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

Johanna Byrkett 1
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

Johanna Byrkett 4
suffering round table
02 Sep 2016

Round Table: Suffering

“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

Johanna Byrkett 7
19 Aug 2016

Resuscitated by Art

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

Johanna Byrkett 4
05 Aug 2016

One…One Flesh…One Body

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

Johanna Byrkett 3
22 Jul 2016

Through the Cracks

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

Johanna Byrkett 1
08 Jul 2016

What is Love?

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. . .

Johanna Byrkett 1
20 Jun 2016

Charred Pillars

Have  not the poets said “The woods are God’s temple”? But throughout time man hath said, “The waters and woods are gods!” So they whisper in the wilderness, they shout from the mountain’s brow, raise arms in homage to the forest crown, and kneel to honour the ‘sacred’ ground Yet their precious Nature holds a scourge whipping fire-cords upon the earth; pillars of pine blaze a burnished bronze, the wood-god’s spirit spirals away in smoke

Johanna Byrkett 0
06 Jun 2016

Named

O LORD, how weak I am, give me strength—Yours— to own You and to wear Your Name indelibly. Let me be Your own chosen bride, choosing to be covered by Your blood —Your name my identity.

Johanna Byrkett 1
23 May 2016

The Blur in the Brushstrokes

Particulars matter. Of course, so do Universals and Forms. I hold to a healthy mix of Aristotle and Plato, tempered by Jesus and his word. I find it interesting that the particulars make up the whole, even if the universal was set into place first. For example, God said, Let there be light, and there was; then he went on to make the sun, moon, and stars. The universal preceded the particulars. However, we live

Johanna Byrkett 0
09 May 2016

What is Your Grave?

About an hour into a conversation with a friend, we began discussing the death of Lazarus and Jesus weeping with Mary. Jesus had purposely waited to come to his friends that he might glorify the Father through the resurrection of Lazarus. Jesus said to Martha, “I myself am the resurrection and the life.” He knew he was about to push death right out of a man, to make him what he should be: fully alive.

Johanna Byrkett 0
25 Apr 2016

Have You Noticed Beauty?

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe I have noticed that many people claim that humans are animals. After all, we are mammals and are classified as Homo sapiens in the scientific realm. But that is

Johanna Byrkett 2
11 Apr 2016

Missing Out

“Let’s see, I can fit you into my schedule next month.” Yes, my neighbour actually said that to me. I smiled a little, since it was still early in the current month. Then I sighed inside. I used to be that person. Some seasons I still am, because friends are only in town at certain times and you make crazy work. Summer is my losing-sanity season. I sweat at work for long summer days. I sweat

Johanna Byrkett 0
25 Mar 2016

Betrayer

Hushed conversation is weaving itself all around me, yet I am nothing but a loose thread in the tapestry, cut off while still in the picture. A battle is waging within me, to go or stay. Do I keep my promise to the religious leaders, or keep faith with the master? If I break either faith or promise I will break into pieces. My palm craves the silver I have been offered, yet I recoil

Johanna Byrkett 0
14 Mar 2016

Lent: Week Five

Judica {Veiling the Icons}   Veiled, all veiled around the sanctuary, from the cross to the icons, to the spiritual Body and Blood: bread and wine   Veiled, all veiled inside my self, from my heart to my mind, will, and emotions; behind the mask of “All’s well!”   Veiled, all veiled within the Disciples’ understanding and hearts; the Master among them as they argue which of them is greatest   Veiled, all veiled in

Johanna Byrkett 0
11 Mar 2016

Waiting to Rejoice

Laetare: O Rejoice! {Lent Week Four} Here I am— Waiting for God, Not quite ready For rejoicing yet; The shadows flicker, Darkening my soul, Still waiting for The rising sun This dark night —Not wholly black— Sprinkled with stars Streaming on me Diffused silver light, Promises coming Hope, As I wait Here for God I am awaiting With great expectation The rising Son —Myth made real— The glimmering sky Bursting fully alive With glory’s Hope…

Johanna Byrkett 2
26 Feb 2016

Remember: Lent Week Two

Reminiscere   Do you recall Our wedding day? Face to face, Clasping hands tightly, Your veil removed— You were mine, I AM yours   Why are you At this corner, Selling your worth, Eyes looking down? Why are you Naked and bloody, Abandoned and forlorn? You are mine   Don’t you remember That I AM Your Maker-Husband Who loves you? O! Let me Take your face In both hands Eyes meeting mine   Call to

Johanna Byrkett 0
12 Feb 2016

Introit: Entrance

(Lent: Week One) Chill and dank Is my soul —Emotions, mind, will— Closed, under ground; I’m hiding here In my sin Frustrated, and unsure How to escape Holy Doors barred, Soul windows shuttered In many here Sitting on pews Or kneeling down Before the altar In rote movements Receiving the Eucharist Ancient doors: Open! Fling wide all The heart gates And enter in! King of Glory, Illumine what in Me is dark— Be my Liberty

Johanna Byrkett 0
29 Jan 2016

Rise Up, O Church

A challenge to churches to rise up to their calling Often a friend of mine tells the story about when his wife became a Christian, “She started reading the Bible in Genesis and began to get bogged down. I told her to skip all that and start with Matthew.” Sometimes I wonder if his wife ever got horribly confused to begin reading the story three-quarters of the way through. It would be like reading The

Johanna Byrkett 4
15 Jan 2016

Perspectives

Why me? I hear her moan; Why this broken mess? Why am I all alone— toiling daily, while he’s free? Why, why, why, God? Why me?   Why me? I look above; Why do you never quit? Why do you love, love, love me? You never flee, You take delight…Why, God? Why me?   Why me? I hear her cry; Why all of my friends? Why doesn’t someone try to love me in all my

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