Monday, March 26, 2012

Lent-Day 28

You know
I don't mean to be critical
but sometimes I wonder
if churches should grow at all
I see these giant mega-churches
places big as a shopping mall
and I wonder what they're saying inside.
When I read the Gospel the sacrifices required
seem a tall order
seem like something people wouldn't want to hear
yet some churches grow exponentially
while others stay small

Maybe it's easier to
fall in line with thousands of people
on either side of you
lost in the insanity
of numbers and projectors and big screen tvs
of pastors and leaders
preaching of money
wealth
prosperity.

But the Gospel I've read takes the opposite side
if we ever think we're giving enough, well we are
lying to ourselves
unwilling to let our pride in our accomplishment and treasure
release

The idea I'm thinking
maybe mildly proposing
is that maybe the church should be the smallest inclusive community around.
everyone
Everyone
EVERYONE
is invited.
But the call to sacrifice
might keep numbers small.

Lent-Day 27

It is hard to whine
when I think of the context of my decisions
I realize how lucky I am
How many have options at all?
I think right now it'd be pretty easy to fall
into a sea of self-pity
to look at myself as a victim of
clashing coincidences
colliding interests
clouding my consciousness.
But I am lucky.
No matter what happens.
I am lucky.
Lucky to live where an education is possible.
Lucky to have people that support me.
Lucky that good jobs are probable.
Lucky to have never felt true need.
But that means
I cannot rest
I cannot stop the beating in my chest
until I've given absolutely everything I possibly can
to love my God and fellow man (and woman).


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lent-Day 26

Simple acts
turn holy
when done for the right reasons
when done for the right people.
I don't dislike doing dishes
especially after I've enjoyed a delicious dinner
but I don't love them either.
But standing at the sink for two hours
scrubbing away for those who are rarely served
it felt like an honor.
The excitement you get
The adrenaline kicks in
you're working FOR something
and though that pile of plates looks impossible
you keep working
working
working
because today
just one day
you want everyone in that place
to feel blessed.
served.
holy.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lent-Day 25

They tell me
your vocation is where your greatest passion
meets the world's greatest need.
But what does that mean to me?
If my passion is to be
purposeful
useful
than it seems like I will be searching my whole life
until my breath runs out
that even as I clamor about
trying to make a difference
life passes me by
so I want to make a difference
to matter
and it's so hard to act small
when the needs of the world seem to
forever open up to you
an invitation
to change something
be someone.
So.
If I am simply a domino
to start a process long and slow
the end result I'll never know
I'm in, I'll try, but tell me where to go
to start
to begin
this maddening art of
life.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lent-Day 24

Friendship
over time
changes
in ways we cannot deny
we change
and that metamorphosis requires
an understanding
that those close to us
can adapt
react to what is new
and still connect in some manner of truth.
when those friendships are found
when that foundation is sound
these are the people you want around
they know you.
they accept you.
friendship over time is acceptance.

we aren't the same as we were
racing sticks down the creek behind your house
but the fact that we are still friends
11 years later
creates a genuine thankfulness within me
for a friend that remains

and friends that remain--
well, they're hard to find.

Here's to you, Crodgers.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lent-Day 23

I've often wondered
how the gut and the heart are connected
"go with your gut"
"follow your heart"
what are we speaking to
if not attempting some connection to the soul?

for when does the soul speak?
what chances do we give her voice
in the chaos of reason and logic
the systems and methods we've set up
disregarding the value
of that within ourselves
which is holy.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lent-Day 22

Poetry
speaks to the heart
a finely sharpened knife
cutting through all the fluff
fat
garbage
permeating our lives
and getting to the real.
We've been told that our feelings are not to be trusted
that reason, rational thinking
this is the mark of wisdom
in the world we live in
but while facts show a knowledge of certain dimensions
poems speak to truth of different intentions
maybe you can tell me why the sky is blue and clouds are white
but can you capture fear in the frailty of night?
the heart speaks a language
that we have to work to understand
it's easier to just let it pass us by
emotion is betrayal, don't smile, frown, or cry
but not everything is as easily seen as the back of your own hand
and that's why poetry is more important now than ever
easy answers aren't solutions
they're rejecting the greater need
to understand our hearts
to encourage and appreciate the arts
and maybe then we can begin to start
rethinking.
rebuilding.
renewing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lent-Day 21

