My Lenten devotion this year is to dwell with the parables … Lent with the parables … really not so much fractured like fairy tales, but pushed and pinched and pursued and prayed down that long path where they elude my simple meanings.
Pursuing the Parables, March 24, 2014
Matthew 7:24-27 –House on a Rock, House on Sand
I walk the beach at sunset,
following the small prints of sandpipers,
stepping over the shell-shatters
of the gulls feast,
watching storm clouds gather,
but not minding much
because I like to walk in the rain.
I am more at home there
than in some stone-pillared museum,
of multi-national business,
big box store
or big box church.
It’s come to a time for me
when listening to your words
and doing something about them,
is less pile-driver,
more plastic pail,
less a construction project
more learning to walk,
barefoot, alone or with a friend
in any weather
on shifting sands.
Pursuing the parables, March 25, 2014
Matthew 13: 24-30,36-43 –The Wheat and the Weeds
I don’t believe in tares, but only tears.
I don’t believe
you call anyone weed,
but rather that you weep
at the terrible losing
of lives stunted by invasive sorrow.
“Let them grow together.“
Those are the words of compassion
flung across long
Iowa-furrows of the world
to some angel on a combine,
or another hoe-hunkered down
over a garden patch —
for surely your holy agriculture
is not meant from field to bonfire,
are gathered and trimmed
in a way your eggplant
and zucchini never see. Amen.
Pursuing the parables, March 26, 2014
Matthew 20: 1-16 — the Lost Sheep
God, let me not be proud
on my birthday,
of all my many years of living,
or marriage or ministry,
or sobriety –
for your youngest
and your just ordained,
newly-wed, freshly divorced,
and your someone
on the first one-day-at-a-time
receives your generous gifts
with perhaps more open hands.
God, help me I remember today …
when there is cake –
to go to the back of the line.
Pursuing the parables, March 27, 2014
Luke 15: 3-7
thank you for sheepdog days,
when I have run circles
around the flock,
panting and nipping heels,
while you walk the far cliffs
after the runaway.
by my self-importance,
and flop panting at your feet
when you return, so desperate
for a pat on the head.
when, head deep in kibble,
or chasing my own tail,
I miss your angel-party.
Pursuing the parables, March 28, 2014
Luke 17:7-10 — the role of the Servant
For Edward Walsh and Michael Kennedy, died 3/26/14 Boston Brownstone Fire
God, every day and every night
we say to our servants,
the firefighters –
who have risked their lives
carrying children to safety,
controlling blazes in vacant warehouse
and busy neighborhoods,
speaking kindness to the frail elder
collapsed in the mall,
lifting a toddler to climb the fire truck,
and carrying down gently
the scrawny cat from the tree.
We say – “Do it again –
yesterday was yesterday
but save us today and tomorrow.
Serve us while we eat and drink,
our holidays undisturbed.
Protect our homes
and later you can see your family.”
So do we now thank them
for doing their jobs,
going in again to the brownstone
in Boston, in spite of wind and flames —
simply doing their jobs?
Yes, we do, and this time we say,
“You have done well and you are worthy.”
For we know, O God,
you have already put on your apron
and spread a cloth for them
so that they may come in
and have a place at the table.
Pursuing the parables, March 29, 2014
Luke 11: 5-13–– the neighbor at midnight
I’ve prayed at midnight,
prayed a pillow case full of my tears,
prayed for a hungry friend,
wanting for a little loaf of bread.
I have prayed while
you were in bed with theologians
making small intimate distinctions,
or watching some labyrinth walking
or a mission project
on the screen.
You were with pageant children
rehearsing your birth
or listening to Christian rock,
and couldn’t be bothered
to come down and give me anything.
I have asked that cancer go away,
ans healing has not been given.
I have searched for a suicidal child,
whom I have not found in time.
prison, border crossing,
relationship, autism spectrum —
and the door has been shut fast,
I’ve got a belly full of snakes, God –
but I am persistent!