Dust of Snow
The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I rued.
Here is a wintry poem for you as you begin a new year.
It is one sentence. Only two words go to two syllables. It doesn’t have any metaphors, although one could argue it, all of it, is only a metaphor. The picture is black (crow) and white (snow) and utterly simple. The rhymes button perfectly into their button holes. This little poem doesn’t seem like much out here in the snow of the empty page. You can easily hold on to it in your mind or, cut out of this page, tuck it into your wallet or tape it up on your bathroom mirror, if you want. (more…)
As our consumerist culture barrels headlong into its pre-Christmas spending frenzy, I’d like to invite you to walk with me through the season we observe in the church as a way of preparing ourselves for Christmas.
Simple and captivating. Would those be the words you use to describe church? They could be, even if they aren’t for you right now. A church, after all, is no more or less than its members, members who organize a community around their faith and their spiritual practice. It is yours, and you are making it. A church’s purpose is to be a constant act of creation.
I have a friend whose spiritual practice is to write postcards to his friends. I’m lucky to be counted among them. Every month, I get at least one, sometimes two. What he writes is simple and captivating, a bit newsy and also reflective; his postcards are his gift of himself to me. I have every card he has ever sent me over the course of almost ten years. When he writes a postcard to me, and when I receive it and read it, we are having church together. I have been working on my spiritual practice of sending him a postcard in return. We are making a creative connection together. We are listening to one another and encouraging one another. His spiritual practice of making connection through postcard writing creates a state of happiness in me. His simple gesture of friendship captivates me. (more…)
This is What Redemption Looks Like
Fourth in the series,
Ruth: A Handbook for Christians
If you’ve been here from the beginning of the story, you’ve seen Naomi and her family set out from Bethlehem and go to Moab because of famine.
You’ve seen her through the catastrophic loss of both husband and sons, and you’ve walked with her back to Bethlehem in the company of Ruth, her Moabite daughter-in-law, who clung to her and would not leave her.
You’ve also seen the hunger both of these women went through back in Bethlehem, which reduced them to living off the leftovers of others, leftovers Ruth freely to gleaned from the fields.
And then there was that night at the threshing floor when Ruth dared to uncover the truth so Boaz could see what he had to do to make things right for both herself and for Naomi.
If you’ve been here from the beginning, you might wonder what’s going to happen next. We are at the last chapter, after all.
I read this recently in Peter Marty’s column in The Christian Century:
When South African church leader Peter Storey’s father was dying of heart disease in his fifties, Story was angry. “Why should this remarkable man be taken so soon?” he asked. But one day when the two were together, the father explained to his son: “Peter, God has trusted me with this illness.” Peter notes that his father did not say, “God has sent me this illness.” Instead, what he was saying was, “Now that I have this disease, God is trusting me with the bearing of it.”