Yeshua

I usually call him Jesus, like to think I am “his girl” and rarely live up to what he deserves.

Yesterday the daily Bible reading was Isaiah 53 and it brought me to tears, as it always does. “Crushed for our transgressions”? I think of the ordinary atrocities we humans endorse on the reg as well as the ones which will forever radiate darkness in our history.

He took them.

And he offers such untrammeled friendship. King of kings, yet he is the friend of every yet-born child.

I should stop there. Benign, seek Jesus stuff, right?

But that is not all. Isaiah’s view of the Messiah is polarizing. He is not depicted as the universally recognized cool guy everyone loves. He is depicted as “despised and rejected of men.”

Why?

Because we do not usually like to be told we are wrong, helpless—supine. We like to be in charge.

Jesus is our, wants to be, our friend, but ultimately that should be on his terms, not yours or mine.

Does that galvanize or offend you?

I do not enjoy thinking about Jesus’ crucified death, his humiliation, blooded and broken and naked and alone, but I know

That and worse was to be my lot without him.

The Music Box

It is morning, the day before my mother’s funeral. My oldest son and I are standing by the French doors in the great room of my mother’s house. He is cleaning the windows and I am admiring the view of the pond when we both hear music coming from the mantle above the fireplace, six to eight feet from where we are standing.

I go over, thinking it must be one of her clocks. It is not. It is a music box, playing its song.

It played for a couple minutes, then the morning quiet resumed.

That was all.

My mother died last week

She was sick. The accretion of conditions related to smoking years ago and other things were taking their due.

John 20:1 NIV
[1] Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.

John 20:19-23 NIV
[19] On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” [20] After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. [21] Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” [22] And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. [23] If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

We are all abandoned houses

I can close my eyes and see the road, the house, the caged tigers at the roadside pit stop. I can see the cities and the precipitous bridges, the waterside parks and the places we have been before—with the very people lost to us now

What I would give to tell the mother to let the girl go

Like a beloved but hopelessly tangled kite

And tell the girl to just

Untangle toward the sun,

We are all abandoned houses

Without him anyway

Advice for the dictator

Lately he doesn’t seem to smile much, hardly a surprise when his latest hobby is world domination.

I pray for him, but how?

How do you pray for a monster?

By acknowledging we are all monsters, only some monsters do not obey the voices in our heads which

Reduce cities to rubble and children to dust.

The advice is simple–

You are a man, just a man

And you are dying

You cannot, no,will not, outrun God

Repent and change

Leave everything but your soul behind and say you are sorry for what you have done

Replace your illusions of control with the acknowledgement of your weakness

For we are all monsters here

Debtors all to grace

Leave your robe

I try to gather traveling instructions for the “nice lady” I met at the coffee shop

Find those who sell the oil and stick with them closely until the bridegroom comes

Leave even your best robe behind

Be willing to sell all you have for the treasure in the field

Do all this for the least of these

Because narrow is the path to life (and few there are who will find it)

Call on the name of the Lord to be saved

If you don’t already seek and find him in

Ordinary wonders

Matthew 25:11-14 KJV

[11] Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. [12] But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. [13] Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. [14] For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

Sometimes we drive in the dark

Every once upon a time I take the girls

Driving in the dark

We look for places to call home–ramshackle garage, vape shop, dry cleaner with its window smashed

In the apocalypse there is still no

Room left in the inns of the world they ask

Why did she have to stick the needle in her arm? Why did she stick the needle in her arm? What was it about the needle that

Caused us to lose her?

The little one has poured her anger out over her minders all afternoon

Unwilling to face what it costs them

So I try to de Bergerac her through the necessary obsequities

I tell her I will whisper the words and she will shout–

I’m sorry

I’m sorry!

I’m sorry I was mean before

I’m sorry I was mean before

I was working out my grief

I was working out my grief

And sometimes there is anger in grief

And sometimes there is anger in grief

She has such a comical little girl voice

But when she says these things I know what God means

When He whispers in my ear

Altos De Betania

John 1:26-28 NIV

[26] “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. [27] He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” [28] This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

I was once set free in Bethany, so far from Jerusalem the rainy season fills the streets into rivers and the dry season ignites the hills, black ash a veil, a shroud over all

Who are you?

In the house of figs and sadness, blessed are the poor in spirit who

Know they cannot raise themselves to life

Let all the other signifiers change for us

To Lazarus to life

Across the vault of the sky

The white birds appear as points of light in the river until they can be heard

They obey parliamentary procedures for the most part until ordinary words are not enough

Then they either

Fly

Across the vault of the sky lights rise and fall, signaling splendor

Morning and evening

And it was so.

Genesis 1:20 NIV

[20] And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”