Decide

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Oh, it’s an easy choice, O God.

“Because of this the earth shall mourn,
and the heavens above grow black…”

Now that’s what I call an
unattractive option, and since
the alternative before me is:
“The heavens are telling
the glory of God…”
I’ll take Your glory
any day.

Unless, of course, I need
to get from here to there,
in which case I’ll just depart, a bit,
from careful handling of Creation,
gentle dwelling on the Earth.
No, I will swaddle myself in bucket seats
and give my not-so-weary feet a rest
to make that not-so-difficult,
not-so-necessary,
oh-so-arbitrary journey.

And so I will add carbon’s sable
to the sky.

Yes, it’s an easy choice, O God.
Give my Your glory!
Unless it’s inconvenient…

For me.

A poem/prayer based on Jeremiah 4:23-28 and Psalm 19:1-6, the Season of Creation Hebrew Bible and Psalm readings for Year B, Sky Sunday. 

Photo by Eric Anderson.

Do You Wear Glasses, Too?

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I am just ecstatic to
be shaped in form divine of You.
Just answer me one question, do:
Do You wear glasses, too?

I’m great with male and female, yes,
community that founds God-ness,
yet my eyes fail a driver’s test:
Do You wear glasses, too?

Imago Dei, that’s for me,
to bulwark pride at royal tea,
and laugh when threatened by the sea:
(but) Do You wear glasses, too?

I’ve seen Your figure’s flowing locks,
seen You nursing, playing with blocks,
seen You carved from ancient rocks:
Do You wear glasses, too?

I’m just an image, oh that’s true,
not a duplicate of You,
so my mistakes will all break through,
(but) Do You wear glasses, too?

The question, really, (and You knew),
is not about Your sight or view
but whether I am part of You

with sight bedimmed
or limbs belabored,
mind bewildered
or heart beset,
with irregularities
too many to name:

Do You wear glasses, too?

A poem/prayer based on Genesis 1:26-28, the Season of Creation Hebrew Bible reading for Year B, Humanity Sunday. For more consideration of what it means to consider disability in divinity, read “Lessons from a Deviation” by Rebekah Anderson.

Photo by Eric Anderson.

Is It? Is It, Really?

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“And God saw that the light was good…”
“And God saw that it was good.”
“And God saw that it was good.”
“And God saw that it was good.”
“And God saw that it was good.”
“And God saw that it was good.”

Is it? Is it really?

There are plenty of religious systems, Holy One,
who look out at the world and see a mess.
I mean, a mess: cacophony of sight and scent
and sound (and fury) and taste and touch.
The lingering odor of fading floods, the itchy
pull of drying mud along my hairy arms,
the dreary sight of muddy water, marked
by echoes of a terrifying roar.

Then there’s those annoying birds, who
sing in an unrelenting cackle, or the coqui frogs
whose endless searching for their mates confounds
the quest for rest. My hearts leaps from its place
to hear the canine growl. And God, just don’t, please don’t
let me get started on the bugs. And creeping things
that bite and sting and munch on grain
and ferry our disease (just as a start).

And need I mention hurricanes, and searing stone,
and deathly droughts, and flowing floods,
and howling winds, and mounting waves,
and driving snow, and shaking earth?
This, all this, you see as good?
And oh, for just a moment, would that I
could contemplate with your embracing eye:
to see Creation’s web connected.

For just a moment, to embrace the flood
that nourishes the ground, welcome the fire
that clears for new-sprung grasses, taste
the cleansing of organic rot, hear the crackling heat
as new stone finds its shape, to see
the lonely tree that stands above the flood,
drinks its spreading waters and declares:
“I, too, see and know that it is good.”

Perhaps then I would know that it is good.

A poem/prayer based on Genesis 1:1-25, the Season of Creation Hebrew Bible reading for Year B, Planet Earth Sunday.

The photo is of a monkey pod tree standing above the inundated Hilo bay front parks on Saturday, August 25, 2018, flooded by four feet of rain from Hurricane Lane. Photo by Eric Anderson.

Difficult Diet

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“This teaching is difficult;
who can accept it?”
Difficult indeed.
Whether it be calculus,
biology, the language
that I didn’t speak before,
the nuances of history,
the cadences of poetry:
What learning isn’t difficult?

