Previous top 10 lists
flakes as large as lazy bumblebees
float toward the frozen ground.
toward their final destination.
Downward, but not without
detours on the breeze.
With their journey’s end certain,
they relax in hope
in this moment.
Last month, in honor of Eugene Peterson, Fathom Magazine ran a contest inviting folks to submit Psalm paraphrases. Those chosen appeared in this month’s issue and they are excellent. My paraphrase of Psalm 77 was not chosen, but I wanted to share it, hoping it might be a blessing to some.
I do not hold back my tears from God.
Oh that he would hear my painful wailing,
that he would not be deaf to my disquietude.
In the depths of despair,
when all is blackness,
I grope around for my Comforter.
I strain to reach him, yet my hands come up empty.
How can I rest in peace without him?
Even as I think about him, tears stain my cheeks;
I try to pray, but what’s the use?
My pain blinds me, but you make me see.
Still, my words are held captive by my suffering heart.
I turn my thoughts to the past,
which seems so long ago.
I find my tongue, “Help me to remember joy’s melody!
let your mercy shine light into my darkness.”
I think long and hard.
“Will I always feel rejected by God?
Will he always be disapproving?
Has he stopped loving me?
Has he checked out of my life?
Has he forgotten how much I depend upon his grace?
Must I be crushed by his anger rather than upheld by his love?”
I tell myself, “Remember the past.
Remember God’s goodness to his people.”
Yes, I must recollect what God has done.
I need to recall his never-ending love.
“I will turn my thoughts to every good thing you have done, Father,
and when my thoughts stray, I will turn again to your goodness.
Your way, God, is the right way.
Why do I even consider that anything else compares with you?
You are the wonder-working God.
All I need to do is open my eyes and I can see your handiwork!
Again and again, you have saved your people from impossible situations,
generations have tasted your goodness.”
“When the oceans and the rivers see you, O God,
they retreat in awed surrender.
Even the very depths of the ocean
cannot hide from your glorious might.
At your word, O LORD,
Storms rained upon the earth,
everywhere, accompanied by
All creation bowed to your command
with staccato flashes
and booming crashes.
You are the Lord of the lightning
and you are the gentle shepherd.
Your unseen presence
leads your people through life’s storms.”
All of us continue to be painted on by the brush of God. This kind of unexpected beauty is salvific. -Lucy Shaw
Day 16 prompt: Write a brave poem
Often the line is hazy between
bravery and recklessness,
courage and stupidity.
Prompted to leap
into the darkness
I can not see bottom.
I stand trembling at the edge
unsure whether to retreat to what is safe
what is comfortable,
or step from the ledge into the unknown.
Maybe we don’t know
whether something is brave
until after we jump.
Perhaps even then we are not sure.
In truth, none of us knows
quite when or where we will land,
though we like to pretend otherwise.
I choose to breathe out a prayer
close my eyes
and fall headlong
Sometimes I fear
that my private story,
if ever found out
will keep me from glory.
An evil concoction
of anger and lust,
of judgmental thinking
and questionable trust.
shown on a screen,
in heaven’s courtroom
All the assembled
stop singing and stare,
and looks I can’t bear.
From his holy throne
God shakes his head,
becomes my worst dread.
But I’ve read my Bible
that’s not how it goes,
because of Christ’s blood
we’re no longer foes.
When I leave this earth
and enter heavenly space,
I’ll step not into judgment
but into my Father’s embrace.
Five Minute Friday
Our solar system pulses with rhythm. Every 365 days, we make a turn around the dance floor, spinning all the way. Ever in a hurry, Mercury makes the trip in 88 days, while Pluto takes 248 years. (Perhaps Pluto’s pace explains why cosmologists decided it no longer deserved the title of “planet”).
Today, I looked out of my office window and beheld a tree dressed with fire. She clothed herself this way last year too, celebrating the fall gala. Yet even amidst the rhythmicity, this year is entirely unique. The leaves’ arrangement approximates, yet does not copy, last year’s gown.
What a wonderful world where rhythm’s repetition still manages to make things brand new.
This post is part of the 5-minute Friday linkup.
November 1 PAD
Prompt: Write a glorious poem
I close my eyes
and descend into light
embraced by love
immersed in glory
surrounded by welcome.
Your voice is a flowing river
“My glory is found in the belonging.
“I am so glad you are here.”
Write 31 days, day 29
Writing Prompt: Together
For several months,
I have dreamed of a time
A coming together
to share stories or song.
A place where we could talk about
truth and goodness and beauty.
A place where all is welcome
whether it be joy or sorrow,
lament or celebration.
A community without hierarchy,
but where all are equally valued,
where we choose to set aside
offense, conflict, and division for a few hours.
A forum void of correction, but filled instead
A place where we remind ourselves
of the goodness and beauty and creativity
For reflection: What constitutes a good gathering?