Authority and Love

Jonathan leaned on Jesus’ breast
And breathed in out a sigh
And on his friend’s behest, he asked
The question that no other could get by.

And Jesus spoke no mystery
No story did he tell
And though plain, ‘twas secretly
So none would know, save those who know him well.

Mirriam rose when she was bid
And came before her Lord.
She said in quiet, a few still words
He had already heard before.

And Jesus wept, cried bitterly
At the pain that he had caused
He saw her heart, that loved him dearly
And knew no other law.

The others left.
The Magdelene, she stayed
And though she shuddered silently
Her heart was not afraid.

A gardener’s voice:
The victor spoke her name
He put off triumph that he might touch
The life he died to save

Technicolor

It’s difficult for me to explain the religious aspects of my life to other people, people who don’t live it like I do. I have these two worlds: one shaded in colored pencil that is the real world for me, where normal people work and live, where ordinary things happen, like trips to the post office and bad break-ups. The other world is in pure Technicolor, bright greens and reds and yellows. God is everywhere and in everything, bursting out of the daisies, and crawling out of people’s eyes, like a diamond veneer that reflects every single ray of sunlight. This second world is the one that makes people catch me singing outside at the top of my lungs whenever I don’t notice that anyone is there, or makes me dance in public places when there isn’t any music. But these worlds are laid one over the other, and it is only with some great difficulty that I have managed to separate them in my mind. I have separated them because I have realized that nobody else seems to see this other, this Technicolor world. How could I turn to somebody and say, “The mountains are green, so very green, with the diamonds sparkling on them,” and expect to communicate to them at all? So I have to stop and separate my two worlds and say to my neighbor something along the lines of “My, I am in a really good mood today.” You get strange looks when you try to explain that, really, you do see a giant mountain set around the library, and that it is covered in diamonds that are reflecting and multiplying the greenness of the grass. They don’t see the hole that God has drilled between heaven and earth above the chapel and or the lakes of olive oil that are constantly pouring through there. They see a building with big windows, and a sky, and some clouds, and would probably think I’m crazy.

These two worlds fade back and forth between each other all the time. Sometimes the colored pencil world is the real one and the Technicolor world is a dream I dreamed a long time ago, and can’t remember all its parts. That’s when all my anger and boredom and self-pity and ual frustration and depression come out at me and try to strangle me. Then, with no real reason, the Technicolor world will take me over, and all I can see are the spiritual forces at work, and all I can hear is the voice of God, murmuring secret melodies in my ear. Then the drab mundane world is to me like so many stained glass windows—crystallized representations of things, and not the reality thereof. The light that shines through them shatters them, and my life is flooded with this blinding white light that washes away every hint of shadow. And then, sometimes, the both worlds are there together, at the same time, and I see everything two ways at once—and those are the times when I have difficulty explaining, separating the two.

God spoke to me today. I mean, really. Spoke to me. No, I didn’t hear a peal of thunder, and I wasn’t knocked off my horse and blinded. But walking back to my room from choir practice, and He was there. I can’t say it any better than that. Nothing was really any different, except that He was there. I could just tell. And over a period of two hours He was just more and more there every minute. The songs were welling up inside of me; all the lights were just a little bit brighter, and I could almost hear the choirs of angel voices singing. I went back to the chapel and did some work and then joined in, sort of spontaneously, with a worship team that was practicing songs for the service on Thursday. But eventually they were gone, and I was there alone, and He was there. Then I began to meet with him in earnest, reminding him, or (in the Technicolor way) he was reminding me, of all the things he was to me. He is Rapha, and Shalom, and Nissi—my healing, my peace, and my banner. He is the God who chases me, the God who remembers me, the God who knows my name. He is everything to me. I got to declare all sorts of things, like “We have this hope, that He has never yet left anything unfinished: His blood was poured out for me, I…will…be…poured…out…for…Him.” All sorts of crazy, fanatical, exuberant things because the God above all Gods was there—in the room—with me. I was in the chapel for about two hours total, and finally had to make myself leave because I had homework I had to finish. But even now I have this little bubble in my spirit because the God of all flesh was there—He came to visit me.

And then I have to operate in a world where real people live, people who perhaps don’t believe in God, or who believe in Him only in an abstract, theoretical sense. They say to me, “Why are you so happy?”

What can I say?

“I got to pray today.”

The Rain

 

“Henry, come away from the window. It’s time to get back to work.”

Mrs. Jennings pushed her mottled brown glasses back toward her mottled brown eyes and dusted chalk off of her sleeve. Henry sighed, turning back to his desk, and pulled out his MacMillan Reader. Outside, the rain was coming down in little sheets of grey and white that danced and braided in the wind. It was hard to tell, with the water on the glass, but Henry thought he could just make out the shadows of his little town folding out against the sky. Continue reading “The Rain”

Memorandum

A woman lived in Jesus’ time. A whore
(Some called her so), caught in flagrante, dragged
By all her former lovers, to the chant
Of cries for stoning, to the temple door
Where Jesus sat. He looked at them and wrote
Some figures in the dirt, and asked which one
Was not the one who’d used her for his fun.
Her demons left her then. She stood with hope

And followed Him–believed him when he said
He’d die a shameful death, and planned a way
To give him all the honor due his name.
So, with an ointment, to his meal she fled,
And braved the stares of men who’d called her ‘dox‘,
Then stood and broke her alabaster box.

