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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Day 16: Reading the Scriptures



Isaiah asked, "How shall they hear without a preacher?"
Poor fellow never predicted Gutenberg, right? The press
Of print-blocks to pages, of pages to peepers, of peepers to
Perception. Now one only needs a single sense to know
The Word. Those who do not see and yet believe are no more.

But how do the scriptures say they are to be understood:
"Hear, O Israel!" "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
"Eat this scroll!" And meals should be eaten communally
Where we learn to eat by first being spoon-fed tiny
Portions of the same bread and wine that all need to
Become strong in body and spirit and able to feed others.

The scriptures only make sense when listened to as a
Playlist, and only when you are drunk enough to hear
The Spirit pounding in your heart, the press of Word to
Heart made flesh, to life made open book, to lips that
Proclaim the praise of Him who called us by the Word

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Day 15: Ignorance



The people are swept away
The whirlwind of their passions
Unchecked
Has blown down the landmarks
The stones of remembrance

The children are few in number
Conceived but never born
Aborted
Never given life at all
Or given lives of death

And they are not to blame
Common sense and decency
Unmoored
Made fairness to everyone
Righteousness to no one

The prophets were not silent
The priests held liturgies
Faithless
And traditioned their faith
To all of the faithful

It is a time for pugilism
To be in the world but
Outcast
To change it from the inside
You must be wholly outside

The voice of God thunders
Even the still small voice
Intrudes
Preaching a God we do not know
Who will listen if we do not

We must take words and return
Pay our vows to the Lord
Thankful
That knowledge is for children
And we are not very wise

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Day 13: Gratitude



I often say thank you with the little things I do
I bring you things to show you how I feel
I behave the way the lover is expected to
But if I don't say it is it real?

I don't mean just a bowed head before the evening meal
I don't mean just a peck upon the cheek
I don't mean a return invite as though we had a deal
I mean the actual words I don't speak

Sometimes the shortest phrases mean more than big gestures
Sometimes a couple words make the whole true
Sometimes words show what you really treasure
Sometimes you can be saved by a Thank You

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Day 12: The Spiritual Necessity of Tithing & Almsgiving



I tried to fight temptation until it made me blue
I visited the sick and fed the poor
I lit my candles at the church and said all my prayers too
But it seemed there must be something more

I read the daily readings and lives of the saints too
I read all the Fathers had to say
I read the Philokalia, Way of the Pilgrim one and two
But felt like I was not on the way

I witnessed to my workmates and the grocery checkout clerk
I preached the Gospel in the city park
No opportunity to share the faith did I ever try to shirk
But I was just shouting from the dark

I helped all of my neighbors, sang tenor in the choir
Served on each committee that I could
They looked to me for wisdom when things came to the wire
But I only did the things I should

All the spiritual value I had tried to build in me
Was like the dung that Saint Paul spoke about
Since I couldn't save myself then I was free
To forget myself and all of my self-doubt

All I had left was money and I gave it out with glee
Tithes and alms I purposed to deliver
And as I gave as freely as was given to me
I learned that God does love a cheerful giver

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Day 11: Dogs




"Mommy, where's my puppy?" came the plaintive little cry.
"He's wandered off yet again, I imagine," replied I.
"It is dark and cold out there!" shivered the little tot,
"You've got to bring him home to me, and give him something hot."
"He'll turn up soon, he always does," I told her soothingly.
Her eyes went wide with childlike incredulity.
"What if he is lost somewhere?" she asked me with a sob,
Her love was so palpable it made my own heart throb.
I sighed and hugged her like she would her own little dog,
Then got ready for a cold dark nighttime searching slog.
In my defense, the dog regularly ran away from home,
But it was just the neighbor's woods in which he loved to roam.
Like us all, he'd run and chase after his heart's desire
Until he remembered home was where there was love food and fire.
Out I went into the night, her face watching me go;
That I'd return with the puppy no doubt did she show.
When I was barely out of sight, and scarcely called his name,
Out he bounded from the woods, all pleasure and no shame.
"You stupid dog!" I told him as he wagged and leaped on me,
But I smiled thinking of how happy she would be.
In like a shot he went to her when I opened the door.
"You're home!" she squealed and hugged him like I had hugged her before.
"Good good boy for coming home!" she praised her prodigal puppy;
Like the welcome the Master has for prodigal you and me.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Day 10: Starting a Fire




