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He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

 

You know all those movies you’ve watched or books you’ve read, when the happy ending seemed impossible, but still happened anyways…somehow…?

You know all those times you’ve walked outside and been smacked in the face by the sunlight…sunlight you’d nearly forgotten after a really long and grey winter…?

You know those people who say that true love never happens like it does in love stories…? Well, they were wrong. And all these feelings…the really really good feelings…well, they just serve to remind us of our world’s own story of redemption…and how the good and the right and the beautiful aren’t just the stuff of fantasies.

This is the best story…the best TRUE story ever told: LOVE WINS!

 

Take that sadness.

Take that pain.

Take that angry hurting and bitter despair.

You may win some of the battles, but you have lost the ultimate war!

 

He is risen!!!!!!!!!!

He is risen indeed!!!!!!!!

 

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The Darkest Hour

This is the darkest hour,
When you can’t hear my heartbeat: you’re breathing too loudly…
When you don’t know what warmth is; your shivering’s subconscious,
And you’re waving your hand to yourself in your face…
It’s too dark, you can’t see it, you can’t taste the morning,
Not even that lingering, dry, rancid aftertaste,
Not even a hint of the light on your pallet.

This is the darkest hour,
When you can’t hear my heartbeat: you know it’s stopped beating,
When you know it is true, but you won’t yet believe it.
And you’re hugging your knees, and you’re rocking in silence,
It’s too dark to be sure, but I think you’ve stopped crying…
Yes, your tears got too tired to keep fighting the madness
That creeps through your mind like a wild cat gone prowling.

This is the darkest hour,
When I give up my Spirit to take on this atonement,
When I give up the light of my own Father’s face.
And when hell in its fullness rises up now to meet me,
Like the wind of an oven that’s been opened too quickly,
It’s too dark, I can’t see much…but lost hungry faces,
And three days yet to pass before light guides us home.

This may have been more appropriate yesterday, but I felt like I had to write it out now. The light is coming soon… Thank you, Jesus.

Pete and Repeat

I know that I have finished a meaningful piece of poetry when I begin to hear it inside myself, looping through my mind with an infinite repeating cadence, like a song you’ve known since childhood that gets stuck in your head. But it doesn’t just happen with my own poetry, of course. Lately, whenever I start to feel an urge to write something, or begin to think about something even remotely inspirational, I hear the refrain of T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men begin its beautiful rhythm…

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

Why does that happen? It’s like we are programmed to recognize and repeat beautiful or meaningful rhythms. If someone was to play for me on a keyboard or any other instrument the three simple notes that composed the closing door sound of the TTC subway doors…I would immediately be mindful of the many hours I spent on those subways going to and from work or family outings downtown…or reaching even further back, of our missions trips to TO when we were teenagers. But I wouldn’t make that connection if it wasn’t for the specific rhythm of the tones.

One

Two

Threeee…

Or something to that effect… The rhythm is what draws my mind to those places, not just the melody. And I believe that this is why poetry is capable of touching me on such a deep level. A beautiful piece of prose you remember mostly for the meaning of the words used. I’ll always think that prose should have a bit of rhythm too, but that is where poetry shines and why I love it so much. I love to write prose to communicate something profound or to have more freedom of description…but how much more beautiful and meaningful is a poem that communicates and describes the same thing. How much more work to write it, is really the issue…but it truly is a work of art in the end at that point, and not just a blog entry…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love novels…and they are most definitely artful. But they contain many many more words (normally) than poetry, and hence their ability to communicate themes and develop characters is something that just can’t be memorized and recited. What poetry does is take a multitude of words and strip them down to their bare bones through the use of rhythm. And what you’re left with, if it’s done correctly, is a piece of art that becomes a background rhythm to your life…a reminder of beauty in the other day to day rhythms we experience.

I’ll be walking down the sidewalk. Right foot, left, right, left. This is the way the world ends… Right, left, right, left. This is the way the world ends…

And of course, many people have discovered the Psalms or other scripture to be meaningful in this way. Sometimes the simplest way to “pray without ceasing” is to find a piece of spiritual poetry that you can go back to over and over again throughout your day. My favourites over the years have been Psalm 23, 121, and even parts of Revelation or the gospels at certain times.

The Spirit and the Bride say “Come.”
And let the one who hears say “Come.”
And let the one who is thirsty come…

What rhythms are marching through your brain space today? Take a second to notice them and make sure they are helpful, beautiful truths that can get you through this crazy world with a sense of wonder and thankfulness. This is what helps keep me sane, anyways… 🙂

Earth hour…

…begins in one minute. So maybe no post tonight…?

All we have is four hazelnut cream tea-light candles. Wish us luck.

I realize it has been a very long time since the last post here. I also realize that I don’t have much to say lately, and that’s probably why I haven’t been anxious to get back into it. I should have a lot to say. I should be overflowing with words. There have been endless activities and changes in the last few weeks, the most prominent and pervasive of which has been the moving to a different city thing.

