Sunday, April 8, 2012

Child of the Faith's Father

Child of Faith's Father
April 9, 2012

"God sends rams
to all Abrahams,
or at least
to my Isaac and me,"
So I laugh, giddily
at God's feast.

Genesis 22
Romans 4:16

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Following God Together - Apart.

Following God Together - Apart.
February 2012

O Lord, our eyes are fixed on You,
And we’ll move when You move,
But O Lord,
It’s foggy today;
Where have You painted Your pillar of cloud
On this canvas of gray?
Or, Lord,
We’re passing through flame,
And as to in which fiery column you glow,
How can we know?

We roam
These paths we thought You called us to—
Is that a dead end ahead,
Or only a sharp turn?—Or does the path forge through?
Lord, wouldn’t longer straights
And fewer tracings-back
Constitute a wiser track

And when?—
When, when, when?—
Will our paths meet again?
And not just meet, but cleave?
The sun’s hidden up heaven’s sleeve,
And I’ve lost count of turn after turn—
Are You leading us farther or nearer again?
Our hearts burn.


November 2011

You can read the figures
You can read the news
People aren’t numbers
It’s your attitude (that’s flat)

How can we know if we don’t go?
How can we know if we don’t stay?

Incarnation grips me
and takes me to the city
Incarnation grips me
and leads me far away

I want to breathe the air
I want to eat the fare
I want to walk the dirt
with feet like yours.

I want to learn your words
I want to know your name
What if I feel the pain
of feet like yours?

But incarnation grips me
when I see Him:
Swaddled up in skin,
Rode a skeleton…

With a heart of meat,
He was made of dust –
like the rest of us.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Break Me and Bless Me

Break Me and Bless Me
Fall 2010

Verse 1
You speak and it’s unclear
My heart is clenched with fear
That what You said is what You really mean.

I cannot answer Yes, Lord,
For my heart, it seeths with greif,
And I cannot make myself believe that You would speak this pain.

Through the long night, don’t let go
Though the day breaks, don’t let go
Fight with me, wrestle with me
Never give in to me: break me and bless me.

Verse 2
Your power is unmatched,
Your strength beyond compare,
And You will bring Your will to come to pass.

Still I fear You’ll let me win, Lord,
But I cannot acquiesce
O bitterest Friend, match blow for blow – don’t abandon me to my strength:


God of Jacob, my Portion, my Passion,
Ladder of Jacob, Who opened the heavens,
Spirit Who came down and who remains:

Peniel, Pen’el, uncover Your Face,
Lead me to Bethel from this desolate place;
My soul thirsts for You, the Living God.

Chorus 2
“In the morning, the fleece was wet,
In the morning, the fleece was dry,
And Moses could not run away from the burning bush.

Come and flood My throne with tears,
Come and match your strength to Mine,
For I will not let you break away from Me.”


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cambodia Seems Dusty

Cambodia Seems Dusty
              To you whom God calls here

Does the day start when the roosters crow?
                                                                  Seems so:
                     The day awakes before the sun.

The sun is strong,
the rain is strong,
and the heat is strong.
In the villages, the people are friendly
and weathered.
And everyone comes from the villages,
Where the rice fields lie flat
lollipopped with
coconut trees
and palm trees.

The buildings are bold
blue and red and
orange and green and
traffic median-paint yellow.
The buildings are muted
wood and faded thatch,
rusty metal roofs.

The background is bright
rice-green to shame lawn-care,
tropically flowering-fruiting-and-flourishing
forests and fields,
farms, yards, gardens, and
painted pots.
The background is drab
dust-ridden paved roads,
dust-red dirt roads,
bare-trampled yards,
and construction zones.

The people are rich
See the thousand rooftops
‘round the royal palace?
The people are poor
we see the young ones,
see the old ones on the street.

The past is bleakyears
of power struggles,
and terror.
The past is glorious—because
Who has built such temples?

The future is darkfears
        of corruption and prostitution
                ever ensnaring,
                        stripping the richness of the
                land from all people and
        twisting it into the
        of a few.

The future is bright—because
The people are building,
The church is dawning,
And after all,

what is the miracle of man but
bones out of dust,
                tendons out of dust,
                                flesh out of dust,
                                                beating heart full of dust dissolved in rain,
                                                                running red only by the hands of

      And we know:
   God’s hands are still moving,
And Cambodia has a lot of dust.

Christmas 2011

I Saw Flies

I saw flies
hoarding on the chapped, sandy bones
and beak, demorphing
into maggots who, crawling tail-first,
the flesh they consumed, and curl into
eggshells, borne away
by flies.

Vultures, too bear gifts
from afar; they cough up chunks of unrotting
meat to reverently
replace –
refitting one piece, then another to untear
into the surgeon’s puzzle of flesh.

Wind sweeps backward
through the desert, moistening
flesh and skin,
with unseen fingers: wind-parched, sun-bleached pilgrim feathers
that journeyed long to their source – fastening,
like a dandelion puff in reverse.

The sun saturates
their tones, until the eagle, glowing golden, rises
to its scaling feet, eyes
swelling to refill
sockets, and lunges at the skies.

I saw smoke
falling to where flames lick
ashes and birches charred to dust, leaving
heartwood, sapwood, bark, leaves;

And saw flames floating,
assembling dust into the
alignment of a rosebush,
and burning it alive,
precipitating petals
and thorns out of air.

Ran down to the churchyard,
Dug up the graves: father, grandmother, great-great aunt,
Sat down, and


As first to one here, then to another there:
            Bones out of dust.
                        Tendons out of dust.
                                    Flesh out of dust.
                                                Beating heart full of
                                                dust dissolved in rainwater,
                                                now running red.

I never saw
skin spread itself on faces
until the day I saw my great-great grandmother,
lying Eden-naked in her coffin,

And yet

I forgot her
when I saw

February 2011