Upheld from Falling

Barnstorming

I had grasped God’s garment in the void 
but my hand slipped on the rich silk of it. 

The ‘everlasting arms’ my sister loved to remember 
must have upheld my leaden weight from falling, even so, 

for though I claw at empty air and feel nothing, no embrace, 
I have not plummetted.
~Denise Levertov “Suspended”

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for? 
~Robert Browning from “Andrea Del Sarto”

As richly dressed as the world is this time of year,
beauty abounds everywhere I look,
it slips through my fingers when I try to capture it and hold on,
I cannot save myself by my own grasp.

Yet I’m not allowed to plummet
despite my flailing panic
as the bottom drops out beneath my feet

The air around me is not empty~
it is full of His breath
and where God breathes,
He suspends the fallen.

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Someone’s right here holding us tonight

 

Sydney says that nothing is “just” anything
She doesn’t like to use the word when she prays
I guess trusting is the hardest part of having faith
It’s dangerous to hope that things will be okay
Well maybe fog and fear keep our eyes from seeing clear
I think Sydney could be right, she could be right
But if the stars that shine are in any way a sign
I think someone’s out there putting up a fight
Someone’s right here holding us tonight
Frederick rarely hears the voice of God
He says the silence is the answer most of all
When the world has explanations for every miracle
How else would we have ears to hear him call?
It’s not a steady rain, it’s more a longing or a pain
It’s in the aching that he knows there’s something more
Well I have never heard even a single spoken word except the rhythm of a wave upon the shore
Like watching dancers through a crack in the door
Well my grandpa says commitment is the key to love
Fifty years of sometimes twilight, sometimes dawn
He says there were the years he wasn’t sure about
But the love he chose was worth the pressing on
Well I’m a river’s flow, some days I’m fast some days I’m slow
I think Grandpa could be right, he could be right
Some days I fill the edges, then I’m shallow and pretentious
It all depends upon the rain I got that night
I should never base my faith upon my sight
I must decide where I am flowing, decide where I am going
So when I’m full of deep unknowing I’ll still see
When the silence gets accusing, when I’m winning or I’m losing
Does assurance come from choosing to believe?
If the stars that shine are in any way a sign
I think someone’s out there putting up a fight
Someone’s right here holding us tonight
Someone must be shining down that moonlight

It’s time

A good friend of mine who is an artist and says she never writes, sent this to me.  I think she should write more.  Don’t you? Thank you, Ellen!

Awaken
Ellen Erenberg (all rights reserved)

It’s Time

During the dark months of winter, plants and flowers keep busy monitoring the skies for signs of spring.  Only when the days are long enough do they send out word: It’s time!!

They begin to shrug off sleep, slowly rise, stems strong, heads held high and, looking up, they search out the guiding light above in preparation for their journey through the coming seasons.

Just as their petals unfurl and they celebrate and welcome all new life… it hits.  When they least expect it unwelcome frozen crystals arrive and invade their personal space.  They settle all around without asking permission.  It bites hard and cruel. It brings all of nature’s fragile life to its knees…yellow, rose, green, violet – it doesn’t discriminate.

Their stems bend, their yellow and rose bells hang in despair, while others seemingly bow in prayer pleading for help, waiting for the assault to pass.  Many tears fall as they lean frozen in place.  The sight of this abrupt interruption to their annual journey is shocking, their posture sad, their presence seemingly weakened.

But… No! A small voice whispers: “Do Not Be Afraid.  Upon you no evil shall fall, no plague approach where you dwell. For you has he commanded his angels to keep you in all your ways”.  They understand that deep in their soul is the miracle to come back.  They know a bigger truth.  They are compelled to push through weakness and confrontation of any sort.

As they hunker down in stillness and silence the rumour that circulates is that this hovering dark cloud is Frost.  They heard it was coming but even the old wise timber couldn’t prevent the bullying.  The insulating foliage blanket was not warm enough. The returning Canada Goose call not loud enough.  Every line of defence was insufficient.

And so, they wait in family clusters for what seems a very long time but as the day warms and the sun soothes they dig deep to recover the will to right their frames.  Slowly but surely they lift their chin in thanks and praise knowing that they alone cannot endure but rather the power surrounding them urges them on.  As they face day after unpredictable day they hold each other up, dearly and tenderly, sprouts and seasoned shoots, and remind each other that they are not alone, that they can persevere and weather storms, that they can adapt to new climate and blossom with all their divine might.  Now is the time!

–Ellen Erenberg
Honoured Mountain Studio

Locked doors

Witnesses to Hope

I always find this kind of reflection on the Easter appearances full of great hope for folks like me: “Jesus moves among men and women–even if it means passing through doors locked from within” (Jn 20.19-23). (Fr. William M. Joensen)  Many of us frequently–or continually–bolt the doors of our hearts from within, yet we long for Christ to come to us.  We can have great hope . . . for He is the One who can enter “through doors locked from within.”

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Holy Saturday: Stations XIII and XIV

Malcolm Guite

https://lanciaesmith.com

Holy Saturday is a strange, still day, hanging in an unresolved poise between the darkness of the day before and the light that is not yet with us. No more so than now, in the preternatural stillness emptiness and grief of this pandemic, when life is paused, but also perhaps poised on the threshold of the new.

When I wrote the two ‘stations’ sonnets I am posting today I was conscious of how these great Christian festivals, especially Easter and Christmas, draw up and carry with them some of our deepest family memories. If we are going to remember and miss someone we have loved and lost, we will do it now. So in the second sonnet I have moved from a contemplation of the women bearing spices and wishing they could at least anoint the one they miss, to focus on the many people who will visit graves and…

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Royalty

Royalty

He was a plain man
and learned no latin.

Having left all gold behind
he dealt out peace
to all us wild ones
and the weather.

He ate fish, bread,
country wine and God’s will.

Dust sandaled his feet.

He wore purple only once
and that was an irony.

                                                               –Luci Shaw

Before His hands were bound

A profound meditation from Amy Carmichael:

The last thing He did before His hands were bound.

And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer you thus far. And He touched his ear and healed him. (Luke 22. 50, 51)

Then the band and the captain and the officers of the Jews took Jesus and bound Him. (John 18.12)

The last thing the Lord Jesus did before His hands were bound, was to heal.

Have you asked yourself, If I knew this was the last thing I should do, what would I do?  I have never found the answer to that question. There are so very, very many things that would want to do for those whom we love, that I do not think we are likely to be able to find the chief one of all these. So the best thing is just to go on simply, doing each thing as it comes as well as we can.

Our Lord Jesus spent much time in healing sick people, and in the natural course of events it happened that the last thing He did with His kind hands was to heal a bad cut. (I wonder how they could have the heart to bind His hands after that.)

In this as in everything, He left us an example that we should follow in His steps.  Do the thing that this next minute, this next hour, brings you, faithfully and lovingly and patiently; and then the last thing you do, before power to do is taken from you (if that should be), will be only the continuation of all that went before.

He Does Not Leave Us Where We Are: Even Darkness Must Pass

Barnstorming

It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo.
The ones that really mattered.
Full of darkness and danger they were.
And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end…
because how could the end be happy?
How could the world go back to the way it was
when so much bad had happened?
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow.
Even darkness must pass.
A new day will come.
And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you.
That meant something,
even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand.
I know now.
Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back,
only they didn’t.
They kept going, because they were holding on to something.
That there is some good in this world, and it’s worth…

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