Friday, April 28, 2006

beginning moment

it was nine years ago this day
at this very moment
that my mom finally found her rest

and life

birthed into a second marriage
rare in those days
shunned by relatives
at fifteen her dad dying
at sixteen her mom dying

taken in as a "charity case"
my mom served her aunt and cousins
doing the menial things required

eventually marrying
and birthing her own children
alone through the years of War
and remaining alone after the War
as my dad returned
but with a changed heart

alcohol entered in
to deaden and hopefully numb
the pain of being alone

alcohol gained control
but never did succeed in filling the emptiness

it was only as the end neared
and my mom knew it was near
that she reached for Jesus

and it was only Jesus
who was able to fill that hole

she allowed me in those final weeks
to touch her
and I held her in my arms
as she died

singing to her
the words of a child's song

Jesus loves me this I know

she rested
and entered into Peace

to live
for the first time
in freedom

and I am so thankful
for the arms that hold her now

Thursday, April 27, 2006

whispering moment

it was a low whispering in the wind
that brought me to my knees

with the gulls screaming overhead
I dared to release what was within

fingers of the crashing waves reached to capture my cries
as they flew across the water’s surface

fueled by pain
bent over in agony
I cried to my God

and the whispering
wrapped around me
sheltered me
hid me

emptied finally of grief
I found rest
in the low whispering of the wind

and His voice
enclosed me
with peace

Monday, April 17, 2006

another Sunday moment

because of the holiday
and most having family around
we decided to forgo our community coming together
'round the table

and yet
somehow it would not seem the same
without many faces
and many voices

often we do not bring the wounded and broken
into our midst
because that necessitates confronting
our own wounds
our own brokenness

so I asked the One
who has marked my path
to tell me who I should invite
to point me towards the ones who would be alone
the ones overlooked

and I was surprised
and even a little hesitant
surely they of all people will be surrounded
by those who care for them

and yet
I had asked
and so now chose to obey

and in hearing the tenderness of the tears
that fell unbidden as I called
I knew I had asked the right ones

and so
this man
and his wife
this couple who serve so faithfully
this couple who pour into others
this couple who provide for many
this couple who live to worship

it was this couple who came to our table
it turned out
this couple have no family

they serve and live in the middle of a community
that is exploding in numbers
and yet
they live hidden
in this community

hiding their loneliness
in their service

and so in a moment
we became family

we ate
we laughed
we cried
we touched
we sang

as the sun set
we shared communion with each other

and it was an Easter Sunday dinner
that I will always treasure


Sunday, April 16, 2006

resurrection moment

there was a moment
as the horizon ate the sun
on the Friday
Jesus was taken down from the cross
and Mary held God in her arms
and there was a moment
as dawn was birthed through
her horizon of grief
Mary saw the empty tomb
on the Sunday
and she knew ..............

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wednesday moments

while in the foot clinic yesterday
I had the tender privilege
of meeting yet another one of God's lost daughters

this 14 year-old

so that on the outside
she screams
stay away
don't touch

while on the inside
love me
please please please
someone love me

she allowed me to touch her
to wash her feet
and while pouring oil and ointment
into the open wounds
I was thinking of the One
who desires to pour Himself
into the wounds of this fragile child

and while wrapping her sores
I told her quietly of He who seeks
to wrap her in His love

and she was yet not able to believe
He could love her
in the midst of the things of her life
but I told her
He is simply waiting for her to say
yes .........

and as I left her
my heart was heavy
in the thinking of her
struggling to survive on the streets

and yet ........
He knows

and it is spring
the season when seeds sown
start to sprout
and then
at home
as I was reading and listing the pledges
of those who have agreed to support me
in this 60K walk
concerning cancer
I thought of cancer
the cancer that invades the body
and the cancer that invades the soul
both usually invisible
at the beginning
when discovered
man attempts to cure
with radiation
and/or poisons
attempting to kill the cancer
but keep you alive
all while bringing you to the very edge of death
and the other cancer
also usually hidden
at the beginning
this cancer of sin
that invades the soul
man cannot cure another of this one
although it too brings you to the edge of death
and I think of Jesus
struggling up that final hill
with the weight of the cross
on His shoulder
and the weight of sin
the stench of its death
that nailed Him to the cross
and His
and I pray
for all the tender shoots
for all the scattered seeds
I pray this is the season
this will be the spring
when the dying
will accept life

