Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Creche: Baby Jesus

I have no idea when Baby Jesus was hidden this year.  Now the scene is finally complete

Last night I went to turn off
The Christmas tree,
The onyx lamp
Next to the crèche.
I realized Baby Jesus
Was missing.
I found Him hidden
In the table drawer.
We always used to hide Him there
When our daughter was small.
The four wise folk
The animals
The angel
Mary and Joseph
Had waited
Since Christmas Day.
The rest of us
Were clearly occupied
With different things.
Now Jesus
Is back in the manger
Again.
The crèche
Is finally
Complete

Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday as Saturday

Today I am newly grateful for regular things made larger by their regularity:  my beloved and daughter are asleep upstairs, the trappings of Christmas are still in place.  The regular Saturday after Christmas was cracked open, and now it has appeared on Monday.  I sit in my writing chair, coffee in hand.  I am thankful.

It feels like the Saturday
We didn’t have last week.
I sit in the chair
In front of the Christmas tree,
The stone crèche
Beside it.
In our crèche
The wise folk
Have already arrived,
The sun shines full
Through the window
And
Best of all
The whole rest of the family
Sleeps sound
Upstairs.
Soon
The daughter will  come downstairs,
Complain again
We did not pick up the house
After Christmas.
I will probably laugh.
It feels like Saturday
Normal Saturday
Except instead
It is the beginning
Of a potential week
Of Saturdays.
The tree and crèche will stay up
All week.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Squirrel

Of course this is not about squirrels.  I am grateful particular crises reach a settling point.  Now that one thing is pretty much settled, I can see the squirrels again, my beloved can put out food for the birds, and the daughter can go to dinner with a friend.  I am also grateful for codeine cough medicine which has finally calmed the cough... and I can see those squirrels.

I can see the squirrels again.
They leap from pillar to post
Onto a particular tree branch
In the back yard.
Now I can focus
On squirrels
Once more.
Now
With everyone finally home
On vacation
We can each focus
On our own separate version
Of squirrel.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Twelve days of Christmas

Things are settling finally.  It looks like the Christmas celebration which did not end up so Christmasy, may be extended a bit.  There are twelve days of Christmas, and it only begins on the 25th of December.

I am glad Christmas lasts
Twelve days.
This year
It means we may really get to it
Long about
New Year’s Eve,
When everything has settled down
Finally.
The new year will arrive
With a lick and a promise,
Kick this year out the door.
But still
With six days left
Of the season
Which began in crisis.
Twelve days makes it long enough
To redeem itself
In the new year.
Who says we don’t know
Christmas?
We know Christmas,
The short and long of it.
Sometimes it finally arrives
On New Year’s Eve.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Best-laid plans

This week brought forth different things than planned.  And it is o.k.  Somehow it is way more than o.k.

Sometimes well-laid plans
Do not come to fruition.
Sometimes these plans morph.
They bear different fruit
Altogether.
But still
They bear fruit.
Though we were dressed
For picking apples,
Blackberries became
The order of the week.
Blackberries require
Different clothing
Entirely.
Still
The harvest bore
A different sweetness,
But sweetness
Nonetheless.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

I do what I can

I am home doing home things.  The cough is still with me. I have little voice.  So I email and text.  I pray.  And then, I pray again.

I do what I can
At home.
I pray with the laundry.
I pray with catching others up
On Christmas doings
And beyond.
A lot of beyond.
I drink hot tea,
Think about
The beyond,
Calm the cat.
The cat knows something
Is up.
Cats are like that.
I do what I can
And leave the rest
To the professionals.
And then there’s God.
Oh yeah
God.
I begin again.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The healthy one

I have been struggling with the aftermath of the cold from Hell.  Now my daughter has the flu.  The cat loves to eat Christmas ribbon.  My beloved... well... he is my beloved.  And healthy.  I pray my son is healthy, in the northern climes.  Still... it is Christmas.  I feel like we should all be singing the Whoville song, gathered around the Christmas tree.  My beloved will go to Florida tomorrow to see his parents and brother and nephews.  My daughter and I will stay home with the cat and the turtle.  This is the turtle's slow time of year. I'm thinking it may be our slow time as well.

