union

dance

Two were made one
To ancient rumblings
And tied together, right hand in right,
And the people who witnessed wondered,
Aware of something beyond the flowers and ties and symbols and smiles.
The Word made union a present reality,
And by crumbs and slurps
We feasted at your table.

Something of heaven peeped through and illuminated the nature of things,
There in that place of stone and wood,
As a sunbeam reveals the luminescence in dust.
And it was very good.

We traveled through traffic and fought for parking spots,
Wearing the best and hoping for the same, and checking our troubles at the door.
The bread and wine continued to flow, sacramental
And holier than we thought possible in the tiny pub.
To the tune of pounding feet and warm shouts we rejoiced as one in the oneness.

Something of heaven seeped through and backlit the body heat of the assembled saints,
There in that place of metal and glass,
As a fire warms the bones and wine gladdens the weary heart,
And it was very good.

I saw you, two-now-one, on the frenzy of the dance floor,
Yelling to each other the lyrics you were gifted:
“I’m only gonna break, break your
Break, break your heart”
And I laughed at the naked truth of it.
You see more than most, and still made your vows.
In this, dear ones,
You are fire and you are fearsome,
And the dark ones will quake when you approach.

(on the occasion of Hattie and John’s wedding)

lay me down

greenpastures

Lay me down
In fields of green, where grazing is my greatest aspiration.
We are worn out by grasping for greener grass, when we could just let you lead us.
And here I am, refusing to gobble grain that was purchased at great cost,
Like me, even when I’m lost.

I am a sheep and I am a child,
All that is within me is woolly and wild,
Yet I hear Your voice and come tripping and rolling down the hill in your general direction.
I’d make a great viral video.
Not so sure about that whole follower thing.

Lead me along,
Through valleys of twisted thoughts and deeds ill-done.
They are my own and not my own,
As I am Yours but act unknown.
Maybe half of my life is falling,
Over things and off of things,
Into sin and into Your arms.

And even now
I think wolves are just wonderful.
They appreciate young blood and fresh ideas.
Until I’m scattered and attacked, I’m smitten.
After, I’m limping, longing for a Word long-written.

Lay me down
By law and by love,
By the laying down of Your life
In satisfaction of the same.
Let me listen,
And by listening be lost and found
And wrapped and wound,
And called by Your name.
Fences are friends, not foes, in this field.
Your calling is not just to obey, but yield.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — just as the Father knows me and I know the Father — and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life — only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
John 10:14‭-‬18

(Liturgical poetry during Eastertide is inspired by the I AM statements of Christ. Photo by Linnea Wheeler)

Words for the Church: Eastertide
new wine
begin again
ancient strain
within the knot

within the knot

IMG_7014-2

Plants are lazy.
All they do is sit around and grow.
Yet He is one, and so are we,
So there’s something vital in the flow.

This ecosystem is
Meant for growth at its root:
Vine to branch and branch to fruit.
When I separate from the tangle of Vine and branches we call Your People,
All I intake is pollution and smoke.
I shrivel, withered and parched, which is why you call us to remain.
Except,
To be within the knot is not all it’s cracked up to be.
It seems that certain branches strangle their neighbors over resource and space,
Cannibalizing others in the name of grace.

It is the way of things in nature to cling to survive,
But what we cling to determines if we thrive.

Flow from within me,
That I may grow from the thin me to
A flowering sapling, a taller tree,
A fruit-bearing defender of all I see.
Let me be in the thick of the wait,
Bearing up under it when beleaguered,
And always, ever,
Remaining.

Maybe plants aren’t lazy, but patient,
And confident of soil and Vine.
The root of the matter will always be:
I am His, and He is mine.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
John 15:5‭-‬8

(Liturgical poetry during Eastertide is inspired by the I AM statements of Christ. Photo by Linnea Wheeler)

Words for the Church: Eastertide
new wine
begin again
ancient strain
lay me down

ancient strain

bread2

This Bread breaks daily,
Yet was broken only once.
Heavenly, and unleavened
By fancy turns of phrase or personal renderings.
“What does this mean to you?”
Is reduced to
“Take and eat.”
This is a reduction of falsehood, not freedom.

This good grain,
Has textures our tongues don’t understand,
And distasteful undertones we’d rather remove.
But we don’t choose the Baker or the Bread, sisters and brothers.
We don’t get to curate to our taste.

I would rather gorge on grass-fed meats and imported cheese, craft beer and sommelier selections to match my farm-to-table repast.
Excuse me, but this Bread isn’t locally-sourced, and it tastes a little stale.
This Wine has funky undertones; do you have something lighter on the palate?
I crave gourmet food,
Even when I know it could turn to ash in my mouth,
Even when, mid-bite,
I could be struck down for letting the grumbling in my tummy reach my lips.

You fill me, as with the richest of foods,
With things as simple as words and bread,
But this is an ancient strain,
Grain that fed forefathers and sustained prophets,
Crumbs that fell from heaven to the wilderness,
As from Your fingers to the five thousand,
As from Your table to Your children.
It is ever-filling, never-failing,
And our taste for it can grow.

“I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
John 6:48‭-‬51

(Liturgical poetry during Eastertide is inspired by the I AM statements of Christ. Photo by Linnea Wheeler)

Words for the Church: Eastertide
new wine
begin again
within the knot
lay me down