Stars and Stripes

The Bright and Morning Star wore His stripes

on the greatest day of independence in history.

He hung on the crossroads of freedom and bondage.

Liberty was lifted high for all to see

and healing was within everyone’s sight.


The bombs didn’t burst

but rockets red glare descended

from hands and feet and side and

rested in a reflecting pool of crimson.


The Calvary rode the dawns early light

as a two thousand year long shadow,

and now we can gather under the shadow

of His wings as eagles.


Come now, let us respond to

His freedom given, for with Freedom

comes response ability.

Mother Mary. A Mother’s Day Reflection

She pondered these things in her heart.

Mothers do that quite often.

She kept all these things.

My mother did too.


An angel told Mary.

The power of the Highest will.

An overshadowing of foreshadows.

“For with God nothing will be impossible.”


All mothers are infused with possibilities.

They lay down their self dreams

and rest folded hands upon

their distended bellies.


Mary carried wonder

full term and delivered hope.

There was blood and water and child.

All mothers hold pasty skin to chest with awe.


My mother held each of us close for a moment.

A snip of the umbilical and the separation

began a journey of contemplation.

What will? What if? Life.


Mary’s path was set.

From empty womb to empty tomb

the realities of motherhood were multiplied.

The gestation in her heart left stretch marks of spirit.


Near the end Mary drank of the cup no mother should.

She wept just like Jesus and red drops fell

as sweat on her brow as she prayed.

Blood fell on her and for her.


No mother should lose a child.

My mother was ten for ten when she died.

She was spared Mary’s anguish under a broken sky.

Jesus spoke living words. “Woman, behold you son! Behold your mother.”


Even in death he loved her so and knew hers was an acquainted grief.

I wonder if Mary was one who anointed his body.

Those things she held in her heart poured

on and massaged in his skin.


Then came the first Mother’s Day.

Sunday he was birthed again to Mary’s arms.

The Rose of Sharon was given from her loving Father.

She then held him close and smelled the fragrance of redemption.


Waiting at the station,

the platform held me at attention.

The iron lines lie parallel

and secure with rusty spikes.

Underneath were white stones

large enough to kill someone.


Twin rails, identical, dependent

like a yoke to carry a burden.

Similar tracks would guide

into Auschwitz–Birkenau.

Underneath were white stones

large enough to kill someone.


I stood, head down, hands behind

my back without cuffs.

Thoughts of freedom ring

like scraping of iron on iron.

Underneath were white stones

large enough to kill someone.


There were stations of crossover.

Humans standing, gazing

on the Via Delarosa,

their eyes like two rails.

Underneath were white stones

large enough to kill someone.


It is a Good Friday to stand in a nave.

To look on the One who bore

the railroad ties in juxtaposition.

The oxidized nails set.

Underneath were white stones

large enough to kill someone.


Stationary, I am to remember a Way

beyond my ability to suffer.

I fell on the platform he laid

hoping to carry His burden for a moment.

Underneath were white stones

large enough to kill someone.


Instead I grasped a stone

to hurl at an innocent Jew.

He turned the white washed

piece over in my palm.

Underneath the white stone

was written a name

and on it blood fell.


Traditionally Good Friday is a day where Christians observe the Stations of the Cross.  I researched it a bit and found a rich reserve of images on which to meditate.  The death of Christ need not be observed as “I know this already” but fresh and heart breaking.  Gratitude and brokenness melted my heart this morning.  I may never fully grasp the the greatest act of love in history, but today I will try again.


Would I touch the open wounds of Jesus

if he were to stand in the lonely places

of my heart?

Would I dare thrust my hand into his

side like a spear?

Would I gently place my fingers

in the palms of his hands?

There are places where crucifixion

wasn’t fiction at all.

The suffering of the cross cascaded

down through history,

it being the pinnacle of paradox.

The place where love and hate intersect.

So now we sometimes use innocent

suffering and death as a crucible

of the non-fiction Christ.

We read history books to numb any

existential wandering in our own

back yard.

There are crucified hearts laying,

one by one, without a beat,

hoping loosely for a resurrecting

touch, look, hug.

Will I look at the whole worlds suffering

and lose their own soul?

I don’t want Your death to be in vain

when there are opportunities to

touch the open wounds of those

near by.

The Maker of the Universe, Lyrics. By Phil Keaggy

The maker of the universe,

as man for man was made a curse.

The claims of law which he had made,

unto the uttermost he had paid.

His holy fingers made the bow

that grew the thorns which crowned his brow.

The nails that pierced his hand were mined

in secret places he designed.

He made the forest whence it sprung

the tree on which his body hung.

He died upon a cross of wood

yet made the hill on which it stood.

The sky that darkened ore his head

by him above the earth was spread.

The sun that hid from him its face

be his decree was poised in space.

The spear which spilled his precious blood

was tempered in the fires of God.

The grave in which his form was laid

was human wrought his hands had made.

The throne on which he now appears

was his from everlasting years,

but a new glory crowns his brow

and every knee to him shall bow.

The maker of the universe

The maker of the universe

The maker of the universe


From the album Way Back Home by Phil Keaggy.

This is one of my favorite Easter songs.