The healthy one
Makes Christmas breakfast
After cleaning up
The cat puke
Laden with the cat’s favorite
Ribbon.
He washed his hands.
I know he washed his hands
The healthy one
I mean.
It is 2:00 PM.
Christmas day will go
As it will go.
Jesus is born again
No matter who is healthy,
Who is not.
Everyone sits in the living room
Gathered by the tree
Healthy
Not healthy
And all.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Star

When we decorated the tree this year, we missed one particular ornament, one my mother made of needlepoint years ago when my son was small. It was a small boy dressed to play in the snow.  Since everything was in upheaval last year with renovations, we did not put up the tree.  Two years ago after Christmas, I mailed a box to Erik in Minnesota, a box with a sampling of ornaments from his trees growing up.  I must have included the snowsuit boy.  Still... we have the star he made in preschool.  It is the last thing placed on our tree every year.

On top of every tree
For over twenty years
The star
A manila office folder
Card stock
Cut and folded,
Stapled just so
By one boy child
Age 3,
Maybe 4,
Decorated with squares
Of tissue paper
Orange and purple.
The star
The very last thing placed
On every tree
For over twenty years.
No small matter.
Other ornaments were mailed off
Two years ago
To seed another tree
To the North
But the Star
Remains here.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Stone creche

Of course now the creche is without a shepherd.  Maybe the extra king can play the part.  We have a plethora of creches from all over the world.  This year we set out only one.  Simply one.  With one nativity it is easier to see the world which surrounds it, including the burning bushes covered in snow, outside the front windows.

Last night we set out
The stone crèche from Kenya
Four kings bearing gifts
Joseph
Disguised as a shepherd.
We thought for years
They forgot Joseph
Entirely.
This year we determined
He was there all along,
Disguised as a shepherd
The same size and stone
As Mary.
The crèche stands
On the straw mat from China,
Next to the round onyx lamp
From Pakistan,
Under Guided by Stars,
A print of an Inuit family
Seeking home on a sled at night,
The sky filled with stars.
Never was the tableau
So appropriate.
The windows beyond
Hold the burning bushes
in this morning's light,
No longer burning
Covered in snow.
I*m glad to find Joseph
And the rest of world
In attendance
This year.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Today the tree... really

Sometimes things don't go as planned.  Sometimes it feels as though more steps are added into what was thought to be a simpler process.  Like putting up the Christmas tree.

Yesterday
We moved the chairs.
Watched the pageant
This morning,
Including the traditional
Running of the angels.
Today we moved Christmas upstairs
From the basement:
The tree in its bag,
Three plastic boxes,
A cardboard box
Of miscellany.
Today the tree
Really
Today the tree.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Today the tree

We were going to put up the tree early this year.  Surprise. No.  Today the furniture will be rearranged, the tree put together.  We have an artificial tree we purchased years ago, when we realized I am allergic to pine, and one small child became almost apoplectic when we put the tree, dripping needles, on the curb.  Today our artificial tree (years ago purchased on discount as last year's model) will be rooted in the living room once again.  O Come, Thou Root of Jesse, Come.

Today the tree.
But first of all
Comes the rearrangement
Of the living room:
One chair moved
To the family room,
The blue writing chair moved
Across the room
To recline
In a different space,
Directly across
From where
The tree will stand.
One thing at a time.
For now we all drink coffee.
I guess coffee is really
First of all.
By bedtime
The tree will be
In its place
Across from the recliner.
It will be rooted
In the living room.
Its lights will speak
Of coming things.
Today the tree.
In its time
The tree.

Friday, December 20, 2013

O Come, Thou Key of David

I carry keys on my key ring which open doors I no longer need to open.  The master church key is really five keys, and still I cannot open every door.  Strangely, every one with any assortment of church keys can open my office door.  From whence security?

