Thursday, January 24, 2008

Writing Prompt 35

What do the words from Spirit of the Living God "Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me" conjure up for you?

Forging Ahead

We’re all being hammered down
smashed flat, quivering red and molten
like silver in refiner’s fire

We’re all being punched and pushed
squashed, spun, dizzy and thrown
like clay on potter’s wheel

Maybe we should’ve kept our mouths shut
kept our noses in our books
kept our hands in the dishwater
kept our feet on the gas pedal
kept our lives settled, stable
and possibly, doubtfully, content

But we had to do it, look up from
our circumscribed lives
remove our rose colored glasses
pry our fingers from their death grip
around familiar’s throat
and belt out those words

Melt me, Mold me

Who would’ve known asking for God
would be this messy, this ugly
leaving us purple and bruised
dumped into the unknown
Who would’ve known we’re not in control

Whether we like it or not
whether we admit it or not
God always had hands all over us
fingers poking and prodding
hot breath in our faces
whispering, shouting
when we lost attention

You’re Mine

So there we were and here we are
forging ahead sharpening our trust
kneading our faith

How else are we going to become silver forks
spearing meaty portions of justice for the poor
How else are we going to become clay cooking pots
steaming with hope to feed the hungry

How else are we going to rise up and follow
telling our stories of transformation
from mound of slimy clay to communion cup
from chunk of ore to steeple bell

How else are we going to stare straight
into the world’s face
shift our weight in the Creator’s palms
and cry out

Fill me, Use me

and really mean it

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Writing Prompt 34

Write about rain. Allow the images to soak through you and onto the page.

Praying for Rain, Spiritual and Otherwise

Despite a storm that dumped eleven inches of rain in the San Lorenzo Valley recently, we're still in the midst of a drought. I'm longing for rain, not one big deluge, but days of steady drops that will soak into the ground, fill our streams and reservoirs and nurture our land and spirits back to life.


Once you were a nomad
parched dry, sunburned and chap-lipped
limping through the Mojave
with a broken compass
and a bag of gorp.

Then something, you don’t want to call it God
rained on you and in you
drenching the bone dry well of you
with something that hydrated
from the inside out.
You’ve heard it called living water.
Whether or not that’s true
you were never thirsty
in the same way, after that.

When your mother died
you worried that you’d dehydrate
were afraid to watch yourself shrivel.
But there was enough water.
Enough for the tears you needed to cry
and enough to keep you afloat.

You always knew you were grateful
but it seemed a private matter
one that lacked image or words
until the hundred-degree day your children
begged to run through the hose.

You turned the faucet and stood barefoot on the front lawn
thumb arcing the water into a bracing rainbow
and they raced back and forth through the spray
arms held to the sky, a squealing trinity
blades of wet grass plastered to their ankles.

It was then that you stepped away from yourself
one step closer to the flood.
You turned up your face and felt drops baptize your forehead.
Thank you you said to the force in the universe
and knew it was well pleased.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Writing Prompt 33

How does it feel to know you are God's beloved? Write about a time you experienced that love, or of your search for it.

Come to the Jordan

Come with me to the Jordan River, full of the repentant, wet to their chests in the cold muddy water. Today Jesus is here, wading into it all, eager to immerse himself. Over the riverside commotion, I heard him say that it is love, not law, that rules. That got everyone’s attention. There will be questions, debates, accusations. Soon Jesus will be struggling time and again, talking in parables, riddles, words that won’t always make sense; using all his creativity to explain God’s desire. His friends, his followers, his critics, his enemies, the curious, me; we just won’t get it. This Jesus, he’s going to walk where no one has walked before. He’s going to walk on water and people will follow. We’ll follow because he’s not afraid. His confidence will never fade, even at his death. His faith clings to him like skin; there is no division between them. This fearless faith calls us to follow.

We will leave the familiar and open our lives, our minds, our bodies and souls to experience God anew. Now God sends a dove, a sign, and speaks in Jesus’ ear. If you listen closely, you can hear it too. “This is my child,” God says. “This is my child, my beloved.” We are silent, breath held, and the air crackles with affirmation. “This is my child, my beloved with whom I am well pleased.” Now Jesus knows, once and for eternity, his ministry, his mission. I see the emotions play across his face. He is relieved and energized and filled with joy and swept away with feeling so deep and wordless that he weeps. The crowd, we kneel in the water with Jesus, waiting for God to pour over us, cleansing that same deep place. We make no effort to wipe away the tears streaming into the Jordan, his, mine, ours.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Writing Prompt 32

Meditate on Psalm 46:1

Be still and know that I am God.

Meditate, with a pen or keyboard, focusing on each word in the sentence separately and writing a brief response.

Or meditate by removing the last word from the line, until you have reached Be.

Be Still and Know

I'm tempted in the new year to make resolution upon resolution--exercise more, write more, read more, especially the Bible and devotionals, pray more and better, follow through on all the half finished projects from last year, cook from scratch more often, keep the house cleaner. The list can be endless, and my ability to fail to maintain the busy-ness guaranteed.

Instead of more, perhaps what I need is less. To be still. My meditation on this line from the Psalms:

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:1

Be still and know that I am…
The one who claimed you, taking you to my heart so that you might have hope.

Be still and know that I…
Have plans that will fuel your dreams and bring you always ever closer to me.

Be still and know that…
You will discover your place in and ministry to this beautiful and brittle world.

Be still and know…
That I’m a commando of love. Be amazed at where and how I will reveal myself.

Be still and…
Sit down and shut up, sometimes. I want your attention. I want your intention.

Be still…
You are a thing of beauty and I have given you seasons. A time to bloom, a time to fade, a time to wither and be pruned, a time to be small and turned in upon yourself, and a time for rebirth.

Just be.