Testimony

Coffee too strong? Ah. Good.
I can make it an Americano
If you need me to.
This? Pumpkin bread –
It’s a November thing.
I did, yes, have a question for you,
And I’m really asking.

Why did you choose not to see?

If you had listened even for a minute . . .
You would have actually understood
And not just thought you did.

But you didn’t. You dared instead
To lecture Jesus on the meaning of
Words He wrote.

And you could not have possibly
Gotten it more wrong.

You were striking a path, looking at
The wrong map,
Fighting in the wrong war,
Working very hard at building destruction,
Shoring up your pride with
Dry rot and sand,

Foaming and sweating
In a madman’s fit
Like all our classic tragic characters.
I watch you, cringing through my
Fingers,

For right in front of you stood
Righteousness offering itself free
For the taking,
But you couldn’t because you had
Buried yourself.

And I am right there beside you, but for the
Unexplainable.
His ‘Come to Me’ came and got me.
It came with power not resistible and it
Resurrected this buried soul. It loved my
Dry rot and pride and foam and sweat
Into tears of awe.

I’m telling you what it did,
But I cannot tell you how,
Except that He is Lord of heaven and earth.
~
Matthew 11 and 12

Advertisements

Joy Song For This Day

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28 – 30

If I have ears to hear what this teaches, thank you, Lord, giver of ears.
If you hold out your hand and cry, Come, thank you, Lord, beckoner of undeserving souls.
If I am called to humility, to service, thank you, Lord, yourself, gentle and lowly.
If I can learn from you, thank you, Lord, the first fruits, the go-before, the vitality.
If your yoke is to be mine, thank you, Lord, the king.
If your yoke is easy, thank you, Lord, my father.
If your yoke is the privilege of sacrifice, thank you, Lord, rejoicer in joy set before you.
If the sacrifice is planned and agreed upon by Triunity, thank you, Lord, sovereign savior.
If the result is exceeding joy, thank you, Lord, author and audience to all our joy songs.

Sunday Morning Struggle

I can’t go to Jerusalem today –
Coated as I am in failure and shame.
Doesn’t Satan chortle, if chortle he is able,
Leading royal children to the hired hands’ table.
Get your pincers off me, Satan, you’re lying!
My King waits for me, open-armed and smiling.

Sometimes On A Sunday

Looking up at the arched window above
The pulpit, singing ‘Rising, He justified,
Freely forever,’  I am pierced; I don’t
Live like I believe what I sing.
Freely? Nothing is abundant.
Things. Run. Out.
But sometimes on a Sunday, in that
Set apart hour, amongst the beams
And pews, beside family,
I believe. Freely! Such a long list
Of what is free to me. Such an impossible
List for me to want or to receive, a
Not-of-this-world list – soul’s rest,
Everything that enables me to believe the
Promise so unreservedly that I come
Boldly! Freely and boldly. What kind of
King gives free and welcomes bold?
What kind of love?
What overflow!


Christ Covenant Presbyterian Church

For Jonathan Baldini (And For Las Vegas)

Sunday, it’s gorgeous,
Though I’m the last that should speak for us.
A qualified poet must be bleeding at least,
Not savoring this glory, this revel, this feast.
The air’s shot with gold, the grass is white-kissed,
A drinkable sky, tapped pink and bisque.
It’s gorgeous, though,
Gorgeous, you know.
Problem is, the gold drops fast,
Can’t find the words to make it last.
Sisters weep, brothers fly
To the other side of that drinkable sky.
Mama wants his skin, oh, so much;
He’s never not here, she just can’t touch.
Daddy doesn’t cry; he wails inside,
‘We’re still six, though we look like five.’
But the baby’s so soft, so full in my arms,
She smells like life wrapped around my heart.
And the sky explodes yellow, red, magenta, blue.
A royal way, a Prince’s avenue.
It’s gorgeous though,
Gorgeous, you know.
Then the world goes silent; Evil shows his face.
I’ll shield you with my body and outpoured grace.
It’s beautiful, that grace, that flesh for flesh,
Monday’s sky is gray, but this flesh is blessed.
Sky wasn’t made to stay that way,
It will gold and it will part and we will touch one day.

