“So That You are Not Lacking…” (A Meditation on 1 Corinthians 1:3-9)

These gifts we receive
are not “gifts” in the traditional sense
of the word.

A gift should be anticipated,
circled in the catalog months ago,
waiting every day
for the mailman to show up
Up, and up, and up…
transcendent and transformed
by a long-awaited surprise.

But these gifts–
these gifts mean business!

Prophets, speak a word,
but in speaking, you may lose our support.
Teachers, give us knowledge,
but not so much that we begin to change.
Preachers, tell out the Good News,
as long as it’s the “good news” we want.

These gifts from God
are not so much gifts, as they are a charge–
to change the world,
to challenge our expectations,
to choose a pathway
and to walk there,
precariously,
all the way.

God is faithful!
(Of this I am sure.)
And the faithfulness of God
will sustain.

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“Give Ear, O Shepherd of Israel…” (A Meditation on Psalm 80)

“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel…”
So many declaratives!
Do this, God,
do that…
Shine forth,
stir up,
restore.

Our lives are lived in declarative sentences.

Life sentences that are lived declaratively,
definitively,
determinedly.

O God!
Restore us,
see us,
shine
on
us!

Your flock awaits,
your people listen,
in silence,
in longing,
in peaceful advent of surrender.

Shepherd, give ear to us!
Give life to us!
Give!
and we will receive.

“O, that you would tear open the heavens and come down…” (Meditation on Isaiah 64:1-9)

Come down, O God!
Tear the roof off, rip open the skies,
disembowel our enemies,
bring fear and trembling upon the earth!

We know the enemy,
and the enemy is us.
We are like unclean hands,
in need of a good scrub.

Cleanse us, O God!
Pour out your Spirit,
and we shall be created.

We seek violence,
a sure and swift end,
a decisive victory.
But it’s never that clear, is it?
Hard to tell who are the winners,
who are the losers,
when we so often fit the double bill,
both sinners and saints.

Instead of violence,
you offer us pottery;
shards of dried clay
re-moistened,
re-worked into something new.
You are about renewal,
reformation,
re-formation, always
re-shaping, always
re-creating in the midst of our mess.

We are all your people
We are all yours
We are all
We are,
and you are ours.

O God, come down,
tear the roof off of our pride,
rip open our hearts,
disembowel our notions of ourselves,
bring fear, yes, but also love.

–Advent 2014, Day 2