Where is the key
To this particular door?
Mary and Joseph stayed
In the stable out back
Of the inn.
No key necessary,
Only the security of those who watched:
Animals
Shepherds
Angels
A Star
Wise folk.
Where is the key
On the seeming endless key ring
We all carry
In our pockets?
Where is the key
To this particular door?
A baby born,
No key necessary
In fact
No lock whatsoever
Open to all.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

O Come, Thou Dayspring

I love the word dayspring.  Since we rarely use it, it has not become tethered to particular meanings.  
Definition 1: 
Definition 2:
Definition 3:

So many images
Come to mind:
Sudden water
In the desert,
Bursting light
On the horizon,
Long awaited,
Long hoped-for.
The crows caw outside,
Fly branch to branch;
The snow melts to prepare
For new snow
Over the weekend,
A promised white blanket
For the new Baby.
Dayspring comes
In so many forms
So many images.
Some water
Some snow
Some light
Even
Some crows.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

O Come

I remember the rhythm of Advent from the days my children were small, from the parish ministry days.  I remember the times I was between parishes during Advent (I managed this at least twice).  Now my children are mostly grown, I have a counseling office under the altar, and no official responsibilities for the wealth of Advent/Christmas celebration at St. Mark's.  I did still manage to get the traditional Advent head cold, somehow.  

Every Advent
Churches work to forestall Christmas
With Jesse Trees,
Advent Wreathes,
Advent Carols,
Even with chocolate candy countdowns
To December 25.
We must celebrate something
Something calls
For celebration
Children wait in the dark
Adults wait
In the dark
The tree is up
In the corner of every living room
Churches everywhere
People everywhere
Wait for the Light to arrive
No matter what we do
To forestall Christmas
It comes
And it always seems
It is never soon enough.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

O Come Thou Wisdom

We have missed church the last two Sundays, despite Advent being my very favorite season, with its palpable waiting.  I have the annual Advent head cold.  It still comes, even with no pine in the house or church responsibilities.  Today Advent kicks up a notch.  Today is the right time to begin singing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.  Today's denoted verse is Wisdom.  A good way to begin the countdown.

Today we begin
The final waiting period
For all that is
To come.
We wait for Wisdom
From on High,
Who orderest all things mightily.
O come
We wait for you,
One day at a time.
O come
We wait for you
With words mined
From Scripture.
O come
We wait for Wisdom
To arrive,
Show us the way.
We wait in this final countdown
Of the Advent calendar.
O come
Wisdom
Come.
Today we begin
Our final
Waiting.
Wisdom is a good way
To begin.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Envy

I have been struck recently by the "if onlys."  I do not usually think of myself as an envious soul, but there it is.  The clarity I have prayed for is...well... clearer.  I stand myself next to others and feel myself a pale comparison... yet I also know, thanks to this God-given clarity, that I am doing what God would have me do, that I am offering what God would have me offer.  It is still all-too-easy to be envious of the stature others have gained.  Still the Star shines, and sometimes I even see it, and know I'm slogging in the right direction.

My eyes
Hold hazel
With a hint
Of green.
In the newfound clarity
I see myself a pale comparison
And yet
And yet
I do not really want
To be like them.
Not really.
Still my eyes give me away.
I read biographies,
The letters added to names
Before and behind,
The volumes published.
Even with this hint of green
I continue subtraction
This resolute subtraction
In God-given clarity
In the darkness so deep
I slog as though
Through mud
Still
The light of the Star
The darkness does not overcome it
Even now
My eyes hold hazel
With a hint
Of green.
And still the Star
Shines.

Today is cancelled

The head cold remains.  I was awake for my appointment to get my teeth cleaned when a client called in sick.  What a good idea I thought, barely able to speak without coughing.  The yard was decorated with snow over the weekend.  Here I am with a blanket and turtleneck pulled up over my nose and mouth, like the Skeezix cartoon character.  A cup of coffee in the stegosaurus mug warms my hands.

