100:2

November 30, 2010

sometimes i catch myself
begrudgingly
obeying Your commands

as if You didn’t give me everything
as if You weren’t the source of every good thing

i fuss and grumble, mumbling,
“i guess this is for my good”
but never really buying it

i sigh
and treat You as if You were
Zeus or Jupiter, fickle and arbitrary,
apt to zap some poor unsuspecting
sap for being in Your way
on a lazy Saturday afternoon

forgive me for blaspheming Your kindness
by slandering Your steadfast love

so i will seek Your holy Presence
with a glad heart
i will lift my face to You
singing of Your lovingkindness
i will lay down my life on Your altar
a living sacrifice
because whatever You have for me
is right
and good
and best.

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100:1

November 29, 2010

Shout!
Make noise!

Rouse yourself from your autumnal slumbers
and raise your voice to the heavens!

Shake, you mountains!
Roar, you mighty ocean waves!
O beasts of the field, let cry
your roars, your squawks, your grunts and snorts!
Bubble and churn, you deeps,
And may your murky denizens swirl and swish
in exultation!

Every creature and every made thing,
halt your habitudes and still your cycles
for a moment, and cry out to your Maker!

Rejoice! Be glad! Be loud!
Wake the starry night with your
shouts of praise for
your LORD, your Almighty Creator,
the neverending Triumphant One!

You won’t relent–
so i played jonah
and ran from You

i pressed it down, the bitterness,
into a ball that grew in the pit of my
stomach like a tumor

i ignored it, ignored You,
hide my face from You
with my nose in a book
and my mind far away
(under King’s Dome)
because the paper and ink horrors
distracted me from my anger
with the Almighty

i blamed You for being fickle
giving and taking
i struggled to remind myself
that You are good
that You have been good
though at the moment
You didn’t seem good

but last night, i realized
i was afraid of letting You
have anything fully
because i didn’t want
to lose anything else

and i am struggling to accept
that You are the only prize
i can cling to that won’t be
crushed in my grasp
like Lenny and the rabbits

surrender means giving up.
i give up.

it still hurts
You know it does
and You know how it feels
because You have been hurt

but Your hurt was for my good
and my hurt is for Your glory and
the greatness of Your name
so my hurt isn’t wasted

help me consider this trial a joy
so that my tested faith perseveres
and i reach maturity.

or at least help me stop crying
in front of people.

psalm

November 15, 2010

You won’t relent until You have it all
all my love, all my devotion

and because You love me
You take from me what You give
because i love what You give
more than i love You

You won’t relent until you have it all…
there is a love as strong as death

if You weren’t Good, if You weren’t Perfect
i’d call You cruel
to take back beauty
to hide it behind Your glorious back
(until it shines, until it has to wear a veil,
until it soaks up Your glory and glows),
to pull Your gifts away from my clutching hands
and ask me if I love You more

You won’t relent until You have it all
my heart is Yours

four things i know: that You are Strong
that You are Good
that i am weak
and that i don’t treasure You enough

there is love that is as strong as death
jealousy demanding as the grave

and yet, as i weep,
i know that my only joy is in You
(i set you as a seal upon my heart)
and her only joy is in You
and our only joy is to know You
in all Your fullness
to grasp how long and wide and high
and deep is Your love

and many waters cannot quench this love

chrysanthemum

November 8, 2010

i always have to look up how to spell
chrysanthemum.
for some reason it always seemed
daunting to me, all the consonants–which is silly,
there’s nothing to be afraid of.
after the first few letters, it’s pretty easy to figure out.
the beginning is the hardest part.

the chrysanthemum is an ancient flower, known
and loved for thousands of years.
in the old world, she was a death maiden,
a woman of lamentation, draped in white linen.
in the far east, she was considered noble, even divine,
a flower of life and happiness, always a symbol of honor.
hundreds of poems have immortalized her beauty.

she’s a fall flower, a hardy bloom, but she takes
a long time to put down roots. you’ve got to let
chrysanthemum grow deep in order to grow strong,
before she can stand the harshness of winter,
the drought of summer. but as the other blooms of
summer fade, she blazes bright and beautiful.

new joys replace old scars

November 8, 2010

a year passes, and you get older
a little softer around the middle
a little thinner on top
and you begin to notice
a few faint wrinkles now crease
across your incredulous brow.

the old heartaches and confusion that
you scribbled in tattered notebooks and tapped
on keyboards in fits of smoky woe seem
ancient, like the Roman battles with Pompey
or Hannibal and his pachyderm parade.
you remember with a smile and laugh
what once made you weary and woebegone.
it always seemed corny to hear it, but now you find
time really heals all wounds–at least superficial ones.

your heart, it still beats, it’s grown and changed
and soldiered on through cold winters and dry summers.
the past is past, and you’ve said goodbye to what’s dead
and gone. and just when you resign yourself
the wind shifts, and you see what’s been growing
all around you: chrysanthemums.