Weariness

Why?

Why?

… says Jacob.
… asks Israel.

My Lord doesn’t even notice
As justice slinks away.

Don’t you know?
Haven’t you heard?

Eternal God, Creator of the Universe
Doesn’t tire
Doesn’t wear out.
Just try to find something
God doesn’t understand!

Giving strength to the weary
Great power to the powerless

Even the young tire out,
Young men stumble and fall.

Those who depend on God

Renew their strength.
Rise like eagles in flight.
Run without getting tired.
Walk without wearing out.

So why do you ask?

We are weary.
We can’t fly.
We do wear out.
We can’t see that God sees.

How long, Eternal God?

Hear our prayer for strength!

(Adapted from Isaiah 40:27-31. Image credit: Openclipart.org, imposed on one of my own photographs.)

God’s Perfect Calendar

Everything has its season.
Each purpose has its time.

A time for birth,
a time for death.

A time to put in,
a time to pull out.

A time to kill,
a time to heal.

A time to demolish,
a time to construct.

A time to cry,
a time to laugh.

A time to lament,
A time to jump for joy.

A time to scatter stones,
A time to gather them up.

A time for embrace,
a time for distance.

A time to search,
a time to let go.

A time to protect,
a time to throw away.

A time to tear,
a time to mend.

A time to shut up,
a time to speak up.

A time to love,
a time to hate.

A time for war,
a time for peace.

–Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

A calendar divine
with blocks of time for all,
on every page a plan,
a way to rise or fall.

They say it’s very great,
God’s timing never fails.
His planning fills the need,
that nothing ill derails.

But when I check the list,
there’s war and death and weeds.
Along with planting seeds,
There’s room for angry deeds.

I’d like a plan with peace,
with laughter, rhyme, and life.
I want to plant and grow,
but never spark such strife!

So why does God send death,
to follow after birth?
And why a time to smash,
To weed or foster dearth?

But then I hear a voice,
that asks me how I live.
There’s time for war or peace,
but which one will I give?

God’s plan has lots of space,
to fill with what will last.
Or not! He makes you free,
to kill or break or blast.

And though it’s true that birth,
in death will always end.
The way you fill that space,
Will echo without end.

Psalm 50

Asaf’s Song

Yahweh, God over gods spoke
Summoning the world
from farthest east to utter west.

From Zion, his perfect beauty
Blazes out everywhere.

Our God is coming, and will not be silenced
Devouring fire leads,
Powerful wind surrounds.

He calls to the skies above and the ground below
to judge his people.

Gather to me
my faithful friends,
my covenant-bound,
my full worshipers.

They will proclaim my justice to the skies,
that God is the one who judges.

Listen to me, realms above, and I will speak.
Attend, Israel, and I will give you my testimony.
I am the God over all gods.

It’s not for your sacrifices that I will find you right,
Nor your continual burnt offerings.

I won’t take a bull from your house,
Nor sheep or goat from your fold.

Each animal living in the forest is mine,
Flocks and herds on unnumbered hills.

I know each and every bird in the wild,
Even the crickets are in my care.

If I get hungry, I won’t tell you,
Because everything in the universe is mine!

Do you think I eat bulls?
Or drink goat’s blood?

Offer God your thanks,
Keep your word for God Most High!

Then call on me when you’re in trouble,
I’ll save you and you’ll honor me.

But if you’re wicked, here’s my message:
Why are you talking about my commands?
Why do you even mention my covenant?

You hate to be corrected,
You discard my words like garbage.
To see a thief is to love him.
Adulterers are your best friends.

Your mouth is evil’s publicist,
Lying is your tongue’s vocation.
Your brother is a favored target,
and your sister is not exempt.

You did these things and kept silent.
You thought I was like you.
But I’ll rebuke you and confront you face-to-face!

Understand this, you who forget God,
Lest He destroy you and there is none to save.

The one who honors me offers thanks,
Following my path.
I will show him my salvation.

(Featured image credit: Openclipart.org)

Like David (A Meditation on Psalm 51)

Like David, I can

 

Approach God

Because God is

Giving

Loving

Forgiving

Fully cleansing.

 

Confess

Because I am a

Sinner

Displeaser

Prisoner

Veteran wrongdoer.

 

Rejoice

Because God

Teaches

Enlightens

Washes

Songs restores.

 

Be restored

Because God is

Creator

Restorer

Granter

Willing deliverer.

 

Proclaim

Because I’m

Singing

Praising

Sacrificing

Witness giving.

 

Be family

Because I am

Blessed

Prospered

Restored

Fully offered.