A night of despondent toiling, nothing calm except the sea
Casting out the nets and hauling them back empty
Sunrise starts to light the earth, don't want to try anymore
"Cast your nets to the right!" came a voice from the shore
There were so many fish they couldn't pull the nets back in
"It is the Lord!" cried Simon Peter as he stripped to the skin
He swam to the beach followed by the disciples rowing hard
And there they found a fire with some fish already charred

There on the beach a fire was kindled
Love for the Lord that would not go out
Those that were fed would feed all of God's people
They followed him and left their nets and doubt

When they were finished eating, nothing left except the coals
Jesus asked, "Do you love me more than the fish in the shoals?"
Peter, who went a-fishing, said, "Lord, you know it's true!"
"Take care of my sheep, Peter, that's all you need to do."
Two more times he asked him, twice more his love professed,
And the whole wide world would through him be three times blessed
All these things were written down by him who would not die
And in them all a fire was kindled that would lift us to the sky

There on the beach a fire was kindled
Love for the Lord that would not go out
Those that were fed would feed all of God's people
They followed him and left their nets and doubt

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Day 9: Salt





Better a millstone hung around my neck
Than to live every day at the beck
And call of a sin that overwhelms me
Like the plunging sea
And pulls down the children to a lost eternity

I must be salted, salted with fire
Burn out every sinful desire
Amputate the flesh, pour salt on the wound
Let all sin be consumed on my funeral pyre

Burn out the garbage or be burned with the trash
The pain of the knife or eternally thrash
In the place prepared for the Devil's own fate
And for all God hates
Obedience will lead me to Heaven's gate

I must be salted, salted with fire
Burn out every sinful desire
Amputate the flesh, pour salt on the wound
Let all sin be consumed on my funeral pyre

Arise from the ashes - phoenix of grace
God in a body came and took my place
Jesus kept the whole law; took my punishment
His life was spent
To give his righteousness to hopeless men

I must be salted, salted with fire
Burn out every sinful desire
Amputate the flesh, pour salt on the wound
Let all sin be consumed on my funeral pyre

God will replace every torn out part
When you give him your burned up heart

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Day 8: Blogger's Choice




Sometimes we have no choice
Sometimes we have no choice but to choose
Sometimes there are so many choices we can't choose

Sometimes any choice will do
Sometimes any choice will do nothing
Sometimes any choice will do nothing that's any good

Some people think we have no choice
Some people think we only have any choice
Some people know choosing between those is meaningless


Friday, November 21, 2014

Day 7: Temple



My body is a temple built as an abode for God
Hung with tapestries and the family jewels
Lit with golden sensors blowing smoke
Blood flows like wine and soaks the bread
Antiochus Epiphanies has slaughtered the swine

"Open the gates of repentance, O Giver of life,
for my spirit rises early to pray toward you holy temple,
bearing the temple of my body all defiled;
but in Your compassion,
purify me by the loving kindness of Your mercy."


I built the temple that my father never could
His enemies were his sacrifices, mine are my friends
I feast on the fleshpots of Egypt in my idolness
Attended by a thousand virgins and their gods
All around me is peace, all inside me is war

"Lead me on the paths of salvation, O Mother of God,
for I have profaned my soul with shameful sins,
and have wasted my life in laziness.
But by your intercessions,
deliver me from all impurity. "


I wanted to build a temple where God would dwell
But unless God builds the house, I labor in vain
But I need a roof of protection between me and God
In the Tabernacle I must put my face to the ground
And God comes down and raises me up

"When I think of the many evil things I have done,
wretch that I am,
I tremble at the fearful day of judgement.
But trusting in Your loving kindness,
like David, I cry to You:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your great mercy."


http://www.mesora.org/DavidsTemple.htm



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Day 6: Eden




There is no Eden which is above
The Word came down to prepare a place for us
Where we'd meet God in the cool of the day
Walking among the fruit trees

