Thursday, November 26, 2015

Giving Thanks

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

A Psalm for giving thanks.

Psalm 100 
 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
  Serve the Lord with gladness!
  Come into His presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, He is God!
It is He who made us, and we are His;
we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving,
and His courts with praise!
Give thanks to Him; bless His name!
For the Lord is good;
  His steadfast love endures forever,
and His faithfulness to all generations.
Rejoice, serve, come, know, enter, give thanks, and bless - the seven commands of Psalm 100.
Make a joyful noise
     Give Thanks
Whom do we know?
What does He tell us about Himself?
Know that the Lord, He is God!
For the Lord is good;
  His steadfast love endures forever,
and His faithfulness to all generations.
There is so much to be thankful for...
but before that -
HE is God; there is no other.
Thanks be to God.  Today is a good day to give thanks.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Son of God, hear us, and since Thou
By taking our blood, owest it us again,
Gain to Thyself, or us allow ;
And let not both us and Thyself be slain ;
O Lamb of God, which took'st our sin,
Which could not stick to Thee,
O let it not return to us again ;
But Patient and Physician being free,
As sin is nothing, let it nowhere be.

- J. Donne

Life is full of ends and beginnings-and in the middle it is mostly- a mess of full stops, muck, and restarts. 

This is the end of John Donne's "Litany". 

It's a shadow of life's True End.
  • Sin the once- "here Now"-- is at once - "no Where"
  • That's a flip.
Shadows are finders, they remind us that there is... a really real.
Shadows also whisper that this little slice of time and space is not it; it is not the one true thing.  It's just a sloshy, little step on the really real roadmap.

Was it the end God had in mind, or was it the road- when He began..."In the beginning..."?  
Is that a false dichotomy?

And in the end, isn't the real end,  just the Beginning anyway?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Happy Birthday, Christa!

The Writer

In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.

I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.

Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.

But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which

The whole house seems to be thinking,
And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor
Of strokes, and again is silent.

I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago;
How we stole in, lifted a sash

And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door,
We watched the sleek, wild, dark

And iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top,

And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure,

It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world.

It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.

-Richard Wilbur

In your book were written every one of them;
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there were none of them.
How precious are your thoughts, O God!
How vast the sum of them!
...They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain.
Search me, O God, know my heart.
Lead me in the way everlasting.
-Psalm 139
Another year, a big one, 21 today!  Dinner at Chili's ,a picnic at the cliffs, reading, and listened to one of Dr. Grant's Rome lectures together. A great day, and great week and another year under the sun.

Twenty one things to remember from your 21st year-
  1. Lists - were there more than 21? ahhh...yeah. You can bank on that.
  2. A pre-LSAT score of 164. Amazing.
  3. Aquinas College - Summa Cum Laude
  4. Lunch with Dr. Smith
  5. National Golden Gloves Championship Fight
  6. The week by Nana's side
  7. Chats with your cousins
  8. Moving back home to California
  9. Son tres amigos meet again over pints
  10. Route 66 - what happens in the car stays in the car
  11. The Grand Canyon
  12. The Big Texan
  13. A Real Grown-Up Job
  14. Rodizo Grill
  15. A plane ride with Roro
  16. Standing on the Edge of the Santa Cruz Cliffs
  17. Suit shopping for the Capitol
  18. Rodizo Grill (Yes. it's listed twice foodie!)
  19. the work that went into your dissertation -and publication
  20. Saying goodbye to friends
  21. Hanging out with old friends again
All these days were written - what a joy it is to be a part of playing them out with you.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

From My Favorite Poet

It tolls for thee, the leaden pall
Cathedral-bound today.
I-Fichten-I, your tomb you wall,
By your own hand bury.

She tolls for Thee, the brazen belle
Cathedral-bound today.
Three-Personed God her groom, she will
Soon take your hand, marry.

It rings for Thee, the golden bell-
Cathedral crown etern'.
Three Personed Love, your children fell
But by your hand returned.
KCN 3/26/15 Hartford Home

My daughter Kelsey wrote this, we had an hour and a half discussion on it. I am philosophy challenged so she tutored me on Fichten.
Some things worth noting:
  • The verses sound the same but have vastly different meaning. The progression is from self (humanism) to the Church in the world, to the Music of the Spheres and Eternal truth.
  • The path from lead to bronze to gold
  • Trinity personage - self - Fichten was the predecessor to Freud; seeing ourself in Christ as we are in the World; The Holy Trinity sovereign and acting in love over Creation for all time.
  • Hand - self, giving ourselves to God, The Divine Hand of Sovereignty and Love. Depending on the volition of the hand it brings death, or unity and salvation.
This is not a feely, flowy kind of poem. It is all bones and structure.  I like that. A young woman of few words and deep thought, her poetry is reflective of her personality and gifting.  It is always amazing to me how God has made her. We are very different. In the space between I find respect and joy and thanksgiving to Our Lord who creates spance for navigating this poor, fallen world in a muddle. The mess is part of the joy, it is where HE reveals himself, and grants us hope in what we, all too often are blind to see.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Great is the Lord

God is our refuge and strength,
 a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though
the earth gives away,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at
its swelling.