Today has been cancelled.
One client called in sick.
This allowed me to call the dentist,
Not subject the hygienist
To my head cold
This morning;
This allowed me to reschedule
The other appointment this afternoon.
Today is cancelled.
I drink hot things
In the blue chair,
Watch consciousness
Come and go,
Pull the turtleneck up
Over my nose and mouth,
Think what a blessing this is
Really
What a blessing this is
To give my consciousness
A break
Wait for presents to arrive
In the mail.
The yard outside was decorated
By Mother Nature herself.
Today
Is cancelled.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Straw into gold

As counting goes, this is almost seven whole days of brain clarity, even with a head cold.  Seven whole days, not one in seven, I will praise thee.  Deep abiding thanks for George Herbert and his poetry.   And for the hymn his poetry inspired (King of Glory, King of Peace).

My first years of ordained life were in campus ministry.  I learned what it is to create things like altar frontals from Pier One placemats.  I still do such things even though now it's not about altar frontals.  Now it is making cardboard stuffed material signs for my office door window under the altar.  Creativity comes in many forms.  Mine is not to spin straw into gold.

Thirty years out
I watch friends spin off
Into other sections
Of the known
And unknown
Universe.
I envy their spin.
I remain here and watch.
Mine is not to spin,
Not even straw into gold.
I make altar frontals
From Pier One placemats.
I always have.
I watch the person who weeps
In the back of the church,
See the person who leaves
Before the closing prayer.
My friends spin off.
I watch them go with love
And Godspeed.
And yes
Even some envy.
Some may spin straw
Into gold.
I will stay,
Stitch together Pier One placemats
Into paraments.

What's the excuse?

Home from church.  I resorted to the blue recliner last night so my snoring would keep no one awake... not my beloved... not me.  Excuses?  We have three.  Including the fact that I dreamed about church last night.  I dreamed a church that was so large it provided every service in town... and here I'm not just talking worship services... 

Today calls for warm things, cookies, and possibly the Christmas tree.

Today we have at least three:
College essays for one
Grading for one
And me?
I dreamed about church
All night.
Then there*s this head cold.
It begs
To be coddled
With warm things,
Lots of liquid,
Slice and bake cookies
Maybe even the Christmas tree
Will come out of the bag
Today.
Maybe
After the cookies.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Weather map

Grace is important to notice.  

The weather map
Had the snow
Missing us
Just barely.
So much
For the map.
It came wet and thick.
The snow blower arrived,
Its carburetor rebuilt,
At 8:45 this morning.
The snow arrived
Overnight.
Rarely are things timed
So well.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Light comes and goes

Day five of clarity.  Yeah!  Today is Saint Lucy (Santa Lucia).  Mary and Joseph are still on their way to Bethlehem to be counted.  I imagine the Star traveled with them.  At this time of year there is so much to pay attention to, so much light to notice, so much to watch.  

As we approach
The longest night,
The longest day approaches
To the South.
The night and day
Are both about light.
They wait for the world
To turn again.
They wait and watch
For the world to turn.
Saint Lucy wears her crown
Of light today.
Mary and Joseph continue their walk
To Bethlehem,
To be counted
In the census.
The Star travels with them,
Waits to rest.
Soon it will.
I count day five
Of a clear brain
Even as the daylight hours
Grow shorter
Here in the North.
Somewhere to the South
The Light grows brighter
This time of year.
I am a creature
Of the Light.
Sometimes I even see the Star.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Day four

I count this fourth day of clear brain as miraculous.  The frigid weather has settled in.  It is day twelve of Advent, and the day honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe.  She brought clear brain with her... a gift for now.  My friends with any kind of brain complications or mental illness know how stunning this is.  It*s not so much You don*t know what you*ve got *til it*s gone, but rather what a glorious thing it is when it returns for a visit!  

