Legacy

Once, you made a promise to a lonely man. 

You took him out into the twilight, 

And lifted his eyes to the swirling crush of galaxies. 

“Your children will outnumber the stars.”

His gaze swept the heavens-

Multitude pinpricks of light-

Until his eyes were filled with starlight and grateful tears. 

I stand beneath that same darkened sky, 

But the stars aren’t so visible anymore,

Overcome by lights of our own design. 

The promise is dim. 

One star burns above, alone, 

And I wonder if this might be 

My legacy. 

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NPM: Call Me Mara

Do not call me Naomi. 

I am no longer pleasant.

I’m Mara, I’m bitter, I’m empty.

I was filled, but I’ve been hollowed out.

I’ve lost the sweetness of the rose.

I’ve lost the flavor of food.

I’ve lost my love and my legacy.

I’ve lost my faith and my trust.

Do not call me by my old name-

The name that, when on his lips, 

Meant promise and future and passion.

It is a bitter reminder of who I was, 

Who he was,

Who we were. 

Naomi died with Elimelek, Mahlon, and Kilion.

Call me bitter. Call me Mara. 

A Broken Gate, A Stolen Key

Hell, you once had the power
To make your home in each of us
To smolder in the pits of our souls
And make us wretched

Hell, you once grew like a flower
Roots tangled through our thoughts
Poisonous blossoms making our air
Thick with sulfuric fumes

Hell, you once stood like a tower
Proud and vicious against our skies
Looming over us, a constant threat
Keeping us in terror and tyranny

Hell, your power is broken
Your flower withered
Your tower shattered

You’ve been plundered, ransacked,
Emptied by the one
Who went willingly through your gates
And obliterated them as he came back out

[1 Corinthians 15; Revelation 1:18]

NPWM Day 18: Humility

A snake, a lie, a tree
A fall from grace, humility
A gate, a sword, decree
A banishment, humility
Blood from a brother’s jealousy
An outcast mark, humility
Rebelled, enslaved, unfree
A people’s cry, humility
A plague, a death, a plea
A broken “Go!”, humility
A staff, a stone, a parted sea
Deliverance, humility
A gift, a calf, idolatry
A desert path, humility

A crown, a throne, a need
A choice to go, humility
A crown, a thorn, a tree
A choice to die, humility
A stone, a grave, empty
Life over death, a victory

Ebenezer: A Stone to Remember

Build an altar

Raise a stone

Dig a well

Do something, anything,

To alter the barren landscape

Of your heart

The monotonous stretch

Of your memory

Make a mark

To disrupt the linear, unchanging path

Of your trudge through the wilderness

So that when you look back over your shoulder

As you dig your toes into the soil

Of the Promised land

You will remember

Who brought you this far

Samaritan

The well flows with water

but it’s empty for me

My parched lips touch the cup

And I drink long and deep

But it never fills me

Never satisfies

It’s not water that I need

But where is mercy liquified?

I keep drawing from the well

Hoping something new will rise

But it’s always just the same

And the longing never dies

Oh, come bend down close to me

Tell me everything I am

Lay bare my secrecy

So I can no longer pretend

That this water is enough

That my life is not so rough

That my heart is pretty tough

Tell me that you know

Every gross indecency

Every hidden part of me

Voice it plainly since I won’t

And set me free

Living Water, speak and say:

“Messiah – I am he.”

NPM: Run

Some days this world makes you want to keep on running

and never stop till you get somewhere better.

The same words endlessly repeated on the nightly news:

“Senseless”

“Horrific”

“Violence”

“Terror”

Are these the themes of our stories?

It seems so.

Our narratives have become senseless,

and we write them in blood.

Some days the voices of deranged, broken people

are the only ones we can hear

because they’re screaming the loudest and longest

and they punctuate their tirades with explosions.

Must we always harmonize with their cacophony?

God, I’m sick of this song.

Change the station.

Change it all.

When I think of peace

the word feels so hollow

so distant

Where is the peace that was promised?

“My peace I give to you.”

Is it simply inner peace?

I’m sorry, but

a lot of good that does

when the world is on fire.

But then I’m reminded to “look for the helpers,”

to dream of a world where there are

“no more hurting people.”

And despite our own wickedness, that world is coming.

It is a seed planted deep, already growing,

soon to break out of the soil.

And no matter how hard we wish

how loudly we weep

how bitter we become

how vengeful we act

how strongly we pray

we cannot make a plant grow before its time.

We can only wait.

And I know it’s worth waiting for,

but some days I swear

this world makes me want to run.