Open

And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.
(Luke 1:64)

No good unless used for you:
only death, only a swallowing tomb.
No sweet grapes from a rotten vine;
no figs budding from a cursed tree.
When speaking, we curse; when silent, bones waste…
Until the words, He is risen. Why seek
the living among these yawning tombs?
Run. Tell the mourners.
Doubt has died.
This tongue has life to speak.

Damascus Road Prayers: Advent 3

image
artkillingapathy.com

Glory to your coming that restored humankind to life.
(Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns of the Nativity)

Because of the shadows, we miss our brother’s face,
         our sister’s gaze.
The pace of the crowd moves us forward.
                       If you reached out
to touch my garment, I would not feel.
This power departs us daily:
       to see,          to know.
O Brother, true human:
You reach where least expected.
These shadows flee; let us not retreat.
Come where we scarce have courage to go;
       give faith
           to make us whole.

Lent: Emmaus 3

Too fast you walk down the mountainside;
momentum gathers, yet of a false and fleeting kind.
A fig tree full of leaves, but fruit sorely lacking,
you see the glory but faint at the sight of blood.

Slow down. It is a long road and your companion lingers;
His death puts brakes on our downward slide.
Listen: past, present, future all gathered in Him,
the words of life may echo

if you heed the words of death.

Lent: Emmaus 2

The heavens are telling the glory of God –
    (tweet tweet, like like, instant message)
His voice goes out to the ends of the earth –
    (I fast, I tithe, I pray twice a day)
Heaven and earth will pass away –
    (Lord, let me sit at your right hand)
Before His law will fade.

In wilderness, make straight the way –
     (I thank you, Lord, I’m not like him)
The Son of Man must suffer and die –
    (O surely Lord not I?)
Heaven and earth will pass away –
     (Anti-ageing cream for sale)
His promises remain.

Lent: Emmaus 1

” And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?'”
(Luke 24:25-26)

Slow to understand, the day turns to night.
Light dwindles, the length of days shortens;
have we time to hear His words?

Walk. The road is long, but your companion
stays as sun retreats and understanding hides.
Slow to understand, we turn:

we slow our hearts to hear.

J. S. Bach – Cantata “Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden”

Luke 2: The Shepherds and the Temple

Rembrandt van Rijn - Adoration of the Shepherds
Rembrandt van Rijn – Adoration of the Shepherds

 

The child interrupts
           commerce,
                 the daily graze of life,
                            the expectations
                 of a quiet night in the fields.

The child demands
            leaving flocks,
                  abandoning norms,
                         following the angel’s call
                     in evening disquiet.

The child enters
            the daily,
                   the simple: cries, shivers,
                          needs food and warmth,
                      yet transforms it all.

The child fulfils
            centuries
                  of longing, of waiting:
                        consoles, answers, pierces;
                      a sword, a king, a child.

Luke 1: Zechariah and Mary

Portrait de Zacharie et d'Elisabeth - James Tissot (Brooklyn Museum, Wikimedia Commons)
Portrait de Zacharie et d’Elisabeth – James Tissot (Brooklyn Museum, Wikimedia Commons)
No surprise, perhaps,
    that the impossible’s not
a boundary    for the one who lit stars
and sculpted the mountains,           watered –
drew water from –    our rock.

Yet unexpected now, this figure
in temple,       in dreams,
beholding and saying
what’s seldom been said, more seldom believed:

The barren with child?
     A new way prepared?
        The virgin a mother?
           The hearts of the parents
                turned to their children,
        and souls taught to thirst after justice?

Behold –
these microscopic miracles of everyday grace:
Life folded in             zygotic life,
            faith found in anguish,
the courage of obedience,
speechlessness turned
to vocal trust,

     all caught up in
the moment of saying,
       “I am His servant.
    Let it be so with me.”