Category Archives: Poetry

God's Steadfast Love: Psalm 103

So, Where Was God During the Holocaust & On the Trail of Tears? Psalm 116

The Coronation of the King and His Queen (with some lessons in black history): Psalm 45

Ever upward

The lighthouse is massively tall

Tall beyond imagination almost

As it reaches up through the clouds

And from its summit (I’m told)

One can see not only all 

The oceans of the earth but indeed

The entire cosmos – nova, nebulae, 

Quasars as well as rainbow reefs, 

Soaring terns, and breaching humpbacks

Internally, the lighthouse is like a narrow silo

Stone steps wind around, twisting upward

Pressing against the towering walls 

Periodically, randomly, there are external

Doors along the way – doors that offer escape

Relief, that open to warm sunlight and thrilling,

Exhilarating invigorating slides which

Elicit squeals of laughter and delight until

Each invariably terminates 

Into cold filth

Stench, despair, darkness

Door after door bids me stop climbing

Along the way

On my left is a shear drop into darkness

Enticing doors to my right

Steep steps beneath my feet, presenting

Three choices, no four – not to climb at all

(The path most choose, for no one must make the ascent)

To leap with impulsive stupidity from one of the many external doors

(Which, alas, I have done many times)

To become disoriented, dizzy, hopeless and

Fall off into the darkness to my left

(I wonder with grace and gratitude what prevents this)

Or, (help me, O, Lord)

To climb upward, ever upward

More often than I can admit

I have opened one of those doors 

Of deceptive escape – They are numerous:

Immediate satisfaction,

Distractions of mindless entertainment,

Self-concern, the Siren call of mammon,

Busyness, worry, self-rejection,

Judgmentalism 

(to name a few – there are many doors) 

Laughing with false joy on the decent

The thrilling plunge into

Regret and despair, yet

Each time, every time,

Angelic arms have lifted me by

Silken ropes, showered me clean

Clothed me afresh, and I found myself

Miraculously ascending once more

Not, as one would expect, from

The bottom, but picking up 

Nearly where I left off

As when I by grace climb step after steep narrow step

There are not only enticing doors 

To my right, but also

Periodic windows from which I can gaze

At the beauty of the clouds and sea

Through which I can feel cool breezes on my face

Windows of love that invite me to catch my 

Breath and refresh my soul

There are occasional soft benches 

To rest weary bodies and rub sore muscles

Before resuming the upward climb

Not infrequently, as I round the upward

Spiral, I reach others, some in need,

Some determined, some in despair

Some I can perhaps help – the 

One with the sprained ankle, the 

Little girl I can carry, the one about to

Leap from an enticing doorway, the

One too tired to go on

Others help me

Closer now (yet never close enough)

New vigor, pressing on the upward 

Way where there are encouragements,

Along with windows of grace and 

Benches of shalom, I find

Bubbling fountains of fresh clear pure spring 

Water here, a bowl of steaming

Clam chowder there, a soft chair in which

To rest, virtual goggles filled with visions,

Smells, sounds of mountain streams, singing

Wrens, and pileateds flashing red, chickadees

Chasing sapsuckers around sugar maples

The journey itself is wholeness, succor 

Renewed, refreshed, I climb

And what draws me upward?

Why keep climbing?

Few do, many mock and call me fool

What is it above that bids me on?

Far above is the multifaceted lens

The rotating light

The promise of a view that cannot be elsewhere found

Yes, all of that

But more so, he is there,

Next to the lens, tending the light on

The culminating platform

From which he surveys and guides

The stars and conducts the 

Hymn of the universe

I hear him call, reassure, he knows

My name

I catch occasional glimpses of him far above my head 

As I climb, step after weary step

Jesus awaits

My heart yearns for

His smile

His embrace

His welcome

His friendship

Faith Without Works, or What is Salvation, Really? James 2:14-26

Wisdom: How, not Why — Psalm 37

Bashing Out Babies' Brains: Psalm 137

Born to the sea

I was born to the sea.

How old was i?

Maybe six or seven

The first time I was out on the lake fishing

With my dad and one of those

Sudden storms that descend without

Warning over the mountains

Hit us, transforming a relatively

Placid lake into a boiling 

Tumultuous death trap of

Darkness. But dad knew what to do

And skillfully brought her about

(no easy feat in a tempest)

And, even-keeled and out-hauled

We ran her back into the shore

From which we came

But this was different – 

The Master told us to go

To the opposite shore and we

Were determined to do so or 

Die trying, so we kept her headed 

Into the wind

Sails reefed, straining on the tiller and 

Oars to keep her on course

At first it was amusing to see the lubbers 

Amongst us terrified – especially

Matthew who couldn’t swim

But as the storm intensified

We were all frightened, even

Those of us who grew up 

On this very lake

Hands skinned by the lines

Bleeding, every muscle ached

When I was a young man, 

I met a Philistine fellow who plied 

The sea that has no end and 

Heard tales of an ocean 

Void of light that 

Swallowed whole ships, and of

Sea monsters so horrid as to 

Defy description that gobbled

Men and ships like a thrush 

Scarfing up insects.

Now it seemed that Gennesaret

Was possessed by devils intent

On destroying us. 

Did not the Master say that the accuser 

Stalks about looking for people to

Rob, kill, destroy, and were we not, 

We followers of the Master, the

First buds of a new kingdom?

If satan were to seek any to destroy

Would it not be us?

And if he did, all is lost.

I admit, my instincts locked in

And I shouted to come about, but 

The others rightly insisted

We obey the Master, so on we

Struggled in the darkness, sheets of

Cold rain, howling winds, stinging surf

Fog so thick you could almost grasp it

Unable to see the bow if you were amidships

The top of the mast lost in greyness.

Survival seemed impossible.

Then it got worse.

An apparition, specter, phantom

Walking on the water, and 

Fear turned to horror.

Now it’s been, what, 35 years?

And each time

Every time

Storms threaten

Gales of heartache

Tempests of hunger and thirst

Squalls of persecution

With chains and whips and

Dungeons; cold and loneliness

Every time

Every single time

He has come

Walking over the

Very things that threatened to 

Undo us, destroy us

Smiling, reassuring, calming

The seas. 

Became Sin for us on the Cross: Psalm 51

God's Got Ya: Psalm 22

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