Lazarus

He walks into every room looking for someone who might comprehend

what it is

he has seen and heard

He weighs their solemn waiting-room-faces

Do they have

Better memories now? Do they still need to write things down or

Know every word by heart?

Are all the lambs among them and

can we see their scars?

Who can end this waiting

By calling us out

Out into life

My Covid Story

Around Thanksgiving I got Covid. I work in a doctor’s office, so eventually all of our staff got the disease as did our immediate family.

Symptoms and severity sorted out by age. The youngest two had the mildest symptoms, the oldest–me, ended up in the ER for a day, facing a diagnosis of damage to my heart and lungs.

First, let me say, that I am mending. I am the recipient of miracles and healing.

But the 24 hours leading up to the ER visit were really scary. The day in the ER was a gift. The oxygen machine they sent me home with was a gift.

And my current pulse, O2 stats, and general health–belong to the grace of my Ransomer.

Jesus gave me miracles, as He has done my whole life.

Covid is a really scary disease. It leaves some scars. It leaves fear and memory of the pain and uncertainty.

But Jesus is bigger than mountains. Jesus is bigger than tiny killer viral agents.

And Jesus never walks away from us.

I know I have been saved and given the gift of my life back.

I will do what I can to praise the One who saved me.

And I will use these beautiful lungs to pray for all of us.

That we feel him there with us,

No matter what.

The Namesake Dilemma

I have been waging a Sisyphean campaign to draw scrutiny to a large business deal.

One of the companies involved has clearly secular goals which are in frank opposition to the stated identity of the other.

The other bears the name of a good friend of mine. My best friend–

It troubles me that in recent years this second company seems to be more concerned with monetary transactions than honoring the name applied to its legal entity.

It is a good reminder for me–if I want to mark my life, my identity, my business, my things, with the name of my Beloved, well

I better make sure

They all really belong to Him

And we both know

He is my best friend, my boss, my king

Savior, Redeemer, Lord

God’s strong right arm.

Revelation 12:17 NIV

[17] Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.

H. Turcicus

Oh howl, my intemperate soul–

Until it was too late

I did not realize who it was

Singing on the porch each night.

Thought it was a frog or a night bird

Not this perfect little cup-sized creature

I have no place to go to speak my grief

Only the knowledge that it is me and my kind who have

Ritualized the extraction

out, out

of each small, indelible singer

Leaving us to mother

Regret instead.

Silverfish

What happened to me, that in a moment of gargantuan hubris, I smudged it out? So what if it lived in the books or the play things? So what if it preferred the damp and closeted nocturne?

The moment before it was a glinty, wriggling alive

Then it was just an undoable regret

A life I should not have taken

We all have them–

Our ghosts, the ones we wish we could

Bring back whole

A parade of The Returned–

Uriah, John the Baptist, Stephen, Joan of Arc

Leaping and unfettered procession

Amidst the boundless sea of

The Redeemed

these trees of life

Splendor through the fence

I could be a quark or an hurtling star,

A duck or a chicken

Living on one side of a beat-up plank fence

With knots in it, and scooped out holes

Signifying they all used to be trees

and the fence and the yard and the girl are just

Another kind of spaceship

Prone to sunset

Nothing can stop the Splendor from breaking through

Every hole in the fence.

Talitha

It’s not rocket science, I tell myself, still present with my former self in the iterations of the supplication–old and unglamorous skills get unfolded like the swords beaten into plowshares.

Or the plowshares years later, back into

Swords where there might have been a daughter or two

You know I would have took that many and more

Or tried to sow or shape them from whatever you can make into a girl

Not dragons, not the teeth of dragons

But words stronger than all of my

Misgivings

Isaiah 55:11-12 KJV

[11] So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. [12] For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Who protects the wary?

John 5:3-4 KJV

[3] In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. [4] For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

My first question for you is–do you believe there was an angel who came down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the waters?

So one person each time could be healed?

Crazy, right?

But no crazier than believing that Jesus healed the man who had been at the pool so long, who does not turn out to be the most grateful healed man.

I have skirted the issue of the angel at the pool for years, choosing instead to focus on Jesus and the man and the religious oligarchs who made it hard for Jesus.

I understand that angel complicates everything–messenger of God who brings some healing, brings some hope only

In a certain season.

Another Pandemic

The summer of 2018 was hard on us. We lost beloved kitten after beloved kitten. People in the community who fostered kittens talked about PTSD and loss.

The agony of hope and grief was indelible, but so too was the change in my experience with veterinarians.

Some refused to care for the kittens; others failed to tell us what was really killing them. I had always thought that veterinarians were doctors for animals, with the same abiding principles of integrity and common good.

That is what I thought before.

Now I know that for many it is just an income stream, a path to selling things in order to make a living.

I think about that summer. It was a bad summer for panleuk. There was a terrible tragedy unfolding for the most vulnerable among us. Back then, the people were ok, but the wee kittens had no chance.

Now I think about it because the pandemic we face this summer is counted in human lives.

Let us all hope and pray

That the people we trust with our lives

Are in this for the right reasons

And for the distance.

Treasure 2,3,4

Exodus 19:5 KJV

[5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

Deuteronomy 7:6 KJV

[6] For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

Deuteronomy 14:2 KJV

[2] For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

These three calling out verses are similar in many ways. God calls us. We are supposed to listen to His voice. If we do listen we are considered by Him (and often others) as special or peculiar.

Special sounds good, but peculiar can raise some eyebrows. Peculiar is different, not like the others, marked out.

We might not want all that, but it is what it means to be God’s treasure.

He tells us we are his valuable prizes, and we, as the valued prizes, do what he tells us to do,

No matter what