Monday, August 14, 2017

All the Best

We are told
There is no bad news
Just unfolding
Of God's will
Though the packages
Are daunting
He's the Keeper
Keeping still.
And He lets
The darkness threaten
Til we moan
Without a plan
So that we might
Well abandon
All the strategies
Of man.
That's the time
When Christ's power
That's the time
When demons flee
What a trade-off
My sad failures
All made right at Calvary.
And He works
The work so gently
And He hauls our
Common yoke
Just a please
And then a thank you
That a small child
Might invoke.

Matthew 11: 27-30

Monday, February 20, 2017

Distressed Flock

Drudgery in this walk
And dry the place
I know that we are tired
The bugs, the heat
The grass turned brown
Oh for those days inspired.
We left the fold
And village cheer
Our Shepherd on ahead
With hopes of high
And verdant times
No sense of doubt or dread.
The Man before
Would sing and march
And watering holes unearth
Quite safe with Him
As wolf lurked round
We thrived in second-birth.
Then clouds had come
And drizzling tests
The path turned mud
Quite slick
And some would fall
Their lungs awash
And most lost heart when sick.
The Shepherd still
Would share this test
And doctor when He could
And bring to mind
Much hallowed verse
As we knew that we should.
A single day of sun
Told us His hope
Could not be quelled.
But soon a drought
Burned off all damp
Parched bellies
Ached and yelled.
So this the goal?
We asked ourselves
A string of stretching trials?
Where gone the song
And sky-blue hopes
Sweet fellowship and smiles?
But then He comes
Right in the face
Caressing stricken heads
And points beyond...
The high plateau
With stream-fed grassy beds.
Each sheep takes heart
Their Man before
Has brought them
To the goal
And worth all trials
His healing smiles

His rich empowering Soul.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Brebeuf, Ending


I wonder what price
For this journey
From textbook
To strange tongue
Tall pine
From abbey
And penance
To portage
And comrades
All hardy in line.
The trek to
The New World
So dazzling
The ocean skies
Beckoning on
And red faces
Stare at our larder
And implements
Toted so long.
They sense
There is help
In this process
The prayers
Ministrations so new
The children
All laugh in the stories
While parents see
Snows to get through
While parents tend
Fields of the maize corn
And cut needful pelts
From wild friends
And murmer
Of enemies looming
Will our Jesus
Ably defend?
Then quickly
The arrows
And shrieking
The night sky
So vast
Turned bright red
And we to
The last rites
To honour
Huronia’s dead.
The hostiles so numerous
Will this be
The price of it all?
The totem
And torture and taunting
The worst evidence
Of Man’s Fall?
Dear Father
I rest in your presence
A strange
Interlude in this war
Afford me
The calm and the courage
To bless you
As never before. (1649)

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Materials Right Here

There is a legend of an artist, who long sought for a piece of sandal-wood out of which to carve a Madonna. At last he was about to give up in despair, leaving the vision of his life unrealized, when in a dream he was bidden to shape the figure from a block of oak-wood, which was destined for the fire. Obeying the command, he produced from the log of common firewood, a masterpiece.
In like manner many people wait for great and brilliant opportunities for doing the good things, the beautiful things, of which they dream; while through all the plain, common days—the very opportunities they require for such deeds lie close to them, in the simplest and most familiar passing events, and in the commonest circumstances. They wait to find sandal-wood out of which to carve Madonnas, while far more lovely Madonnas than they dream of, are hidden in the common logs of oak they burn in their open fire-place, or spurn with their feet in the wood-yard.
(a helpful devotional book, 1891, Making the Most of Life by J R Miller)

Exhale (with Plumb)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Clearing (Hebrews 12:11)

I stand here
In this place of former sorrows
Where rain had drenched the trees
And stung my eyes
But now the sky is blue
And clouds have passed on
And brilliant golden glory
Meets my surprise
The ground is sure
My Lord through all
Upheld my safety
And loving ones
He nurtured just the same
The Shepherd knows
The path, the perils
And the purpose
And I His treasured charge
Must praise His Name.
Oh how I moaned
When drizzle soaked my spirit
Expectant singing droplets
Left unheard
But in the flowers' fresh fragrance
Now I hear it
And thank Him
As a free high-flying bird.

Princess of Grace


She is all smiles
And it’s five thirty AM
Overnight shift at coffee shop
Juggling counter and drive-thru
Unscrambling garbled orders
From sleepy patrons
And offering her best.
Frightfully thin
Hair pinned under Company cap
Probably a grandmother somewhere
And smiling unshakably
Catching every detail
Offering every option
(And the franchise keeps adding
New and trendy treats.)
She looks you straight on
Offering the same graces
To homeless guy
To out of town salesman
To yawning shift worker
To cop on the beat.
To college student pressed with exams.
She brings community
And care and contentment
Rare commodities in the rat race.
And for minimum wage.
With some shaky promise
Of extra hours
From an owner
Whose only hands-on job
Is buying napkins and toilet supplies.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Airbus 320

It was a special evening
With our Son
Surprise visit
From his Toronto training
Commercial airline jet pilot.
Stories of distant places
Lordship of the clock
Pluck to take on novel encounters
Impatient people
Toss-a-coin ground conditions
Airport clearance
Passports and visas.
Exotic names and cultures
Honolulu, Beijing
New York, Montreal, Paris
Cuba, Dominican, Holland
Hudson Bay, Nunavut
Winnipeg, Boston
Athens, Bavaria
Belgium, London.
San Francisco.
And he has accents for them all
Tall, trim comedian.
Mother takes in his tales
With few words
But eyes smiling.
(That little boy with
The snow forts out front
And two-wheeler lessons
Quickly accomplished.
Microsoft flying games
Air Cadets
College of Aviation
Arctic charter flights
Frigid delights.)
Now it's Airbus Jets
And systems that spin the head.
I treasured it all
And news of that special first-lady
Stephanie of Quebec
Who appears to complete
Our Jordan.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Power In Peter's Estimation

image by Ron DiCianni

They have lived ordeals
Mostly in quiet corners
Stumped by the harshness
Of a world for winners
Trim, muscular, popular
Monstrously self-absorbed
They have found rescue
On knees of broken supplication
Have heard words from the Risen One
Have stood up again
Assured of protection, counsel
From the Highest
And a promised abode
In righteousness and peace.
They are no longer
Terrified by public opinion
Peculiar people Peter said
Out on a limb
Of adventure and loving it
Persecuted because clean
Begotten again through
Words of power
And not by any natural means
They are called out of darkness
Into marvelous light
Peter said.
Strangely transformed to
A royal priesthood
A holy nation.
Yet now they go about
The simple jobs and households
Helping where prepared
By unlikely instruments
Kept by the power of God
Unto salvation
Ready to be revealed
In the last time
Wherein they rule and reign
With every conceivable virtue
For equity, harmony and joy.
Christ their destination

(Note: One of my favourite journeys passes right through Peter's First Epistle.)

When Life Gets Broken