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
It is when I consider my flaws, my mistakes, and the horrible things that I have done in my life that I fall down, broken, in full appreciation of the grace of Abba. The fact that He has blessed my life so richly, despite my long track record of persistent selfishness and vanity, sparks gratitude to the highest degree. It goes far beyond arguments about morality, theological debate, and adherence to particular church traditions and rituals. God is a boundless, infinite being not confined by time or human understanding. We can’t hope to outwit God anymore than a paintbrush can hope to understand the artist. Our true peace and joy is found in surrendering to the pure, unearned, grace of God and living out our resulting gratitude each day.
Excerpt from Reflections For Ragamuffins by Brennan Manning, Pp. 227:
The spirituality of accepted tenderness brings an intermittent awareness of the loving gaze of the Abba of Jesus…It is a spirituality without manuals and navel-gazing, goals and game plans, stress and distress. It simply rejoices in the gift. And it is all the work of the Holy Spirit defined as given tenderness.
“Yahweh is tender and compassionate, slow to anger, most loving. As tenderly as a father treats his children, so Yahweh treats those who fear him.” Psalm 103:8, 13
Head ache Sin ache
Gave in to the other
Shooting up a hellish echo
It pulls me down
When my attention settles in
Sin that I am
Regret that I invited
Shrieking ring in the round
Drowned for the moment
Beneath the surface
Of His grace
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Excerpt from Reflections For Ragamuffins by Brennan Manning, Pp.220
Do you ever think that Jesus appreciates you for wanting him, for wanting to say no to so many things that would separate you from him? Do you think that Jesus can ever be grateful to you for pausing to smile, comfort, give to one of his children who have such great need to see a smile, to feel a touch? Do you ever think of Jesus being grateful to you for learning more about him so that you can speak to others more deeply and truly about him? Do you ever think that Jesus can be angry or disappointed in you for not believing that he has forgiven you totally? He said, ‘I do not call you servants, but friends…’ Therefore, there is the possibility of every feeling and emotion that can exist between friends to exist here and now between Jesus and you.
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18
While God maintains the all-powerful, all-knowing, judicious aspect of his Character, He also loves, encourages, and practices patience and mercy through his identity as our Abba – our divine Daddy. As a father to a four-year-old girl, I know that there are times when I have to correct her for doing something she really shouldn’t have done. Sometimes, though, I have to turn my head to keep a straight face while directing her because her antics can sometimes be very amusing and I know that she is just a child. This morning, I’m led to believe that there are times when our Abba looks at us the same way.
My legs are uselessly weak after trying to kick free from this demon up to this very moment
The fork of my freedom remains
Her back to the Light that shines on the dark
The dark that has been redeemed by the Light
But, because I cried, “Lord, save me,”
“Immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand,”
He caught me
Though the demons goad me
Floating on a sea of grace
From Matthew 14:25 KJV
And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I, be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boysterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
From the July 15 entry of Brennan Manning’s Reflections for Ragamuffins: Daily Devotions
Peter writes in his first letter: “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s almighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:5b-6).
These words are both frightening and consoling. God resists, refuses, rejects the proud. But he delivers himself up, he gives himself totally to the humble and the little. Not only does he not resist them, but he cannot refuse them anything. The story of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21-28 is a shinging example. “Yes, Lord,” she said to Jesus when he pointed out that his mission was to Israel alone, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the masters’ table.” She humbled herself, and Jesus exalted her. “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.”
Jesus couldn’t resis the humility of this foreign woman, of the good thief, of Mary Magdalene.
“A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.” Proverbs 29:23
This reading reveals a characteristic of Jesus which, in my opinion, is profoundly beautiful and right. I often get caught up in the idea that something that I do or don’t do can either bring me closer to or push me further from God. His Love is infinite and his wisdom omniscient. All that we can do is come to him in utter humility, admit our powerlessness, and allow him to infuse us with His power so that we can live in faith, soaked in grace, and let our lives more resemble Him. This is life lived more abundantly.
The past still haunts me from time to time
My eyes drift away from His gaze
I feel my legs sinking below the surface
But, He went to such lengths to forgive
Here I stand too desensitized to notice
The me that catches my own backward glance
Is not the self that wrestles today
Lord God Almighty Christ
Infuse my muscles with enough holy power
To kick free from this wheezing demon
And dash forward carried by the fire of grace
Grant me the faith to not look back
But to love forward