Creature Discomforts

Remember me in kindness
Oh Faithful God of Jacob.
You’ve put down the charges
I could no longer take up
You’ve delivered me
so I may sing Your praises
as I did in my weakness today
lauding Your ways as
triumph over our rebellion
Because You alone are worthy.
I stepped out trembling,
and You upheld, sturdy

in the belly of the beast.


Thank You again.
You stayed my hand, my heart
Shuddering with aftershocks
I couldn’t understand the part
Where nothing can be fixed,
But we show up anyway
You’ve hidden some secret power
In the decision to stay,

To pull closer, or to refuse to run away.

Wheels Up

Taxiing down this pavement runway
Two hours past my destination
Turned around again and running
My years wear all their incarnations
My thoughts fly to Bolivia, to
Concrete changes wrought in me,
And the conversation I am having
With the spare parts I can be-
It seems appropriate to grieve
Inside our common language
Though I’m no longer flooded out
By the inherent anguish
All in context, but I was found
Inside this people
Given no escape, no sanctuary
Hidden in the steeple
Fluency in these dialects
Is my only heirloom
No one in the camp adopted me,
Shouldn’t I live as groomed?
Proclaim in broken melodies?
Or do these streets resurrect
Posthumous reflexes,
The misplaced genuflect?

Am I running in retrospect?

Interstate Petitions

I know that You are King of all
and I tremble before Your office
but right now I’m off the reservation,
and I need to speak to You
off the record,
I need a sidebar
from the one who’s walked sideways with me
in bare feet down briared streets
I need my friend, my confidant,
who does whatever it takes
to shake me free
to forgive me
and get me back on my broken feet
after You’ve made them well
You’ve been for me
the hidden partner
the silent comrade
who will not leave
even when I grieve You
and tonight I need You
again and always

Backpedaling Homeward

In this near-forgotten place,
I feel too weak to stand.
I’m holding these cigarettes
In my shaking hands
And for this moment
I’m the one more singed.
These growing reminders
Leave all the doors unhinged.
Some call it backsliding.
Some call it relapse.
But I’m the same old me
Curled up in Your lap

Tearfully pleading for
A beautiful resolution.

Grinding Sorrow from Joy

What tender sparks of warmth
Can I remember?
You canned in the summer.
You baked in December.
We built fires in the stove.
When snow fell, you drank tea hot
And read to us from ancient books
Like the leather bound Curiosity Shop.
Your affection burned like a finished fuse,
And your expectation echoed a bottomless abyss
I learned to thank you for what little I could do,
And to apologize for the myriad of ways I’m remiss.
You became the opposite of God to me:
A gnashing mouth set to chew,
But surely there was tenderness once,
And would I know Him if not for you?
I sit here cut in two as they cut into you,
And here I cannot sleep.
My grief picks up a painted brush
But the sorrow makes me weep.
And shall I drive the many miles
To stand beside your pestle tongue,
Can any gestures now we make
Unring what we have rung

and rung…

and rung…

And if that bell tolls for thee,

Is this the way our story runs?

To be ever incomplete, but forever done?

Prayer for TPC

Dear Father,
I pray for Your church

Protect her purity and peace.
Where there is sin,
Bring confession and repentance.
Where there is virtue,
Protect against pride.
Where there is plenty,
Inspire generosity.
Where there is want,
Bring abundance.
Where there is discontent,
Grow gratitude.
Where there are victories,
Sow humility.
Where there is humility,
Imbue favor.
Where there is illness,
Make well.
Where there is health,
Grant vitality.
Where there is vitality,
Grant ministry.
Where there is ministry,
Grant mobility.
Where there is joy,
Weave fellowship.
Where there is despair,
Weave fellowship.
Where hope is flickering,
Compose beauty.
Where there is exhaustion,
Grant solitude and rest.
Where there is struggle,
Work restoration.
Where there is dissension,
Call forth honesty and forgiveness.
Where there is confusion,
Illuminate with the Gospel.
Where there are itching ears,
Where there is selfish wandering,
Instruct wisdom.
Where there is wisdom,
Dress the sorrows.
Where there is vulnerability,
Where there are wolves,
Break their fangs.
Where there are enemies,
Transform them.
Where there are powers and principalities,
Reign supreme.
Where there is suffering,
Walk among us.
Where there is fear,
Or any other hindrance,
Sum up all things in Your unbreakable love.

And keep us awake and alert,
Until You come back for us all.