 There is a river whose streams make glad
the City of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not
be moved;
God will help her when morning
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
He utters His voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how He is brought desolations on
 the earth.
 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and shatters
the spear,
He burns the chariots with fire.
"Be still, and know that I am God.
 I will be exalted among the nations,
 I will be exalted in the earth!"
 The LORD of hosts is with us;
 the God of Jacob is our fortress.

I love this song! I love how it says to be still. And the use of the word Selah. It's a musical term that means "to stop and pause and think about it".  Some translation, I think it's amplified, uses "cease striving" instead of "be still'. This stands out to me. Also. I thought the three parts between the Selah are reminiscent of the functions of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father he sets everything in motion;the Son-,who is the true water- as streams of living water; and the Holy Sypirit who is it work in the world propeling us towards the Kingdom.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Oh My...

My Rock and My Fortress

Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for war;
and my fingers for battle;
He is my steadfast love and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer, 
my shield and He in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.

O LORD, what is man and that 
you regard him?
or the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath;
 his days are like a passing shadow.

Bow your heavens, O LORD,
and come down!
Touch the mountains so that they smoke!
Flash forth the lightning and scatter them;
send out your arrows and rout them!
stretch out your hand from on high;
rescue me and deliver me from 
the many waters,
from the hand of foreigners,
whose mouths speak lies
 and whose right hand is a right 
hand of falsehood.

I will sing a new song to you, O God;
upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
who gives victory to kings,
who rescues David his servant 
from the sword.
Rescue me and deliver me 
from the hand of foreigners, 
whose mouths speak lies 
and whose right hand is a right 
hand of falsehood.

May our sons in their youth 
be like plants full grown,
our daughters like corner pillars 
cut for the structure of a palace;
may our granaries be full,
providing all kinds of produce;
may our sheep bring forth thousands
and ten thousands in our fields;
may our cattle be heavy with young,
suffering no mishap or failure in bearing, may there be no cry of distress 
on our streets! 
Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! 
Blessed are the people whose
God is the Lord!

The steadfast love of the Lord is all over the Psalms, OT and NT. There are at least five Psalms that are titled with the Steadfast Love of the Lord. Psalms 136 - is refrained with His Steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 100 - Is a Truth Statement that solicits action - an Ode to His Steadfast Love. David sings of and declares great the steadfast love of the Lord in Psalm 89 and 86. Psalm 52 is kind of a flip, and puts the fool in a place which matches his untrust in God - and reminds His people to to wait in the presence of the godly. In Psalm 33, the steadfast love of the Lord is the hope of His people; actually He is steadfast love and we hope in Him. 
Now that reminds me of  Psalm 144 - HE IS MY STEADFAST LOVE. This is not an indicative but a declarative.  David is speaking, declaring the Truth that has been stated everywhere.  But here, he doesn't just talk about it, David owns it. 
Maybe, I'm making too much, of this - but there is a solidity to faith that when it comes to the place that calls God my steadfast love. It the turn that turns promises into personhood as a heart that had all too often doubted, gets grace to see Jesus a little more clearly.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Come, thou Holy Spirit bright;
        come with thy celestial light;
               pour on us thy love divine.

Come, protector of the poor;
        come, thou source of blessings sure;
                    come within our hearts to shine.

                       Thou, of comforters the best,
                   thou the soul's most welcome guest,
                       of our peace thou art the sign.

In our labor, be our aid;
         in our summer, cooling shade.
                      Every bitter tear refine.

Brighter than the noonday sun,
        fill our lives which Christ has won;
                    fill our hearts and make them thine.

                             Where thou art not, we have nought:
           all our world and deed and thought twisted from thy true design.

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
         melt the frozen, warm the chill;
               rule us by thy judgment's line.

Cleanse us with thy healing power;
            what is barren bring to flower;
                    to thy love our sins consign.

To thy people who adore and confess thee evermore,
               thy blest seven-fold gift assign.

Grant us thy salvation, Lord,
         boundless mercy our reward,
                 which earth and heaven entwine.
                                 - 12 Century Latin hymn.

A Prayer for Pentecost.

"What is barren bring to flower."
Thy Kingdom come.
Even so come quickly Lord Jesus.