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

In this 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
again

Hopeful





With bows to Emily Dickinson and Gerard Manley Hopkins

If hope is the thing with feathers

– And, ah, bright wings –

Then faith is the greening leaves
And nest-making twigs
High in the branches of love
Rooting down deep
Into my soul’s soil

Hope nests like the robin
Waiting patiently
Wisely
Knowing beyond knowing
Sitting in her nest of faith
That eggs will hatch
Fledglings will fly
Finding other trees
Soul-rooted
That need hope
For awhile
Before autumn’s onslaught
Fells the leafs of faith
Then yields to winter’s freeze
That ices over even love
As my soul struggles

Yet always
Sometimes sooner
Oft times later
Spring’s resurrection
Alleluia arises
Freeze yields
Bare branches bud
And hope wings back
To build a nest of faith
In a tree of growing
Living love

The Kingdom of Heaven

The church’s Sequoia 
I cannot climb

Its towering branches
Block the sun

Its massive trunk
I cannot hug

On the dry ground beneath it
Nothing grows

BUT

The Christ’s mustard seed
I cup in my palm

Careful not to blow it away
I cradle it

Trusting not to lose it
I bury it in my soul’s rich soil

Soon, by the grace of God
I nest in its low branches

What God Wants

I spend my life
Trying
Trying
Trying
To figure out
What God wants

What does God want me to be
…to think
…to feel
…to do?

How does God want me to worship
…to live
…to love
…to die?

What does God want me to believe
…to know
…to let go
…to learn?

I keep asking myself
What does God want?

Because I keep doubting
I keep forgetting

That

All God wants is me
Just me
However I am
However I am not

She just wants me.

Love

My heart sings
With the ordinary

I hold his hand
As I wait for Word to load

He watches an old western
Texas Rangers
With the sound turned off
And closed captions on
Because he is deaf

My eyes fill with tears
Unshed
Because they are tears of joy

No need to water my cheeks
Just fill my eyes
As my heart fills with his love

Nothing extraordinary about tonight
Except everything

As always.

Christmas Eve

Dark-skinned baby Jesus
Lay quietly in the manager
Atop the three year old’s
Mondrian lego dump truck

Wise men watch
Quietly
Too wise to intervene
In a child’s over-excited
Stubbornness

Macaroni and cheese
And sweet potatoes
Insistently eaten after
Boston cream pie
But before the
Made by himself
Cookie dough cake

Gathering
Crumbled wrapping paper
Carpeting the floor

Neighbors bring
Christmas greetings
Cookies
And – oh blessed gift –
Their three children

Five adults talk
For over an hour
As four children
Play
Inside and outside

A Christmas miracle
Worth celebrating





HUSH!

Hope speaks in silence
When I let my mother tell
Again 
With yet more exaggeration 
Some never was version of our past
Happy family
Happy father
(Drinking?
Mania?
Abuse?
Arrests?)
SSSHHH

Hope speaks in silence When I let my sister-in-law praise her God Her very personal god Who answers her prayers And saves her family Always Even when they are hospitalized Because they didn’t vaccinate (Prosperity gospel? Pre-election? Inerrancy? Prayer warriors?) SSSHHH
Hope speaks in silence When I ignore that Facebook post By a friend who applauds So many things I despise (All lives matter? Pro-life? Homophobic? Sexist?) SSSHHH
Hope speaks in silence Hope that I will learn better How to love Those that I would Too easily Make enemies of HUSH!

Filtering God

The Church of my youth
the Holy Roman Catholic Church
(a sobriquet as undeserved as 
Holy Roman Empire)
gives me so very many reasons
to despise her
not least of which is
the stranglehold
of ridiculous old men
who call the Church
HER
as they rape her

But those old men have ordained readings for each day from God’s word
And those old men or their direct ancestors decided for themselves what was worthy to be GOD’S inerrant word declared so by those raping sodomizing old men
God’s WORD as filtered through them includes the book called Tobit where today I read of a young woman Sarah possessed by a demon Asmodeus who strangles her husband on their wedding night before they have intercourse
But, wait, the best is yet to come: This happens seven times YES! seven times to seven young men before the angel Raphael intervenes to save the eighth who, sadly, was not named Henry
So although I would love to despise the Holy Roman Catholic Church completely HOW can I not retain some affection for an entity that includes TOBIT as divine word filtering GOD to ME?