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.

Frosty September

Pale canvas sky
I wonder why
I then remember.
Morning’s greeting
Colors meeting
Frosty September.

Spirit prepared
With holy care
To show masterpiece.
God paints the sun
I’m left undone
Will beauty ever cease?

No. It will shine
Glory divine
The radiance of Christ.
Creation’s poem
Life of shalom
Not decay, but life.

A Trio of Poems from MISA

A Murder of Crows

As night descended
the birds intended
to raise some havoc.
A murder of crows
their angry shouts grow
a rageful black flock.

Dark from head to toe
all who see them know
not to mess with them.
They control the streets
all who see, retreat
lest they stand condemned.

Grouped voices murmur
crows planning murder
opposing the peace.
They rule the night
when they take flight
dark anarchy seized.

Relative Silence

I sit in silence
listening for God
but silence is a relative term.

The refrigerator hums
birds chirp
once in a while.

My stomach asks,
“When’s breakfast?”

I think I hear people moving,
but perhaps not…

Watercolor Morn

Watercolor morn
I step out my door
and gaze to the West.

Cool gray sky,
wet on wet
stands in stark contrast
to the ragged treeline
nearly black.

Our minds are trained to fill in missing pieces
–interpretively–
blue skies
green trees
but the Artist’s palate
contains more color.

As the sun ascends in the East
and the earth genuflects in reverence,
new brush strokes are added
to nature’s scene.

Green blue and Indian yellow
edges mystically softened.

Soon contrasting shapes and colors and edges
amorophous scene becomes beauty
bearing the signature of the Creator.

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