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Monday night moment

last evening was our home fellowship night
and we decided to do something
just a little different

there was coffee
(well, after all it is my house -
there must be coffee!)

but no desserts

the house was quiet
lights dimmed
candles lit

bread and wine were set out on the table

everyone was encouraged to ponder
not only the cross
but all the events that led up to the cross

hearts were expressed
sometimes a single word
sometimes a soft song
sometimes tears
sometimes deep silence

when ready
each one drew closer to the table
and shared the meal with Jesus

after everyone had taken
of the bread and the wine

we washed one another's feet
with words of blessing

and anointed Jesus anew
with the aroma of words of love
and gratitude
and submission
and obedience
and awe

and after several hours
everyone went back to their own homes
having decided to come back together
on Friday
and again on Saturday
when some of us will watch through the night
awaiting together the dawn of Easter Sunday

Monday, April 10, 2006

day forty moment

the disciples had seen the strong hands of God
twist the crown of thorns
into a crown of glory
and in hands as strong as that
they knew they were safe

"I have seen the Lord"
John 20:18

as the Sabbath ends
the women begin their preparations
at dawn
they hurry to the tomb

soldiers stand on guard

suddenly the ground begins to shake
as an angel moves away the stone

the soldiers rush inside
only to find the tomb empty

the women arrive
find the soldiers gone
and the tomb opened

two angels speak
"He is not here"
and the women race back to call the disciples

the first to arrive
but does not enter

Peter pushes inside
only to find empty linen cloths
faith begins to arise
as he remembers the words of Jesus

Mary can only weep
until she hears her name

only one person ever spoke her name that way

and she tells the others

"I have seen the Lord"

today I wait at the foot of the cross
listening for Him to say my name
so I may kiss his nail scarred feet
touch his wounded side
and hold his battered hands

when I too may say

I have seen the Lord

suddenly moments

there is a suddenly of God
that can interrupt your life
cause eyes to open wider
and ears to hear with a raw acuteness

and yesterday
was a suddenly

from dawn to dusk

there was a suddenly
in the realization of where I was yesterday
and emotionally

worshiping God
Who is the Same
and Forever

surrounded by many familiar faces
singing many familiar words

and yet .............

there was such a huge difference
and it was very very painful
in the realization of an ending

there was a suddenly
in the hearing
someone I care for
describe himelf by what he presently is doing
in order to put food on the table

and I looked and looked
and wondered why what I still see
is not what he is saying

and there was a suddenly
in seeing and feeling the anger and dislike
in a woman where I had never seen it before

and the suddenly of the tears
at receiving the "where were you?" phone call

and the suddenly of arriving home
to find everyone else here
around the table
and realizing the depth of love
that I have to give
but also am able to receive

and then another phone call
this one to announce a sudden death
the husband of a friend
driving home
after church
and suddenly his heart stopped
while his hands were on the steering wheel

and yet another suddenly
in the middle of the night
while feeling the Hand of God
on my cheek
hearing His whisper
asking me to be awake with Him

and the sudden gushing of the tears
that even at this moment
will not stop

and even in the knowing
there is the need to pull it together
in order to serve well the one who is about to arrive
there is a sudden urge
to simply fall on my face
and be

Sunday, April 09, 2006

day thirty-nine moment

no where do I feel so inclined
to take the shoes from my feet
as when I am near the cross

the tomb is dark
the earth is cool
the aroma of spices fills the air

the setting sun ushers in a High Holy Day
a day of forced rest
with time for quietness and reflection

this Sabbath day is kept holy
and there are those who mourn deeply

the small group of women
consumed with sadness

the men who followed Christ
grieve together

weary after a night dreaming of blood

worried someone would steal the body
sends soldiers to guard the tomb

and all the while
the Lord of the Sabbath
crashes through the gates of hell
to proclaim victory over sin and death

how many Lord
embrace the dance of death
while You declare life

how I long to live in the realm where You move and work
though hope seems sealed up in a tomb

day thirty-eight moment

"all your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes"
Psalm 45:8

Joseph carries the body
tightly wrapped in white linen
down Golgotha
raising the question of
why a religious leader
would become unclean
by touching a dead body

the two Marys follow

everyone else has disappeared

Joseph brings the body into the garden
and through an opening carved in the rocky hillside
where no corpse has ever laid

the two women watch
as Jesus body is placed on a stone bench
only leaving when the sky darkens

