Raindrops are liquid joy
celebrated by the thunder
with claps of praise.

Dandelions

In the spring of the year
they rise from their slumber,
slender stalks supporting
saffron heads,
their bright composure
punctuating the cool green;
yet they are transient.

Bright blonde giving way to
tousled gray
until a breeze blows upon it
and it’s gone.

But God is a forget-me-not.
His steadfast love never ceases,
though He plucks and blows
upon the flower,
He spreads the seeds
upon the wind…
His breath carries life abundant
where many see death.

 

A reflection on Psalm 103 from my book Soil of the Divine.

Consider the Birds

I awake once again,
the sounds of birds
greeting the morning.

For them, every day
is the Lord’s day.
They make no distinction
between Sunday
and any other day,
worshiping continuously.

I expect birds will be in heaven,
but here on earth,
they teach us about
the presence of God.

If we attend to them,
they instruct us in worship.
Robins and sparrows
teach us songs of joyous praise.
Doves teach lament.

What would life be like
if Christians took their cues
from the birds?

From Creation

The True Light’s illumination
shines brightly on creation
from creation.
To see,
we have only to open our eyes.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

-John 1:9

Winter Kavod

The blizzard’s heaviness
omnipresent
branches genuflect
ancient trees
sigh beneath the weight
thoroughfares erased
houses too
subsumed beneath
opalescent quilt
the world’s cacophony
dulled
silence prevails for a time

How quick we are
to push back
resisting
the weight of glory
preferring disenchanted convenience
to the purity and power
of winter’s kavod.

*kavod is a Hebrew word meaning heaviness, usually translated “glory” in the Old Testament scriptures.

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.

A Self-Centered Nuisance

Little mesh silos
holding back
an abundance of food–
thistle seed, cracked corn, black oil sunflower seed,
and cakes of suet.
An avian feast.

It took a day or two
before the little flycatcher
accepted the invitation to dine and then
countless return trips to the buffet line.
Soon, he was joined by
a cardinal, decked out in crimson,
a Downie woodpecker, with just a splash of red,
and several black-capped chickadees.

Then the chipmunk came.
Though not the typical clientele,
he too was welcome.
But he ignored the signs:
“Eat as much as you like,
but don’t remove food from the premises.”
Welcome guest turned self-centered nuisance,
scaring off the other guests.

Greed like his is what
makes the generous
regret their gifts.

Do you listen to the rain?

I awake with the rain.
Still dark, the rain is at play
I hear the drops landing gently
upon the leaves.

There is a crispness to the sound
like wind-rustled paper
and I immediately think, autumn.

Briefly, thunder grumbled
admonishing the rainfall to keep silent.
“People are sleeping!”

I am grateful they persisted.

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