My Easter Prayer

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Is it just another day, another ritual performed,
a chance to wear new clothes and serve festive meals,
a celebration to mark our days and orient ourselves in a new year?
Is it just another obligation,
a compartment to fit in all the praiseworthy things
we ought to feel,
hope to feel,
about One so distant, so long ascended?

Has the burning in our hearts been quenched by familiar practices
and institutions?
Has the finger-in-the-side-faith lost its exclamations,
replaced by programs, distractions, and holy soundtracks?
Has our communion in the garden become commonplace
rather than ablaze with revelation and intimacy?

Oh, God of the resurrection,
God of the unruly and easily sidetracked,
burn within my heart this day.
Renew this shabby faith, these tattered shreds of almost belief,
with an obsession,
a knowing,
a persistence,
and an urgency to love the faltering, the lost.
To be the Kingdom person you suffered to make me is my Easter prayer.

The Pain of God

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Blood-red, crimson poured, bruised and slashed,
cross-crisscrossed, tissue, nerve and sinew,
Sacred threads bleeding, “Father, forgive them— ”
Thorn and nail, sin and curse,
opposing timbers track and soak rivulets, tears ruby-red,
dripping, dripping.
Heaving heavy, breaths sucked searing,
rising, falling, out of joint, lots cast, seamless prize,
a Savior’s scream, “My God, my God, why— ”
Creeping clouds, shake the thunder,
separated sun, temple veil top to bottom, human veil rent,
ripping, ripping.
Pale, drained dry,
a Spirit’s surrender: “It is finished.”

As if in a Dream

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I look through my own grid, and I’m not sure how to see differently.

I know just how you feel–

well, not really. I can imagine walking in your shoes,

but truth is I don’t. I can imagine feeling what you feel,

but truth is I can’t. Small wonder we feel the separation and division strongly,

but so often

so alone.

And that warm, fuzzy unity is an out-there goal, a hope,

but

until I am you, I walk as if in a dream.

There is a trust . . .

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There is in trust a writing between the lines.
I trust you, but that trust expects an outcome acceptable to me. My blank slate of surrender has a lot of smudges around the edges—things like “Don’t make it hurt,” “Let all end well,” “Let love be stronger than hate.”
There is in trust a whining between the lines
that holds hands unclenched, but my heart is hidden behind my back with fingers crossed.
Is there a kind of trust without the small print—Yours and mine. A trust that knows I and my loved ones and my cares are in the arms of Someone not only able but willing to do what is good—
no matter what that looks like.
There is a trust, and I am learning and yearning for it.

My Book of Uncommon Prayers: Willing To Be Defeated

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I used to be cocksure,
willing to trample fragile souls for the sake of being right. And
it hurts to think I was so unlike Your sacrificial kindness, so unlike Your bleeding, selfless truth.
May I be willing to be defeated to win one. May I grow accustomed to embarrassment to at least appear humble as the pride prickles are chiseled away—one by one, by weary one.
My kingdom looks ever dim in the bright hues of Your shining presence—and may all see You
in spite of me.
If I would feed on Your words more than I feed on my need, I would be so much more nourished
with life to give.