What Kind Of God Do You Have?

What kind of God do you have?

I have one who cares when I lament over
The burdens my friends bear,
And who shows me that
He is also big enough to hear my little prayer
That I find a figurine – a wedding cake topper –
In an antique store of
3 floors and 57,000 square feet.

How many millions of pieces are there
In a market that big?

And He not only says yes, but He
Leads me, as we talk about it all –
Friends and figurines –
To the third floor, to the
Locked cases, at the back end of the
Second hour scanning shelves,
To the
Very
Ceramic bride and groom that I
Had not bought in a thrift store in Michigan
Three days ago.
I don’t know why I didn’t buy those
Two dancing, happy people then,
But I see now that

These same two were waiting for me here,
Deep among the artifacts in
57,000 square feet of Alabama
Called Highway Pickers,
So He could show
Me that He hears me when I say His name,
That He enjoys my little ideas,
And that while I can marvel at
Fresh expressions of His love,
I shouldn’t be surprised at His character.
It’s just who He is.

That’s the kind of God I have.

My Life Is His Answer

God answers prayer.

He uses the answer itself,
When it comes, to
Comb my heart and tease out the snarls.
Always, always.

His answer and my repentance –
One brings the other as sure as a
Baby’s head at my shoulder
Invites a storm of kisses.

The enemy of my soul feeds on my heart-snarls
Rasping in my ear that all I have done before
Is empty.

His accusations are exact, a perfect recitation
Of my rankest hidden moments.
But he is so very limited in his conclusions.
He takes the pieces, but
Fails utterly at the point of ‘Therefore, . . .’
And isn’t that the magic of the gospel,
That the enemy is right,
But I’m still not condemned.

Because
The Lover, the Answerer, breaks in and speaks
Truth.
Even as He answers my prayer,
He fills all I did before with
Himself. And so His
Good answer, the fruit I bear, is whole and
Life-giving;

His answer and my life are
The same thing.

         

April on Woodland Street


 

Ode To March: Covered up

January showed herself as
Sticks against the
Indifferent back of
Stephen Crane’s deity.

March is those sticks fanning out from
Within themselves,
Expanding their marrow
To the east and west,
Joining hands and
Becoming thatch –
A Radagast roof that
Turns the softening sky into
Tiny triangular pieces.

March is the blush-beginning of
Being covered up.
~
Covered up.
Around here, when people say they are
Covered up, they mean they are
Busy,
Behind,
Overwhelmed;
Their production line isn’t meeting
Incoming orders and sirens are going off
All over the factory floor.

I get covered up like that,
Flat covered up. Oh, me.

And when I do,
I do the Adam-and-Eve thing –
Worry
And sew up a fig-leaf.
As a spider’s web is made of
Spider, so my skirt is woven of my
Panic and pride and dyed with a
Peacock’s palate of self-righteousness.

I wear my skirt to Sunday
Worship and there sing,
“Cover my defenseless head
In the shadow of thy wing.”
Tucked up there, He lets me hear
His heart beat the calming rhythm of
“It is finished.”
He removes my scrappy fig leaf,
And covers me up
With Himself.
He whispers over my head that
The production line is not my job.
~
I am covered up, oh, me.

My Warrior

I would not have chosen this
Particular fire.  Or any fire. But
Here it is, licking my toes and
Eyeing my legs for a good shank
Of meat. I am done for. And then . . .
In a flicker, I see into the air,
Or through it, to the
Other side of its translucence.

A Warrior there fights for me
Against arrows aflame.
Tireless, frontline, He shields my soul.
How He must value my soul that He,
War-clad and wielding, would
Condescend to rally for the smallness of me!

David’s shouts of deliverance
From ever-attackers suddenly speak for me
As his war songs never have before.
My enemy lives for my foot to slip,
My walking feet of joy, of peace, of faith!

But my Warrior is my salvation;
He explains to me with His arms and His strokes,
That I could never love to
Watch Him save me from
The fire if there was no fire.

Psalm 37 and 38

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Divine Colorer

God has a crayon in his box called Light.
He holds that crayon in the sun’s fingers, and
As the sun tips the brow of Ridge Street, He colors the
Facing treetops, just the tops,
 that color – Light!
And their day’s singing, swaying work
Has begun. The trunks, though,
In the ravine’s depths,
Are still in yesterday,
Or last night,
Sleeping purple and
Blue sleep.
The Divine Colorer
Lights them in His
Own time.
He accomplishes so much with
One ball of incandescence and His infinity.

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How Do I Reach You?

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I art my way to you.
Art is verb.
I art
Because the Artist
Made me to be His hands
At work.
I art to commune and co-create with
Him who whispers to me as we forge
Together. And the blood hums.
I art to be faithful to the
Original
As silk drapes a body’s
Swells and hollows.
I art to tell the truth,
Truth you hail as your own old friend,
Welcome and well met.
And then, you and I, we are
Connected.
I art for peace in a warring
World.  And art gentles.
Let this word fall in your ears –
I love you, dear one.

 

Ode To January – Fight The Good Fight

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January is sticks against the sky,
Bare enough to reveal that
Some Spring buds
Will labor longer, having
To push out and aside last Fall’s
Leaves that never fell.

In all their birthing fight to emerge,
Will the soft, bound shoots exclaim
To the lingering husks,
“Are you kidding me?
I have to overcome you?”

Yes, of course. Beauty
Must
Be pushed through a sieve of strife to ever
Be born.

This sky – white, forsaken –
Is Beauty’s stirrup.
To wait for a sunny day
Is to decide
Not to obey the
Daunting call to
Bear.