Here is a short meditation as I have been thinking about 1 John 1 and reading the poem, Cleanse the Thoughts by Walter Bruegemann
Why do I try to hide
When I am already fully known by You?
My secrets ooze out of the pores of my life,
despite my best efforts to keep them hidden.
My shame keeps me
from the help that I so desperately need.
Your wooing voice cries out to me,
Allow yourself to be known.
Join in the celebration with the saints,
our blood-bought victory,
our bondage-breaking liberation,
our friendship-restoring redemption.
Allow yourself to be known
And to be loved
as a less-than-perfect
image-bearer of the King.”
O Love, divine Love why do you lay siege to me?
In a frenzy of love for me, You find no rest.
From five sides you move against me,
Hearing, sight, taste, touch, and scent.
To come out is to be caught; I cannot hide from You.
If I come out through sight I see Love
Painted in every form and color,
Inviting me to come to You, to dwell in You.
If I leave through the door of hearing,
What I hear points only to You, Lord;
I cannot escape Love through this gate.
If I come out through taste, every flavor proclaims;
“Love, divine Love, hungering Love!
You have caught me on Your hook, for you want to reign in me.”
If I leave through the door of scent
I sense You in all creation, You have caught me
And wounded me through that fragrance.
If I come out through the sense of touch
I find Your lineaments in every creature;
To try to flee from You is madness.
Love, I flee from You, afraid to give You my heart;
I see that You make me one with You,
I cease to be me and can no longer find myself.
If I see evil in a man or defect or temptation,
You fuse me with him, and make me suffer;
O Love without limits, who is it You love?
It is You, O Crucified Christ,
Who takes possession of me,
Drawing me out of the sea to the shore;
There I suffer to see Your wounded heart.
Why did You endure the pain?
So that I might be healed.
Jacapone Da Todi
Thanks Jonathan for a lovely Epiphany service tonight and for sharing with us this poem.
Saw this poem mentioned in Richard Swenson’s In Search of Balance and found it here
Miles across the turbulent kingdoms
They came for it, but that was nothing,
That was the least. Drunk with vision,
Rain stringing in the ragged beards,
When a beast lamed, they caught up another
And goaded west.
For the time was on them.
Once, as it may, in the life of a man,
Once, as it was, in the life of mankind,
All is corrected. And their years of pursuit,
Raw-eyed reading the wrong texts,
Charting the doubtful calculations,
Those nights knotted with thought,
When dawn held off, and the rooster
Rattled the leaves with his blind assertion—
All that, they regarded, under the Sign,
No longer as search but as preparation.
For when the mark was made, they saw it.
Nor stopped to reckon the fallible years,
But rejoiced and followed,
And are called “wise”, who learned that Truth,
When sought and at last seen,
Is never found. It is given.
And they brought their camels
Breakneck into that village,
And flung themselves down in the dung and dirt of that place,
And kissed that ground, and the tears
Ran on their faces, where the rain had.
Following is a paraphrase of Romans 8:18-25 by Macrina Wiederkehr in the 1991 reprint of her book, Seasons of the Heart.
It appears to me that whatever we suffer now will show up only dimly when compared to the wonders God has in store for us. It is as though all creation is standing on tiptoe longing to see an unforgettable vision, the children of God being born into wholeness.
Although creation is unfinished, still in the process of being born, it carries within it a secret hope. And the hope is this: A day will come when we will be rescued from the pain of our limitation and incompleteness and be given our share in a freedom that can only belong to the children of God.
At the present moment of all creation is struggling as though in the pangs of childbirth. And that struggling creation includes even those of us who have had a taste of the spirit. We peer into the future with our limited vision, unable to see all that we are destined to be, yet believing because of a hope we carry so deep within.
Wiederkehr writes the following as a reflection on Romans 8.
Could it be true
That some folks die
Because our hope is too small
To bring them forth?
It is good to remember:
We do not give birth to ourselves.
We give birth to others
By believing in that first, small spark of life
The spark we can barely see.
It is called hope.
After reading the above, I wrote the following confession:
Forgive me Lord for not having hope
They need the gift of hope I can offer them
And when I withhold hope
Or may never be born
Forgive me Lord
Just back from a two-day silent retreat and while away, I found the following poem from Seasons of Your Heart: Prayers & Reflections
by Macrina Wiederkehr. Still praying this!
The truth about myself
How beautiful it is!
“Unite my heart to fear your name” Psalm 86:11
Is my heart ready
to play music for you?
