SOLVING THE RIDDLE

Psalm 49:1-4 — New Revised Standard Version

Hear this, all you peoples;
give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
both low and high,
rich and poor together.
My mouth shall speak wisdom;
the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will solve my riddle to the music of the harp.

SOLVING RIDDLES

Solving the Riddle

I like this idea of solving riddles to the
music of the harp.
It’s kind of like the Blues musician’s
claim that “the blues will get us through.”
Music,
like the sound of the harp, piano, guitar, bass,
in a 12-bar loop that should be predictable,
but is not,
and is littered with
surprising accents and riffs
and soul
— lots of soul —
and a warm sense of home.
And the music does not
have to be the blues
to do this,
it just needs to be music:
arias, country, symphonies, folk —
whatever touches the riddles
and quandaries
and entanglements of our
own hearts
with healing and comfort.
Music does this:
takes us to a place of healing,
of remembrance,
of deep knowing.
Sometimes the music we hear is
carried on the night wind
from a far-a-way radio,
sometimes it is the wind itself.
Or, the rustle of a leaf,
or, a lover’s sigh,
or, a baby’s laugh,
or, the beautiful music
of our own hearts
as they beat the rhythm of our lives
or, or, or…
sometimes, for me,
the deepest music I hear
is the silence between
two notes in the middle of a
sweeping guitar arpeggio.
What is the music you hear?
In the Guitars for Vets Program
where I have been a volunteer instructor
for four years,
the motto is:
“If we can get a guitar in the hands of a vet
it will be hard for that vet
to get a gun in their mouth.”
Solving the riddle to the
music of the harp.
What are your riddles?
What riddles do you hear voiced
in your communities
in the news you read and hear
in the voices that speak to you?

WHAT IF GOD IS FEMININE?

Isaiah 66:13 — “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”
Hosea 11:3-4 — “Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I who took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.”
Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34 — “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”
Genesis 1:27 — “Humankind was created as God’s reflection: in the divine image God created them; female and male, God made them.”
Deuteronomy 32:18 — “You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.”

What If

What if God Is Feminine?

I should state first off
that I do not think for one minute
that God has any gender.
The “It” pronoun is most
efficacious when accurately
speaking to, of, and about God.
Still, humans seem to have
the need to genderize the concept of God
and rely heavily on
making claims about God
that give them most comfort,
and the strongest sense of security.
There is nothing especially wrong with that,
except when we begin to believe
that our comfortable misconceptions
are how it actually is
and try to force others
to hold our own
not too well founded notions
of theology.
So let’s consider
the possibility that if God did have a gender
what it might be like if
that gender is feminine.
There are not many feminine images
for God in the Bible,
but there are some,
a few.
The five texts above
are a few of them —
maybe most of them.
It was a full-on patriarchy,
that ancient Hebrew community,
and it has profoundly
shaped our own culture.
Many of the Gods
they abhorred so deeply were female.
Many of the neighboring
religions expected/demanded
human sacrifice and whether
or not they were in fact
goddess traditions,
they were all conflated into
other/outsider/sinful/bad/abominations.
The writers of the Hebrew scriptures
defined themselves
by what they were not,
and they were not
like anything that they defined as
“other.”
But what if their
patriarchal testosterone packed
outlook on life
wasn’t exactly how it is?
What if they had defined
God as being
of a feminine nature,
instead of masculine?
Understanding that these folks
ran with a rough crowd
we still would get more texts
that read like those above,
and the Isaiah 49:23 reading that goes:
And kings shall
be your nursing fathers,
and their queens
your nursing mothers,
instead of the Hosea 13:16 text that reads:
Samaria shall
bear her guilt,
because she has rebelled against her God;
they shall fall by the sword,
their little ones shall be dashed in pieces,
and their pregnant women ripped open.
Or Psalm 137:9: that reads,
Happy shall they be who take
your little ones
and dash them against the rock!
What would Christianity
look like if
instead of the male god of Abraham
we had the female God of Sarah,
nurturing, wisdom-filled,
forgiving, and loving?
I think it is what Jesus
tried to proclaim when he prayed
he could gather
Jerusalem,
read that humanity,
like a mother hen
gathering her chicks
to protect and nurture,
and was rejected.
Let’s be honest
for a second here,
wouldn’t we all rather
be gathered and held and loved and nurtured
by a loving mother God
than judged and condemned?
I believe we are—
loved and not condemned—by the way.
I also believe it goes against every
warring, violent thought we,
as a patriarchal culture,
hold so dear.
We are,
after all, humans
and we have a deeply embedded
violence as part of our
way of doing business.
Still.
Still.
Maybe if we worshiped a
god portrayed as a god
with a nature
of nurture and forgiveness
rather than a god portrayed as a god
of judgement and retribution
we might be a tad different.
Which is why I titled this
What If God is Feminine?
It is a question…

