We all want so much!
To be fed, clothed, sheltered, loved
cared for—given grace:
these are the basics of our lives,
and we shouldn’t have to want,
or need them,
but they seem so scarce at times
that we feel we must beg for them.
It would be easy to point at
the immoral, godless, mean-spirited
judges that seem to abound,
around us and smugly identify them
as at fault for the ills that befall us.
It would be easy,
and there would be a part of the truth
in doing so.
As easy as it could be to look outward,
is not the most vicious,
immoral, nasty judge around
the one who dwells within our own selves
and screams imprecations
at every wrong move we make?
And how do we entreat this judge
who withholds from us
our God-given right
to the abundance of grace
we are promised by God?
Do we stand up to this judge?
Do we never quit demanding decency
and good judgements
Or do we just accept these bad judgements
as the inevitable outcome
of our undeserving lives?
How wrong is it for us
to allow our inner bad judges
to steal from us
the very grace God is trying to get us
Can we ask boldly
for our own selves?
The other morning as I walked outside
I was taken with the thought
of how the day, that very morning
contained absolute and uncompromising beauty—
as does every day, should I take time to notice.
I thought to myself
how utterly still and golden the air
as it wrapped me in Autumn’s splendor.
I thought how unimaginably glorious
is the exquisiteness of all the days of our lives
if we will only stop and look.
This is more than “smelling the roses.”
Though surely that is part of it.
This is about the pure,
unadulterated grace of living,
and recognizing it for what it is:
an outpouring of the very substance of holiness.
God walks upon our hills,
God sits upon our mountains,
God breathes across our lakes and rivers,
God hurls the light of Christ
like a javelin from the East to the West
and it flashes like the sun,
and shines like the stars,
and rivets us
like our shadow from a full moon.
And this morning, that javelin
pierced my heart
as I stood in stunned shock
in the presence of Presence,
and I made a sound as it did,
an utterance of
Just harsh, that’s what it is:
to say that someone is full of self
with an empty soul.
But we know these people,
we see them every day,
sometimes looking back at us
at our jobs,
in the news we read,
out of the glitter of advertising,
back at us from our own mirrors.
We crave something…
We seem to starve
for things we can’t have.
We compensate our
inner lack of spiritual nourishment
with a thin outer patina of opulence
that scratches easily
and loses its shine
if looked at too closely.
We seem to want what we are not,
are unable to be what we dream,
and wish for the life of us
that we could have made
the choices we did not make,
if we had the choice all over again.
We stand amidst what looks to us like failure
and pretend as hard as we can that we are
better than we are,
stronger than we are,
smarter than we are,
and we develop a fragile
and make-believe pride, piety,
that crumbles into rage
every time it is challenged.
Still, God challenges us with:
“But the person in right standing before God
through loyal and steady believing
is fully alive, really alive.”
It is an answer,
the only answer,
to an empty soul
that craves to be saturated with love.
Giving up an empty and pretend world of glory
is hard but doable,
and God calls us to give it a try.
When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” He pressed them, “And how about you? Who do you say I am? ”So, How would you answer this question?
Who do I say that you are?
I don’t even know who I am,
how am I supposed to know who you are?
I know people who have degrees
who know less of who you are
than the most uneducated
people I know.
I know wealthy
who can afford to purchase
any answer they want,
who have less of a clue as to
how to answer that question
than the poorest of the poor.
Is this a trick question?
Is this a pop quiz?
What happens if I get this wrong?
My spirit is quaking
at my unknowing.
Or do I really know?
Could it be that this is not
an educational assessment,
but rather a
means for a personal gauge
And then I get it.
This is a question about my
spiritual and personal relationship.
WHO DO I SAY YOU ARE?
Oh yeah, I get it now.
You are the one who gives meaning
to everything I am, everything I say,
and every breath I breathe.