Wednesday, April 22, 2009


We've become an icy generation
frozen opinions wrapped in newspapers and online forums
Noisy arctic winds stinging our rosy ears
and caressing our pride smooth as glass
frosty voices hissing humanity's biting independence
and we stand tall to hide our shivering
jaws clenched to resist our chattering teeth
while the world continues to hammer
chipping and cracking
breaking and shattering
piece by piece

But Your springtime is always waiting
tiny buds awaiting the end to frosty hibernation
Subtle breezes crinkling in the leather-bound, gold-tipped pages
and melting our hearts, balmy with new life
Warm worship melodies singing our sunshine dependence
and we kneel at Your feet to give up our glacial ways
arms up to reach the toasty glow of surrender
while You bend down to envelop us in Your embrace
melting and nourishing
healing and soothing
peace by peace

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." C.S. Lewis

"I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don't for a moment escape God's notice." Psalm 51:16 (Msg)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Week of Lessons: Easter Sunday

my 30 Easters with You
reveal an emerging and quirky story
of how Your bold steps out of an empty tomb
pulled my slow, shy steps out of the shadows
from paralyzed fear and dragging heals to a dance of joy in sun
that first Easter was a snapshot of a nine month old baby
probably sleeping on the floor behind the organ
is some frilly Easter pastels and patten leather
tiny eyes peeking at mommy's feet on the peddles
and hearing daddy's voice lead the congregation in a lullaby hymn
five years later you'd see a bubbly pig-tailed grin
under a white floppy hat with matching purse
skipping from one white-haired lady to another
for "oohs and awes" at my twirling dress
and some free bubble gum fished out of purses
a princess in a steepled castle
and the pews were my playground
but something happened in those next years
a hole in the story where the process is blocked out
like a blurred face or bout with amnesia
the music shifts for that 12th Easter
like that pulsing heartbeat screechy violin in a horror movie
as the victim's hand shakes and reaches for a doorknob
maybe it was a new city, new career for dad, new everything
knocking awkward knees hidden under a guise of invisible
layered in dull colors of grays and tans
back row of the church, singing harmony in a whisper
feeling a ball of ice in my throat that could melt into tears
if I didn't keep swallowing and keep my face hidden in the pages
a simple shyness let loose into a Tasmanian devil
of anxiety that sewed the lips shut
brought on chest pains and doubled-over stomach aches
and asked mom and dad to order for me at restaurants
but I ran to You in my diary prayers
in the safety of my messy bedroom
and jumped inside elaborate costumes
in the safety of a fantasy stage
and You started something new, something bigger
than a hand-me-down truth from mom and dad.
Zooming through the sands of time to today
sitting at my desk, grinning with peace, surrounded by people
as I listen to the team I love celebrating You
6 services, lots of fingerfoods, good conversations & skip-bo,
dancing a dance once again like that five year old princess
or an uncivilized king who wrote a few poems himself
trying to ignore those old fears that try to steal it all away again
but then You remind me of that evolving story of our Easter dance
from too scared to order at restaurants
to leading a team of superstars
only You...

I can't wait to see what You have in mind for my little girl
and all her Easters to come
I wonder what Your steps out of that tomb
will lead her to
and I hope she'll share with me
those secret anniversaries of her heart
her own private holy days with You
for this Easter
and many more to come.

"The holiest of holidays are those kept by ourselves in silence and apart: the secret anniversaries of the heart." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"For the devout Jew, the calendar was more the a way of marking time. It provided a timely way to commemorate God's dealings in the life of the nation. The month of Nisan marked the Passover, the time of Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage. Sivan brought the feast of Pentecost, the celebration of another bountiful harvest from God. Tishri took the people back to their wilderness wanderings through the Feast of the Tabernacles. Each holiday became a holy day--a time of recalling, repenting, and renewing old commitments to follow the God of Israel. Holidays really can be holy days. The word holy means set apart for divine services or purposes. Our modern calendar can remind us as believers to commemorate what God has done for us."
Lenya Heitzig and Penny Rose, Live Fearlessly

"Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We're Christ's representatives."2 Corinthians 5:17-19 (Msg)

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Week of Lessons: Good Friday

2000 years ago time stopped for a moment
and all our children know is a day out of school
a foreshadowed glimpse at a truth too big
for their tiny hands to hold just yet
like trying to reach something on a high shelf
and all you can do is yell for mommy
or wait to grow taller
reading this chapter reads more like a scary story
torn flesh, nails crushing through bones,
crowd-screaming earthquakes, dead people rising from the grave,
a love letter written in blood
it's hard for them to see why it is called
Good Friday
she can read a simple 3 letter word
but "sin" isn't really chewable when you're six
I try to make it bigger than stickers on a chart
allowance for chores
and consequences for missteps in the 5th commandment
attempting to cut it down into smaller pieces
and hoping the puzzle comes together on it's own
she can't feel the darkness of today
that illuminates the light of Sunday
she can't know what that torn curtain in the temple
means to the souls of her parents and grandparents
For now, the cross is a symbol she loves to call out
an icon, a brand, a trinket on a chain
like seeing a picture of her best friend
on some random billboard on vacation
a mini-van bumper sticker that makes her gasp
"Hey, they know Jesus too!" she cries, waving frantically
while strange, hesitant smiles peek out windows
or hide under tall steeples along the highway
so much life in her eyes from Your symbol of death
an arm stretched up to that top shelf on tiptoe
but she still can't quite reach it yet
all I can do is call to You
and wait for her to grow taller

