Red

Posted in Love So Radical on January 29, 2015 by lovesoradical

She asked which you were,

the birth or the death,

and I thought it strange,

because you were both and neither:

It was your raw palms that took a Sunday morning,

a few nails and the splinters of your sacrifice

and united Bethlehem and Golgotha.

Image Bearer

Posted in Love So Radical, Poetry with tags , , on January 29, 2015 by lovesoradical

He birthed the world,

His lungs scattering dust

the way trees scatter light in the forest.

 

The stars burned in His palms,

the galaxies trailed behind His fingertips,

but He chose the smallest image bearer to carry His grace:

 

dust, rib, breath.

 

it was good.

Even Then

Posted in Love So Radical on October 20, 2014 by lovesoradical

There are a dozen red roses in the trash behind your house,

and the phone in your hand buzzes,

but you do not answer.

It’s all wrong, when love works backward and undoes you,

and even the air in your lungs begins to feel toxic.

Dear one, the scars that roses left may swallow you whole,

and night will still be night,

but I think you will find that, even then,

grace will still be grace.

Birth

Posted in Love So Radical with tags , , , on October 6, 2014 by lovesoradical

You seem surprised, the way winter is always surprised by spring:

But when the sky splinters above you,

with rain and rain and rain,

you have not forgotten how to dance.

So how is it that you have never thought to ask what it meant

when the rock beneath your dancing feet was as solid as a promise?

Still, you look at me strangely when I tell you this mystery:

the water I wash with is a red bleach, life is a death I seek to die,

and the path I follow ravages my reddening feet with each step I take.

Oh darling—did you forget?

Love was never tame.

Miracle

Posted in Love So Radical with tags , on September 30, 2014 by lovesoradical

“Show me a miracle, Lord,” I shout, my voice rough with sorrow.

(Minneapolis bleeds under my feet, and

my preschoolers tell me, wide-eyed, that hope looks like a lion).

I clamor louder in demand of an answer, afraid of silence.

“Show me a miracle, Lord,” they shout, their voices sharp with impatience.

(Galilee bleeds under their feet, and

the woman, the one they turn away from, anoints his feet with perfume and tears).

They clamor louder in defense of their laws, terrified of this outlaw.

“Show us a miracle, Lord,” we demand, our voices sharp as nails.

(Calvary bleeds under our feet, and

celestial splinters litter the ground of this wild, wild hill).

We clamor louder, as if we could ever shout down the still, small voice.

“Show us a miracle, Lord.” 

(but the answer bleeds under our feet for three days straight, and

when the veil tears in two, top to bottom, we are terrified to the core, because)

“I am.”

Cana

Posted in Love So Radical on September 23, 2014 by lovesoradical

The wine runs out, they tell me.

 

You will run and run and run

in pursuit of passion and life and more, but

always the wine runs out.

 

And it’s true.

 

It is vanity, chasing after wind,

and every good fight that I have ever fought ends when

the wine runs out.

 

But tonight the Nazarene’s wild eyes look to me,

 

and the scars on his outstretched hands are a roadmap

pointing me to the cosmic wedding in Cana,

where the wine runs out,

 

but the water for washing runs on,

red and red and red.

Fear and (re)awakening

Posted in Love So Radical on September 11, 2014 by lovesoradical

They don’t understand what it’s like, you realize, as you try to explain–to a class of freshman males at your university, no less–what it’s like to be female and alone when you’re walking at night. You get angry, instead of explaining, and then you are silent, because what good does it do anyway? Aren’t they all the same?

Because to you, that’s how it feels, especially when you remember him, the first man who ever made you feel afraid. Each man walking close behind you on a too-quiet street is him, each man who catcalls or whistles as you walk past is him, even that pastor with the same face (the one where you left the church service early, and no one knew why) is him.

Since when did you allow him to replace your innocence with terror?

After that disastrous class and disastrous worship service, you’re shaking. You’re still shaking when you get home, and your roomate hugs you and says it’s going to be okay, even though you know it’s not–you don’t know how to breathe and the only things your hands can do are shake violently or curl into fists.

You’re angry, bitter, scared.

Tired.

And now, at church again, this sharp new pastor (whose face, at least, does not trigger a full panic-and-flight reaction) is asking you what you do.

What do I do? 

I’m hollow. 

I rattle. 

Later, when the pastor is on stage preaching, you hear him speak of cynicism and fear and futility and what it’s like when the only thing you feel anymore is jaded. He asks why why why and you have no answer.

He tells another story–his father, a janitor, lying on a hospital bed in the room next to a former MIT graduate and business manager. Now, though, they are both just cancer patients.

Just dying.

You can’t make sense of it–can’t believe that Sundays will still follow Fridays–and when he quotes C. S. Lewis and tells all of you that you have never met mere mortals, you’re lost.

Your fists are clenched so tightly that your palms are leaking blood, and you are so tiny and afraid and you are every damn bit a mere mortal.

You stay that way, until another word catches your attention, snaps your head up so that you’re staring at the pastor with a ferocity he can’t possibly understand.

Because he said ransom, and you don’t have the faintest idea what that means anymore.

You hear someone breathe in sharply, and you realize it’s you as the cool air floods your lungs with a savage, long-awaited breath that tastes like life.

You look down, and your fists are unclenched just a little. And when the pastor moves on, you just it there in wonder, holding the weight of this obscene, apalling ransom in your weary palms.

As you walk home later, as twilight deepens and shadows stretch long across the road home, your feet are lighter than they have been in years.

And when that inevitable man passes you on the sidewalk, you look twice, this time–and realize, shocked, that this is not a man, after all, but another 18-year-old kid with his youth and insecurity stamped on his young face. He looks a little bit like you, you realize.

Another mere mortal, eternity scrawled in each line of his face.

You catch eyes briefly and he smiles at you, just a little, before you part ways at the stoplight.

When you look down, your fists aren’t clenched and your hands aren’t shaking.

And you smile, fiercely, because in the silence of this city street you hear the echo of the word:

Ransom. Ransom. Ransom. 

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