already when I arise
Come world what may.

The Book someones wrote
Its origins from above
It tells the endless story
Of God’s relentless love.

This season of the year
It comes every time
This one somehow seems different
The meaning is somehow sublime.

That new kid in town
One of my favorite songs
How will He change the world
Into something for which we long.

Justice when we see it
Fairness and equity is the story
The Christ child will prompt it all
That is part of His glory.

The prophets told about Him
The stories to us are told
Not just any child He is
He is one we hear foretold.

When noise comes from DC
The hatred and all its noise
We know politics is the author
The evil one prompts too many ploys.

Where for hope do we go
Or are we left alone
Across this space and place
With anxiety must we roam.

Level out the paths
Remove injustice from the world
Base all upon character
When noise about us swirls.

Yes, some things make my heart sing
My pulse picks up its beat
When good is seen around us
And wickedness sounds its retreat.

Things that bring me joy
My friends and my kin
The baby born in that stable
Will heal my soul within.

Amen. Simplicity in all its glory.

Amen. Sing those songs from on high

Amen. Worship that new born child.

Amen. God waits for our reply. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Truth Will Set Us Free If We Let It

Truth is truth
No matter how we spin
The lies and the deceit
Do not always win.

Character prevails
Let’s see it more and more
I hope we find more of it
That’s what most of us implore.

Women tell the truth
They live within their skin
To doubt their stories
Is too deep a sin.

People in power
White men in the crowd
No longer get by with crimes
And that makes me proud.

Character matters
Though some would disagree
Those who put politics above it
Will surely come to see.

Shall we continue the journey
And move toward things that matter
Before we totally ruin ourselves
Lest more lives we would shatter.

There is hope in the land
I feel it in my soul
Maybe we’ve turned the corner
The truth must somehow be told. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Dear God, Hear My Prayer

Dr. James Melvin Washington’s book, Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans, published in 1994, has been a steady read for me during our days of living in Abilene, Ada, and now Denison. You may ask why a white man reads a book of prayers by people of color. There are perhaps many, but amongst others, they keep me reminded of things that are true.

In the early morning hours this morning, I read two prayers, one by Matthew L.Watley, then a student at Howard University, and now a leader of people and recognized as such, and another by his father, William Donnel Watley, then a pastor for an AME church in New Jersey, and now a senior pastor for an AME church in Atlanta.

Young Watley prays the following:

“Dear God, if you please, let me be paranoid.
I know this sounds like the strangest request.
But it’s the only thing can fill this void.
And until it is fulfilled, I’ll find no rest.”

He goes on to write about judgments made against him because of his skin color and other things such as “poor education and unequal chances” and all manner of mistreatment, but that he is told that these things do not exist.

So, he writes:

“So God, you must see the need for me to be paranoid,
Then this world really wouldn’t be so bad.
Then all that I would see is not a true picture.
Lord, let me be paranoid so I know that I’m not mad.”

Then his father, the elder Watley, acknowledges to God his son’s prayers and then makes his own request, “I pray for holy restlessness and sensitivity to the racism that still affects the lives and impacts the aspirations of your children of the African sun.” Later in his prayer, he also beseeches God with, “God, grant us sensitivity without cynicism, righteous indignation devoid of bitterness, the wisdom of the serpent without its craftiness the gentleness of the dove without its naivete. Then, Lord, help us to direct all of this passion that we feel into meaningful action, we pray.”

For those of us who are watching, there is injustice and insanity in the world.  Based on one’s skin color or one’s name, the opportunities are different. There are better jobs, opportunities, higher placement in a wide range of settings if you have a “white” name and if your skin color is “white.” There are distinctions made by police around people of color versus those of us who are white. Then, the politics of the day can be maddening and we can go mad ourselves when we see the leader of our land engage in activities that demean people of color, women, the disabled, and children, amongst all manner of others. We see the undoing of things that we hold dear such as our indigenous people’s sacred land, to mention just one.  We see the “leader of the free world” endorsing for congress one who has multiple allegations of sexual misconduct because a “liberal” would mess with the vote. It appears that guns are more important than people. 

These things are seen by some and not by others. They are dismissed by some as irrelevant to the day and as important to others. 

I’d like to see things as they are, not how I am told to see them. I want to see the truth of injustices done and to do something about them rather than being sold a spin or a justification for them. 

So, today, like the younger Watley, I am asking for paranoia so as to know that I am not mad. I am also praying like the elder Watley for a holy restlessness and sensitivity to all manner of injustices in the world. And I vow to make a difference in my small corner of the world. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

I Hear He is Coming

I hear He is coming
The preacher told us so
He read from a big book
That was written long ago.

There was a prophet
A man who listened closely to God
He spoke to the rich and the poor
He cared a lot about those downtrod.

There was hopeless in the land
They had all lost their way
They were looking left and right
Trying to see a better day.

The prophet said he is coming
I just won’t tell you when
You better get prepared
You’ll face all of your sins.

The world we live sounds familiar
We stink up this big old joint
We have all chosen our paths
And toward hell much of us do point.

This world like that one
Bad stuff and other’s pain was craving
If it doesn’t come soon
I don’t know if it’ll be worth saving.

He’ll be born of a virgin
Something no one has done
He’ll bring us back to glory
He’ll be God’s only Son.

He’ll bring us to our knees
And we’ll worship at the throne
He’ll have a heart of justice
For those left undone.

Today is sit and I ponder
I’d like for him to come
And reign amongst my people
And to fix the world undone.

This thing is what we called it
Advent is a descriptive term
Jesus is coming as a baby
We have so very much to learn.

Mary and Joseph his parents
The donkey their traveling mode
He walked and carried them along
Not knowing of his precious load.

That sweet sweet day He was born
The world never to be the same
We all bow down to the Christ child
We worship His holy name.

The prophet was named Isaiah
The truth he told quite clear
The child’s name was to be Immanuel
His birth is drawing near.