Mirrored

Still waters reflect heaven’s glory
mirrored cosmos, creation’s story.
It is when the world’s at rest
that the image shows the best.
The slightest breeze upon the lake
makes the picture begin to quake.
When tempests blow, the reflection’s gone
whitecapped waves replace the sun,
yet Christ himself whispers “peace”
and all these stirrings begin to cease.
He leads me back to a crystal lake
restores my soul, for his name’s sake.

-a reflection on Psalm 23:2-3

The most striking thing about keeping the Sabbath is that it begins by not doing anything. The Hebrew word shabbat, which we take over into our language untranslated, simply means, “Quit…Stop…Take a break.”

As such, it has no religious or spiritual content: Whatever you are doing, stop it…Whatever you are saying, shut up… Sit down and take a look around you… Don’t do anything… Don’t say anything… Fold your hands… Take a deep breath. Creation is so endlessly complex and so intricately interconnected that if we are not very careful and deeply reverent before what is clearly way beyond us, no matter how well-intentioned we are, we will probably interfere, usually in a damaging way, with what God has done and is doing. So begin by not doing anything: attend, adore.

-Eugene Peterson, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places

Creation Song

In Thumbprints in the Clay, Luci Shaw shared that fully one-third of the Bible is written in poetic form, yet we read it like an auto repair manual. In our desire to “get it right,” we read each line with mechanical precision, but we fail to notice the musical staff dwelling nearby. There is no doubt that God’s blueprints for creation were precise and logical, but I wonder how many of us, while considering God’s precision exclude beauty, consciously or subconsciously. For example, we attempt to wrestle Genesis 1 into submission, seeking to prove our preferred understanding of how God created, rather than wondering in amazement that He created. We fail to feel the rhythm.

Eugene Peterson wrote in Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, “There are two sets of three days each of creation activity. The first set of three gives form to the pre-creation chaos of [Genesis 1:2]; the second set of three fills the pre-creation emptiness…There is another interesting rhythmic variation. The third day of each three-day set comprises a double creation. So the cadence becomes: 1-2-3/3, 4-5-6/6…When we speak this text aloud, or listen to it being spoken, the text gets inside us. We enter the rhythms of creation time and find that we are internalizing a creation sense of orderliness and connectedness and resonance that is very much like what we get from music.”

As I think about God’s creation, I find myself wondering if God sang the world into creation. Words, yes, but music too. CS Lewis must have wondered this as well; in the sixth book of the Narnia series, The Magician’s Nephew, Aslan sings creation into being.

Christianity is not merely cognitive, but carditive; not merely brain, but heart. As we read the revealed word, we would do well to also pay attention to its rhythms.

And to our own.

What is silence?

From Soil of the Divine

What is silence?

I do not know
for my mind is
ever-whirring
thoughts stirring
churning
out of control.

God, what is silence?

You alone can show me.

You are my Rock of peace.

When I rest upon You,
restlessness gives way to stillness;
my tottering soul stands firm.

Be still, my soul,
be still.

Yellow

From Soil of the Divine.

With sun cresting
orbed yellow
yet casting
polychromatic palate,
I greet the morning,
“I will awake the dawn.”

Day by day
I am resurrected
brought again to life,
fresh mercies with each new day.

May my heart be steadfast
hour by hour
breath by breath
song by song.

I will awake the dawn! -Psalm 108:2

12:18

Always carry with you olive branches.
Hand them out lavishly.
and be not angry
when they are cast aside.

You have done your part.

Hell frozen over

They blow like ghosts
silent
across the floor,
singularly focused upon
the wind’s bitterness.

The cold is no longer
merely a meteorological phenomenon
but the devil himself,
a million needle sharp teeth
tearing through exposed flesh.

Betrayed by Southern accents,
I think to myself,
“these men would find 40 degrees unpleasant”

This must be hell frozen over.

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