So, as you  might have imagined, the internet was unavailable for a while, hence the halt in the posts…and then, since I’ve been able to return to the world of cyberspace, I haven’t really felt grounded enough to attempt this again. So we’ll say I get an A+ in non-perfection this month.

Either way, Easter season is around the corner, and I’m going to try and post three times a week or close to it until that time. It feels strange to approach Easter this year. Strange for many reasons…

First of all, we have a kid now. So the whole Easter egg hunt and pastel colours thing that used to ignite my inner religious indignation and cause much speculation and discussion has now turned into… “Awwwwwwwwwwwww….a pink bunny!”

Yes…parenthood does change you.

But the time of year also seems strange because of our new church environment, because of our new living arrangements…because of our new life. And yet, it is all about new life, no? And more than that…it is about resurrection. It’s about old made new, not just new new. It’s about the first-born being brought back to life….and the rest of us celebrating the truth that we get to follow suit someday.

So anyways…pink bunnies or not, the preparation for the season is upon us. Like all seasons, it will pass and repeat in time, but in the midst of a crazy life, my goal is to hold onto to the eternal and timeless truths that are represented. I hope that thought encourages you today to whoever takes the time to read this. 🙂

Little to Say

Tears don’t fall in time.
Words come too much later on…
Goodbye takes it’s toll.

I am taking my good friend’s advice and writing a short haiku tonight because I feel like I don’t have it in me to write a lot of words right now. I don’t even know exactly how to write haikus, sadly enough, but I think I used the traditional English syllable count at least. This was a night of goodbyes and a night of reflection on things to pass. May the joys remembered and the hopes to come get us through these times. Amen.

Bitter Tenants

Mark 12 begins with a story about a vineyard. And it’s a sad enough story, to be sure. Servant after servant is beaten or killed by the “tenants” on the lease…actions born of greed, jealously, and misplaced indignant pride. Jesus is telling the story to symbolize the church leaders of that time and Israel’s history in general, or so much seems pretty obvious to me and is confirmed at the end of the section when it says those who sought to kill him perceived that he was talking about them.

To my way of thinking, the last verse at the end of this scripture segment is the saddest of the whole section. The religious leaders (and whoever else was already bitter at the teachings of Jesus) were intelligent and conscientious enough to realize that Jesus was talking about them. They heard the accusation loud and clear…but all they did was increase their hatred. I mean, couldn’t they also perceive the truth behind the statements…how the prophets or “servants” had been mistreated, ignored or even killed for bringing God’s word to his people. And now, the son of God had come and they were about to give him the same treatment. But why? Because he rubbed them the wrong way and offended them? He didn’t cater to their every religious whim? He wasn’t the God in a box that they had expected.

You see, I have always tried to give the religious leaders some benefit of the doubt. I know that in the same situation and circumstances I might have acted similarly, because we are none of us without pride, jealously, etc. We all feel the curse of sin still upon us. So maybe there were some that acted because they genuinely believed what they were doing was what God wanted. Maybe some didn’t see the real truth of the situation. But the verse here seems to suggest otherwise, at least for the ones that heard this parable. They knew. They knew that he spoke of them. And it doesn’t say they were hurt or confused or wanted clarification. I mean, it doesn’t say they realized their own wrongness either, but it seems to imply that they were seeking to kill him to shut him up as soon as possible…and never once does it mention this being for the good of the people or to honor God. It was all motivated by fear.

Now, whoever the author of Mark was obviously could not have known what was going on in the heads of these people anyways, unless said author was divinely instructed in the subject, which is a whole discussion for another day…but it is something sobering to think about for sure. Too often we know the mistake we are going to make before we make it. We don’t sin in ignorance. We don’t commit crimes for the betterment of society around us, we commit them to benefit our own interests or to alleviate our own fears. It is sad to think that the people who sought Jesus’ death were doing it willingly, even after realizing they were in the wrong…but this same tendency lies with all of us. We all partake in the same sort of broken fearful crappy way of living. We are all the bad guys.

But…and there is always a but when it comes to doom and gloom theology… 🙂

But there is still hope for us in Christ’s love. Thankfully the sins of the world didn’t taint the perfection of his sacrifice, and we are now free to choose love and faith and a life not controlled by fear or pride. Now, when we see ourselves reflected in his parables, and when we realize our own sin and bad intentions, we have the power to turn away from them and choose love instead of fear.

To pull out a slightly obscure literary reference (OK, not too obscure, but I try to be sensitive to the less well read types like myself)….”Timshel” (East of Eden). We were created with the ability to choose between good and evil, but now, even more so we can choose good with the power of Christ’s choice behind us. Next time you’re trying to make the right decision, just think of him deciding to go and die for the world that hated him…and then choose love, not fear.