Joseph removes the linen
and washes the body of this man Jesus
preparing it for burial

shamed in remembering his silence
when he could have made a difference by speaking up
brings jars of myrrh and aloes

side by side
Nicodemus and Joseph
alternate wrapping the body with strips of cloth
sprinkling the powered spices over it
leaving only the head and face exposed

a small cloth saturated with spices
is now placed over Jesus' face

it is done

the stone is rolled into place

the Son of Man who never had a place to lay his head
now rests in a rich man's grave

as families light the evening candles and pray
the body that once held the light of the world
lies in a cold dark cave

and how I long to anoint Him now
with the aromatic spices of words of love
as I learn to hear Him in the echoes of silence

Friday, April 07, 2006

day thirty-seven moment

"Joseph took the body
and wrapped it
in a clean linen cloth"
Matt 27:59

Pilate sips his wine
in Fortress Antonia

Joseph of Arimathea
to ask for the body
of this man Jesus
wishing to prepare it for burial

what compelled Joseph to do such a thing
what made him take such a risk
why didn't he speak up at the trial
does he believe Jesus is the Messiah
or is he simply doing his duty
burying the dead before sundown

and the body

covered in flies
crows circling and cawing above

the nail
in his feet
forced out

the crossbeam
lifted off the stipe
and placed on the ground

the nails
from the wrists
forced out

Joseph kneels down
and rolls the body
of this man Jesus
onto his newly purchased white cloth

not allowed to approach Joseph
the women watch
and wait

this day of death is coming to an end
the bruised and battered body
once a beautiful baby
the son of God
full of life
now lifeless
wrapped tightly in white linen

Thursday, April 06, 2006

day thirty-six moment

"Stand at the foot of the cross
and count the purple drops
by which you have been cleansed,
see the thorn crown
mark his scourged shoulders
still gushing with encrimsoned rills .........
and if you do not lie prostrate on the ground
before that cross
you have never seen it."
Charles Spurgeon

Jesus' blood
a sign over me
a gift of his lavish grace
so that I may escape terrible judgment
and have new life

"............redeemed .............with precious blood
as of a lamb unblemished and spotless
the blood of Christ"
1 Peter 1:19

almost sundown
Jesus seems shrouded in death
but is he?

Caiaphas requests of Pilate
permission to break the bones

and the one on the right dies

and the one on the left dies

and the One in the middle
has his heart pierced

gush out

causing some to say
this man Jesus died of a broken heart
and others remember
how he had claimed to be living water
if they would believe

and on a hill
outside Jerusalem
only a few witness
the enigma of blood and water
flowing like a fountain
from the side of a carpenter
from Nazareth

I mourn my part in his death
this One whose heart I pierced with my sin
and plunge deep into his open side
that flows with water and blood
to feel his heart break
with the indifference
the rebellion
the control
the disregard
in us all

wash me Lord

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

day thirty-five moment

the earth begins to settle

the crowd terrified

the soldiers cautious

at peace

and the women

His mother.............

and John ..............

the religious plead to God for mercy
others shake in disbelief

one soldier meets the Savior
this man
the son of God"

grant me the grace
to live for your pleasure
to fight for your honor
and magnify your worth
for all who are yet to believe.

day thirty-four moment

"the veil of the temple was torn in two
from top to bottom"
Mark 15:38

the very bowels of the earth quake
with Jesus' death

first a low rumbling
and then a heaving
as the ground ruptures

the priests in the temple
ready to burn incense

suddenly a roar
and the huge magnificent heavy curtain
guarding the holy of holies
from top to bottom
revealing the Ark of the Covenant

the earth continues its convulsions
opening tombs
releasing bodies

and the blood of Jesus is sprinkled
on the altar of history

Jesus led the way
and forever the veil between us is torn

I run through his broken body and spilled blood
into the holy of holies

Monday, April 03, 2006

exposing moments

for months now
my prayer has been
that God would expose
everything that should be exposed
and it has been an interesting few days
as He continues to answer ........
I am once again surprised
at the anger hidden
inside the brokenness
of those around me
every now and again
something causes a crack to open
allowing little pieces of its rawness to seep out
and I step back a little further
in surprise
on the other hand
there has been overwhelming kindness
and love exposed
over the last few days as well
the tender thoughtfulness of a daughter
a son who would drive five hours to take his mom to dinner
the poustinia in oils
friends singing around my table
chocolate cake
all in the shadow of the cross
it is very good to KNOW
that He hears every spoken word
and even those not spoken
and as the air slowly escapes the balloons
I breathe deeply of the One
Who is
as close as my breath
and give thanks for life

