Ignorant Clay

The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. – Jeremiah 18:4

Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me. – Philemon 1:11

I can make no excuse for Paul, O God.
He knew the story of the Exodus,
he knew that you are LORD of people free,
and still he sent a man to be a slave.

Rework me, LORD, into a useful cup.

He knew, but still he did not know, O God,
he did not draw the straight and simple line
from Egypt and Mount Sinai to the life
of Christ, in whom are no more slave or free.

Rework me, LORD, into a useful cup.

He knew, but still he did not know, O God.
And I? What do I know yet do not know?
What insights will seem obvious to those
in times to come so shrouded still from me?

Rework me, LORD, into a useful cup.

So obvious to me, these lacks in Paul.
So obvious to them, the people who
will judge my ignorance. So obvious
that we should give ourselves to be reshaped.

Rework me, LORD, into a useful cup.

A poem/prayer based on Jeremiah 18:1-11, the Revised Common Lectionary alternate first reading, and on Philemon 1:1-21, the RCL second reading for Year C, Proper 18.

Photo by Eric Anderson.

God’s Weeping

Hosea

My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender.
– Hosea 11:8

What do I hear on the wind?

Is it the sighing of a dove?
Or the sighing of a deity
watching warmly, tenderly
as the Creator’s children stray?

What do I hear in the trees?

Is it resilience in motion?
Or the groans of a deity
swaying in unison
with the Earth’s moaning?

What do I hear on the waves?

Is it the rhythm of ocean?
Or the sobs of a deity
embracing the suffering
of all They have made?

What do I hear in the cosmos?

Is it the cry of expansion?
Or the wrath of a deity
frustrated with evil
beyond all endurance?

What do I hear in the Earth?

Is it the silence of affection?
Or a deity’s anger
cooling, reforming,
bearing us upon forgiveness?

What do I hear?

A poem/prayer based on Hosea 11:1-11, the Revised Common Lectionary alternate first reading for Year C, Proper 13.

The image of Hosea comes from the Menologion of Basileiou, an 11th century illuminated Byzantine manuscript. Artist unknown – http://digi.vatlib.it/view/MSS_Vat.gr.1613/0141?sid=a7590df9b8aca22111c8359533716419&zoomlevel=4, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20645325.