June 29, 2022 - Reading time: ~1 minute
When she saw that she waited in vain,
that her hope was lost,
she took another of her cubs
and made him a young lion.

—Book of Ezekiel 19:5

(I read this verse out of context and it arrested me completely.  I've never read it before.  There's a kind of poetry here, in this out of context snippet, that suggests a fascinating story.)


Praying with the Spirit

January 2, 2022 - Reading time: ~1 minute

Sometimes when I pray, I utter the words but I do not feel or think them.

Sometimes when I pray, I utter the words thinking about what I say, but not feeling them.

Sometimes when I pray, I utter the words and I both think and feel what I say.

An act of will cannot make me feel, nor stop my mind from wandering. An act of will can only make me utter.

So, I shall utter the words and let the Spirit do the rest, guiding my mind and heart as he wills.

—A celtic prayer (unattributed);
as quoted by Doug McKelvey on The Habit podcast (episode page)


Mountain Song

October 17, 2021 - Reading time: 2 minutes

Qomolangma (Mount Everest).

I took this photo in September 2019, on the Tibetan side of the Himalayas. The tour guide told us that what we were seeing is rare: a full view of the mountain from foot to peak, without any cloud covering. God's blessing to us.

Some time ago, I received a vision from the Holy Spirit while worshipping in church. I was standing on a mountain peak taller than Qomolangma, above the cloud cover, looking at range upon range of mountains stretching in all directions. There was nothing but earth beneath me, and sky above me, and the presence of the Lord all around me. I looked at the mountains, and it seemed that I beheld them in their primordial, pre-Fall state: pristine mountains before man's foot tread on them, mountains that only beheld the face of God. I saw these pristine mountains between cloud and sky, and something in my heart ached with terrible longing.

"Lord, this is beautiful, so beautiful," I said.

The Holy Spirit said, "Behold."

And, from horizon to horizon, the mountains began to sing.

In church, I remember falling facedown on the ground, my body and soul reverberating with this titanic song. It was an undescribable experience, like beholding a vast beauty that exceeds human dimensions and comprehension. The song and the vision lasted only a short time, but even now I can hear/feel/sense the echo of it, and my soul aches again.

O God, when you restore creation, I want to come back to this place, and hear the mountains singing their ancient praises to you.

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements -- surely you know!
Or who has stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

—Book of Job, ch. 38, v. 4-7


I bind unto myself today

November 18, 2020 - Reading time: ~1 minute

The power of God to hold and lead
His eye to watch, His might to stay
His ear to hearken to my need

The wisdom of my God to teach
His hand to guide His shield to ward
The word of God to give me speech
His heavenly host to be my guard

The Mighty Three
My protection be
Encircling me
You are around
My life, my home
Encircling me
O sacred Three
The Mighty Three

 

"Encircling",
Iona, Journey Into the Morn (1996)
{x}


St Patrick's Breastplate

July 28, 2020 - Reading time: ~1 minute

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise today...

{...} {via}


Make no mistake: if He rose at all

April 8, 2018 - Reading time: 2 minutes

it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that–pierced–died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

—"Seven Stanzas at Easter",
John Updike, 1960.