not just bread, not just wine [over at Deeper Church].

creative commons.

I’m so thrilled to be sharing my first post over at A Deeper Church today!

It’s a story of Sacraments and sacramentals, and through the sacred and mundane moments, I’m wondering how we piece it all together–

It was a few years ago now that we three were gathered with red wine bought in a hurry and cheap water crackers to carry snooty cheese. Back then, the guys brought the stories and I simply gathered them into myself, knit line by line into something I could wrap myself in for a long time to come. We were in somewhat disparate spiritual spaces then, but located here each week by a fire, by wine, by strands of Gospel-truth nonetheless stringing us together. We spun sacrament and wondered at holy judgment and marveled at the created order telling the same Story over and over again. This night as we talked, I reached over the cheese and absentmindedly broke a cracker in two.

Suddenly before me, it was as the Host, held high above the altar, split down the middle, Body broken for me and for many, wine and Blood to follow.

Will you join over at A Deeper Church, and enter into the mosaic of faith stories? Click here.

an Easter[tide] post.

This.

This is when we glory, when we shout our ALLELUIAS.

This is when we turn the lilt of our voices up to cry out,

Christos anesti! Alithos anesti!

indeed.

This is when we raise our glasses to the already-and-not-yet

of all the sad things becoming untrue—

the curtain torn now,

the anticipation of the life to come where

every moment shall be a toast:

we will sing with angels and archangels

and with all the company of heaven

Holy, Holy, Holy, LORD…

This is the True essence of which Lent shadowed.

This is when it is right to, yes, force the joy for 50 days,

just as we forced ourselves to sit

in silence and stillness and hunger,

to trudge in the wilderness and dark doubt.

Now we dance and dance and dance

until we are almost dizzy  with our shouts:

THANKS BE TO GOD.

[even {especially} If it is a cold and broken one, practice

saying the alleluia to yourself, to people you trust

and maybe even those who don’t know you.

yes, there are wounds and burial cloths, but

this is where we hobble first steps again, love,

out of our tombs, this is where we invite our

neighbors to touch our healing scars.

this might be when it matters most, counts most

in the currency of grace—when our hearts are still

out in the cold dark of the night: alleluia. alleluia.]

This is when we Practice Resurrection most of all.

This is when we wear bright lipstick like grace and

bake to give away out of our abundant hearts.

This is where the cross is traded for an empty tomb.

This, when a woman—let us feel the gasp—is the first

to cry out Resurrection and we find the new world

of the Risen Lord to be the upside-down-rightside-up

grace of the Kingdom beginning to be beginning,

fulfilled in the life to come. Already and not yet.

This is where we walk with God in the Garden again,

now and forever, Amen. This is it—

Christ has died.

Christ is risen.

[He is risen indeed!]

Christ will come again.

a good friday post.

“Jesus will be in agony until the end of the world…”

When I survey the wondrous cross…

I sing out the words loud and open, knowing that I do so because I love Isaac Watts more than I truly understand the words. This happens to me more often than you’d think—lying in church. But this is why I keep showing up nonetheless: these lies are also prayers that one day I will be telling the truth.

The cross? Wondrous because foreign. That crown? So rich because it’s unreachable.

Love so amazing, so divine

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

This, this is true. This at least. I know what is demanded.

—————–

In these twenty-something years, the cross has held both my highest mysticism and my coldest shrug.

—————–

I cry through the collects.

for those in loneliness, fear, and anguish…

for those who face temptation, doubt, and despair…

for the sorrowful and bereaved…

for those who have lost their faith…

for those hardened by sin or indifference…

these and other passions I know—in names I pray and on my very skin.

The Passion? A distant bloodbath on just another pretty man.

——————

I hold the Eucharist in high regard–you would think I’ve come to terms with the Sacrifice. Each week, Body, broken for you; blood shed for you. Each week, these holy mysteries. But this day of the Holy Mystery, there is no sweetness or burn of wine, no bread, because this day is all Body, all Blood. And I’m standing a million miles away.

——————–

I break my Triduum hiatus from facebook by half-accident to see Preston’s status, and I’m sure this is me:

“[…] See, me, this certain believer, this always in the church Christian, has never struggled with a God big enough and wonderful enough to create cosmos and come again and burst forth on Easter Day. This always-faithful Christian struggles to believe in the God who died. […]”

 ——————

This is the part that will sound better or worse than it was.

This is the part I wish I wasn’t telling you—that I went home from that service, found an odd cigarette from some rebellious night past, and lit it on my back stoop, alone, into the night. I’m not going to pretend this smoke was sacrament, or even right, but it suddenly seemed very very important to breathe the death and guilt into my lungs on this night and watch it materialize in front of me. To flick the ash I missed on my brow almost forty days ago, to taste the darkness on my lips though the flame long extinguished, to feel the sickness coming on me like sin.

Halfway through, street noises died down just long enough for me to think I hear the curtain rent in two.

——————–

Tomorrow, Holy Saturday, I will plant something in my windowbox. A friend told me this is something of a tradition, that what you plant in earth on the day our Lord was in the ground is sure to grow well. This is not quite orthodoxy, but I will get dirt under my nails in fear and trembling. I will pray a small thanks for the more than small hope that my faith doesn’t require total understanding, that my belief holds more and less than my discursion.

But I will plant, hoping something Good and True will rise from the dead.

this is not a poem [or, notes on disordered love].

For now, we see through a glass, darkly…

1 Corinthians 13:12


somewhere between the breeze and brisket,

the lime and the laughter,

mid-heartbeat,

i realized that there are moments in which

i speak of the Poet,

but i really mean the poetry.

i have some new words,

but the struggle is old.

now i can talk about things like

sacraments, sacramentals

–and even mean it–

the divine in the mundane,

the twitching tip of a finger when

grace is more than ordinary, when

i can hear the humming Song.

at their truest, they are a communion.

other times, it seems

i’ve learned to love

how bright it all is

without turning to the Light.




“We surely made too small a part for God in these things…”

–Aurora Leigh, Elizabeth Barrett Browning