Ash Wednesday: Trusting in the Sun

Ash Wednesday: Trusting in the Sun

 

It will return. It is

returning. Six o’clock

and already the winter candle

light is not a sharp

circle on the table.

 

It was a tough

winter, a tough fall.

Four dead, your own

new scars, the surprise

of seventy years.

 

You’re needing morning

bird song—a robin,

a cardinal. You’re needing

good news. And today

the reversal—just as the sun

 

is warming through the wind,

as the maples are giving 

their juice, your old

religion makes it Lent.

Well, all right.

 

If the meat is gone,

you might as well fast.

Someday again, days

will be longer than nights.

You just have to wait.

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WHAT IT’S ABOUT

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

It’s about being lost.

Really, really lost.

Squandering half the family fortune

and eating pig food and crawling home 

without even a name to call your own.

And it’s about saving and working hard

and being responsible

and no one notices or cares.

It’s about getting paid the same.

It’s about being meek and poor

and hungry and sad.

It’s about being left for dead

then rescued by someone

you’d cross the street

or maybe the ocean

to avoid.

It’s about a wedding reception

with all the wrong sorts of people

but you’re there, too.

What’s that about?

 

It certainly isn’t about the rules.

It isn’t about going to church

and potlucks and biblestudies

and committee meetings.

It isn’t about being good

so you’ll go to heaven when

you die. It’s not

about saving 

your little 

soul.

 

It’s about letting everything go—

every flying buttress and rose window,

every pipe organ and bible

and prayer book and linen cloth

and silver cup—

every attitude,

every certainty,

everything you think you know—

in order to buy

one pearl.

 

It’s about bread and salt.

It’s about a lighted lamp.

CONSIGNMENT

 

 

CONSIGNMENT

One day you finally

got tired of thinking

about dying. About 

your body and its little

woes. You understood

there’s a world 

out there beyond

your skin that doesn’t

care a fig or a thistle

what you’re thinking,

where you go,

whether you live

or not.

That was the day

you consigned yourself

to your dust,

and, like Job,

declared yourself

content.

ADVENT, 15

ADVENT

 

15.

    ~John 10

 

One flock, O yes. 

(I’m trying.)

You must bring them in.

Yes.

They will hear your call.

They will know your voice.

And how will they know?

 

Lambs learn their mothers’ voices

while still curled in the womb.

Once I saw a ewe

close to giving birth,

talking softly to her lamb.

(I’m trying.)

My father’s sheep came

only to him.

Once upon a time,

I found this a comfort. 

 

But now, John Gospeller, 

now I see:

this gate swings 

on predestination’s hinges.

One more door

closed to the many,

open only to the elect.

(I tried.)

ADVENT, 13

ADVENT

13.

      ~John 8

 

It must have been fear—

that most compelling feeling—

that attached them

to your Jesus. Why else

would anyone follow

a fellow who goes on

and on about above

and below, about

himself and his distant

father? And worse—O

worse!—a fellow who sees

people (like the woman

caught in the act) 

as opportunities 

for tedious theologizing.

You scared them, 

John Gospeller.

They believed they’d be

condemned without

your esoteric creed.

It must have been fear.

Likely, it still is.

ADVENT, 9

ADVENT

 

9.

       ~John 5

 

Move away from what you know.

Can you?

Bread and wine,

comfortable and magical words,

candles, flowers,

Victorian hymnody,

linens arranged just so.

Just so.

Walk away 

from stained glass,

stone towers, bells.

Stop being helpless.

Today is the holiest of days.

Stir the waters 

in the pool of mercy.

Be a burning light