Category Archives: prayer

The way home

Some draft song words I wrote after a Christian music conference earlier this year. Any ideas for a title?

1.
You came to us, showed that your pain
was your road to royal glory.
Wipe away tears, give us your joy
Lord, help us understand your word.

2.
Jesus is alive, here with us,
we ask him to show us the road:
Jesus, burn our hearts with wonder
Lord, help us understand your word.

3.
We gather today, we repent
of times we did not want to hear.
Now we turn, we call on your name
Lord, help us understand your word.

4.
Spirit, pour out meaning and hope
on every life resurrected.
Cut our hearts, shine the Christ-light
Lord, help us understand your word.

Chorus.
Praise God, lift your voice, all sing
The joy of the Lord is our strength.
Praise God, life your voice, all sing
Our Saviour shows us the way home.

Tagged , , , ,

Sestina Baptism

My friend kneels as the water
Drips down her length, slipping into channels of love
The same irrigation system draws my tears-
The beauty of a baptised life
Washed into holiness and gently patted dry
Molecules of dirty dissent wiped out.

Peace. The stones have cried it out
Sleeping now, their salty water
Took an exiled age to dry
My friend rescued by love
From the Babylon shores of her life.
But I weep Babylon rivers of tears

My cracked life again springs leaky tears
I always swim far out
Beyond the buoys of a good life
Struggling in the dark water
Dumped back to beach by tsunami love
Like Jonah, high and dry.

My throat is rich-man burnt and dry
Waiting for the Jesus-wept tears
Waiting for extinguisher love
To put the fire out
Or just a drop of Lazarus water
To sprinkle life back to life.

It’s a woman-at-the-well life
Waiting for Jesus in the noontime dry
Drawing words, love and water
Forgetting the on-the-way tears
Singing all the way out
Of sitting-by-me love.

At the baptism lunch a few people love
My daughter’s ukulele strumming. Life
Is remarked on over fruit and cheese. Inside and out
Children fling their towels to dry
Over the fence. There are tears
As they compete for trampoline space and pool water.

Through trails of chlorine I’m happy to remain dry
I’m baptised by on-the-way tears
My spirit splashes happily in love’s water.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Esther

Maybe for a

time such as this? When
cousins / fathers stand at gates, and
I’m not sure whether I
won / lost / drew that
beauty contest and / or the
Makerlove, covenanted through history, but

Maybe not for a

time such as this? When
cousins / fathers change minds, and
I’m not sure whether I
am / am not / am becoming, the
braver of sceptres for that unspoken / spoken
Kinlove, exiled into history, and

Maybe not around for a much longer

time than this? Resolve, then,
tendrils every word. Hebrew letters
curve into destiny. My scribe hushes mention of the
Consonant One, but herenow,
providential friends, we can
grab some vowels and toddle into the
Yahweh Godfire.

Tagged , , , , ,

Olivet discourse

Olivet Discourse

David escapes the Mount of Olives way,
tears pulled down the slope of his
cheek by the proud gravity of
a son’s plan to descend
on his people like
the ground dew.
David weeps
at the town gate. A conspiracy
of tree branches yank my son,
my son, Absalom, into a hair-raised
death. If only me, my Jerusalem self,
if only it had been me.

Later, more if-only tears pulled
down by this heavy mountain
magnetic. Jesus’ donkey
knows the burden too.
The disciples sing peace.
The stones tremble with
the desire to harmonise.
Jesus weeps
at all the lost Jerusalem selves,
the strewn stones, the tender
everyday ground like dust
by another military season.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Grace for a poor player

Today and today and today
Could there be time for such a word

Grace.

For this day.
Just to get to the end of it, in
lockstep with the loved ones.

For my four year old.
Who struts, frets and tantrums, because
you shouldn’t have to leave the playground carrying your own bag.

For my friend in hospital.
Return her to mineral health,
rescue her organs from failure.

For my tea-leaves.
Remove the panic that their restorative properties
may never come back.

For all of us,
in every pop-up moment
offering trays of thought that don’t bear the drinking.

For all the todays,
each and all told by an idiot.
Shape them narratively:
give them a beginning, a middle and an end.
No awkward flashforwards,
no sweaty flashbacks gripping palms and fingers
around the neck of now.

Grace.

Take your pretty place
You’re rich stuff for us poor players

Tagged ,

Ezekiel

Did you forever
feel that wrench of hair?
Pulled onto the banks of
so many visions by that strong hand.
Prophetic pathways
lighting up inside that head of yours.
I imagine you gasping for normalcy
by that river,
as it widened and widened.

Did you think a lot
about those wheels within wheels?
And all those eyes
on the wheels within wheels?
At least cherubim didn’t have to be
pulled into glory by their hair.

The wheels within wheels mode-
it’s what I wish for many.
Well, specifically,
for young girls on the back of a truck
driving them away from education
and safety. Wheels within wheels,
dear girls. To bring you back,
back under the expanse.

Some burning hashtags, helpful also,
if cherubim could throw them at
the departing tyres.
And someone, please, adjust the
trucking suspension system.
So those girls, dear girls,
can move with spirit.

