The nature of reality

This is reality
there is love
and there is love
and there is love.
It is fierce and holy
It is generous and sacrificial
It is far deeper and wider and wilder
than the utmost strainings of our imagination.

Everything sad will come untrue; it must —
because everything that is not love
has no real reality
and shadowy phantasms disappear, undone, in the light.

You are beloved
before anything else
created by Love, in Love, for Love.

Deep Magic

This is the deep magic
that we have always known
Though we have often forgotten:
To find and give all things their true names.

Poets, mathematicians, chemists, story tellers,
Biologists, explorers, zoologists, carpenters,
stone masons, teachers,
butchers, bakers, candlestick makers,
men and women, young and old:
All good work we do is centered on
finding what a thing is
and what it ought to be
what terrific potential waits curled quietly in
a seed, an atom, an embryo.

It is no accident, no coincidence
that at the core of reality
and binding it all together
is the Word.

how the story begins

Once upon a time —
only time did not exist
or space:

this is the very beginning.

In principio erat Verbum
et Verbum erat apud Deum
et Deus erat Verbum.
Hoc erat in principio apud Deum.

Creavitque Deus caelum et terram.

Terra autem erat inanis et vacua
et tenebrae erant super faciem abyssi:
et spiritus Dei ferebatur super aquas.

Dixitque Deus: Fiat lux. Et facta est lux.

In ipso vita erat et vita erat lux hominum:
et lux in tenebris lucet,
et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt.

But not for lack of trying.

Close your eyes and imagine creation:
order from chaos
fullness from empty
words sculpting worlds
speaking light.
This is the first chapter,
dazzling, breath-taking, blinding in beauty.
Linger in the song of the stars
as planets and cells and atoms
rejoice and join in the dance
of the Triune God.

Don’t turn the page too fast;
The next chapter introduces the war.
There’s a snake in the garden,
a worm in the apple,
a deceitful destroyer who disguises himself
as an angel of light

This is the reality of the world into which you were born
and you will be touched
broken by the conflict.
Cancer. Cheating. War. Mistrust. Depression.
Desolation. Divorce.
A wailing child, heartbroken
standing in the center of a bombed-out road,
lost and alone.

We should marvel, you realize
that in such a vast, dark universe
there are so many stars
so much beauty
so much grace.

[Rev 18:1-13, July 7 2019 @COTS]

the normal magic of love

It is not wishful thinking
or mere platitude
to speak of love as the driving force of the universe.

It is the reality of physics
of which we’ve only scratched the surface.
Atoms mysteriously connected
through space and time.
The moon and the tides
the rotation of seasons
the stars and the iron in our blood
my heart and yours —
it’s magic, I know,
and it’s perfectly normal.

The wonder is that the world is held together
despite all our hatred and wars
our enmity and injustice
earthquakes and oil spills
cancer and concentration camps
all creation groans
and yet
Your love is stronger.

So we believe and confess
that You are at work:
all around us, inside us
holding Your creation together
whether or not we perceive Your presence.

[June 30, 2019 @COTS]

A Poem for Lent

If we want to witness miracles
Then we must wait in the pain
Resurrection breaks through like a glorious dawn
But you can’t rush through the night.


You must stay through the terror
through the dark
through the tears, the anger, the uncertainty.
Although you are numb,
you must keep breathing
your heart must keep beating.

Read of those who waited
Read of those who wrestled
Read of those who wept.

Cry out with the psalmist:
“Where are You? Darkness is my only friend!”
Go to the tomb
and wait
for the miracle.
For the resurrection.

[January 24, 2019]


They build ramshackle fortresses
Education, memorization, progress, prosperity
Entertainment, louder music, more money, success
Rusty metal, rotten wood
Thin veneer of paint
So they seek to hide from the storm.

We are faultline engineers
Seeking to deepen and widen the cracks
Asking Why and What do you long for
Saying Think, crying Open your eyes!
Yet such warning are lost on the deaf and the blind.

Only You can bring the earthquake
The severe mercy of unmaking
So we pray that You’d come in the perfect storm
Scour and expose, ravage into rubble
Then meet them there in the ruins
And rebuild.

[March 2, 2017; with thanks for Dominic]

in two minds (imitation)

What I love about music
is the way it tumbles around in my mind
What I hate about my mind
is the way it goes too far forward and sticks in repeat
What I love about repeat
is the comforting solidarity of routine
What I hate about routine
is the claustrophobic inability to deviate from calendars
What I love about calendars
is knowing that spring always follows winter and then summer
What I hate about summer
is the goodbyes that are embedded in this particular one
What I love about one
is the freedom to come and go as I please
What I hate about please
is when it’s used to cloak manipulation
What I love about manipulation
is the stunning ingenuity of humans
What I hate about humans
is hatred and stupidity, gunshots and death
What I love about death
is that it has been defeated and is now a door
What I hate about doors
is when they are locked and you’re not here
What I love about here
is the surprising harmonies of lives making music
What I hate about music
is when it takes over my mind.

[Written for Reading/Composition, following a prompt model.]

Forbidden Fruit

Was it a
Hesitant bite, barely breaking the skin
Or full out gorging
With juice smeared all over your face?
I don’t know.
But we sin both ways
Trying it, just to see
And like we’d die without it.
But we die because of it
Because we would rather eat
From the forbidden tree
Than take the fruit from the tree of life.
So we were sent out of the garden
Into a world where we live in a state
Of continually dying
Trying to stretch out our lives
By the sweat of our brow
Trying to make enough grow
To keep us alive.
And the tree of life was blocked off
Until the day there was another tree
A tree that meant death.
And what hung on it was a man, not fruit
Eloi eloi lama sabacthani
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
And he faced death
And all of God’s wrath
Not a sidelong glance
But a full out grappling
That conquered the last enemy.
We live outside of Eden
In a world that is moving toward
The promise of a new world
One where the tree of life grows again
With a different fruit for every season
With leaves that can heal all the nations
Where we will stand before
The face of God
And be satisfied with His goodness

the kingdom of heaven

and the violent take it by force
because they utterly trample the bounds of propriety
and will not take No for an answer
in the face of daunting, overwhelming odds
they lack the good sense to give up and give in
cutting their losses
leaving us comfortable with the status quo
they refuse to live with the words que sera, sera
instead waging messy protests
crying out that This is NOT how it should be
the grit and steel that backs the worn petition
Your kingdom come

and the violent take it by force
because they are the ones crazy enough
to stay up all night wrestling with the angel
with God Himself
what kind of audacity does it take
to interrupt the King for a glass of water?
that of a child.
a child who knows they are seen and beloved
who holds fast to the truth that
God is always, only, ever good
in darkness. in death. in devastation.