Day four
Our Lady
Has brought even more clarity
To the fore.
I wonder if the time
She carried Jesus
All those miles
Perched on a donkey
Clarified things
With every hoof fall;
Until finally someone said
Yes.
Yes.
Stay here.
Park that donkey
Here.
There’s some hay
Out back.
Climb down
With your womb full
Of clarity.
It is time to deliver
The child.
And she did.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Clarity and the Guadalupe

This week arrived and my brain arrived with it.  Clear as a bell.  This is day three.  Forgive me if I name this a miracle.  It really is stunning.  Clarity and The Guadalupe all on the same day.  I am blessed indeed.

Day three of a clear brain,
Sun shining off
More new snow.
It is clear
I am to offer calmness
Under the altar
And beyond.
Women iron ribbons
In the sacristy.
Too cold for a procession
Around the block,
The church is ready
For The Guadalupe
To arrive
Tonight.
She returns from her journey
Through the western suburbs,
Prayers pinned
To her robes.
She returns
Along with my clear calm brain.
I prayed for clarity.
In addition I found
The Guadalupe
In all her glory.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

No ice on my wings

We got the walks and driveway clear yesterday, with shovels.  The squirrels had eaten the push button on the snow blower over the summer.  The snow blower repair people will pick up the snow blower tomorrow.  The winter weather has begun the changing of plans.  One of its hallmarks. Snow days are not just for children. 

Snow here
But no ice.
The workshop for today
Was cancelled last night.
Due to inclement weather,
The leader
Was not able to fly
Across the country.
Winter weather can be hard
On wings.
She will stay
In the South
For today,
Not because of weather here
But because of
Weather there.
I learn the reprieve
Of a day set free.
No ice on my wings.
The weather has finally changed
To winter.
No ice on my wings --
Only snow.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Ah Emily

I woke this morning with a clear head, bright white snow outlining the trees, and gloriously, a walk to shovel.  It may not be as exciting as the winter wears on.  Still -- today it is.  And -- a poem by Emily Dickinson greeted me in my e-mail -- #505.  When she died, I understand she left poems on scraps of paper in her bedroom.  Quite a picture.  Ah Emily.

Ah Emily
You left scraps of paper 
With so many words.
The ones who cared
The ones who knew
Collected up your poems
When you died,
Put them in order,
Named them with their first line,
Gave them each a number.
Ah Emily
I picture you in your bedroom
Surrounded
In poetry.
It poured through you,
Drifted around you
Like the snow,
It holds the ground
This morning,
Bright in the sun.
Ah Emily
They shoveled your walk
Named and numbered
Each flake
After you died.
Ah
Emily.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Corroboration

Ah. Justification for celebrating 2 Advent at home.

The new comforters arrive
On the doorstep
As I write.
The light dust of snow
Corroborates the decision
To stay home
In the warm.
Still Advent,
The family now waits
Around the dining table.

Bone-weary

It is the second Sunday in Advent.  Advent - my favorite season of the church year.  It is John the Baptist Sunday.  My New Testament professor always called him JB.  Today I stay home, thinking about John.  The rest of the house has gone back to bed.  We have each had a bone-wearing week. 

We all got up in time
For church.
Separately
We acknowledged each of us,
In particular ways,
Is bone-weary
From the week.
If any one of us
Had said to the others
I will go with you
Rather than
I will stay home
With you
We might be in the car
Right now
Driving to church.
As it is
Even the cat
Has gone back to sleep,
Bone-weary
In his older cat way.
We have yet to hear
From the turtle.
He was not even part
Of the conversation
To begin with.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Workshop leader

Yesterday counted as 6 CEUs.  The workshop title was near perfect, as was the morning presentation.  The afternoon presentation, how to implement the morning's learnings, reminded me of why I am first and foremost a priest, and why They deserve to be treated like Us, and really, how I have moved back to the liminal space between Us and Them.  I had this same experience in Domestic Violence Training last winter.  I remember driving home, all those Saturdays, with the sun in my eyes.