Some days
you question whether the rain
will ever end
infinite
waves of water reaching out to oblivion
the ocean
what's a raindrop in that body of water?
nothing.
yet to me
each raindrop
is a wall
between me and spring
the time when all things are born again
fresh
new
and yet
without the rain
can the flowers ever bloom?
what is spring if not for the winter rains?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lent-Day 20

Looking out from the house on the bluff
I noticed
the lights below were gone
instead of cozy homes
warmth pouring out
I saw
empty windows
dark
cold
missing souls.
The dark waters of the ocean crept nearer
feeding on fear and the
chilliness of the night
but then
look.
a candle illumines a window
hope born anew.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Lent-Day 19

I've decided I want to live with more courage
to not shy away from the hard and difficult
but to rush to meet them head-on.

So I've started asking:
Which takes more courage?

To criticize or to work to change what is wrong?

To stop and talk to the person on the side of the road, or to drive on by?

To defend a person being attacked in a conversation, or to simply try to move past it?

Which takes more courage?

I seem to run away when things get hard
decisions cut me deep like scars
action is value, go ahead, take charge
but how could we have come so far
and still not know who we really are?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lent-Day 18

What's an old, dry bone?
Useless. Dead.

But I think we each have some dry bones within
those pieces of us made dead from sin
they need the fresh breath of God to begin
to work as they are called to.

What if the church is a dry bone too?
A parched, bland version of what was once new
what would it take to return to what's true?
to work as we are called to.

What if our world is a hot, dry bone?
a magnificent creature ours only on loan
we can help it grow when our love is shown
the world as it should be.

Lent-Day 17

Someone needs to do a study
on the psychological revelations
of domino organization
it's fascinating.

To me, it's linear.
Left to right
line up your train
as best you can
despite any mishaps along the way.

To Kady,
it's a loose downward line
falling like rain to the ground.

Chris organizes like the treeclimber that he is--
trees on the mind.
His dominoes form tight, connected bows
all culminating in a magnificent point
(that spot high up in a tree those climbers like)

To me, that first domino is a "the."
Starting a sentence.
The first word from left to right.

Kady's first domino is that first drop of rain
you feel that seems to tell you
"Take cover. The sky is about to open up."

Chris' first domino seems like the end, at the beginning.
The top, right from the start.
The pinnacle.

Maybe that's why he wins.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lent-Day 16

I have a little hippo
he chases me around
despite my pleas
and attempts to flee
his silliness knows no bounds

He's there for me on bad days
and when the days are good
whether I cry or smile or frown
he's always understood

One day I had to leave him
as I left town on a trip
he stood there and watched me go
a trembling in his lips

I never went on home to him
I've yet to travel back
how he fares without me
well, I'm scared to even ask

But some days when I miss him most
his voice it seems to reach me
while I left
I'm not forgotten
my hippo, he is my community.

(That's for you, 1229).

Lent-Day 15

How do you help the ones
that don't want your help?
You can try to give so much of yourself
for naught.
Because try as you might some
just want to be forgot.

But I refuse to let that happen
I want to reach across the chasm
that divides us
whatever it may be
I want to reach out with integrity
find our common humanity.

I'll admit.
Sometimes it may be hard for me to relate
at times I've been more than content to
skate by with my privilege by birth
brought into a place on earth
where I was appreciated
built up
lauded and
applauded.

And not everyone experiences that.
So while you may not want my help
I have to try
and maybe we'll never be able to tell if
I made a difference
but everyone deserves to be loved simply
for their very existence.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lent-Day 14

I always say to dream big, act small.
And that doesn't seem like so tall an order
after all
we each are capable of small things
but what about when our heart can only focus on the big?

So today the task I've placed in front of myself
is to picture big things without the smaller pieces within
things that won't work, can't be without
like sewing a quilt without a needle and pin.

