Conversations With God Part One. Hurt.

I am calling you back amidst the pluralism and disparity of your mind. There is truth and you must turn to seek it again. Don’t Pontius Pilate Me. Don’t ask the question and walk away before getting a response. I am Truth.

But there is so much to trail off into. So many ways to justify everyone’s point of view.

You don’t have to be in charge of justification. Doesn’t the word sound like it belongs to Me anyway. Your intellectual energies are draining you into a ubiquitous ocean. I know the beginning from the end. I know how far the east is from the west. Sure, humans are like little gods in My image. Each one bears My imprint and My love reaches to each heart. But the turning of hearts to Truth is a mystery. I set every human free, freedom they sometimes use to blind themselves from hurt, fear, and beauty.

Hurt, fear, and beauty? What?

Yes. Odd threesome I know. The hurt comes early in being a human. Usually it starts with some little oversight of a parent that awakens the longing.

Longing?

Yes, the longing for more, for better, for possibly another world. Remember what you said you wanted on your tombstone? ”This Isn’t All There Is.”

Yes.

You know how you check the Obituaries every day and joke with your children that you are still alive? I hear you in the silence—in the middle of night when you realize if you make it to seventy that it’s only 16 years away. I hear you. Your life has meaning and purpose, but it’s not where you think. It’s not what you think.

Well then, what is it pray tell? Where is the meaning and purpose to fill this vacuous heart?

I Am.

Sigh. I know. I’ve seen the spectrum. From spiritualizing culturally contorted Christians to vague spiritualists. The ones who sidle up to You but don’t name You. I don’t know where I fall in the lineup. I keep losing my place.

Stop looking at them. The disciples kept wanting to know who would be the closest to me when the Kingdom came. They even bickered about John, the one I love so. Martha simmered the lentils for me all the while wishing Mary would get a clue and get up and get busy. The other brother that stayed home, faithful to the prodigal’s father, ended up disgruntled. He lost the heart of the relationship. I won’t even go into the Religious leaders and their runaway lips.

But I…

Wait. Wait on Me. Hold on. There’s more. It is a conundrum I’ve allowed. The hurt usually comes from the very people you hope to connect with. It’s a given. Know that you also will hurt others. I know you don’t wake up each morning thinking about how and who you are going to disappoint and hurt. Your heart is fallow at times and My wisdom sideswipes your consciousness as you move and breath and have your being. The truth of who you are comes out when trouble arrives like the sparks that rise from a fire.

Oh, the adversity element. The “life is difficult” as M. Scott Peck would say.

Difficult yes, but spread the definition out a little. Let’s say mysterious. In the mystery of humanness, in its base elements, there rests a tension.

“Rests a tension.” Rest and tension aren’t hand and glove terms. Paradoxical, juxta positional, maybe even oppositional, but their relationship is not on a first name basis.

In through the nose, out through the mouth. Breathe in the rest and tension, one for each nostril, and out through the mouth comes mystery. I can transform what happens under the sun. It is in your heart where I do my best work. I can help you find the rest in the tension of living an imperfect world. Whether you are the recipient of hurt or the dispenser of it there is hope. Do you believe there is hope?

I must or I wouldn’t be talking with You.

The hope lies in forgiveness. To forgive others and forgive yourself is important. To ask for forgiveness and extend grace and mercy to those who ask for it (Even those who don’t) creates space for the mystery. When mystery is allowed to fill the lacerations of hurt, rest and tension aren’t so far apart. You are still “under the sun” as Solomon emphasized in My Book of Ecclesiastes. There will always be tension in the world, and when you accept it, then My rest is a possibility.

Lord, help me lie down in forgiveness, grace, and mercy.

Come. Take a load off.

Breathtaking

Just above the tree line

wind scrapes and sifts.

I pray for its falling

through to the forest floor

where air crawls low

like a dog’s nose

picking up the scents

of loam.

 

Those pains we shed

which enrich the soil,

and peat our soul.

Thank you for the

ground our feet of clay

impress, that level

Grace we tread

with each breath.

Gratitude and Grace and Truth

In the end I will hand my last breath over to God.

I will assume all previous breaths were my own.

I will claim all beats of heart were an act of my will.

When my toes touched the floor each morning

I take for granted that God let me live another day.

 

In this parenthesis of time, this apparent thesis,

God coaches, God reminds me to take deeper breaths.

God meets me at the edge of my bed and gifts

me with five senses to inhabit his world.

I am gently reminded of the grace I live in.

 

“All is grace,” said Manning.

“Find the grace to lay truth bare,” said Cockburn.

Don’t ask the question and walk away

like Pilate, stay and wait for possibility.

Grace and truth walked among us then.

Please walk with me Jesus and increase my heart rate.

 

John 1:17 (KJV)

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

John 1:14 (KJV)

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

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

Sunday Psalm

Slip off your shoes,

before the dew

distills the

spirit of this day.

 

Stroll the field

for evidence

between your toes,

wet blades sewing.

 

Cup your ears,

to hear the sun

paint the top

of the sycamore.

 

Praise with the white

of your teeth,

head bowed

to the forest floor.

 

Find breath in your bones,

marrow reaching,

flowing to the sea,

to the sea.

Jesus Is Full Of It

He is full of grace and truth. There are a couple of verses in the gospel of John that have fascinated me.   

“And the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:17

Grace and truth. Off the cuff these two words seem like the odd couple. When I think of grace I see a ballerina floating across the floor. Grace seems soft, gentile, beautiful, no rough edges. Thinking of truth I see a gavel slamming down and the echo of oak on oak in a court room. Those are just accumulative feelings of experience and cultural influence.

There is some truth to those definitions but not ‘the whole truth’ as they would say with right hand resting on the bible. Grace does have in it simply an essence of ‘always welcome.’ Who would shun grace, really, no matter how it is defined. Truth is not always welcome but it will prevail as they say.

Jesus is full of both…grace and truth.

I am contemplating these concepts afresh.  

What is your knee-jerk, off the cuff definition of grace and/or truth?

This:

Or this

or

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