The Spirit Groans

the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26

Can you hear the Spirit groan
Through my inadequate too empty words

What shall I write
For what shall I pray

For the families of dead children
For the grandmother of their killer

For our nation
For our souls

“We shall not all die
But we shall all be changed”

Once I read those words
As describing mystery

Life after death
A new creation

Now I read them as a prayer
For this life here

For the no longer United
States of America

Now I read those words
And pray

God of compassion
God of mercy and grace

God of love and grief
God of power and might

Please, God, I groan
Change us

Before we kill

Tough Guy

Tough young guy
In a big shiny SUV
Demonstrates his fearlessness
His masculinity 
His God-given superiority 
Engine roaring
Wheels screeching
Peeling out 
A suburban grocery store parking lot

Fall down and worship, ye mere mortals

(I bet his mama sent him to get bread)

How I Responded

A Facebook friend posted: “…last night we were challenged ‘How can we share our gifts? What gifts can I bring to our church in our passionate desire for change?’ I’d love to read your responses.”

I responded:

How can I share my gifts?
How can I bring my gifts?
to a Church that does not
want my gifts
at least not when those gifts
are wrapped by God
in a woman’s body
Nevertheless I shall persist
and bring my gifts
to my sisters
and even my brothers
who are willing
to be gifted
to be blessed
by a woman.

God of Chance

When all other faith fails
My faith in the God of chance

It’s hard to pay attention
Driving the familiar route
But the unexpected sign
Brings me fully alert

“Emergency scene ahead”
Warns the red diamond sign
On the median

I’ve never seen such a sign before
In half a century of driving
In five countries

The traffic slows
As we approach the flashing lights
The seemingly random
Scattering of police cars
And two utility vehicles
Many yellow vested uniforms
The sirened ambulance
Speeding past in the opposite lane

And the metal
Twisted tortured metal
Strewn across the road
Two wheels
Separate and lonely
Disconnected forever
From their only reality
The only reason
For their existence

No recognizable vehicle
So a motorcycle
Was slaughtered here
Most likely
By a speeding car or truck

My stomach clenches
My forehead tightens
With the start of a headache
My breath comes fast and shallow

Just yesterday
A cousin posted an old picture on Facebook
Two of her brothers
Mike, bearded, handsome, 20-something
And his little brother Chris
Probably about 6 years old
Towheaded confidence
Sitting in his big brother’s lap
Mike the oldest of nine
Chris the youngest

Dead in a motorcycle accident
These 50 years
Killed in a motorcycle accident
20 years later

I follow the policeman’s gesture
And turn into a subdivision of townhouses
Thirty years living in this city
And I have never turned here

I follow the car in front of me
Following the car ahead of it
Following the car ahead of it
Following the car ahead of it…
The long line
Stretching ahead in this
Blind man’s bluff game
Of follow the leader
Our dance macabre
With death so very near
Through the twisting tarmac turns
Past towering townhouses
Until I know where I am
A familiar road
A red light
A panhandler
Who wears a bandana mask
And a baseball cap pulled low
No threat intended
Just COVID and sun wise
On this sweet spring morning

I don’t even read his handwritten
Cardboard sign
I just roll down my window
Ask his name
Tell him mine
Hand him a 20
And chat with him until
God turns the light green
And encourages me to move on

I am no Pharaoh
But the God of chance
Led me here
And softened my heart