Do I wait?
Suspended in time,
Ready to dance,
Ready to sing,
As your Spirit
With breezes of love.
Enjoy the following on metanoia (repentance) by Scott Cairns.
Repentance, to be sure,
but of a species far
less likely to oblige
Repentance, you’ll observe,
glibly bears the bent
of thought revisited,
and mind’s familiar stamp
—a quaint, half-hearted
doubleness that couples
all compunction with a pledge
of recurrent screw-up
The heart’s metanoia,
on the other hand, turns
without regret, turns not
so much away, as toward,
as if the slow pilgrim
has been surprised to find
that sin is not so bad
as it is a waste of time.
“Adventures in New Testament Greek: Metanoia” from Compass of Affection: Poems New and Selected
© 2006 Scott Cairns .Used by permission of Paraclete Press, paracletepress.com
Previous posts of mine on repentance
Reflecting on 2 Samuel 7:18-29 this morning. I was captured by the focus on God–David is saying it is all about God–your people, your name, your greatness, your blessing. But, in the middle of the passage, I found myself zooming in on a comment David makes in verse 20. “And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord GOD! Because of your promise and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness to make your servant know it.”
Anyway, these words came to me this morning–grounded in this passage and likely influenced by my re-reading of Eldrige’s book, Waking the Dead.
You know me (2 Sam 7:20; Psalm 139)
You do not reject me
You do not shame me
- I am not abandoned
- Nor left alone
You do not weigh me down with guilt
- I am guilty
- I have broken your law
- I have violated your covenant
- I have wandered
- I have crossed the line
- I have stretched the truth
- I have been dishonest
- I have hidden in fear
- I have been angry and held hatred in my heart
You know my heart
According to your heart, You have made me great (2 Sam 7:21)
You have awakened me
- And I see
- And I long for you
- You satisfy me like no other
- I am content when I am with you
- I can rest in peace
- And be quiet
- And stop struggling
Thank you Lord
A meditation on Psalm 143
If I am your servant
How is it that
My heart is not engaged
My soul is not desperate
My life is not threatened
And yet my spirit grows weak?
What do I do?
Remember your character
- Your love
Meditate upon your works
And fear your judgment
Is it all about your glory?
All about you?
In my head
But in my heart?
Make me to know
Let me hear
Hide not your face
Preserve my life
Destroy my enemies
For the sake of your name
Here is where it
I am your servant
NOTE: Following is an update on a previous post.
Instead of being impatient with your progress, perhaps it is better to be grateful that you are still moving forward. From Teillhard de Chardin:
Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are, quite naturally,
Impatient in everything to reach the end without delay…
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown,
something new. And yet, i is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through some stages of instability…
and that it may take a very long time
And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually;
Let them grow, let them shape themselves,
without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own goodwill)
will make you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming
within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of your
believing that his hand is leading you, and of your
accepting the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and
Sometimes, my losses pile up
To such an extent that I think
I can never face them.
But you challenge me to embrace the pain,
Allow the painful thrusts of evil
And my own sinful choices
To be seen for what they really are:
Opportunities for grace.
Reflections that flowed out of a meditation in Isaiah 9 a few years ago.
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light–a light that will shine on all who live in the land where death casts its shadow. For God will break the chains that bind His people and the whip that scourges them . . .
His ever expanding peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the LORD Almighty will guarantee this.
Melting by Therese of Lisieux
Your Love shines like the summer sun
To melt ice-clad humanity;
This furnace of the Triune One
Burns with a perfect constancy.
Your Love yields love with healing rays
In souls that bask under the shine;
With humble gratitude and praise,
They pulse love back to the Divine.
Love yields new life, with strengthened hope,
To serve with patient, grateful love.
She finds new strength to heal and cope;
Despite her state, she looks above.
The icy rains soon melt away;
Warmed from within, her strength will stay.
May the Love of God strengthen and instill new life in us.
The Pilgrim’s Regress
C.S. Lewis 1933
Nearly they stood who fall.
Themselves, when they look back
see always in the track
One torturing spot where all
By a possible quick swerve
Of will yet unenslaved–
By the infinitesimal twitching of a nerve–
Might have been saved.
Nearly they fell who stand.
These with cold after-fear
Look back and note how near
They grazed the Siren’s land
Wondering to think that fate
By threads so spidery-fine
The choice of ways so small, the event so great
Should thus entwine.