And let the satnav system show
visions of God.
So their eyes, so many eyes,
can be washed to sparkling
by the widening river.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Welcome to almost mid-February

Farewell to January 2013 . January, when I wrote my first calendar entries neatly,  in the same coloured pen.  Wondered what the year would hold. Farewell to this land of empty calendar spaces.  Farewell to a time of dreaming, a time of possibility.

Welcome, already, to February 2013.  Welcome to February 11, 2013.  Welcome, almost, to mid February 2013.

Sometimes it feels like I am so busy joining the dots on my calendar that I am missing something, missing the bigger picture.  And sometimes I think, IS there a bigger picture? And if there is, am I meant to see it?

It’s good to know I am not alone in this:

What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil- this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure for ever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

 Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.

(Ecclesiastes 3: 9-15)

There is frustration here.  We know that the world is big. Bigger than us, bigger than our calendar.  Bigger than all our calendars put together, bigger even than the church roster. But we will never be able to understand things as clearly as God.

We can see beauty around us, minute to minute.  But we can’t add up those minutes into something that equals the meaning of the universe.   We have eternity in our hearts.  We want to understand more, because we know that there is so much more to things than the here and now.  We want to know that the effort we put into things has meaning, a point.

The writer of Ecclesiastes knew that there was a God in charge of time and history.  We are privileged to know more than this writer; we know that God has broken into history.  Jesus, the Son of God, has  become King of all history and all time through his death and resurrection. There will be eternal, abundant life for all Jesus’ followers.  It’s His kingdom that we’re helping to usher in.  This is what colours our world with new meaning:

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.

(1 Corinthians 15:56-58)

Jesus is the King, He’s defeated death.  He’s liberated us from the power of the law too.  We don ‘t need to do anything to meet our own standards of goodness, busyness or respectability.  Or other people’s standards.

It’s not about us anymore.  It’s about being ambassadors for the King, rolling out the red carpet for Him.  It’s about looking forward to Jesus’ second coming, when He comes in full glory and power. Looking forward to the time when there will be feasting and joy in His presence.  It’s about all the work we can throw ourselves into now, to advance Jesus’ kingdom as it breaks into the world.

We are assured that our work is meaningful. Because our labour is in the Lord, and it is not in vain.

Dear Lord Jesus

 You are the forever King.
 You are King of history and time
Over each breath, each life,
Over all cultures, all eras.

Thank you
That even though you are infinite
You chose to break into our history
To come into our misery
To journey to the centre of our heartbreak
You died, because you loved us. 

Help us to welcome you gladly
Into our lives
Into the life of our church, our community, our country,
Into every bit of our world –
Your world.

Amen

 

Tagged , , ,

Psalms alive!

 

Psalms 103 and 104: these psalms are neighbors.  They are both loud and boisterous, but neither minds.  I’d like to spend some time in their neighborhood.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name! (Psalm 103:1)

Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, you are very great! (Psalm 104:1)

Psalm 96 is not a neighbor, but it is definitely on the same train line:

O sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation day by day. (Psalm 96:1-2)

There’s lots to love here.  All the “O”s and exclamation points: so much drama and excitement!  But why is there drama and excitement?  Because these psalms shout out a blessing to God!

Strange to think that we can “bless” God.  What does that mean? it can’t mean that we add to anything that He is already.  He is holy, perfect.  He is the one who saves us.  How do we bless God?… By responding to who He is, and what He has done. With “O”s and exclamation points.  With song.  By telling stories about his great rescue.

I love these Psalms because they remind me that my prehistory, history, present and future are all punctuated with exclamation marks.  And God put them there! So many reasons to praise who He is, and what He has done.

I love it that, as a church, our blessings cannot be monotone.  We bless God when we turn ourselves inside out to praise Him.  Because everyone has uniquely packed insides, everyone will sing out Psalm 103:1 differently.  But there will still be a beautiful harmony because blessing the Lord also involves our obedience to Him.  And when we bless the Lord in this way we sing in harmony with the angels above!

Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word! 

Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will! 

Bless the Lord, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

(Psalm 103:20-22, ESV translation)

Tagged , , ,

Thank You

Thank You

Thank You for my baby’s soft hair
Thank You for the little girls doing synchronised cartwheels on the nature strip
Thank You for mothers who can hear their newborn cry from across ten crowded football stadiums

Thank You for the kind words in the school carpark that made the road sparkle as I drove home
Thank You that really lovely songs can get stuck in my head for days
Thank You that my worst singing will still wing its way to heaven, and be in harmony with something pure and amazing

Thank You for the wild extroverts and the weird introverts
Thank You for people who are so easygoing they make you smile before they open their mouth, and also for people who thread their whole being into every conversation
Thank You for the people who keep on filling up my cracked life with goodness

Thank You that You get angry with us but never grumpy
Thank You that You are deeper than history, and also smaller and more perfect than every small and perfect moment
Thank You that I can pray this again tomorrow

Thank You

Image

Tagged , ,