Beyond Eternity

Few people know where I have gone
But they may see it when they look on sea
Or when the clouds come misty down
upon the open green

But the ocean portal doesn’t always open
And the fog sometimes oppresses
instead of setting free
It’s a window, not a doorway
into the place I love to be

But I can go when e’er I want
Just lay my heart aside
Spread wide my arms and I am lifted
To a place beyond eternity

I hear some people talk of heaven
like the gulls that cry on shore
They believe they know the water
but the dark eyed fish knows more

You Never Know What You’re Gonna Get

You never know what you’re gonna get
Don’t get me wrong
It’s not always bad
But if you see it comin
Don’t hold your breath

You never know what you’re gonna get
It’s like a slow fire
burnin’ you down
Just when you think you’re flyin
You’re fallin here comes the ground!

You never know what you’re gonna get
so please quit your sighin
Throw your worries away
Grab onto your kitestring
And let the sun make the day

You never know what you’re–gonna get
So lay down your dice
Set your soul on the move
How you think you’re gonna win
if you got nothin to lose?

Your Love Never Fails

Your kindness is everlasting
Your faithfulness never fails
Your heart of grace shines like the sun
Lifting me up to gaze on You
Like the lilies of the field wait for the morning

And all I want is to be to You
Like the moon is to the sun
Shining Your light onto the earth
In a place where there is darkness…
‘Cause Your love never fails

Your mercy is like water to me
Your tenderness restores my soul
Your living love falls like rain
Causing my soul to be made new
Like the streams transform the desert

And all I want is to be to You
Like the seas are to the ocean
Where one begins—and the other ends
No man could ever tell…
‘Cause Your love—never fails

* * *
Righteousness and peace have kissed
I saw it in the morning
The beauty of the Lord has come
I saw it in the middle of the day
The judgements of the Lord are good
I learned it in the evening
I cannot wait for You to come again
For what will You bring at midnight?

‘Cause your love—never fails

A Few Mathematical Considerations of Intimacy

What is the definition of intimacy? It can’t be simply “closeness.” You could be very close to a person and never be intimate with them. What if that person bores the mind out of you? Are you intimate simply because they know everything about you? What if you run in such perfect sync that you never gain any fresh perspective from them? Is that intimacy? Imagine two parallel lines: It doesn’t matter how close they get, just because they’re close doesn’t mean there is any interchange. Ok. Go with me on the line thing. Let’s say that different types of lines represent different types of relationships, and let’s say that how many times two lines intersect describes the level of intimacy in that relationship.

Ok. Straight lines. Very boring. They never change; they never waver. How they are is how they are. You see one part of them, you know all about them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Lots of relationships are simple and straightforward and easy to read. But straight lines only intersect once. That means that the closest to intimacy two straight lines can get is two really close parallel lines. Any closer than that and they’re not two lines, it’s the same line. If these people are coming from different directions (or have a different perspective), the closest to intimacy that they get is that one time true encounter where they really connect. It’s very profound, but that’s it. They just don’t belong together.

How about relationships that change? We need some curves. Let’s try parabola and hyperbola. I don’t remember the equation for hyperbola, but parabola are pretty simple: it’s that x=y² thing. The line on the graph comes down from out of nowhere, gets to a certain point, makes a sharp turn and heads back out in exactly the opposite direction, up and out. So we’ve got two people coming from roughly the same direction, they get close for a while, have a few intimate moments, and then they go their own separate ways.

Of course, the really interesting stuff involves circles. I think a circle describes a relationship that just isn’t going anywhere. Two perfect circles would either go round and round connecting in the same places but never really changing, or they would simply never get any closer together. Either way it’s rather pointless (ha ha).

However, by far the best relationships could be described by trigonometry functions. You know, x=cosine y-1, and all that stuff. Radio waves. They go back and forth over the same general area, forever. It always changes, so it doesn’t get boring. But there’s a definite pattern, so it doesn’t get weird. You know what to expect. So, those of you who kept your handy dandy little graphing calculators from high school, put in the same graph the equations of x=sine y and x=cosine y. They’re exactly opposite, right? But look, one goes up exactly the same as the other comes down and then they go back, so they meet in the middle. And then they do it again. If intimacy is the number of times they cross each other and really really make connection, really touch the other’s life, these guys are infinitely more intimate than any other type of relationship in the world. No matter how far apart they get, they’ll always come back together. And look, they’re both exactly opposite and exactly the same. Folks, these guys are married. Or best friends: x=sin y and x=sin y-.25. They’re almost exactly the same, but they come from a little different background, so they still intersect.

Of course, since people’s personalities have so many more dimensions than just two, we have the opportunity to be all of these sorts of things at the same time. To some people I’m a straight line and to others I’m cosine to their tangent. Some people are always there but nothing ever changes. It all depends on what lines it runs along.