Poems from the past: Images of Faith

Building Blocks
About 1989

This is what you gave me, Lord.
This is what I have.
These blocks I call my life
Must build what glorifies you.
But, Lord, I have no fancy arches
Or curved windows!
Can’t you give me blocks like those?
You tell me “No”, Lord.
This is what I have.
And yet this sorrow brings me greater joy
For you promised
A master builder
To take this pile of blocks
And make an original –
A masterpiece –
Autographed by You.


Fine Tuning
About 1989

We tune our voices to match a tone
By listening closely until
The jarring vibrations disappear.

We tune our lives to be like Him
By listening closely until
The sharp edges of indifference disappear.


A Mother’s Memory
March 1992/Revised 1997

There he hung
In gray and shadow
Man yet God
Adorned in death
As close at hand
His mother watched.

Once again she
Frames a scene
To hang among
The whirling hues
Within the gallery
Of her heart.

What made this son
Give all for man?
The questions flash
Across a canvas
Torn and slashed –
Her broken dreams.

Then victory comes
And paints again
On canvas whole
Triumphant joy!
Her firstborn son –
Her risen Lord.


For a retreat, October 2-4, 1992

It isn’t fair!
How could you choose to die that way?
Hands stretched out
Held by man-made bonds,
Hanging there – a mockery
To all your strength and power.

They say you could call ten thousand angels
To rescue you if you would choose.
Won’t you at least call one or two
With flaming swords
To punish them for what they do?

You move to speak.
What will you say from on your rugged cross?

“Father” your voice is weak but clear,
“Forgive them
for they don’t know what they are doing.!

And as I hear your mercy speak
I realize it is not “they”
But “we” who hung you there.

It isn’t fair!
Why must I be the one to right the wrong
They’ve done t me?
Why must I forgive?
I am hurt and trust is gone.
I’ll push it down inside, I’ll let it go;
Isn’t that enough?
Why must I accept them when the things they do
Goes so against my grain?
Can’t I serve you well enough
Yet stay out of their way?

Again I feel you move to speak;
Your voice is soft but clear.

“My child,” you say in gentle tones,
“I reached to you from a rugged cross;
I paved your way to me with my own blood.”
Can you do less than find a way
To walk beside your brother … your sister
As you walk through life with me?

Bear with each other and forgive what grievances you may have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13


Come in, My Friend
4 November, 1993

Come in, Friend Grief,
You who are a messenger of God
What is it you want to teach me?
What is it I need to learn?

Hold me, dear friend,
Wash me in your loving tears
Don’t let me run away from you
I need the cleansing you bring.

My heart is pain within me
My body bowed with throbbing ache
I cannot hold you in, dear friend,
I have to let you go.

Forgive me, you world around
If for this moment I break the rules of decorum
My friend is here to visit me
And I must hear the message she brings.

Come in, Friend Grief,
You who are a messenger of God.
What is it you have to teach me today?
What is it I need to learn?


Biblical Relations
Around 1996-1997
Written in the front of a Bible

I am like the woman they wanted to stone.
I feel unworthy. I feel condemned by others.
I need to remember he did not throw the stones that law seemed to require.
He saw the need.

I am like the woman sneaking up to touch Jesus’ robe.
I believe in God’s power.
I am not so sure of his acceptance and love.

I am like the royal official in Capernaum.
I need to “start on my way” based on His promise,
Not on sight.

I am like the widow before the judge.
I must believe in justice enough to keep crying out
For Him to help me understand enough to go on.

I am like the blind man.
I know he is responsible for any sight I have
And I can’t just bend to what I am being told to believe.
Something tells me God is more than that.

I am like the woman at the well.
I thirst for something I don’t know how to draw for myself.
I must go to Him.

I am like the boy with the loaves and the fishes.
What I have to give seems so meager in relation to the needs I see.
It is only enough with God’s special touch.


New Skins for New Wine
January 13, 2009

The waters are troubled, Lord
The skins stretched tight by years
Of clinging to things I understood
Tearing in the strain of
Holding this new thing
You are doing in my life I feel
Alone in a world of humanity yet
Connected with cords whose ends
I do not know I seek
Straining to see a future not
Yet here I call to you You
Answer my cry for mercy
In this time when dark and light
Are living uneasy partnership within
My skin I am stretched beyond
Old rigidity knowing the pain
Is only the ending of the old
And a preparing of new skins
Supple enough to hold what
You are creating in me.


Prayer in the Garden
March 13, 2013

Drink this cup of Father’s rage
Knowing You hold the pain
of me holding the pain of
my father’s rage the pain
still gouges nail prints in
my soul aching loss
Knowing I carried more than
my own sin I held his pain
Little boy wanting daddy to be
What he wasn’t blaming mother
Resentment’s bitter cup
Not let go because he buried it
Under the stone of religious zeal
He reached so many in his need
to heal to hold that angry
Little boy lost in a haze of
Salvation’s expectation
Of not looking back on things
held back unknowingly
When the blood washed sins away

Daddy, Abba Father,
I had to go to help him die
Reading John in those last days
I felt your gift to us
Reading that day I didn’t know
I carried granny’s guilt too
In my father’s eyes
The load of my father’a rejection
Was enough knowing that
I could never measure up
Then learning that he saw me
Veiled behind the spectre of
A mother gone
Rejected long before I was
Reading to him that day
I prayed with you
Let this cup pass away
And yet I carried only
One man’s little boy brokenness
You carried the world’s


Journalling thoughts
(2000’s Dates vary)

Pulsing waves flood my soul
I am comforted, calmed
By the rage of your Spirit
Your storm of desires
Washes over me
Cleansing my thoughts
Taking the debris of my life
Leaving it to rest
On the shores of peace

Through you — I am.
In you — I am.
For you — I am.

Your love is painful
Filling me with desire without fulfillment
Your love is a fire
Consuming all I once knew of love
Your love is reaching
Invading the corners of my being
Your love is unkind
Shining a light on things I don’t want to see
Your love is vital
My very life is your gift to me
Your love is cleansing
Slowly the wounds are being washed away
Your love fulfills me
Somehow I feel whole in your embrace
Your love is caring
Your eyes look compassion for my bleeding soul
Your love is rich
There is treasure in each new day
Your love is jealous
You do not let me spread myself to things that would take me away
Your love is consuming
It is taking the life I once wanted to live
Your love is guiding
It is leading me to a place that is deeper me
Your love is mine
It is one thing that cannot be taken from me
Your love is here
It is not a distant dream of someday
Your love goes with me
It is closer than a phone call away
Your love holds me
When I fall you lift me up to try again
Your love is releasing
You let me make choices that may lead to falls
Your love is forgiving
You hold no record of wrong
Your love is complete
You will not let me down


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