There was no evil, only good
They walked on streets of golden-sunlit dew
They had no sin within or shame without
And no tears to wipe away

There were open gates all around
Out of which would stream all the nations
Multiplying in fruitfulness and peace
Of which there would be no end

But Paradise above is not Eden
The Word has gone to prepare a place for us
Where we will dwell in the house of God
Where there are pleasures forevermore



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day 5: Bread or Beer



I eat my bread when it stands upright in the cup
I like to drink my beer buttered thick
German toast is my all-time favorite breakfast food
It's that pilsner loaf that does the trick

Man cannot live by bread alone
Something has got to wash it down
Bread and beer, we need them here
Until we finally win the crown

It's not good to eat too much of beer or bread
Just enough to bring a little cheer
There is bread and spirit we need to fill up on
More important than our daily bread and beer

Man cannot live by bread alone
Something has got to wash it down
Bread and beer, we need them here
Until we finally win the crown

Dip your loaf together with me in the common cup
Eat with me as though we were one
We'll forge ahead until it is time for bottoms' up
We'll be carried home when we are done

Man cannot live by bread alone
Something has got to wash it down
Bread and beer, we need them here
Until we finally win the crown


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Day 4: Immortality


Immortality doesn't mean to never die
It means to never not live
And living is so much more than not dying
If Hell means twice the death
Heaven means twice the life

Immortality doesn't mean you can't die
It means death cannot have you
Since you are dead already to sin and Hell
If sin is the sting of death
Heaven's promise is righteousness

Immortality doesn't mean your work outlives you
It may burn and you remain
Because you are the work of salvation
If all outside is burned
Heaven is within you

Monday, November 17, 2014

Day 3: The Mighty Chicken



You can eat my fresh laid eggs
You can eat my severed legs
Downy wings will help you sleep
Poop will help you veggies reap
If you're a breast man I'm your bird
If you like legs I'm still preferred
My mate will wake you in the morn
Our kids will feed you ere they're born
I will serve you while I live
Then give all that's left to give

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Day 2: Sunday Best




Sunday's fun but Monday's hard
Give it your Sunday best
Work with your eyes heavenward
Give it your Sunday best

Give it your Sunday best
Don't mean the suit
Don't mean the tie
Don't mean pie in the bye and bye
Meet God where you are and rest
Give it your Sunday best

Temptation's lying at your door
Give it your Sunday best
Again and again, pray some more
Give it your Sunday best

Give it your Sunday best
Don't mean the suit
Don't mean the tie
Don't mean pie in the bye and bye
Meet God where you are and rest
Give it your Sunday best

Don't wait until it's time to die
Give it your Sunday best
Your salvation's drawing nigh
Give it your Sunday best

Give it your Sunday best
Don't mean the suit
Don't mean the tie
Don't mean pie in the bye and bye
Meet God where you are and rest
Give it your Sunday best

Give it your Sunday best
Put on the suit
Put on the tie
Strive for pie in the bye and bye
Say your prayers and all the rest
Give it your Sunday best


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Day 1: Rules




I have a rule about following rules: 
It's that they should be followed.
I'm sure the rule sounds superfluous,
But not as superfluous as the rule:
Rules are made to be broken.
Rules are made because they get broken.
We broke ours on a straight pole,
Attached it with nine inch nails,
Called him the King of the Jews,
And said we would have no ruler.
We feel a slap on the palms is stigmata,
The holes in the ruler our holes.
If you want to know the measure of a man,
Put your finger in the holes in his palms,
Take up your own cross, and follow him.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Poemiletics



For a season I'll be posting here
An adventure in word and cheer
Poetry from a foolish elf
Homilies you preach to yourself
A poemily a day for forty days
Until the Word in a manger lays


Number on the official logo for the year notwithstanding, this will be my second year participating in the Preachers' Institute nativity blog. Like last year, I will be posting poems on the assigned topics. Please check here each day for the new post, and click the image to go to the main page to visit the other participants' posts as well.

I'd appreciate any comments or questions - I prefer dialogue to monologue.