Grace: Hope Beyond Hope


Masking ruthless aggression

with pink-blushed flowers,

morning glory thrives

in sun or shade,

in flower beds, farmlands,

fields, and ravines;

reproduces from roots,

rhizomes, stems, or seeds;

revives after decades of

lying lifeless underground;

and is eradicated only by constant

smothering and spraying.

Likewise, our most persistent sins,

clad in clever rationalizations,

must be overcome

by unremitting applications

of faith and prayer

and continuous suffusions

of atoning grace.


The Fruit of His Labor

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Like Atlas holding up the world,

Jesus bowed under the weight

of our cruelty and carelessness,

our ignorance and deliberate evil.

Trembling, groaning

in a mighty battle

to free us from Satan’s grasp,

he lifts us triumphantly from

our pettiness, our malice,

our utter helplessness,

and cleanses us

with drops of sinless blood

oozing from his pores.

Ignoring the taunting

of devils and demons,

he presents us

clean, immaculate,

the precious fruit of his labor.

Crucial T

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This is a word puzzle. Submit your solution as a comment.

Crucial t









orange butterfly
How will flesh and spirit reunite?
Will it be like marshaling the troops?
Will the spirit give a signal and
all the body cells come rushing back?
Or will it be like assembling a jigsaw puzzle,
a slower, more deliberate putting together?
Perhaps it is a purely scientific process:
take sixteen strands of autosomal DNA
and link to 32 strands of mitochondrial . . .
Maybe it is like those toys that grow when you add water:
put the bones in a basin with a quart of grow solution,
leave for 24 hours until body is full-sized, then re-inhabit.
Perchance God will give us brand new bodies
that look like the old ones, minus irritating imperfections.
Or it might be a sacramental ritual of faith and prayer
or a spontaneous springing forth,
like so many crocuses responding to the sun.
Or maybe we will majestically arise in our fully perfect form
as one by one we are called forth from the grave.


Craters of the Moon


As we exclaim over a perfect breadcrust bomb

and walk past lava balloons and rock popcorn,

skirt cinder cones and blocks rafted

into place by boiling lava,

as we marvel at blue dragon lava

glinting in the autumn sun

and carefully pick our way

across thin-crusted shelly pahoehoe (1),

we wonder why God created a wasteland

where fire and brimstone belched from the earth,

where verdant landscapes became vast tracks

of ropy, twisted, brittle rock,

where people come to gawk but not to live,

where kipukas (2) bespeak God’s promise of

“beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning”(3).

  1. pahoehoe: smooth, ropy, or billowy lava
  2. kipuka: islands of vegetation
  3. Isaiah 61:3

Seeking His Face

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How Eve must have yearned

once again to hear the voice of the Lord,

to converse with him on cool evenings

and speak with him face to face.

Why had she turned her back on Eden

to groan and thrash at childbirth,

to labor for each bite of bread,

to wade through sorrow and sickness,

to walk in a world where instead of

God’s pleasing voice of comfort,

she heard squawks and shrieks

and predators grappling outside her door?

To whom could she call for comfort

when her belly started to swell

and stretch and grow heavy

and she had no mother nearby?

How she must have treasured

the whispers of the still small voice

speaking peace and reassurance

that she was still God’s child.

How precious those fleeting

flashes of insight, illuminating radiances,

reassurances that someday

she would see God’s face again.

Single to the Glory of God

Judy slacklining concentrating

Standing left of the slackline,

I breathe deeply and

cast cares from my mind,

creating a tabula rasa.

Like the “om, om”

of the Buddhist,

I channel my energy

into a single focal point

and step forward,

Peter walking on water.

Two steps, three, four–

then my mind capitulates

to the crush of thoughts

rushing over the dam

and, like Peter, I sink.


Blue butterflies-cropped

Just what is it that holds
the body and spirit together,
undivided, cohesive, alive–
and how do they come unglued?

Is it the spirit that clings to the body,
holding tight its tangible twin?
Or does the body release with reluctance
its most-familiar friend?

Is it like popping the top off a bottle
or pulling Velcro apart with a rasp?
Is it a wrenching and tearing,
a sudden ripping of fabric?

Or does the spirit silently steal away,
catching the watchers unaware,
unzipping itself and slipping out
like a barely audible breath?

Is death a gradual release of energy,
a powering down cell by cell?
Or is it tossing aside a jacket
and walking a well-known path?

The Light

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A small flame burns in the stable

as Mary hushes her child–

the great I AM,

the pillar of fire,

the light that pierces darkness.


A radiant nova points its beams

to the Way,

the Truth,

the Life,

its borrowed brilliance

reflected from His shining.


A day and night of ceaseless sun

welcome Jesus Christ–

sinless, luminous,

brightness of everlasting light.

On the Way to Titus Lake


I glory in a meadow of shooting stars,
their magenta petals—undulant wings;
black sepals—tiny pointed beaks,
and  wonder—is everything in heaven white?

Just once more I’d wish to see
the dizzying depths of emerald lakes,
the milkweed beetle’s cobalt blue,
an orange butterfly on goldenweed.

Surely heaven is ablaze with
Indian paintbrush and scarlet gilia,
next to fields of pure-white mariposa
lifting their heads in sweet devotion.