Category Archives: Religion and Spirituality

Broken Body

Father, I cry, use this broken body

weighed down by the encumbrances

of living- its use remains vital

though careworn and shabby

no thought was given

to the making of these battle scars

my impudence in years of abuse

harvested my ill-gotten gains

still and always I worship you

and keeping you close to my heart

yearn to make meaningful

the years I have left

to do your will and rejoice,

make meaningful the way

clear the path to fruitful gains

according to your desires

and my humble interpretation

take this broken body

and make it your instrument

for the greater good

 

Belief

You caught me unaware

I’d given up 

On ever receiving

The understanding 

of your grace.

And now its come

what was there all along

but only now I know it

Acceptance . . . the fight as gone out

it has no reason for being

All I had to do was see

to feel your grace

to know you are

all that has been said of you.

Thank you in leading

me down the road 

to know you are God

and Man both

Jesus Christ

my savior

Savior’s embrace

Still I look for the Savior

flashes of illumination flicker past

quicksilver blurs

rapidly becoming dim memories

elusive  awakenings

drifting into somnambulant musings

I can not sustain the light

the lure of darkness holds sway

Theoretical justifications for distance

rear up at choice moments

leading me away from acknowledgement

I sigh discouraged

for just once to uphold the truth

and let the light

wash over me

rising me up

from despair’s temptation

I long

for the Savior’s embrace

Tres Dias

I had never heard of Tres Dias before signing up for this past weekend.  For me the weekend was to hopefully provide sustenance to my failing spiritual health.  I had been feeling spiritually and creatively bankrupt for some time.  The words of my new pastor lay fallow on my ears.  Her words don’t seem to speak to me and I felt guilty because I held a leadership position but felt so very unconnected.  

My Church was the one my father had preached at from the time I was in Fifth to Seventh grade in school.  I feel a tremendous amount of obligation and commitment to the church.  This is made so much harder as my spiritual needs have not been met since our last minister left for retirement.  I have readied myself to leave this church in spite of the wonderful people within it.  This brought on much guilt. For thos

Tres Dias awakened me to options and commitments I wouldn’t have dreamed of before.  For those who haven’t heard of it, Tres Dias is a movement and fellowship in Christian congregations.  With 54,000 members worldwide, it draws from Catholic and Protestant denominations alike.  The Community makes itself felt during the three days you are there and prepares you for a leadership role in the Church.  For me, coming from a depleted place, this was indeed a revelation.  It is nurturing, welcoming, and inclusive.

Now I feel charged again.  I can do both – continue work in my old church and look for a church that better meets my spiritual needs.  I don’t have to choose.  And I can continue to help my church grow as my obligations require.

Awaiting the Spirit

Searching for my soul –
alone, bereft
long since in hiding
an aching deep within
is recovery possible?
how to miss so deeply
the body’s lightest weight

I yearn for my normalcy –
that cherished feeling of
blessed warmth and firm resolve,
in touch with my savior –
lost without it
teetering at the edge
of a yawning chasm
hoping for a sign
of abiding mercy

Come upon me –
Mystery of
wonderful nourishment
settling over me
when the Breath of the Spirit
touches inner knowledge
bringing draughts of wisdom,
answers, direction,
and a font of peace.

I await mysticism –
praying I let the door
open enough
for the Holy Spirit to enter.

A Flurry of Questions

Are you one of those who, when asked for a volunteer, raised your hand and said you would? Be wary, be very wary.  I recently volunteered to be the leader of the Staff/Parish Relations committee of my church.  I floundered through the first few meetings, doing an adequate job but not really knowing what I was there for.

Then I went to a meeting on heading up that committee and what my role was in it.  At 5:00 the next morning I dragged myself out of bed, unable to sleep because I wasn’t aware of the ramifications of the role or the committee to any educated degree.  Opening my computer, I spent the next few hours researching. OMG.

Overnight I was rocketed into a new dimension.  We had been given a rare opportunity to make a leap of faith into growing our church more and becoming vessels for change in people’s lives and in the community.  Now I have to say our church is special.  While having a small congregation, we do a lot with what we have.  We genuinely care for one another and we have services we offer up to the community which are used: a food pantry, thrift shop, 6 AA meetings a week make their home in the church, community dinners, and free catering funeral and wedding services.

But we need to do more.   I think of our congregation, with its elderly population and its old building requiring constant attention and ask how much more can we accomplish?  I would like to start a ministry in the prisons but I would likely be a committee of one.  We need to attract the minorities in our community and the children.  Young people and young families would be welcomed through our doors.  Gay people and those with other alternative lifestyles would be lovingly received.

How do we get the word out?  How do we make this old, majestic, but rather intimidating building become user-friendly to those seeing it and not knowing what is within so we can welcome new members?   How do we make the children’s rooms safe, happy havens with joyful voices ringing through the halls again?  I can remember those sounds, the explorations into vacant rooms and hidden staircases.  I want so badly to give other children the opportunities I had here.

And to accomplish those goals, I need to up my game as a leader and as a member of the congregation.  How do I ask people who give of themselves all the time to give of themselves more?  Busy people, who have jobs and responsibilities, who are lovingly dedicated… is it fair to ask more from them?  At least until we see results and the burdens of responsibilities can be shared by new members.  In a small congregation, there are many jobs but not enough people to do all of them.  What is fair and equitable?