Well, yes, I confess,
to eat your flesh and drink your blood is…
Creepy. It’s just creepy, Jesus.
So I don’t blame those followers
who found another road than yours
those centuries ago.
Or those who look today to find
a road more traveled, better paved,
maintained to modern tastes.

To tell you truly, Jesus, though,
it’s not demands (or sacramental symbols)
of our deepest faith which drive
your children from your Body.
It’s the judgement. It’s the carping.
It’s the Generation-Then which makes
the Generation-Now feel small.
So how do we, your fallible followers,
share your words of life?

A poem/prayer based on John 6:56-69, the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel reading for Year B, Proper 16.

The photo is of a painting of in the catacomb of San Callisto, believed to be of “eucharistic bread.” I found the body postures to be… well, in the same spirit as this poem. The photo is by David Macchi – Romapedia, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=566679

Give Me a Song to Sing

DSC_0435These are the lyrics. The recording below comes from a live performance at Church of the Holy Cross UCC in Hilo, Hawai’i, on August 25, 2018.

When my heart is heavy as the leaden sky,
When my vision fails because of clouded eye,
When my courage strains
Against obstacles so high:
Give me a song to sing.

[Chorus]

Give me a song to sing
When dawn is breaking.
Give me a song to sing
When my heart is cold.
Give me a song… to sing…
When the heavens flash with glory!
Give me a song.
Let love unfold.

When my neighbors strain to live a life of trial,
When my nation turns to courses that are vile,
When righteousness calls
And hears only denial:
Give me a song to sing.

[Chorus]

When the birds sing out their melodies so free,
When the waves and wind keep time in company,
When all Creation’s voices
Rise in harmony:
Give me a song to sing.
Then I’ve been given a song to sing!

[Chorus]

[Final Ending]

Give me a song.
Let love unfold.
Give me a song.
Let God’s love unfold.
Give me a song.
Let God’s love unfold.

Copyright © 2018 by Eric S. Anderson

This song was performed to conclude a sermon on August 19, 2018, at Church of the Holy Cross UCC, Hilo. There is audio of the complete sermon, “This May Need a Song,” including the performance.

Let There Be a Song

IMG_4464Let there be a song in my heart, Lord,
so I may be inspired.

Let there be a song in my limbs, Lord,
so I may be empowered.

Let there be a song in my soul, Lord,
so I may be redeemed.

Let there be a song in my ears, Lord,
so I may be in harmony.

Let there be a song in my fingers, Lord,
so I may be light in touch.

Let there be a song in my lips, Lord,
so you may hear and smile.

A poem/prayer based on Ephesians 5:15-20, the Revised Common Lectionary Epistle reading for Year B, Proper 15.

Photo by Eric Anderson

 

Imitatio Dei

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“Therefore be imitators of God,
as beloved children, and live in love,
as Christ loved us…”

In these days, Jesus? Really?

As press and presidents declaim,
“You speak untruth!”
As anger/outrage/ire dominate
our “civil” civic discourse.
As we enshrine successful thieves,
incarcerating petty ones,
and pay as little as we may
to those who work the hardest.
As we elect those who speak evil,
can we be shocked when they speak evil
over and over and over,
can we be shocked when they do evil
over and over and over,
can we be shocked when “little” evils
become our harsh new “normal?”

When bitterness and wrath and anger,
wrangling, slander, all the breadth of malice
take the center role,
how can we honestly believe, O Christ,
in imitatio dei?

Would you imprison children?
Would you reject the refugee?
Would you enrich the rich?
Would you empower the white?
Would you disenfranchise the woman?
Would you bring death to the guilty?
Would you bring death to the innocent?

“…And live in love, as Christ loved us,
and gave himself up for us…”

Imitatio dei?
I feel more like an imitation…

A poem/prayer based on Ephesians 4:25-5:2, the Revised Common Lectionary Epistle reading for Year B, Proper 14.

The image is of “Jesus falls” from the Stations of the Cross in Église Saints-Pierre-et-Paul (Bertrange) by Bettina Scholl-Sabbatini. Photo by Sultan Edijingo – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49262753