(Copyright 2018, Henry E. Neufeld. Image credit Openclipart.org.)

What Was It Like?

When God said, “Let there be light!”
What was it like?

An explosion of sound
Like rolling thunder
Clashing cymbals
Booming drums
Or a wildly cheering crowd?

Or maybe it was glorious music
An engaging ballad,
An organ performance
A symphony
A marching band
Perhaps an explosion of rock and roll.

Perhaps it was a sweet solo,
A Capella words with power
A soprano reaching star high notes
A bass rattling the foundations
A rich contralto
Or a rapper’s energy and rhythm.

Or maybe the Word had no sound
An explosion of light and color
Beauty illumined by soundless word
Dreams of mysterious symbols
Sculptures of thought and design
Even substantial structures of emotions.

Even that might be insufficient, so
A blueprint stretching infinitely
Connections intricate and planned
Mechanisms carrying unresisted power
Measurements of incomprehensible precision
A song, a picture, a word, an action, divine.

Or just God’s Word.
“And there was.”

Dedicated to James Kristian McClellan. Maybe it’s you!

Give the Creator the Credit Due – A Poetic Response to Psalm 148

Give the Creator the credit that’s due.

Shine forth

Distant galaxies
Glowing nebulas
Giant stars
Blackest holes.

Go out

Angels bright
Seraphim flashing
Winds blowing
Flames burning.

Since God is the maker, the builder, designer,
Our lifegiver, ruler, sustainer, refiner.

Learn of him

Scientist
Physicist
Astronomer
Chemist

Tell of him

Historian
Sociologist
Theologian
Philosopher

Give the creator the credit that’s due.

(With additional credit to Psalm 19 and Psalm 104. Featured image credit: Openclipart.org.)

Lost and Found, Found and Lost

When he turned 40, Kenneth began to feel that something was missing in his life. Oh, he wasn’t a lost soul. He didn’t feel a need to find himself, whatever that might mean. He just felt that there was some thing, or perhaps some person, which (or who) would make his life more complete. Something was missing and he needed to find it.

It took him months to come to what was, for others, the obvious conclusion. He needed to find his birth father. Now Kenneth had a good life. His parents were loving. He had not lacked for anything. He wasn’t enormously rich, but he was well off, and didn’t feel any financial needs. He was married, and his wife and children constituted, as far as he could tell, the perfect family. Yes, there were conflicts. There was drama. But everything always worked out in the end, and he thought that was fine.

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between characters and events in it and real life and purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2014,
Henry E. Neufeld

His parents — he didn’t think of his dad as a stepdad, though he was — were involved in his life, but not too involved. They seemed to be careful to behave in just the right way for parents of an adult son with his own business and his own family. Yet when he mentioned searching for his birth father they seemed stressed, even though they didn’t tell him not to do it. So he decided to make the search quietly.

The story he had known all his life was that his father abandoned him as an infant and had never been heard from again. His stepdad had stepped in, as his title implied, and had provided for Kenneth all his life.

The search itself took months. You may think that all the fun in this story would happen during the search. But it was really quite uneventful. Private investigators interviewed people and found documents. Nobody tried to kill them. Nobody threatened anybody. His parents didn’t come and tell him not to look.

In the end, however, the search ended with a birth record in a small hospital and the name of a man who was now dead. There was no information even on where that man might be buried.

Kenneth still felt that something was missing. And now he was sure it was his birth father. Why couldn’t he even find a grave marker?

*****

A continent away in the penthouse suite of a luxury hotel, Gary looked at another report. (He hadn’t been called by his first name for years. He was Mr. Adamson to everyone. He was a powerful man.) He too had been searching, and since he was very, very rich he had more resources at his command than Kenneth. For nearly 40 years he had wondered where his son was. If his wife had lived, the search would have been a priority, but the police had searched diligently at the time, and he hadn’t seen any reason to try some more. Doubtless little Vincent had been killed years ago. His wife had also died a couple of years after their son went missing.

For weeks Gary had known where his missing son was. But when he’d looked at that perfect life, he had wondered whether he had a right to change it. His wife would have had no doubt, he knew. They’d be on the private jet that was waiting at the airport as fast as they could pack an overnight bag and they’d be talking to that son. But he wasn’t sure.

But this report changed things. His son was looking for him. His son wanted to know who he was.

He pressed an intercom button. “Get the jet ready …”

*****

And now the question: Who was lost, and who was found?

(This story was written while thinking about Lectionary Proper 12A, which will be discussed in the Bible Study my wife Jody and I host on July 21, 2014 at 7 pm.)