A Grateful Servant

I will praise God from Whom all blessings flow
Even when my blessing seems a meager portion–
Even when I am incapable of understanding
The awesome blessing of being loved by I AM.

Forgive, oh Lord, your oft ungrateful servant
Who would just as soon strike his fellow man
For crimes less grave than those I have committed
Against You, my gracious Master and loving King.

Your authority and grace bewilder your servant–
How they intermix and combine into Fatherly love.
Far beyond my comprehension are such things;
I can only ask for the wisdom to understand in time.

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For Jack, a Blessing

May you increase in wisdom:
The gift of God to Solomon,
And the first gift I ask for you.

What are life and wealth,
What good fortune or fame,
If a man has not wisdom?

Seek wisdom above all these,
For a discerning heart and mind
Will be required to administer justice.

May you increase in stature:
A strong tower to those around you–
One to whom the helpless will run.

Let your physical strength be a sign
That you have the inward courage necessary
That a man must have to lead–and to be led.

For strength is truly known in weakness;
Your humility before God and the Church
Will show the world your true power.

May you increase in favor with God and man:
I pray that you will be a man among men,
That yours will be a life deserving of praise.

But let this not turn you aside from the path;
Do not create for yourself a calf of gold
Out of man’s approval or others’ desires.

Know what it is the Lord requires of you;
Act justly, my son, and love mercy;
Above all, walk humbly with our God.

May God give you all these and more,
May He make straight your life’s path,
And may you follow wherever He leads.

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52

Doxology

How do we praise God
Through Whom all blessings flow
When the flow has slowed to a trickle?

How can the praise of the Lord be always on my lips
If–though my cup overflows–
My lips remain dry and chapped?

Praise Him all ye creatures here
Far, far below in stature and in understanding
Who have no standing to judge the Sovereign will.

And in all things, give thanks–
Even now when thankfulness is far from my mind
And I’m less worried about giving than receiving.

But ye also praise Him above, oh heavenly hosts.
Is it easier for you than it is for me?
Are you privy to His will or does it affect you less?

Should I still make a joyful noise to the Lord
If I don’t have joy in my heart–
If I find it difficult to believe my own words?

Praise the Father, praise the Son, praise the Holy Ghost
Who in perfect, harmonious relationship
Govern all blessings and curses on creation.

Am I not also called to weep with those who weep?
Lord, lead me as I attempt to understand
How it is possible to marry grief with praise.

Amen.
Amen.
Amen.
Amen.

My God Transcendent

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind…”
What a verse!
What a phrase!
Do you not yet understand?

The I AM–the One who could not be defined but by Himself–
God the Creator,
God the Redeemer,
Gives audience to created man–

The One who told the oceans thus far and no farther,
Star-sower,
Wind-gatherer,
He who commands the morning.

In highest majesty and power, He reigns in the Heavens,
Earth His footstool,
Holy is His throne,
And the trains of His robe fill the Temple!

But what King lowers Himself to His peasants’ livelihoods–
To walk with them,
Claim them as His own,
And be claimed by them in return?

What King sends His only Son to be the Savior of His people–
To heal them,
To bring them hope,
To buy their redemption with His own blood?

He who owes no man and to Whom all are beholden promised:
I will be your God,
You will be My people,
And I will make My dwelling among you.

The God of all wonders deigns to come and seek us
To be our Shepherd,
To be Abba, Father,
To claim us as His chosen people.

The God transcendent, infinitely glorious, and omnipotent:
Around all,
Above all,
And yet I may call Him “mine”.

The Injustice of It All

The mistakes I’ve made will snare me in the end;
Not hounds nipping at my heels are they,
In hot pursuit of their ill-fortuned prey,
But constant hunters, gaining slowly, steadily.

While I remain in the pack, unnoticed in company,
I am hidden while the multitude shrouds my sins,
For mine seem not as weighty, as rich as others;
But one day, I shall find myself cut off, alone.

And when I on that day expend my final energies,
Collapsing without breath or strength or spirit,
I will know that Justice has finally come for me;
I will not fight it; I will accept what Fate may inflict.

Yet You have cut my chastisement short,
For you have not given to me what I earned
When I cruelly despised those who gave me love;
Do I now receive love in turn? Oh, unfair grace!

What the Water Made Me

Often I have wondered what the water made me.
To new life raised through quiet waters,
I was lifted out of the old, tumultuous Self
And given freedom to live for Another.

With that act I made public declaration
Of my intentions to cut off from the past
My old life of self-aggrandizing indulgences
And swore an inward oath to the same.

How I have failed, over and over, and again!
How I have drifted into self-love and ego
Masked with purer intentions and longings!
Where is that oath now? How far I’ve come…

Failure weighs on me until my chest is crushed
And the breath is driven from my lungs,
Fighting for air, clawing my way through the water,
Desperate to reach the grace of the surface.

Sometimes I wonder if I came to the water too soon.
But here you are: a newborn of that second-life
Declaring the same to a family not of blood–
At least, not the way the world talks of it.

My hope is that the water changes you in other ways,
That when your eyes are opened, you see clearly–
And not only the bad; for my only hope is this:
That the water is not done making me.

The Brink of Eternity

And she said to them, “He is not here.”
“He’s gone.”
Just like that, I guess.
A son, a brother, a friend
Who’s no longer with us.

I can’t explain the palpable emptiness.
I’ve heard the good die young,
But I didn’t believe it
Until now.
Now I wonder if there’s truth in it.

But we all stand on the ledge together:
The brink of eternity
Whose void stares up at us
In somber silence,
Asking us to ponder our places here.

This, this is the last great test of faith–
To where it all comes down.
And my friend, my brother,
He passed.
And now he’s gone from the world.

But in this death, he yet lives,
For even now, his life’s purpose
Is being accomplished.
Even now my friend is teaching me
To number my days.