They knew Him too at breakfast

where, on the shore, He had
already assembled, as a table,
prepared for expected guests,
a charcoal fire, some fish laid out,
and, being himself the bread,
a loaf laid for good measure.

No need, of course, for the fish they brought.
No need, either, for that excess in their boats.
To feed seven mouths plus His,
that net-bursting horn of plenty was,
as old Judas, wilting, would have had them know,
not quite au fait.

Yet fitting – that He who made Leviathan solely to frolic
should choose to play with the resources of Galilee
to make much of these staples,
to invite, to delight,
and in the olive branch of this table set
in the presence of friends and enemies

to ask, as the mercy-cup overflowed in the background,
Simon, do you love me?

“The chariots and horsemen of Israel” (For the end of Epiphany)

The heart seeks Tabernacle:
on mountain-top, by river-bank, it longs
to settle, to hold the Presence safe,
within arm’s reach,
just the length of an Elijah’s-staff away.

Yet the false Tabernacles we weave
as curtains against truth
turn Transfiguration to self-help session
and seek double portions to allay the moment’s loss.

Day turns to night.
The chariot leaves; the mountain calls us down.
Beneath the vision’s light, what will we know
when ecstasy fades and the presence evades
our attempts at tabernacles?

In the heart’s dwelling-place when the moment is past,
will we descend to today’s implications?
When the glow recedes but the portion remains,
will we tend to the horsemen of Israel?

Lent: Humility 6

Teacher, they say, grant us whatever we ask of you.
Assumptions rich in self, they see
a throne, and seats on either side;
surely theirs? For what other reason do they fight?

Yet His kingdom is not of this world;
its great ones do not presume, nor grasp.
Losing and finding self, they serve,
seeing the king Himself on His knees.

Here it begins: on knees;
and it ends here too, for humble delight
is eternal delight, having nothing to lose but the object of its joy.

So far to go, I cannot go further than this;
I kneel, confess, rip off my face.
If worship is bowing, then see, O my king,
this death of self now as my song.

Love to the End

wpid-painting_of_the_foot_washing_-_santa_maria_del_mar_-_barcelona_2014_crop_1.jpg

My king, the heavens were your throne, your seat.
The task beneath us, we shuffled in our pride;
All things beneath you, you God washed our feet.

Undignified, so lowly, indiscrete!
What, Rabbi, wash our feet? we all decried.
My king, the heavens were your throne, your seat…

With thrones to claim and enemies to beat,
The servant’s towel the victory robe you tied;
All things beneath you, you, God, washed our feet.

Reclining in our comfort, souls replete
With motives mixed and dull, we turned aside…
My king, the heavens were your throne, your seat.

The lord of all now redefining great –
What did such love demand? Our status cried.
All things beneath you, you, God, washed our feet…

The shame of it, the love now made complete:
This utmost-love of nails and pierced side.
My king, the heavens were your throne, your seat:
All things beneath you, you, God, washed our feet.

Easter Tuesday

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It shatters; it transfigures:

from dust, His kingdom

lifts up dust, exalts our frame,

remembers, changes, in His name,

breathes new life into dry bones,

reanimates the dead.

 

Eleven dusty men, arise:

the mountain-top reveals your king.

All authority given Him,

He gives to you. Lift feeble feet;

He gives His message now to you.

The kingdom – shout it! – now is here.

 

Amidst the dust of here and now,

be its hands and feet.

Lent 42: Tuesday of Holy Week

Detail from Giovanni di Paolo, "Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane", Wikimedia Commons
Detail from Giovanni di Paolo, “Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane”, Wikimedia Commons

 

Yet dust we are we cannot stay

awake and pray (the flesh is weak)

and dust we are we walk away

and hide ourselves in dull deceit.

 

And dust He is yet more than dust

transfigured with the Father’s grief;

our dust He takes up to the Cross

and dies beside a thief.

Lent 4: Saturday After Ash Wednesday

Elemental, yet
controlling element –
He who shapes dust also
sweeps the seas, surveys their tides,

searches land and sea,
eyes attuned to every wave,
scanning hearts and scouring minds,
seeking men like fish.

And then His hook goes out:
Follow me. Can men defy
the voice which once made light to be
and knows the heart’s abyss?

Elemental yet reshaping elements:
changing stone hearts to flesh,
remaking dull bones,
teaching dull feet to follow.

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(Image: “Jesus Calling Disciples” by John Mosiman
http://sacredartpilgrim.com)