The workshop leader
Had me
At the word Go
Then
After lunch she advocated
Lying
Or perhaps telling
A small fib
If it would make things
Go smoother.
If I had left
After lunch
I would never have heard her speak
Of Us and Them,
Them and Us.
All would have remained right
With the world.
And perhaps
The sun would have not blinded me
All the way home.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Advent is for dreaming

It seems this is a time of preparation... for something.  My person -- body and soul and mind --working on church time, flips into Advent musings.  I am standing next to the ocean, preparing to dive, without even knowing the particulars of scuba gear, without having received any training.  My dad is there, even though I don*t recall seeing him since he died in 1996, just before Christmas.  I was not surprised to see him.  Yep.  Preparation... for something.

Dreaming
I signed up for
A scuba dive,
A race of sorts,
Underwater.
I paid my money,
Drove with the instructor
To the site.
On the way
I told him I might not
Be ready yet.
Next to the ocean
I found my father.
He stood on the edge
Of the crowd
As he did
When he was alive.
Why should it be different now?
My beloved and daughter
Arrived in a different car.
They were all there
To watch me dive
And perhaps to see me
Come out the other side.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

For now... it's John

It is already day five of Advent, a short season.  Some years are a little shorter than others.  Advent does not expand or contract in real time the way the other seasons do.  Still there may be a lot more kairos time in Advent than we usually give it, even with its set four Sundays.  There*s a lot to fit in these four weeks, not just the shopping and cookies.  

With Advent
So short
Every day counts,
Not just for shopping
Or cookies.

Every word counts,
Not just poems
Like this one.

Every person counts.
Key people appear.
Like John.
John says:
Don*t look at me
Look at Him!
I tell you!
No
He’s not here yet
But keep looking
Don*t settle on me.
Look for him.
Mary has lines
Later on in the play.
For now
John*s on stage.
He speaks more loudly
Then
More loudly still.
For now
It*s John.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Pageant

The Christmas pageant casting has begun.  It is rewritten in every church, every year.  This is a given.


It is rewritten
Every year
In every church
Around the world.
Small children
Sometimes even adults
Do their best
As Mary, Joseph,
Baby Jesus,
Shepherds, angels ,
Various animals
At the manger.
Three Kings arrive
From liturgical East.
One year I saw the Three Kings
Joined by Herod
In front of the manger.
One year my son
Played the backside
Of a camel.
It is rewritten
Every year.
The Pageant.
One interpretation included
Native American Dancers
As the several Kings.
This sent one family
Packing
To a more traditional church
In a South Boston suburb
Where pageants are
As they are supposed to be:
Just like we remember
From our childhood.
The Pageant.
There is a rumor this year
A cardinal, a blue jay,
Maybe a horse
Will sing at the manger.
Every year
It is rewritten.
The Pageant.

Seeing

Yesterday was difficult due to the weather.  Being foggy, it was hard to see outside.  With my brain challenge, it was a struggle to see... inside.  I took it slow, saw what I could, took breaks in between.  Even so, I counted many good connections between breaks in the fog.  When I opened email this morning, Kelly Flanagan's post was a meet and right start to the day.  Thank you, Kelly, for a good beginning.

Under a prayer blanket,
Warm cup of coffee in hand,
I see more clearly.
Who will I see today?
My beloved
My daughter
Certainly.
Who will I go out
To see?
My calendar holds
The prayer group,
A friend for lunch.
Who will I go
Out of my way
To see?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Switching hats

I keep forgetting I*m not that kind of therapist.  I have bombed with at least three mental health training supervisors.  I*m not sure this is a record.  Perhaps it is.  I want to say to each of them:  It*s not you... It*s me.  But then again, this line sounds like I no longer want to date them, and I*m working to find the least hurtful way out.  I stuck with two of them for a year each.  I learned a lot.  For number three... we made it two sessions.  It*s not you... it*s me. This, of course, is true.  And of course, it*s you too.  I feel like I have left three gifted people, and yet kept the original who sees that I am not that kind of therapist.  See... I am still doing it:  It*s not you... it*s me.  Of course.  Of course it*s you too.

