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Promised Land

 

 —-Promised Land

getting on with it
in the wilderness
go ahead

reveal my heart
as I beg
for scraps
at the table of attention,
affirmation, recognition
along with outrageous expectations
of tit for tat
defending some identity
pulled from a hat
dream the dream
compare and despair
get people on my side
or die
why don’t they ever see
what you mean
in the wilderness
take a breath
remember who you’re traveling with

hear him say
it’s time

cross the Jordan of your mind
look behind you
goodness and love pursue you
non-stop

cease striving, sit on the shore
feast on every word
from the mouth of the Lord

you don’t have to be alone with your hunger
anymore

Jesus gently removes your chains
though the desert looks the same
welcome
to the Promised land



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Idols

 
Idols
When I want something I remember
to ask for more of you
When I’m offended I remember
you’re the only one
who needs to be pleased
When I walk in total darkness
the torch that can be lit I leave
untouched, I choose you
The path that can be seen by me
is not the path
I’m taking

That Pure Place
I see you standing there
you are all there is
you are enough
everything you say is true
everything to be done
is finished
I see you seeing me
To be is everything
Beyond this finite moment
before time began
and now this
The eternity in my soul
meets you here
nothing to add
nothing to subtract
We fill the space
in this
pure place

*Painting by Grace Carol Bomer

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Rebuked


     Rebuked
The woman’s daughter was suffering
so she pleaded with Jesus
The disciples urged him to send her away
She was getting on their nerves
The children were brought to Jesus
to be held and prayed for
The mothers were rebuked by the disciples
We’re more serious than that
The blind men on the side of the road
cried out to Jesus for mercy
The crowd rebuked them
The blind were making too much noise
The woman poured perfume on Jesus’ feet
and dried his feet with her hair
The men rebuked her harshly
This is not what should have happened
Jesus rebuked the fever
and it went away
He rebuked the storm
and it became calm
He rebuked the impure spirit
and it fled
Had he rebuked us
we would have gone silent

Instead He said,
Father forgive them

And all the control-freaks were offered freedom


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The Demon is Mute



The Demon is Mute


Under the earth
lies a city whose gates
have been ripped off the hinges
iron bars in the dust, tumbleweeds roll
You walked in total darkness
beside shadowy souls
Three nights and three days
what did you say?
The key is in hand
the lie has been silenced
the demon is mute
he has nothing to answer
Love, what purpose?
You could have sent a missive
a thought or a prayer
no one expected
to see your Face here
From the womb to the cross
from the cross to the grave
where there’s love there is pain
we’ve all been abused
in some way
only You know
how deep the center goes

Love, what purpose?
So we can say
it’s worth it

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This Dance


This Dance


You said
I could dance
be a dancer
in this dimension, for this time
to this Music
The music is a mystery
a mystery that I love
but can’t complete
in sync
I don’t always land right
often get it wrong
missteps
and failed twirls
I fly wide-open
toward another dancer
and find myself asking
why didn’t you catch me
they say, why did you fall on me?
when I want to cry
You turn up the music and say
don’t be afraid, don’t be discouraged
I love your awkward dance
it’s perfect

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Leper

 

Leper


You stood there
asking where they were
why didn’t they come back
weren’t they healed?
As you stood there
looking for them in the distance
were you amazed
they didn’t think of you again
Stopped thinking of you
after they got what they wanted
what they wanted more than you?
As you stood alone wondering
did you feel the missing piece
in your gut
when they didn’t see you as someone to be seen
in your human heart and soul
didn’t see you
as being someone who would ask
Where are they?
They kept their distance
in a loud voice they called
for you
their creator, their healer
when the miracle was over
they went home
I open my eyes in the desert
and I see you
there is no distance
just the two of us and the black dog
who used to lick my wounds
I’m so grateful to be healed
so grateful to be here with you
surprised about the dog
surprised he still looms
Is he with me
or with you?

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Becoming


Becoming
Blood
splashed against the sides of the alter

  sprinkled on the people
in their hair, their eyes, their clothes
until the Word lay down
inside the dark and bloody womb
As You languished there
  becoming flesh
did you ask yourself,
Is this what it feels like to be them?
Toil in the realm
  of straw and dust
deal, endure and clean up the mess
  When You were frustrated did you ask yourself,
Is this what it feels like to be them?
On the cross, blood
ran into your eyes like sweat
  As You languished there
becoming death
becoming what’s wrong
  in each of us
Did you ask yourself,
Is this is what it feels like to be them?
It is Your blood now
  sprinkled on the hearts
of guiltless souls
  in our hair, our eyes, our clothes
Like children who must possess
  we ask to say Your name
From the womb, from birth and death
from hell and heaven
you answer us
you say,
  You are just becoming
holy, holy, holy
  will do for now


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Fight Me



Fight Me


God said,
I am picking a fight with you
let’s wrestle
Until the sun comes up, don’t quit
don’t let go
I long to hear you demand a blessing from me
It is me
not you
I will be the God who lets you win
and you will finally be honest
Because if I am Holy
and you are honest
and we wrestle each other
all night long, the sun will break
on a world with ladders
that lead to heaven

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Daughter



God’s Daughter

She has seen you part the Red Sea
and the Jordan
in her own life
You made water flow from a rock
for her
When she cried, bloodied by the side of the road
You heard her
You sent crows
carrying food when she couldn’t move
You put flesh on her bones with your Words
You brought her back to life with your breath

At the bottom of worldly wells
particularly deep
narrow and dark
She remains very still
She knows
who she is waiting on


The Prodigal Daughter
The girl is back, that’s all that matters. Who cares why she’s back? The old man doesn’t say he hopes she has learned her lesson, or I told you so. He doesn’t say he hopes she is finally ready to settle down, or settle, and find a way to make it up to him. He just says, ‘Bring her something to eat, for God’s sake. Bring her some warm clothes to put on,’ and when the girl finally manages to slip her prepared remarks in edgewise the old man doesn’t even hear them, he’s in such a state. All he can say is, The girl was dead and is alive again. The girl was lost and is found again. At the end of the scene what Jesus, as teller of the parable says is, ‘They began to make merry’. Merry of all things. They celebrated the girl’s return. They turn on the stereo. They break out the best Scotch. They roll back the living room carpet and ring up the neighbors.
-Frederick Buechner (Gender-edited without permission)