Sunday, April 02, 2006

day thirty-three moment

"as you gaze upon the cross
and long for conformity to him
be not weary or fearful
because you cannot express in words
what you seek.
Ask him to plant the cross
in your heart.
Believe in him
the crucified and now living one
to dwell within you
and breathe his own mind there."
Andrew Murray

there are mysteries I will never fully understand
concerning the death of Jesus on the cross
all I can do is place my heart
at his feet

6 hours now have slowly crept by

his back raw meat
his face ghastly
rivulets of dried blood

with a huge struggle
he lifts himself

Luke 23:46

all the air in his lungs exhaled
his body collapses
Jesus Christ bows his head
gives up his spirit
and is gone

from the father
he came into the world

to the father
he returns

demonstrating his complete control over his own destiny

even as his body was shrieking in pain
he cried out with strength and power and joy
offering his spirit back to the father
from whom he had come

my heart wept with him
and now I rejoice in his joy at going
to his father

I look at the cross
and see my own sins
stained with his life's blood.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

day thirty-two moment

every eye now on Jesus
death is imminent
the priests maintain a detached vigil at his feet

and then the cry


can he hear his father proclaiming once again

"this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased"


the task is complete

the soldiers stop and stare
satan gloats
demons dance

by one man sin entered the world
by one Man the gift of eternal life can be freely given
to all who will believe


at a great cost
and I am redeemed
so that I might live in the circle of his love
for eternity

day thirty-one moment

"he knows your weakness
he wants only your love
wants only the chance to love you"
Mother Theresa

the darkness begins to recede
four soldiers standing apprehensively near the cross

in the eye of suffering's terrible storm
finds a place of rest

death is near
a sense of completion settling in his soul

he can only mouth the words


is it physical thirst
or a thirst on behalf of a lost world.

a soldier offers a sponge soaked in cheap wine
the priests laugh derisively

the celebrations of Passover come to an end
families have broken bread
sacrificed their finest lambs to Yaweh

and on a hill
outside the city gates
the Lamb of God
offers himself
as the ultimate sacrificed

the One who longs to give living water
to all who want to drink



and I so long to run to him with a cool glass of water
as he did for me when my soul
dwelled in a dry and barren land

and all I can do
is offer a cup in His Name

day thirty moment

Amos 8:10
"............ and I will make it like a time of mourning
for an only son
and the end of it will be like a bitter day"

thick darkness
air reeking of hopelessness
sweeping depression
silent despair

Jesus writhing in agony
his contorted face grotesque in the midday blackness

Matt: 27:46
"about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice


is his hope completely obscured by the darkness
of the sin he now carries

there is no answer to his cry
is he pierced anew by such rejection

from Gesthemane until now
God the Father has refused to intervene

and then suddenly
for no apparent reason
the sky begins to lighten
and God the Father weeps great sobs
shaking the heavens with his grief

mercy triumphs over judgment
love restrains the Almighty
the price is paid
by the Son who dies
and the Father who could save him but does not

Father God
I have rarely thought of your pain in watching your son die
but you were there
you did not leave
you stayed
you watched
you wept
and you did nothing
I am so unworthy o such love
and can only ponder your mercy

day twenty-nine moment

"were you there when they crucified my Lord
sometimes it causes me to tremble
traditional spiritual

my heart rests in His presence
as I contemplate the cross
as I wonder at the scope of what it meant for Christ
to drink in all the sin of the world

He has a cup yet to drink
the final dregs of sin's poison yet await

the sky completely black
as if the sun has disintegrated
the people bewildered

does Jesus remember when the earth was formless
and void
and darkness hovered over

does he long to shout "let there be light"
and end this noontime terror

hot and muggy
yet the soldiers shake with a chill

with every second Jesus swallows more sin
disobedient deeds
lustful stares
evil longings
acts of hatred
every sin perpetrated
and yet to be committed
flows like a poison into his very soul
until he reaches the dregs of the cup
the teeming waters of depravity
like a disease infested swamp
and he who has never known sin becomes sin

darkness oozing in and around him
and the light of the world is extinguished for a few hours
on a hill named Calvary
this day when darkness fell upon all the land

and I am very frightened by the thought of such darkness
I cannot comprehend how he was able to drink such a cup
and yet I know that if he had stopped short of even one final drop
I would dwell forever in the hopelessness of a dark night