Reminder

Oh by the way have I mentioned … ?

Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. Psalm 117 

This short little Psalm  

in the middle of everything 

it almost seems to me like a reminder an  

Oh, by the way have I mentioned God’s love and faithfulness? 

a little bench by the side of the path 

a spot to wait a second and take a breath 

a chapter break to remember his great love and  

his forever-faithfulness 

be soothed, grow still 

this is where the plot is headed 

Praise the Lord, remember? 

get up and let’s walk some more 

Oh, by the way, have I mentioned … 

Photo by Jack Bair

All That I Had Hoped For (Lamentations 3:18-24)

My bright always 

never 

my perpetual victory 

annihilated 

all that I had hoped for 

gone 

I remember 

over and over 

my mind locked  

in misery 

cast out wandering 

stillborn expectations 

the poison of bitterness 

begetting deformed memories I cannot stop  

and I sink down 

down in the choking dust 

Yet  

my shattered soul won’t let you go 

Yet 

I turn back 

Yet  

I still dare to hope 

Yet  

I bare my envenomed heart for 

Your love never wanders 

Your compassions  

great love, tender, merciful, pity full  

like a mother with helpless child  

they never fail 

they are new 

delivered anew 

every morning 

as the sunrise 

sparkling on newborn manna 

absolute, unfailing hope 

You are my exuberant share 

therefore 

I will travail 

writhe 

twist 

bring forth  

the birthing you desire 

I wait longingly for 

You 

Always-there Love

The old love

and new

looking for the real love

and true

The battered

and scarred

the newly born

unmarred

seeking the pure love

the battered

scarred

and marred love

Yet

always-there love

open-door love

bring-me-home love

invite-me-in love

unconditional

undefeatable

incorruptible

indestructible love

Photo of my mother and her youngest great-grandchild, by Jessica Bair

Hugging the Rock*

Sometimes I feel like I am hugging a rock pounded by the waves and wind 

watching my loved one’s battered little boat being flung around

slowly sinking 

I have tried being out there in the boat with them 

but every time washed overboard  

slapped brutally back against the rock 

Now, Lord, I cry out to You 

There is no one like you, my Lord, to help the powerless against these mighty waves 

Help Lord, help this frail little vessel for we rely on you

only you 

There is nothing I can do except call out my cry for help 

a drowning cry lost in the destroyer’s roar

yet you hear 

In your name I cling here on the Rock hanging on against this vast army-storm 

You are our God, you are God of the waves, God of angel armies 

Do not let it sink 

only You can  

only You will 

bring this little boat  

to the safe haven 

*Inspired by 2 Chronicles 14:12 

Thank you to Beholding Ministries https://beholdinghimministries.org/2022/10/06/help-us-for-we-rely-on-you/  

Image from Wikimedia Commons, Seascape by Lars Wahlberg, 1945 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Skepp_i_storm.jpg  

A Kind of Death

Yeshua 

wants me to 

love the brOTHER 

Loving the brOTHER hurts 

it is a kind of death 

Something is dying to truly love 

the bitter things and the fearful 

jealousy 

envy 

resentment 

entitlement 

unforgiveness 

greed 

fear 

bigotry 

prejudice 

suspicion 

arrogance and disdain 

the self-seeking things and the defensive 

For love  

self lies down surrendered 

naked and vulnerable 

In love 

love executes self 

joyfully  

leaves self  

hanging there 

exposed and 

bleeding out  

Only then the brOTHER can be loved 

only then the brOTHER can be 

my brother 

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

Image shared under Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 4.0, Stations of the Cross, William Mitchell – Jesus is nailed to the cross

Ever-Present (Psalm 46)

God is my refuge, my strength 

He is my ever-present help in trouble 

He is the Ever-Present one 

I am the holy place where He dwells 

where the Most High dwells 

God is within me, I will not fall 

God will help me 

The Lord Almighty is with me 

Ever-Present 

here 

with  

me 

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. John 14:20 

Photo by Jack Bair

Even When

In their hunger You gave  

bread from heaven  

and in their thirst You brought  

water from the rock 

But they 

but they 

Forgiving God  

gracious and compassionate  

slow to anger and abounding in love 

You did not desert them  

Even when 

even when  

You did not abandon them in the wilderness  

the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them   

the pillar of fire to shine on the way  

You gave  

Your good Spirit to instruct them  

You did not withhold  

manna from their mouths  

You gave  

water for their thirst 

Your compassion delivered them

Even when 

even when 

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 

From Nehemiah 9:15-20 

Image by Derek Bair

Moriah Two

… where the plague was stopped

Then Solomon began to build the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David. It was on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite, the place provided by David. 2 Chronicles 3:1 

On Mount Moriah 

thresh me there 

on the threshing floor 

bind me where 

the lamb was provided 

where the plague was stopped 

stand between 

stop my plague 

make me your living stone 

where the house of God was built 

on Mount Moriah 

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Genesis 22:2 

Image, Silk Willoughby church, East Window detail by Jules & Jenny https://flic.kr/p/FfHPRM

Broken Hearts

broken hearts 

broken hearts everywhere you go 

walking through crystal shards 

cutting again 

bloody feet 

bleeding hands 

jabbed with flashing slivers  

working deep 

rending despair   

yielding 

relentless 

 hope 

… he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound … Isaiah 61:1 (ESV) 

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 

But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. John 19:34 

Image by Peter.Lorre https://flic.kr/p/3yeriz  

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