I felt the need
To switch hats last night.
Now
I said
I am not talking to you
As a therapist.
Oh
She said
Of course you*re not.
That*s not why I see you
Anyway.

In one short evening

It*s a sort of haiku day.  This haiku doesn*t even have all the syllables.  
I read about four workshop possibilities, considered how I could make each one work.  Three were in Santa Fe, one in Michigan.  No. There seem to be different things ... on the horizon.

In one short evening
I browsed four writing workshops
Dismissed them all.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Stronger for it

Yesterday felt like convergence at the beginning the new church year, a waiting for the baby and Second Coming, just as Advent is meant to be, except in real, on-the-ground time.  I stood with three other clergy after church yesterday.  All four of us sat in the pew, by choice, yesterday.  We spoke of what has changed, what is honored now, what seems to have been forgotten.  The new church year has barely hit the ground.

With the new church year
On the ground
I find myself saying:
To myself
To others
To those in positions of power
Small and somewhat greater:
Have you ever considered?
With the new church year
Taking its very first steps
Into new and newer life,
I consider new things
Shored up
By a bulwark of things
Named old.
Have you considered
This very thing
Has been considered before
With perhaps different elements
In perhaps
Different ways?
Have you considered
Perhaps
Connection,
One thing building on another
And just perhaps
Stronger for it?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Advent 1

We almost overslept the 10:30 service this morning.  Thankfully... we didn*t.  Turns out the number of clergy in the pews outnumbered the clergy at the altar. Six of us in the pew, four up front.  Once again I realize I am not alone.  Possibilities of new beginnings (in line with season of Advent), new endings (again in line with Advent) and somewheres in between (somehow, Advent again).  Possibilities stream forth.


Church brought
The usual
Clump of clergy
Behind the altar;
More than the usual
Clergy spread out,
Standing in pews,
Incognito.
The celebrant in Advent blue,
The priests in matching stoles,
A beautiful sight.
The rest of us figuring where to stand
And sit
And kneel.
Raise our hands to the sky
Or not.
Remember new beginnings
New endings
New somewheres
In between.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Advent Eve

Advent is my favorite season.  It seems the only season of the Church year which waits for two things at once, seemingly opposite things.  This waiting time feels, well, liminal to me.  An in-between time of sorts. This year we also get to wait for the comet to appear in the sky just before dawn.  

Advent Eve
The sun has set.
The day will dawn blue
Tomorrow
Unless I look
Just before the sun rises
For the promised comet;
Unless I watch the sky,
Darkness incarnate
With a growing purple tinge,
Melting into final day blue.
Hope holds her hands
Pressed
On the baby
Riding safe inside;
Hope holds her hands outstretched
To the Promised One  
Who will return
Again.
The stage is set.
Advent Eve.
I await
The comet
Out the other side
Of the sun.
The sky will change
From darkness incarnate
To purple
To a final blue.
Hope bows down.
Her hands wait
In her lap.

More church dreams

This is the priest equivalent of not arriving prepared for the exam.  Even though I am not serving behind the altar these days, but rather, under the altar, counseling people one by one, I still have these dreams from time to time.  It seems years and years of a particular path, speaking a particular language, begs such things as church dreams like this one.  I wake up wondering if I will be invited to the picnic... the one everyone will attend.

Again I did not arrive
Prepared
For the job:
No alb
No sermon
Heck I didn*t even know
The proper lessons
For the day.
The outside sign said
They were now
In Palos Park.
Still I got there
By a back entrance
In cassock and surplice.
They said they*d figure out
Some sort of stole
To make me look official.
They always were nice
Like that.
I did not arrive prepared.
It took back road after back road
To get there.
Light attendance was promised.
There was a picnic scheduled
For the afternoon.
Everyone would attend
The picnic.