16 Nov 2018

The Passing of the Shadow

In the gloaming across the sere grass I see a shadow roaming up the hill, across the loam I see the dark shape pass.   Golden evening light has given way to misty twilight, the shadow’s flight (or was it descent?) lost in grey.   Who was it walked that hill? Who was it passed by without seeing— the porch, the cat sleeping still?   And who, indeed, let their shade-self walk across the bare

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27 Aug 2018

How My Shirt Changed the Day

For the second time in a month, I had a conversation in the grocery checkout line that left me reeling. This time it began while unloading my produce and grinning at the two big-eyed, energetic young boys behind me. Their mom caught my eye and and she looked friendly as she inquired, “What is that?” The red cabbage in my hand? I thought. “I’m sorry, my produce?” She clarified, “I’ve seen that shirt on people

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04 May 2018

Empty Hands

I want to hold my worth in my hands; to trace my accomplishments in gilded letters on spine and cover; to smell them in ink and paper.   But my desire is a dream awakened, and all I can trace are tears of shame, that I have nothing to hold out in offering but empty hands.   Empty hands—not clenched fists, angry, or grasping at given gifts; Empty hands, ready to hold another’s, to serve,

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09 Mar 2018

What if the Season is Barren?

They are like trees along a riverbank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper. —Psalm 1:3, The Living Bible   What if the season is barren rather than bearing? How if the leaves have curled and the river has curved away—away from from this tree, empty?   “Empty? Why art thou empty?” Asks the Spirit-wind, rustling through parchèd leaves. “Have you ceased to delight

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12 Jan 2018

Unmerited

Kindness flowing out in wine and chocolate chip cookies, in smiles and eyes, in words and hidden acts   Grace flowing down in water and wine and blood over dark soul nights, to unworthy us   Love flowing over from hearts and hands, eyes and lips in forgiveness again, and again—every time   Gifts ever flowing that we cannot earn, cannot repay, we humbly receive with open, empty hands   Full over flowing hands and

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24 Nov 2017

Cleansing Fire

 What if prayer is a furnace?      When we confess, every sin and every evil thing         is burnt away into ashes.            But every prayer in line with Life and Love             —stemming from God’s Spirit—                  is refined like gold and silver.                     What if that? 

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29 Sep 2017

Do Not be Afraid

  “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”1 —Frederick Buechner   These were the words that marked a house fire and the death of a beloved dog for some folks that I met earlier this year. They are the words I wrote under a dark sky and a full moon, a picture I painted for my friend whose dear mom died on Easter morning. They are the words embodied

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01 Sep 2017

Row the Wind

You scallywag scavenger, throaty chatterer, who rows through the sky with graceful pride, your wings black and white dipping the wind, tipping like a canoe but never capsized— that is you, O magnificent Magpie!

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09 Jun 2017

Sorrow and Stars

Last light is leaping from hill to hill spilling like liquid from an upset cup, A golden haze spreading o’er rock and rill until, until, until the valley has its fill and the glory thins and wavers and is taken up     The clouds’ creamy bronze hues drain clear, drop by drop—suddenly they run ashen grey in an eye-blink, in the drip of a tear giving way to darkness, uncertainty, and fear as the

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12 May 2017

The Freedom of Restraint

Why is it that often, the more we desire freedom, the less of it we have? Do we hold so tightly to freedom that we crush it, like a child crushes a flower in their hand while trying to protect it? Indeed, love can be bruised, and even extinguished, if held too tightly—so can freedom. Love cannot flourish without freedom nor can real freedom thrive without true love.   Freedom, in truth, cannot be free

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09 May 2017

Round Table: Angels and Demons

Christianity makes some bold claims: God created the universe. Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Human existence does not end at physical death. These statements all point to an important component of the Christian worldview: that which we can see, touch, and measure—the physical world—is not all that is. Reality is composed of something beyond the natural, physical material that we see all around us. Once one accepts the reality of the non-natural, an important question

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14 Apr 2017

A Song in the Dark

In the darkness came a chanting, a chanting, chanting, chanting— in the darkness as the world began came the song decanting into sea and star, into mere and man   From the man came a canting, a whining discord, the song slanting at an angle from the thrumming tune our Composer was implanting in sand and soul, in sun and moon   Darkness devoured when recanting, the broken song became a ranting swallowed inside, unmaking

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17 Mar 2017

Unless I Die

Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. But, if it dies, it will bear much fruit.   —Jesus   A darkening sky greets the great eye blinking open its shutter to morn— o’erhead, coarse comes a rook’s cry, from here dreams appear bleak and forlorn   Here, in my cramped, close cell I hear the neighbour dog howl in lament— the dirt and the dark I fear, they

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17 Feb 2017

The Telltale Heart

Do You Listen to Your Heart or Does it Listen to You? In our increasingly self-centered, self-satisfying culture we are propagandized by Hollywood happy endings and pop songs to listen to our hearts. When considering a new or an old relationship we are told to listen to our heart. When faced with personal loss we are expected to move on from it. The Roxette duo sings, “Listen to your heart / when he’s calling for

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20 Jan 2017

The Orchard and the Enchantress

Long ago, in a far off land, there lived a noble king. The king and his wife had an extensive orchard full of every fruit one could imagine: pears, plums, apples, peaches, apricots, cherries, and the like. This fruit was picked by the king’s servants and made into jellies, jams, and preserves. In accordance to the proportion of this orchard, nearly everyone in the kingdom would enjoy the jellies, jams, or preserves at feasts and

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09 Dec 2016

Adventus

Time dawned and chaos was made order, man came alive within a garden’s border, within the garden’s border man died when he disobeyed God and bowed to pride. Darkness and chaos twined the world ’round, but with the curse a promise was found, up would grow a tender young shoot; A King would rise from Jesse’s root. A King would rise like light in the dark, One unbranded by sin’s cruel mark, to free his

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11 Nov 2016

Swallowing Light

i am alive. i am awake. i am aware of what [life] tastes like.1 It tastes like meteors. Like sunshine spilling warmth over me as I lie on a mound of wood chips. Like black currant tea and dark chocolate. Like thought-full and heart-felt conversations. Like fear from a film—and fear of the unknown. Like crisp autumn air, scented by leaves crunched. Like solitude under the moon. Like sorrow piercing my heart. And it tastes

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28 Oct 2016

Squirrel Life

A pair of squirrels is playing tag in the autumn sun: around the fir, across my porch, over my roof. They flirt their tails and chirrup, they thunder boldly through the day, through life. Perhaps I envy them their simple lives—unworried about elections or the future. Yet, the squirrel can’t think about the fact that it is a squirrel. It can’t wonder what the purpose of its life is or if it matters in the

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14 Oct 2016

Come, Let us Judge

Can we get something straight? It is okay to judge. I know it is the unpardonable sin of our society, but it is not unpardonable before God. In fact, he calls Christians to judge.1 Before someone runs off decrying me as a heretic, let’s talk about what judging is. To judge means to esteem, to select or choose, to determine or resolve, to sift or weigh evidence, or to pronounce an opinion between right and

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16 Sep 2016

Unforced Rhythms of Grace

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”1 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out

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