For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
~2 Corinthians 1:20
When will I ever learn to say Amen,
Really assent at last to anything?
For now my hesitations always bring
Some reservation in their trail, and then
Each reservation brings new hesitations;
All my intended amens just collapse
In an evasive mumble: well, perhaps,
Let me consider all the implications . . .
But you can read my heart, I hear you say: For once be present to me, I am here,
Breathe in the perfect love that casts out fear
Open your heart and let your yea be yea.
Oh bring me to that brink, that moment when
I see your full-eyed love and say Amen. ~Malcolm Guite — “Amen”
Our answer to the invitation to be loved — when we are restless and uneasy, when we are broken and empty, when we feel unknowable and unloveable — should be “Yes”, over and over.
God tells us “Yes”, again and again, that we may know Him as He is one with us. Mere mortals have experienced God born of and from the flesh, as He walked, ate, slept among us.
Christ became the Yes, the covenant, the contract God has made with His people. We are bound to Him, even when we pull away and say “No” as the unloveable are wont to do, regularly and emphatically.
When young Mary was told the impossible, the implausible, the incomprehensible would happen to her, her response was not “No way–go find someone else!”. Her response was “Behold the willing servant of the Lord; let it be unto me according to thy word.” She says, in essence “Yes! And Amen!”
How often do we respond with such trust and faithfulness, accepting Christ as the ultimate “Yes” from God, who ensures our everlasting salvation?
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29
Why worry about the loaves and fishes? If you say the right words, the wine expands. If you say them with love and the felt ferocity of that love and the felt necessity of that love, the fish explode into many. Imagine him, speaking, and don’t worry about what is reality, or what is plain, or what is mysterious. If you were there, it was all those things. If you can imagine it, it is all those things. Eat, drink, be happy. Accept the miracle. Accept, too, each spoken word spoken with love. Mary Oliver – “Logos”
Many reject him because they weren’t there-
how can they know
what was real without seeing and hearing him
with their own eyes and ears.
We read his words
and think about
how his voice sounded
in a crowd
of 5000 people so hungry,
and how his eyes teared
as he was betrayed
We weren’t in the garden
that day when he was mistaken
for the gardener
nor were we on the road to Emmaus
walking beside a stranger whose words
made our hearts burn within us
but we can imagine hearing our name spoken
and knowing it is him
or watching him break the bread
and recognizing his body.
We weren’t there
but we didn’t have to be.
If we can imagine what His Logos tells us,
it is plain and real,
a mystery of the heart
all of these things
all of these things
all these things
and so much more
I believe there are some debts That we never can repay I believe there are some words That you can never unsay And I don’t know a single soul Who didn’t get lost along the wayI believe in socks and gloves Knit out of soft grey wool And that there’s a place in heaven for those Who teach in public school And I know I get some things right But mostly I’m a foolChorus I believe in a good strong cup of ginger tea And all these shoots and roots will become a tree All I know is I can’t help but see All of this as so very holy
I believe in jars of jelly Put up by careful hands I believe most folks are doing About the best they can And I know there are some things That I will never understand
Chorus I believe there’s healing in the sound of your voice And that a summer tomato is a cause to rejoice And that following a song was never really a choice Never really
I believe in a good long letter written on real paper and with real pen I believe in the ones I love and know I’ll never see again I believe in the kindness of strangers and the comfort of old friends And when I close my eyes to sleep at night it’s good to say “Amen”
I believe that life’s comprised of smiles and sniffles and tears And in an old coat that still has another good year Ball I need is here
Chorus I believe in a good strong cup of ginger tea And all these shoots and roots will become a tree All I know is I can’t help but see All of this as so very holy
During these Lenten days, (and every day),
we are reminded of the gift of our first Breath
and the invitation in our last Breath.
We are asked stop living for self,
which can only lead to death,
and instead die to self,
so that we may live.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for My sake,
he is the one who will save it. Luke 9:24
First breath can come
Before even fully delivered
Encased and swaddled tight
Nose bubbling, mouth gaping, swallowing hungrily
Building up to a moist initial gasp~
Air-filled and sliding free
Hands clenched, then fingers spread,
Ready to grasp and hold on tight to life,
Arms reaching out to stop the fall.
A lifetime then spent holding fast,
Eventually toppling frail and
Slowly adrift, floating unmoored
Reaching for unseen fruit no longer needed
Breath comes ragged, at times silenced
Then gulp and sigh, ready to
Loosen grasp as anchor is lifted, and with
Last soft breath,
Delivered gently into the hand of God.
Out into the sun, After the frightful operation. She lies back, wounds undressed to the sun, To be healed, Sheltered from the sneapy chill creeping North wind, Leans back, eyes closed, exhausted, smiling Into the sun. Perhaps dozing a little. While we sit, and smile, and wait, and know She is not going to die. ~Ted Hughes from “March Morning Unlike Others”
Winter, that dying to self, is last summer’s fruit lying rotted when once it was sweet and firm. There seems no hope, no chance of life renewed, only gaping wounds covered and festering.
Mysterious and unexpected, the sun breaks through the clouds, the breezes hint of warmth and blossom scent, the birds dare to sing, the stone rolls back a crack, allowing the light to flood in where darkness once reigned.
We wait and know our wounds will be opened, cleaned and healed; there is no death this day, only beginnings, no more death forever, only life everlasting.
It is not only prayer that gives God glory,
Smiting on an anvil, sawing a beam,
whitewashing a wall, driving horses,
everything gives God some glory
if being in his grace you do it as your duty. To lift up the hands in prayer gives God glory, but a man with a dungfork in his hand, a woman with a slop pail, give Him glory, too. God is so great that all things give Him glory if you mean that they should. ~Gerard Manley Hopkins
Thanks in large part to how messy we humans are, this world is a grimy place. As an act of worship, we keep cleaning up after ourselves. The hands that clean the toilets, scrub the floors, carry the bedpans, pick up the garbage might as well be clasped in prayer–it is in such mundane tasks God is glorified.
I spend an hour every day carrying dirty buckets and wielding a pitchfork because it is my way of restoring order to the disorder inherent in human life. It is with gratitude that I’m able to pick up one little corner of my world, making stall beds tidier for our farm animals by mucking up their messes and in so doing, I’m cleaning up a piece of me at the same time.
I never want to forget the mess I’m in and the mess I am. I never want to forget to clean up after myself. I never want to feel it is a mere and mundane chore to worship with dungfork and slop pail in hand.
It is my privilege to work. It is His gift to me.
It is Grace who has come alongside me, pitching the muck and carrying the slop when I am too weary, and most amazing of all, cleans me up as well.