Clogging Day Two: Triples and Buck Joeys

Day Two.  Well, you know day two of any conference; some of the bloom is off the rose and it’s not the rose’s fault. You’re tired, you’re at your conversational limit, the comfort zone is still a whole day away, the gals next door turn on the TV at 6:00 am, so you’ve got to dig deep. You’ve sweated through several shirts, but tell yourself, ‘This is a workshop; I’m supposed to look like my son’s rugby bag.’

Also, aside from the immense awe I have for the dancers in the advanced class I attended today, the clacking which invigorates the dancer, begins to try the sleep-deprived brain.  Let me clarify: I observed the advanced class. My participation was to video the teacher’s choreography and one of the professional students, at her request.  The quote of the day came from that class:

“Isn’t there a triple before the Buck Joey?”

“Yes,” said instructor Andy Howard, “yes, there is!” They all nod. Not only does that change EVerything, it seemed to sum up this whole fun experience for me.

Which leads me to the sheer delight of following the caller as he says things like “SaMANtha, Mountain Goat, Turkey, Scotty, Charleston, the aforementioned Buck Joey, and the matchless I’m Gonna Get Cha!” And all those steps can go left, right, and backwards, so you’re either ‘back home’ or facing the back wall or sitting beside Clogging Mom who is like any other Sports Mom – convinced scouts are everywhere and it is her responsibility, nay, her joy, to direct their attention to her starlet.

I got a kick out of the cloggers who came from Wisconsin or Michigan because they were wearing jackets with hoods. It is 90 degrees in Fontana Village, but I guess where they’re from they put on jackets in August and take them off in July. So September is clearly a jacket month no matter where you are.

An evening bluegrass concert capped the day allowing freestylers to take the floor and follow their heart. A three year old girl with two white-blond french braids jigged like one who understood the art form at a cellular level, like Grandma must have at the Sugaring-Off Dance in the Big Woods.  And then a husband and wife danced so entrancingly, so perfectly fit together, so gently looping their arms over shoulders and around waists, like figure skaters only warm and accessible. Like maybe we could all do that.

So, yes, there is triple before the Buck Joey. Bank on it.

   

Clogging Adventure: Day One

Fontana Clogging Jamboree; Fontana Village, North Carolina.

Here I am in the September Smokies. The leaves are just starting to get their affairs in order and update their wills because time is short. To get here from there, you have to drive the Tail Of The Dragon, 11 miles of barf even for the driver. Occasionally you might think, ‘Hey, this is pretty!’ but nausea is a narcissist, and demands fealty.  It can be deposited at the gate though and reclaimed at departure. So that’s good.

The dancers in the main hall fill the long room. Its wood floor is the instrument, and a thousand buck-tapped shoes play it in powerful stomping rhythm. The music guides, but the power is in the feet and taps united. And, oh, the variety of feet!

Eight year olds line the front row. Stick-skinny, knowing every step, they dance for hours.

Men who I would erroneously have pegged as football players or at least stadium rats Cotton-Eyed Joe with the best of them. One has on a military t-shirt and I think it’s legit.

A lean twenty-something with broody dark hair and glasses, looking like a blogger or start-up non-profit recycler makes every move look liquid and fantastic.  Appropriately, his t- shirt says simply, ‘Clog.’ He, too, dances for hours.

Women, women, women of all shapes and sizes, all! They know the steps to three hours of ‘fun dance’ in the evening session – not to be confused with six hours of instruction dance all day. Each new song brings a whoop and the new dance starts. They are all lovely whatever their shape or size because the body moving happily is lovely.

A four-year-old boy joins his dad for the men’s dance. He has his own little six inch long tapped shoes and he listens and follows the caller’s instructions. And so I decide that humanity, for all its frailties, will at least survive the lifespan of that child.

And then, best of all, the seniors. There are many! My favorite lady is wearing yellow and her ankles and feet move neatly, adding their nuance to the bigger loud stomping song. Her stamina is far, far deeper than mine. My favorite man has American flag shoes whose soles light up as he dances a little stiffly and upright but following all the mental moves perfectly. He knows the steps.

So, today is Day Two. I’ll be dancing in the Easy Hall today because I have learned that I am a Beginning Beginner. I’ll keep you posted.