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?
“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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
“Why does God permit human beings to suffer and die?” There is no simple or easy answer to this question. Perhaps the best response is to pray, with Jesus Christ: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). Our Lord experienced the groaning of creation (Rom 8:22). He shed immortality and impassibility to take the form of a servant (Phil 2:7), to identify
Does music ever make you see? Does it break your heart or spill hot tears over your lashes? Does music become your voice when you cannot find the words to express your grief, sorrow, or hope? Music paints vistas on the mind—sunsets over mountains, starlight over tawny grasses bent by the breeze, snow on trees, russet leaves kicking up in the dirt lane. Certain songs carry a mood with them—autumn fog and rain, driving under
Somehow, upon turning thirty-one, I became more interested in blog posts about relationships, health, and inspiring fictional characters. I started thinking more about my retirement plan and drinking Jasmine green tea. I’m still sane, I promise. My proof? I have not stooped to getting into yoga (probably because I’m not flexible—among other reasons). Nor have I taken to drinking copious amounts of pour-over coffee…or any other kind of coffee, for that matter. I save so
Violence cracks our world, leaves lives black and blue emptier than when day broke, leaves lives numb and days grey Shadows crawl stealthily, silently blotting the beauty that our eyes can only see by the sun’s bright rays Darkness is like a shroud, clothing our dying senses too poisoned to see value in life or how gaping death is Hope seems like a dream in the inky night, intangible, unreal, a delusive
To love is to give— to give yourself, your heart a door flung wide to give another power over you to wound. . . . . . or to heal If God is Love, then think of the power He gives us over Himself, how He gave Himself so fully to us, Wounded for our healing to love is to give. . .