Monday, January 18, 2016

Et In Terra



“Prayer is the only entryway into genuine self knowledge.  It is also the main way we experience deep change—the reordering of our loves.  Prayer is how God gives us so many of the unimaginable things he has for us.  Indeed prayer makes it safe for God to give us what we most desire.  It is the way we know God, the way we finally treat God as God.”  (Tim Keller) 



Presence.
So heavy.  Can you feel it too?
How each letter swells with the weight of it all? 
Soak up the gravity; stretch mighty to grasp the significance. 
Below, the heart wrestles in the learning, and the spirit struggles again to climb.
Miles into an endless enigma. 
Of sleepless agitation.
And terrestrial condemnation.   
But remember, it’s all in the gaze. 
Lift.  Force the eyes up if you have to.  Where are those hills?    
In the madness and the dark where restless thoughts fly thick through souls, 
Edify us with songs of the Day
 Instruct the spirit to fold and pray.
When the woe of unclean smears slander across the truth, we cry undone.   
Oh, unbearable union. 
Of shalom and the shadow. 
But the most beautiful of words are bestowed by grace. 
By the cry “Our Father,” we know the holiest place.
A flight from pain, communion is not, nor a vessel to dodge the suffered trial. 
As it is in heaven,
So be it on earth. 


Sovereign will be done and kingdom come surmount all other needs. 
Like shafts in the dark, our prayers pierce the shroud,
Comets in reverse escaping into the sky to bring Heaven down. 
In the end that’s the only way to do it. 
The only way to keep the heart from withering in your chest. 
To pray like you breathe. 
Holiness like oxygen. 
Because that’s what it is. 
Sometimes we don’t know Him, but deep down we also know why. 
Have you ever found the path to prayer held against you? 
Because yourself was in the way? 
Be glorified in us, Oh Lord, hallowed be your name. 
Fortify the hand to bestow your love on friend and foe the same.
Bathe the hurts. 
Baptize the wants. 
Flood the heart familiar with you. 
Reorder our loves with purpose, arrange the fragmented spirit
With shards of rough soul,
Make brokenness whole,
And cover all with the portion of your promised peace. 
For that’s a bond we can rely on, a mending and a communion surmounted by a vow. 


That even in the shadow lands we know the gift of love,
And how much more will he give his to his children out of his perfection?
His spirit, incomparably beautiful, dwelling in a temple of flesh.
Oh that honest prayer would erupt from within,
A yearning for communion. 
Unhindered by fallen perception. 
Words cannot mislead the one who searches out the deepest of places. 
Decorated desires,
Holy wishes,
Only the most carefully selected requests to bring.
We reason to be heard when the volume of our praise outstrips the request 
But really, we can only ask him.
And the surrendered spirit fully exposed to the refining eye of God
Will perhaps know greater intimacy. 
A year in the making, another journey bearing days to learn.
To measure these thoughts,
To condense this scattered rhythm,
Would be an anthem of practice
A song to fight stronger with each passing day.
My God, I want to know you more. 
This year,
and always,
Please teach me how to pray. 



*If you have enjoyed this slightly impaired attempt at contemporary poetry, leave a comment below!  


All Work subject to copyright by the author,  Use by permission only.  2016.  
Images via:  bestourism.com, flickr.com, tumblr.com, artglassmosaics.com, 



  




  
 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Chasing Chariots



This one is for you. 

The one rolling out of bed and lifting the shades to reveal a sky draped with January, the month of hope and despair. 

The heart that's following the echo of eternity tugging them into another year. 

The brave soul where war-torn thoughts struggle between bright faith and the bitter cold of a land frozen by a winter that lingers in shades of ice and gray.    

Emerging from the advent of Christmas plants a beautiful but difficult reality in the last days of the year.  Though the truth and the majesty of Christmas has renewed our spirits once more, the real waiting goes on.  For citizens of heaven still upon the earth, the true Advent and the longed for arrival of Christ once more continues.


Time dawns another year, and we continue to hone our earthly calling in the light of the King’s appeal to the world through us.  Sharpen resolutions upon the stone.   

Upon the surge of eager newness wiping clean the year’s canvas with a dusting of snow lies the battle line.  Drawn anew, the giants rise to oppose us.  Perhaps struggles born out of years of fighting, or maybe the glinting steel of new enemies who seek to destroy, but this is where we find ourselves. 

This is where you find yourself, brave soul watching January roll in once more.
    
The world goes not well, yet the kingdom comes. 


I see you at the kitchen table, sipping strength from a coffee mug and sleepily dusting off a dream, that talent-tool God once placed in your hands.  You wonder what to do with it, how to make it holy.
 
Your limbs long to crawl back into bed and maybe slip safely under the sheets of last year and forget about the challenges marching to meet you across the months toward another December. 

But fragile pages of the holy pen resolve upon your heart, a soul-resolution to depend even more deeply on Him and to administer grace with what has been given so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 

Gift of days.  Lord of Years. 

Fallen foundations drag us earthward, and the only strength and endurance that allow us to climb the peaks ahead with joy lie in our very weakness, where his increase is mighty.   

Dreams may glint foolish to earth-veiled eyes.  I know because I’ve worn false lenses many times.  Distortion warps illumination and skews the light.  It makes cheap the meaningful, and at the foot of January, my mind whispers aimless. 


Of God, my heart says "Seek his face."  But how to make prayer the weapon that drives back demons rising to face me once more on the battleground of the new year?  How to refine strengths into sacred heralds that declare the hope of Christ and his return, inscribing not with ink but with grace that etches itself onto the very fabric of the human heart?

Renewed mercy recurring at dawn, his faithfulness wakes the world, and I, like you, put my hand to the mountain of the year to move it and be moved. 

The story of love descending cleanses anew the ransomed soul, clothing it for the days to come.  And a voice scatters the aimless strains with a song of beauty and a vision of resolve. 

Hallow gifts multicolored from heaven.  Draw deep in my soul, my hands inspire. 
  
O Lord, send me out into your world.

Bring me a chariot of fire.  


Dream with me, you hard workers and travelers, prophets and saints who haunt the January morning struggling to don hope against the cold.  Let us climb the heights that await and the take the adventures set before us.  Let the mountains stir our spirits to a place of prayer that fears neither height nor opposition.   

Of course, it might be proven true in the end, that once more I’ve thought too deeply about things.  I’m too much among the clouds and not enough upon the ground, where struggle and sleeplessness drive home the harshness of reality. 

Then again, that’s the thing about elevation, it brings you closer to the sky, and a heart nearer to Heaven finds not only star dust and snow but truth, and that—with clarity.

Here’s to the climb of 2016.   

It is a gift, and this one's for you.     


Images via:  Huffingtonpost.com, tumblr.com, amazpic.com, mbart.com 
All work subject to copyright by the author. Use by permission only.  2016.