PORCH LIGHT (keep with care)

A yellow light in a bluer night
Holding the home inside:
A signal out that all are in-
Save one who, journeying, tried
To beat the sun in its setting down,
    -To cross the countryside.

In rising stars and falling dew,
Through places now darkened by night,
He steps a quickened pace for home
To see a splinter of light
And those he knows who, waiting there,
Have kept it yellow and bright.

The hour is late and, locked, the gate
On its hinges of steel on stone.
Young faces out see young faces in
As they watch for someone well-known
To appear in the light kept on in the blue
    -To bring the traveler home.

THIRD ROW: BALCONY

Tune, rare hope to each of life’s swift chords,
     Played softly in wind,
     Played surely in stars.

Lift, life chord, the staying thought:
     The discordant sound of lives
      In time against the movement’s theme.

Surround the light humiliation of despair-borne
     Love returned unlisted, unknown.
     Surround the players lost in music not their own.

Overshadow, orchestra. In keep step, bring
    Up the notes and pulse of straight-lined songs.

Deliver now the chords of peace, alone:
    Played well,
    Heard long.

Unison.

“. . . and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison  in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord . . .” 2 Chronicles 5:13

Solomon has just completed the construction of Israel’s first, permanent temple. This passage is one sentence from many that describe the grateful king’s dedication ceremony. As a musician, I notice passages like this, and they stop me in my tracks. In this scene, there were 120 priests participating, each with a trumpet. That’s an impressive ensemble if only for scale, but what stuns me here is not the size of the group but what they were doing: they are playing in unison – all together – same notes, same rhythms, same volume. They are one.

How did they do that? Continue reading “Unison.”

Seldom Guest

This glowing orb, securely set
Within the heavens, shining. Yet,

From distances beyond the deep,
Like Frost, with promises to keep,

A body comes to veil its ray,
Deception spread: a shorter day,

To cast in doubt the afternoon,
In twilight set the night too soon.

I will attend this awesome sight,
In silent awe, belie my plight:

As shadow leaves out into sea,
The curtain falls on these for me.

Because of years, my reckoned past,
This dance of light could be my last.

With rythyms clear the universe
Confirms the sentence, Eden’s curse.

The clock of heaven, steady, runs.
We count its step in setting suns.

Vicarious.

If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” John 13:17

When I was a boy, I had a monthly subscription to the magazine, Sports Afield. It was an awesome magazine, full of colorful pictures of wide-eyed, antlered deer in deep woods, huge bass splashing on a line a foot above the rippled surface of a country pond, profiles of tough men telling dangerous hunting stories. I loved their daring journeys through desolate mountain passes. As I read these articles and saw these pictures, I was transformed into a great hunter/fisherman/outdoor expert. I loved it.  Among the courageous, I was one of them. This was my personal catelogue of adventure.

There was just one problem: I didn’t actually do any of it. Continue reading “Vicarious.”

Too small.

“And Moses said to Korah, ‘Hear now, you sons of Levi: is it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself, to do service in the tabernacle of the Lord and to stand before the congregation to minister to them, and that he has brought you near him, and all your brothers the sons of Levi with you? And would you seek the priesthood also?'” Numbers 16:8-10

Too small a thing . . . a group of people among the now-freed slaves of Egypt, the Israelites, had become discontented with their lot in life: it was no longer enough to be singled out among the hundreds of thousands to serve God in the daily work of worship in the tabernacle: they wanted more, and they were going after it.

What do you do when you are discontent and want more from life than you have? Continue reading “Too small.”

School’s out.  

“. . . always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:7

Remember the last day of school when you were growing up?

Etched in my mind are wonderful memories of textbooks stacked on tables, empty spaces on classroom walls where posters and signs from the year had been removed and stored for the next group of young minds, and taking a paper sack to school in which to carry home the broken pencils and wrinkled contents of my desk. The spirit in the school was light and forward-looking. (The teachers seemed especially happy, for some reason.)

My elementary school was in the middle of rolling farms bounded by thick stands of woods, so the months of May and June were rich with bright sunshine and the sounds of surrounding meadows returning to life. Through open windows everywhere came the humid scent of blooming trees, honeysuckle and newly mown grass. Our three-room school was steeped in it.

These were the signs that said the time of learning was ending: the time of trying was beginning. Ready or not, we were free.

But free for what? Continue reading “School’s out.  “

In between.

“A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” John 16:16

These are the words of Jesus to His closest friends, hours before His betrayal, arrest, trial, beating and crucifixion. They were having supper together. The mood of the room was serious. Passover was underway. As if with a riddle, He prepares them for what is to come.

Soon, He would be gone, but then He would be back.

Their eyes locked on His, the disciples fill with silent questions.  Continue reading “In between.”

Known.

 

And there shall be with you a man from each tribe, each man being the head of the house of his fathers. And these are the names of the men who shall assist you. . . Numbers 1:4-5

I like to know what’s going on in my life. . . what the days mean, how events fit together, where I am going next, what will happen there. It helps my peace of mind to look across the hours and know their content. I like to think that when I am in charge of time, then I can make good things happen and keep the bad things out.

How about you? Continue reading “Known.”