Therefore I sometimes fear
Lest oldest fears prove true
Lest, when no bugle blew
My mort, when skies looked clear
I may have stepped one hair’s
Breadth past the hair-breadth bourn
Which, being once crossed forever unawares
C.S. Lewis, Poems; Nearly They Stood (1933)
Intriguing poem by George Herbert from the Desiring God website.
Ah, my dear angry Lord,
Since thou dost love, yet strike;
Cast down, yet help afford;
Sure I will do the like.
I will complain, yet praise;
I will bewail, approve;
And all my sour-sweet days
I will lament and love.
To understand this post, you need to know that I am currently making my second attempt towards completing a Doctor of Ministry degree. I am now almost at the point where I was about 10 years ago–with all coursework completed and working on my dissertation proposal. About ten years ago, my study flooded (another story since we lived on a hill!) and all my dissertation documents were soaked. I am not saying that led to me not completing my dissertation but it accelerated the decline in effort so that a few years later I was removed from the program. And now for my post for today.
When I saw the water
Flowing over the edge of the desk
Onto the floor
A feeling of dread came upon me
And I remembered another flood
One that erased the lines typed on the pages
Along with the last glimmers of hope
Has this project become too important to me?
As I saw the water, my anger poured out
And it seems that I am
For the frustration of this project
For my lack of self-discipline
Anything to avoid the hidden fears
That maybe I cannot do this again
That I don’t want to fail again
Confronted with the possibility of failure
I grow afraid
And want to withdraw, hide deep inside
Or escape to places and times where there is no fear
Where I can relax and just be
The child of God You created me to be
In this place?
I don’t want to admit that the fingers of my heart
Have been groping and clinging to these
Wet notes and ideas rolling around in my head
Yet I must see clearly
Before I can let go
And be set free
to sow seeds of love
love that will only be watered
by our tears
and by a few grace-filled words carefully chosen
from meditation on Psalm 126, esp vv 5-6
Someone sent us this poem not too long ago and maybe it will help all of us to understand ourselves if we are tcks or if we are trying to understand others who are tcks. Written by a high school senior.
America; Foreign Home
How could I tell them?
They would never understand…
That my heart and life are split in half,
Yet each bleeds into the other side, undefined.
They know not the side of me that belongs across the sea.
They only know what the eye can see; the American inside of me.
And yet this American is tainted, stained, infused
With the chaos, the wonders, the essence of her other home.
My people have not known what it is like to save a child from the streets.
My people have not known the abject poverty, the smell of disease.
They have not heard nor seen the vain, desperate cries to empty, ugly gods.
It is not enough to show them our pictures or see a video. It is not enough.
They simply don’t get it… Until that same voice pricks their hearts.
All the dinners, all the fellowships, all the talks
With all the average people in all the average churches
It wears one down to explain over and again that
America has now become the foreign land.
The awkward silence ensues, and they serve more food.
Because they don’t understand this foreign land, they don’t understand the foreign me.
I’m too foreign to be American, too American to be foreign.
I have become a puzzle-piece, with ever-changing, ever-morphing sides.
With some I do not fit; the kids in the States would never match my sides.
That is sometimes unbearable; sometimes freeing.
Sometimes both at once.
Maybe I have the worst and best of both worlds.
I will keep searching for my niche; for I know that my misshapen heart
Will always have a home no matter where I go…
Home is in following Him.
There is something I wanted to tell you
But there have been errands to run,
bills to pay,
arrangements to make,
meetings to attend
friends to entertain
washing to do . . .
and I forget what it is I wanted to say to you,
and mostly I forget what I’m about,
don’t forget me, please
for the sake of Jesus Christ. . . .
O Father in heaven
perhaps you’ve already heard what I wanted to tell you.
What I wanted to ask is
increase my courage, please.
Renew in me a little of love and faith,
and a sense of confidence,
and a vision of what it might mean
to live as though you were real,
and I mattered,
and everyone was sister and brother.
What I wanted to ask in my blundering way is
don’t give up on me,
don’t become too sad about me,
but laugh with me,
and try again with me,
and I will with you, too.
From Ted Loder, Guerrillas of Grace
Found in Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership by Ruth Barton
Luci Shaw quotes one of her favorite hymns, “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” in her book The Crime of Living Cautiously. I really am enjoying this small book and I need to find the melody of this beautiful song.
I bind unto myself this day
The strong name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same—
The Three in One, and One in Three.
I bind this day to me forever
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, his might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, his shield to ward,
The Word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ besides me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One, the One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word,
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
The saving power of Christ the Lord.