Lifted

The clouds aren’t usually this quiet.

They’re trying to sneak by unnoticed.

No definition. Looking a little pale,

they scrape the tree-line like a hangover.

The cool night chained them to the low places

and now they slip away into the light of day.

With their dissipation I am thinned,

the heaviness of dark lifted,

shadows spilling as a remembrance.

Forgiveness as the dew,

mercy as the burning thereof,

and grace its antecedent.

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Rain Mates

Let’s just skip the stones

and get dirty.

Mud pies in the face.

Bear disgrace.

Fall into place.

Wallow and weep

into each other’s eyes.

The river’s a half-peck

away from your cheek.

We’re weak,

let’s cinder sneak.

We know who we are

from where we were,

and now is now.

The Oh, Honestly

parts of us wait

in the rain,

the ripples

kissing each other

with grace.

Jesus Stooped

No writing on the wall,

but a finger in the soil,

words scribbled.

 

Their fingers pointed,

stones in hand,

at the dirty woman.

 

“Faultless ones,

start throwing,

pitch your fit.”

 

The finger scribe carved

words in the sand,

and the thuds began.

 

As they lost their grip

and walked away

a woman stood

 

as Jesus stooped.

“Where’d they go?”

“To wash their hands.”

 

“Probably so.

Go wash up too

and sin no more.

 

I’ll gather the stones.”

Prayer About What’s Bugging Me

Look what the locusts have eaten

with their bellies distended and all.

I pray for anorexia nervosa

on the whole lot of them.

May their regiments

hold fast to a fast.

May they retreat from treats.

May their locus lose its control.

Lord, command them to cease and

desist as I turn to You.

Amen.

God Joined Me for a Drink. A Sunday Psalm.

The trickle of unconsciousness

filled the tin cup

I dragged along the bars.

I couldn’t handle the glass half empty

of hope and a future.

I drank and drank to quench

the mystery of the largess of God.

Instead, God salted the water

and assaulted my soul

with an eternal thirst.

He held out his hand

and I set the dented tin

over the scar imbedded

in His lifeline.

He looked in my eyes,

right through and down

into my arid heart.

“Here, take, drink of this cup

In remembrance of Me.”

The chalice, cool in my grasp,

brimmed with blood red wine.

I sipped and sipped

of God’s consciousness.

 

“…you have kept the good wine until now.” John 2:10

Field Notes

In the field

among varied grasses

she waltzed with her palms

brushing the buds bowed in prayer.

 

The late summer wild flowers

dipped in heated color.

Indian paint brushes

dabbed the sky

on the edges

of towering cumulus.

 

She lay

down

in embroidery.

They neither toiled

nor spun

around the edges

of her skin.

 

Sleep planted innocence

once again

and dreams fell on her

like a steady rain.

Beauty forgave

and golden hair

brushed by the breezes

painted the bottomless sky.

Yard Lines or Riding the Pine

What if each day was a first down

and each conversation a well executed play?

What if forgiveness was called up

like a third string quarterback

and offences were pigskins

with strings attached?

What if what we said

we didn’t mean it,

and if we said we didn’t mean it

everything would be as it was

in the beginning.

No flags thrown.

There would be no riding the pine,

sitting like a judge on the bench.

There would be plays

and grass would be uprooted

and sweat would mix with the dirt.

Spittle would be placed over the speck

in our eyes and we would no longer walk the plank.

What if we were on the same team again

and offense wouldn’t be against each other

and our only defense would be ours, together?

The plays called again from the sideline

and we huddle-up, arms over shoulders.

We are in the back yard lines

set on scrimmage like boys with grass stains

and SpaghettiOs and hot dogs would

sit warm in our super bowls.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 reads

“By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” The Message

 

 

Blue Spruce

Huddled, they hold spring in

the bending.

A strength they give without giving way.

Lake effects of layered white

perch over and again.

The weight of the world, speechless,

rests on winter green.

The equinox of forgiving

will send its mercy and grace

and warm the bitter branches.

Snow will cry again

into the soiled.

 

World

Not only circumference

but an orb

of circumstantial evidence.

 

What keeps us from flinging

into thin air, breathless

to the pin drop darkness?

Every spinning and expanding

island riding on predestination.

 

What keeps us from bringing

a thin air of presumption?

What great expanse of reason

finds its edge, its end?

Thought rides tides to the Temple.

 

And Jesus writes in the dirt with his finger.

 

John 8:1-12John 1:5

 

Pop Quiz. What is the definition of impunity?

“You can lie to a building; you cannot lie to a person with impunity.” Ravi Zacharias

“Alone, we cannot face ‘the mystery of iniquity’ with impunity. Only Christ can overcome the powers of evil. Only in and through him can we survive the trials of our solitude.” Henry Nouwen

These quotes were read the same day from two different books. The word ‘impunity’ stuck out because I have never read the word impunity before. I did not know what it meant. I keyed it into my Word program, highlighted it, and looked it up.

Impunity: Exemption from punishment, harm, or recrimination.

Recrimination: An accusation made against somebody who has brought a previous accusation.

I have read or heard, however, the word impudence before. Must likely I heard it in a movie, set in an 1800’s time-frame in England. The word impunity isn’t heard in conversations with the local present day crowd, unless one is a lawyer or a judge or something of that nature. Yet the concept of impunity is woven throughout our culture and beyond.

Really, who wouldn’t want to claim impudence? Honestly, when I make a bad decision, either premeditated or thoughtless, my wish is to not suffer any consequences. I drift toward impunity. Who wouldn’t?

My wife and I have a houseful of children. I wonder if some of them took a seminar on how to garner impunity. They are experts at turning on tears, deflecting, finger pointing, changing the conversation, and I get ‘played’ quite often. But Barbara, my wife and in-house prosecutor is well read. Crime And Punishment you will find tucked nicely under her pillow. She, bless her, has had a ‘head-tilt arms-on-hips’ response for me when I try my ‘lawyer’ on with the children. All she has to say is ‘Gerald!’ and I know I missed it again. She then steps in and I listen and learn as she prosecutes and doles out the sentence. She doesn’t flinch when they say sympathetically “I didn’t mean it, I didn’t mean kick him in the shins.” I am sure any mother reading this is nodding in agreement and the fathers are grunting and scratching their scalps.

I have been meditating on a passage of scripture in which a woman was brought to Jesus. She was accused of adultery, caught in the very act, and the religious high-brows brought her to trap Jesus. Read it in the beginning of chapter eight of the gospel of John. If there was anyone who had the authority to grant impunity it was Jesus, especially because no recriminations could be tossed his way. Impunity was granted to all in the scene. The woman and the high-brows walked away impudent.

Thanks for listening as I wrap my brain around a newly learned word.

Bonus phrase for parents: “Be careful not to point a finger at others, because three are pointing back at you.” My Wife (An oft used phrase she learned as a child.)

Challenge: Try to use the word impunity or impudence in a sentence today.