"Learn to know Christ and him crucified. Learn to sing to him, and say, 'Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, I am your sin. You have taken upon yourself what is mine and given me what is yours. You have become what you were not so that I might become what I was not.'" Martin Luther

"God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It always stands at the far side of the cross." A.W. Tozer

"God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what he has done, collecting a following for him. And he didn't send me to do it with a lot of fancy rhetoric of my own, lest the powerful action at the center—Christ on the Cross—be trivialized into mere words." 1 Corinthians 1:17

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Week of Lessons: Maundy Thursday

John 13 never gets old
like a movie I could watch over and over again
with a blanket and a bag of popcorn
but it's never the same twice
that day You wrapped a towel around Your waist
and shocked 12 men and the world
with Your moment of upside down leadership
a King kneeling at the feet of his subjects
and I just didn't want her to miss it
three generations celebrating Your three in One
the warm water enveloping our feet
this wiggling toe baptism
Your monument in our hearts
celebrated in our reaching hands
Your gentle touch in our patting towels
and I'm praying it's a little drop of rain
in the ocean of faith You have in mind for her
teaching me to be content
that for now
it's just a little bowl
for now....

John 13
Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet
1It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.[a]
2The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. 3Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
7Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."
8"No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."
9"Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"
10Jesus answered, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you." 11For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13"You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Week of Lessons: Palm Sunday

"I want to make a palm branch, Mommy"
she said with determination in her eyes
and green construction paper in her hands
lessons from Miss Sheila still swirling in her mind
but her hands needed something to remember it by
"And I want to make a sign"
I could see she had been to Jerusalem
in the time travel machine of her imagination
and she didn't think You saw her in the crowd
and I can't help but grin for the day she finds You found her
"It has to be big and bold!"
scribbling through 4 markers that didn't make the cut
too light, too thin, too faded, too pink,
until she landed on a solid, bold brown
like the cross coming heavy on Friday
"Maybe I should make two!"
She was resolved to catch Your gaze from that donkey
tongue out to the side as she sounded out the words
white fingertips as she held the paper steady
adding a smiley face for visual effect
"Nope, three would be even better!"
And I can't help but think of three days,
three times denied, Abrham , Issac and Jacob,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit
but she's not even content with Your number of completion
"Oh, I forgot the last one!"
her pursed lips slide to the side
her gaze is vacant as she searches for the perfect words
she begins to plan for enough space for all her letters
and I can't help but thank You for this
little monument of praise
Your triumphant entry
moving from my little girl's mind
out to her fingertips
up to You
and from her heart to mine
As I read the finished product
correcting the spelling in my teacher head
but secretly loving every mistake in my silence
I can't help but praise You
through my little girls words
"hosanna, hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to the king
We love You, Lord (smiley face)
Hail to the King (Beating Heart)
I love you with all of my heart, with all my strength"
I take a few sapshots
like 12 stones by the Jordan
and I can't think of a better way
to begin this Holy week

When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!" "Hosanna in the highest!" Mark 11:7-10

"It may feel like you can't choose your desires, but you can always choose your worship." Jason Miller, Palm Sunday 2009, Granger Community Church

"The mother's heart is the child's schoolroom." Henry Ward Beecher

"Let your home be your parish, your little brood your congregation, your living room a sanctuary, and your knee a sacred altar." Billy Graham

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Lunch Date with Fear

Fear talks too much
and most of the time I just sit and listen
fist under my chin, nodding from time to time
false token smiles so he feels like he's making sense
trying to be polite and endure him until the check comes
but in the opportunity of my silence
his pitch starts to sound appealing
all my life he's been hissing in my ear
but I invited You to come along today
for my lunch date with fear
You have a better proposal for both of us
and we haven't even ordered yet.
My uncivillized elbows jump and land on the table
as I lean forward to listen to only You
The more he interrupts,
the less sense he begins to make.
You model patience in your relaxed posture of peace
because You know he's meant for You alone.
And I think I just caught You winking at me....

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

"God gives power to the faint...Courage is not the absence of fear but the presence of faith despite it." Lenya Heitzig and Penny Rose, Living Fearlessly: A Study in the Book of Joshua

"Shame arises from the fear of men, conscience from the fear of God." Samuel Johnson

"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." C.S. Lewis