TO THE SUN

To conclude my poem-journey this week of a poem a day. I am using past work from around 1972 that was written after a cold night in the Sierra. It indeed infers an inner spiritual movement — awareness of body, awareness of God/Nature/God-in-nature. The awareness of that unknown entity we understand as that-which-cannot-be-named-known-or-described… nonetheless, discovered in unconditional love of small creatures — death, and the sacredness of summer’s sun…

To the Sun

TO THE SUN
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

That which
was not poem
and
death-locked
in ever-winter-earth
now
beats with poet-rhythms
and
heart-heat
of summer-sun blaze.

You have melted me—
Like summer-heat snow-melt,
I seem to no longer stand
inviolate
against a safe winter’s sun.

You have melted me—
I pour,
fluid-like stream
from my ice-high eerie,
and my dissolution
floods stream-hollow channels.

You have melted me—
and I do not recognize
this I have become:
mist to
sky–breeze-blown vapor.
I seek life
in your heat.

You have melted me—
I reach out
to touch
that which was not
yet. and
I feel heart-heat pulse beat
where once
ice-locked
and protected

SEMMETRY

To continue my poem-journey this week of a poem a day. I am pulling from past and new work that infer an inner spiritual movement — awareness of body, awareness of nature/God-in-nature. The awareness of that unknown entity we understand as that-which-cannot-be-named-known-or-described… nonetheless, discovered in unconditional love of small creatures — and death.

In the Ice of Time

SYMMETRY
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

I discovered grim symmetry
in winter’s freeze.
Tangle of
winter-bare willow.
Rabbit,
raptor-killed-gray
on white-frozen earth:
concentric circles of death
with one red eye
staring death
at center of corpse–
this raptor was
neat–and cautious.

Frozen earth,
soil beneath low branches
of bare willow, where still figure
draws me in.
Circle of fur, two-foot diameter,
shaven from rabbit’s belly
Lays out about carcass.
Death in the round,
warmth near-frozen
in fog-white mirror for earth.

One tuft of fur at a time
shaven from belly in
three-hundred degree circle
of wary movement.

Three inch round red plate of red meat
in center of carcass steams off
last remembrance of life.
Blank eye of rabbit looks at nothing,
and at me, as though I too
have blood on my teeth.
As though I too
might lay belly-bare
on frozen ground–
fodder for some raptor.

I thought: “Here is the glorious beauty
and the
symmetry of my own death.
If I could but die in
solidarity with the cosmos…”

THE POSSIBILITY OF GOD

To continue my poem-journey this week of a poem a day. I am pulling from past and new work that infer an inner spiritual movement — awareness of body, awareness of nature/God-in-nature. The awareness of that unknown entity we understand as that-which-cannot-be-named-known-or-described…

The Possibility of God

THE POSSIBILITY OF GOD
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

Walking along a trail
in a forest
on a wet day.
Raindrops, fog, mist —
the air alive with moist beauty.
God
lurking in the water sparkles.
The leaves glittering God
A day like today:
wet with beauty
alive with drenched light
does not prove
to me
that God exists,
but shows me how
I can walk among
the water droplets that caress
God’s Body,
and feel the erotic
that God is.
I find no boundaries
when God touches
me as I
was touched
by the Presence
of raw and palpable beauty
on that trail.
Sometimes I feel like I
am in an electrical field.
Nerve ends buzzing the
possibility
of God.

