Out Wandering

Everything was created through him; nothing—not one thing!—came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.
(John 1:3-5, MSG)

Yesterday afternoon I went for a walk to get my body moving and clear my head. I’d spent five or six hours writing and needed to be outside in the air. I would never want to waste a moment, though, and so I scrolled through available podcasts to find a 30-minute talk. This way I could learn something along the way. Thirty minutes would amount to four laps around the neighborhood pond at a good pace.

About three minutes into my walk I did something I’d never done. I veered off the paved path into the damp grace and down to the reeds lining the water. From a distance, the pond seemed choked by dull browns and harbingers of winter—my least favorite season. But as I got closer, I discovered movement and breath and life. My eyes could not hold it all in a single glance. Every little detail demanded my attention—cottony puffs sprouted out of large seed pockets, tiny flowers peaked from seemingly dead stalks, golden grasses bent in the wind, a pocked beetle tiptoed across a tree stump, and wispy snowflake blossoms bathed in sunlight.

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I couldn’t help but touch these fall textures and as I kneeled to run my fingers along a prickly shoot, a grasshopper leaped across my hand, startling me to laughter. In that moment I realized how long it had been since I’d been out wandering, without a plan or stopwatch. I’d forgotten to be a stroller, or as the French would say, a flâneur—someone who wanders to notice the small and hidden wonders. Instead, I’d been walking on the path, trying not to get my shoes muddy. I’d been on a schedule, accomplishing things. I started to consider what else I might have missed, in my daughter’s eyes, a friend’s voice, or within my soul.

Oh, may we not forget to go out wandering to delight in the small and hidden wonders. Not one of them came into being apart from the divine hand. And may we not fail to notice His whispers within and between us for all the big things we are accomplishing.

Until I Come

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Do this in remembrance of me
in dining rooms after soccer games and swim meets;
next to strangers over oysters and Chardonnay;
in shadows of water tanks and graffiti cries;
under cement ceilings and raining rocket raids.

Do this in remembrance of me
under seashore umbrellas and piles of rubble;
in fallow olive groves and hidden cave chapels;
in the midst of calls for revenge, bodies burning;
when despair snuffs out hope and doubt fills every mouth.

Do this in remembrance of me
while you ache and long and
wait and weep.

Do this in remembrance of me
until I come.

One Adirondack Chair

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Adirondack chairs always come in twos.
And yet mine sits solitary in the sun near the
wet grass always resting in her deep longing
for a mate like a turtle dove must when she’s
alone.

Birds walk the tight rope of her back and her
broad arms are faithful to carry coffee mugs,
journals and even the weight of God’s Word.
But still in her solitude and strength, she
aches.

Piles of melting snow and torrents of rain
seep into her cracks, slowly pushing her
insides apart and leaving holes where
spiders craft billowy pockets to store their
secrets.

The nights come so regularly, bringing wide-
open stillness and a damp chill that settles,
quietly waiting for hope to rise and sun-
warmth to heal the wounds exposed in the
dark.

And when the light begins its slow creep up
the sky, so gentle in its calling and the
possibility it promises, all things awaken and
reach out to receive the gifts of this new
day.

This chair of mine sits immobile and still
alone but dotted with specks of sun between
dancing leafy-tree shadows and offering
herself yet again to those needing rest and
strong arms.

The Forgotten

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I see that you are here,
your head aching and your
hands lined with your years.

I am not afraid to touch you,
though your eyes water and
you feel forgotten.

If you could reach out a hand
to touch his cloak,
you would.

If you could fall at his feet,
trembling and seen,
you would.

For now, see that I am here, and
place your throbbing head in my hands.
Do not be afraid, he will not let you go.

 

 

 

Photo: Volkan Olmez|Unsplash

The Lord’s Prayer, A Blessing

May you join with our Lord Jesus in calling on our Father.

May you feel our Father’s presence in your lungs – in your inhale and in your exhale.

May you have eyes that see the presence of the kingdom now and celebrate; may you have eyes that notice the kingdom’s absence and then bring God’s light.

May you have the courage to be small in God’s presence and dependent on his grace.

May you have the humility to be attentive to the bread God provides to you this day.

May you, at the slightest turn and with the smallest step toward him, have eyes to see the Father who runs to you, throws his arms around you, and calls you his beloved daughter…his beloved son.

May you open your heart and receive God’s gentle grace as he makes and remakes you into a forgiver.

May you, in the midst of the darkest valley, surrender to the leadership of the Good Shepherd, who leads you through every trial and every temptation and delivers you from all evil.

Our Father, your kingdom reigns forever and ever.

Our Father, yours is the power forever and ever.

Our Father, all the glory be to you alone forever and ever.

Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13

Photo: © Cleardesign | Dreamstime.com – Bread Roll, Wheat And Flour On Black Background Photo

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by Hassani Hussein

Amid the confusion, the chaos and the pain
A man emerged, Jesus was his name.
Walking with nothing but God as his aid
And the marks of a Great One between his shoulder blades.

In a barn the revelation came.
Gabriel said, “Mary, you will have a Son and Jesus will be his name.”
She was blessed by God by being the selected one
And surely he was and has always been the Chosen One.

In approaching the “wicked” he had the best of skills,
He purified them with grace and good will.
The perfection they never could attain,
He accomplished through his suffering and pain.

The greatest of men, saving people was his goal
From all honorable people he was vast.
As his was a mission of the greatest task.

He taught us about the Creator of heaven and earth.
God, the one who gives us all more than our worth,
He’s the One we call on and he hears.
He’s always by our side, so we feel no fears,
Helps us back up when we’ve taken a fall.
God, whose epic mercy will shine above all.

Jesus, your words are here to help us through
Every one of them is true.
I’ve never seen you but I love you so.
And in your footsteps, I’ll try to follow.
A smile you give me may stop my fall
You’re the bright rose, and the mercy for all.