To Cover Your Crime

I arrived at the vanishing point just to find myself
dancing around it
I wear the scars of the evil you turned into me then
as perspective
They lent a fist of confidence to the humility
From which I flew
The seeds of perversion you planted
Never took root
The fiftieth chapter of Genesis sings my life song
Verse twenty dawn
While this still mourning light lets me not see far past my feet
His blazing pace
Sure relieves my burden and directs me through what I can’t
Yet understand
On toward that place where I will at once fall down at His feet
Full with His grace

Who Can Come To Jesus?

From A Glimpse Of Jesus: The Stranger To Self-Hatred by Brennan Manning:

It is staggering, it is mind-blowing, but it is true. Jesus takes the initiative in seeking out the ungodly, even on Sunday morning. His loving visitation ends ungodliness and makes the sinner worthy. It is difficult to understand how anyone has the right to declare limited access to the eucharistic table so that certain people cannot come to Jesus without their consent and approval. Surely there would be abuses, but abuses do not take away the reality. “In Jesus the goodness out weighed the evil that surrounded him. Sinners were always welcome, tax collectors, prostitutes and anyone else who feels left out can find company with Jesus as the forgiving savior…[N]o one was excluded; no one need feel left out.”

Nobody is worthy. But, we are all welcome.

Mere Assurance

Demons quietly folding up their tents with newfound humility
Creeping off into the dark with their belongings tucked under their arms
Is it wishful thinking or divine truth dusted off for me to see anew?
Rancourous winds dying down where even recently the storm swirled
Presently succumbing to the steady breeze of assurance

“He told people that their sins were forgiven,
and never waited to consult all the other people
whom their sins had undoubtedly injured.”

Momentous Life

I was in the middle of my first year of teaching fourth grade at a rural North Carolina school when I had my first “wintry mix” driving experience. I grew up and learned to drive in upstate New York and didn’t think it would be much of a challenge to navigate through the milder winter weather of a state six-hundred miles south. It didn’t take long for me to realize that it was a different game altogether in North Carolina. In NY snow plows, salt, and cinder trucks were just part of the scenery during the winter time. In North Carolina they are rare, to say the least. Because the roads are not pretreated and then maintained steadily throughout a winter storm in North Carolina, they, like their northern counterparts, can be pretty slick, too. Nothing too terrible happened, really, but, it sent a chill through my bones when, while driving relatively slow, I attempted a right turn only to find that, because of the slick road conditions, my car was in no mood to actually make the turn and it just continued straight past. It wasn’t until several yards after the place that I was supposed to turn, that my car’s momentum finally slowed enough for me to change course. Too much momentum in the wrong direction can lead to a loss of control.
So, I guess the question is, am I headed in the right direction and, if not, what direction should I be headed in?

I’ve been maintaining contact with my ninety-something year old great-aunt for several years now by writing letters. She’s a wonderful, retired teacher who is sharp as a tack and full of wit. In one recent letter to her, I asked her for some words of wisdom or advice. My thought was that somebody of her age and experience might just have a good idea of what works in life. In her response she reminded me that I had asked for advice and told me, “You will find it in the bible.” She then listed the following verses:

Proverbs 2:6
For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 3:5, 6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 16:3
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

Because, as a Christian, I believe that the bible is the Word of God, knowledge and understanding can be found in it. I should place my full focus and trust in the knowledge and understanding that I find in scripture and I should live my life for Him. Only then will I be able to life a successful life. Will my success be indicated by a loaded bank account? Probably not, but, because it will be built on the wisdom and understanding of He that is the original source of wisdom and understanding, it will last forever and never fail me.

I’m not talking about the supposed wisdom that comes from a wealth and prosperity preacher on television or that of an auto mechanic, an underpaid fifth grade teacher, or a personal trainer at the gym. I’m talking about the wisdom that comes from the infinite, omniscient source of all wisdom who came down to suffer in the bowels of human existence, being born in a barn and laid in a cow troth and crucified on cross beams with nails piercing his limbs. I’m talking about the source of patient, unconditional love who extends His grace and hope to all who are willing to accept it.

As I grow older I am also growing in my ability to recognize, in the rear-view mirror, where I’ve made my biggest mistakes in life and what led to them. It is through this reflection that I’ve found that the only way to slow the momentum that carried me in the wrong direction is to let Jesus reorient my path and direct my future walk. Once I realized that I am loved by Him, my Abba, like the love between daddy and son, I began to experience a new level of peace and understanding. But, its continuance, the momentum necessary to maintain this perspective, is found only in remembering daily where I’ve been and where I need to focus from moment to moment: on His plan for my life. Through daily reading of scripture and prayer in which I ask Him to help me reflect his character, instead of my own, to those around me, I grow in His direction and in peace of mind. It is a realization that, even though I stumble on a daily basis, there is also grace, forgiveness, and renewal on a daily basis that maintains my momentum in the right direction.

She Might Have Been

Everywhere I turn I get a clearer view of my own darkness
A stranger approaches as I indulge in gluttonous cynicism
A defense mechanism built in by my sinful nature
She may have been fundraising for booze
She may have been panhandling to feed a habit
She might have needed money to feed her kids
She might have been Jesus
But, I turned away
Please forgive me Father

Breath

Like a machine, a mower
Consuming, cutting down
The tasks, distractions
That lie before me
Sometimes a sidestreet from a noble road
Often just a rashy alley lit with neon
My soul stumbles in a stupor
Until I fall, face down
Broken on the ground
Still in the aftermath
Too weak to move
Resting in a breath
A moment of humble clarity
My head against His chest
Listening to the Rabbi’s heartbeat

“People think the more they are doing for the Lord, the better and that he’ll be more pleased with them. But, God is more concerned with our relationship with Him. If we’re spending time with Him, those activities should come as a natural outpouring – not the other way around.” -Jeremy Camp