A NEW YEAR’S REFLECTION

A New Year’s Reflection

Psalm 104 — The Message

O my soul, bless GOD!
GOD, my God, how great you are!
beautifully, gloriously robed,
Dressed up in sunshine,
and all heaven stretched out for your tent.
You built your palace on the ocean deeps,
made a chariot out of clouds and took off on wind-wings.
You commandeered winds as messengers,
appointed fire and flame as ambassadors.
You set earth on a firm foundation
so that nothing can shake it, ever.
You blanketed earth with ocean,
covered the mountains with deep waters;
Then you roared and the water ran away—
your thunder crash put it to flight.
Mountains pushed up, valleys spread out
in the places you assigned them.
You set boundaries between earth and sea;
never again will earth be flooded.
You started the springs and rivers,
sent them flowing among the hills.
All the wild animals now drink their fill,
wild donkeys quench their thirst.
Along the riverbanks the birds build nests,
ravens make their voices heard.
You water the mountains from your heavenly cisterns;
earth is supplied with plenty of water.
You make grass grow for the livestock,
hay for the animals that plow the ground.

# # #

A NEW YEAR’S REFLECTION

Building and blessing,
appointing and commanding,
starting and setting,
and filling and quenching:
I see what you have done
in the universe,
the beauty of your creation,
and how good it is
and how lovely is all that you touch.
You have touched me with that beauty,
too,
but it is hard for me to see it in myself.
Open my eyes to see how
I am as delicate as the song
of a nesting bird,
as powerful as a spring river,
and as glorious as sunshine itself.
I know that the grandeur
of the entire universe is of you,
and that each part of it functions
has part of your own incredible, cosmic,
and holy flow,
and that
even time moves as if it were
your
own holy blood pumped
by the consecrated rhythms
of your own sacred,
blessed, and majestic heart.
Change frightens me,
so help me now to
know how to trust
that rhythm of your heart-time
as I step into the river
of this season’s flow
and move into
yet one more new year
that is simply,
and lovingly,
the next beat
of your own
glorious heart.

RECOGNITION

Hope #3

Hope #3

John 1:29-34 — The Message

The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, “Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I’ve been talking about, ‘the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.’ I knew nothing about who he was—only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God.”

John clinched his witness with this: “I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: The One who authorized me to baptize with water told me, ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ That’s exactly what I saw happen, and I’m telling you, there’s no question about it: This is the Son of God.”

Recognition
John 1:29-34
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

We keep looking.
We keep seeking.
We keep peering into an
unknown chasm
called eternity
trying to catch a glimpse of
something
we have only speculated on,
dreamed of,
considered —
the Divine Being,
the Holy One, God.
I wonder, though,
if it could be that
we have already
seen this divinity —
been in its presence,
and not made the connection,
not registered,
not recognized God for whom God is?
What if we look at God all the time,
but are blind
to God’s Presence?
We wait for a descending Spirit to affirm.
We expect Gabriel’s horn to blow and announce.
We want cosmic excitement and bright lights,
bells,
whistles,
smoke,
great gushes of wind,
a deep heavenly voice,
and legions of angels darting to and fro,
and all we seem to get
is the mundane.
We get life,
rocks, pebbles, sand, a random cloud, a spider,
weeds, rain, and by the way,
other and very random people
with strange ways, sweat, body odors, and
all looking for the same thing—God.
I submit:
all these things are that very thing
for which we seek;
the Divine Spirit.
Another way to say this is
if spirit can be matter,
then matter can be spirit
and It seems we have already
discovered what we sought
and all we need to do next is to recognize.
The problem,
though, is that once
we admit
that all that exists is sacred and divine,
we will then have to enter ourselves into that category
too,
and, well, that could get messy…