Many questions stir through my head these days, but not near enough answers.  I hope to grow clearer and find my way to a resolution soon.  In God, I must trust.  That is where the answers will come if I can but hear them. As I read through this, I see that is where I left out the primary ingredient.  Trust in the Lord and open myself to his voice.  Hear the still, small voice within my heart.  Or maybe the clangor requiring recognition.  Become a true Disciple of God.  And trust what must be is what should be, regardless of my perceptions and opinions.  I must carry the shovel, use it to the best of my ability, but understand God, not me, is directing the plan.

 

This Old Church

My hand wraps around the banister
feeling warm wood glowing beneath the skin
climbing stairs to ancient classrooms
long stilled, the cacophony of youthful voices
echoing through rafters and down the balcony
children no longer haunt its rooms
the church’s youngest members,
from middle age and up
recall times of lessons and play
now hushed, rooms empty
since parish members were children.

The sanctuary’s seats are many
with a dividing wall 25 feet tall
to allow for overflow when needed
the organ’s pipes, overwhelmingly silent,
once rang with a sound so powerful
vibrations thumped within our chests
the organist fails to know
the music of the soul anymore

The Church was built for a time
when families faithfully attended
each Sunday, bringing children
to learn Bible rules and stories,
its storied stones and gloried stained glass
holding the congregation safe
within its all encompassing bosom

The remnant congregation,
wearing their coats against the draft
are committed, generous, active people
welcoming all who come to visit
saying prayers they will return
but times have changed
music and services need adjusting
to meet the desires of these generations
growing up outside the stone walls
without ever placing a foot within.

The Church is a wonderful place
where life can rejoice yet again
but it needs to host children,
young parents, the middle-aged
finding our way to that is the challenge
for although going to services and serving
on committees, more is still needed
so much more

My heart yearns to
sway in the arms of the Father,
raise my arms  and dance
to hear the Bible read and interpreted
giving meaning and translation
expanding the small parts within
to resonate with a defiant ring
so I can stare boldly at my Savior’s
glory and rejoice.

 

The Acts of a Christian

So what is a true Christian?
Someone who shows up at church
glad-handing those worthy to meet
standing upright in the pews
with head bowed at the proper angle?

The doer who takes on the work
of running a church
filling committees, cleaning,
lending her voice to the choir
taking children to the playroom
so mothers can enjoy service?
a practical Christian.

It’s all about the
what to do next, how to say
what needs saying without
distancing others in the process

Mortar, drywall, paint, pointing,
building a new roof and raising
the funds to do it
staffing the Thrift Shop
dedicating others to ministry

But my longing for God
transcends functionality
and I fear the more I function
the further away God feels

What became of raising my arms
to the Father
of finding a way to meet The Son
on my own terms
or on His
Believing in the Path
and how to walk its way

What became of joyful rendering,
of praising God even if
I feel uncomfortable
because it isn’t a natural process
to me yet but . . .
is something I desperately want?

In all the functionality
of being a modern, practical Christian
I miss God more than ever
and doubt Jesus even less.

So am I a true Christian any more,
a servant of God?
Or am I just a working hand
paying homage to the Building
and not the One for whom it stands?

 

Fontanels

Born open –
to the presence
of the Lord –
becoming human
we close off,
shutting away God’s
active voice.

Lost, feeling alone,
by age two separate,
exclusively homo sapien
we yearn to hear
comfort, peace,
needing to learn
turning inward
for the still, small voice
requiring special listening

Perhaps the reason
some babies colic
screaming, in pain,
is inward rage
at separation
from the Godly presence
they just separated from
while others emerge
at peace,
nestled in assurance
of God’s continued love.

Free Will

God granted us the Right of Free Will when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge. Yet, these days I find myself in a quagmire of thoughts about that act. Knowledge has led us far. We are not the Innocents we would have been without it. And yes, I am also a firm believer in Evolution. Justifying the two is an interesting balancing act on the scales, particularly the Scale of Justice.

When I pray these days, many times it is that God intervene and fill the hearts and souls of all aggressors with Loving Kindness so they could never imagine conducting acts of aggression again, and that those who have been persecuted not rise up in retribution should that happen.

But then I circle back to Free Will. Frankly, I think it has not helped us in many cases. We have only to look as far as ISIS and the treatment of Refugees. Of the girls raped and children turned into child soldiers. Or child brides. Or the Racism that pervades our society and the acts it generates. Of terrorism in all its facets. Or torture. The list goes on . . .

And then I look at the ramifications of not having Free Will. Would research for advances in science and medicine continue? What about the right of abortion and birth control? How would population control be handled? What about all the cultural distinctions of tribes, religions, and countries all over the world? Would the intricacies of our personalities cease to exist? What would happen to uniqueness? Would mental illness be eliminated? Would we all be committed to cherishing and protecting the environment and all beings – flora and fauna? Would Religions in all their varieties still exist or would there be a uniform one or none? Would atheists still believe as they do?

What would God’s will look like? And ultimately, would God choose to have both Good and Evil after all?