What's a rainbow, without millions of tiny droplets of water
a beach, without each grain of sand?
What's a house without the bricks that built it
a skin cell, if not part of a hand?

What's a flock of geese without a "V"?
hundreds gathered in unity
wings beating in harmony

what's a person without community
a lonely sailor lost at sea
a fish without a school
without the place it needs to be

a snowflake carries exquisite beauty
unique, perfect in its purity
but a snowflake alone cannot cover the ground
giving us the muffled tranquility of winter sounds

how do you start a fire without the kindling?
you can't have a forest without a tree
how can you dance without learning the steps?
you can't appreciate the colors of fall without seeing each turning leaf.

one rock can cause the water to ripple
but perhaps many rocks can cause a wave
my one small voice grows stronger
flanked by a chorus of change.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lent-Day 13

Some days I wake up
and miss the mountains
rising up majestically
collecting my constantly restless spirit
in their expansive arms

I miss the trees
the shapes made from groves and clusters
green, tan, white
I play guess who with the faces on the mountainside.

I miss blue skies
somehow rendered a deeper blue
by the snow on the ground
and the chill in the air
my lungs sting with the breath inwards
but I feel so alive.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lent-Day 12

The past has shaped you
not defined you
so don't look back and feel so blue
you can rue the mistakes
but not who they have shaped

You have purpose.
a future
a world of potential
so don't sit back and focus on flaws
know that God has a plan for us all.

Lent-Day 11

This one is for the youth group here at First Pres Newport. I mean it with all the love and hope I can offer. This is not directed at anyone in particular; think of it more as a call to the whole group to draw together.

it begins with respect
a recognition that anyone else's voice
carries a value equal to yours
that despite the constant lure
to draw attention to yourself
there is a time and a place
and this is a sacred space
for sharing
open to one another
compassionate
sisters and brothers
that care
your pain is my pain
your joy is my joy

community
this is yours
to shape and mold
but you have to trust
to hold each other as
special
unique
when you feel attacked
you turn the other cheek
the language and tone must be
tranquility
not anger
not frustration
no matter the situation
each person in that circle has to be willing to look around
at every other person there
and see a beloved child of God
and they deserve your ears
your silence
your heart
and your respect.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lent-Day 10

I still remember the day
(maybe I was around 8)
my parents discovered the star i had
drawn, even etched
into the end table.
"Luke, did you do this?"
Deny it.

But they knew.

And while we laugh and joke about it now
I can still feel the humiliation and
disappointment I experienced when they
exposed my lie.
Not maliciously
but pulling a band-aid off hurts whether
the wound is real or not.

it felt so grown up
sitting down to discuss what would happen next
for for all the wrong reasons
Because I had ruined a perfectly good end table
I would buy a new one with my own money.

And while I have no idea whether my
parents actually ever planned to uphold that punishment
the fear
sadness
disappointment
I felt as I researched new end tables
is something I can still grasp.

Though we may disappoint those that believe in us
and though we may have to learn lessons on the way
we will mess up
but we are nudged back onto course
forgiven and loved.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lent-Day 9

"The strength of a person's virtue should not be measured by their special exertions, but by their habitual acts." --Blaise Pascal

To follow Christ
is from from a one-time deal
a prayer time at every meal
a commitment to never kill or steal

To follow Christ
goes beyond the extraordinary
it is a daily burden to carry
it's more of the pit and less of the cherry

To follow Christ
requires a piece of sacrifice
it's more than simply being nice
we say we're willing, but what's the price?

To follow Christ
we must commit in every single thing we do
that after each long day is through
every act was made in the image of You.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lent-Day 8

Wouldn't it just be easier
if God left me a road map for my life?
Not all the answers, sure, but hints
whenever I lose direction?

Wouldn't it just be easier
if the answer to solving
world hunger, homelessness, and aids
was a formula laid out for us to follow?
You have to at least work a little
to make a formula work.

Yet, as I'm asking these questions
frustrated with my own free will
I feel rising over me a sense of peace.
Freedom.
There are
no wrong steps
no failed enterprises
no miscalculations
on this journey,
as long as you're trying
pushing forward
on
on
on
to whatever promised land
we find on the other side of the river.