Monday, December 26, 2011

Oh heavenly posterity, sent down unto man
Promised root of Jesse; seed of Abraham
Birthed and Everlasting; Eternal Light of life
Majesty, most Holy One; the Ruler over all --

Yet still, You are a Shepherd; a Watchmen of the sheep
Lovingly You scan the earth, for our souls do you keep.

But we will grasp at anything which makes us feel at rest
Our progeny, our social class; the trinkets we amass
So one he puffs and preens his brow, and catalogues his grace
While another is bowed in perpetual loss, his life in grief, displaced

But both are lost and wandering; impenitent and blind
Untethered; loosely held, and moored in happenstance
For our lots on earth are strangely dealt; and rarely can we see,
The gilded strands, His faithfulness, wielded in Sovereignty

But oh the seed that falls in him, returning all the yield
He may walk alone; no job, no home – a vagrant on this sod
For he now knows, his appraisal is not won by craft or by might
Not in his lacking, his abundance, nor his doing of the right

For a King came down bereft of His throne, Jesus, Immanuel
He, who will roll up the heavens as a garment, the skies as a scroll,
He bore the man’s shame, and bought also, pardon
Taking the Father’s wrath, and annulling our sin

So look at This Shepherd struck down, forsaken, Great Lover of Sheep,
Who died for your pardon, and your soul, longs to keep.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Great Shepherd; Watchman of the sheep,
Protector, Provider; my soul do you keep

Fernando Ortega The Good Shepherd

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Time has passed, and little thought can be given even to recall its passing. I went to the Muppets tonight, garnered a little popcorn tray, diet coke, and bag of swedish fish. I decided to dive in and enjoy a whim, and expected little. Tears began falling first at Walmart, then in passing lone travelers, and finally at the end of the film. I have so many chinks in my armor, and it's seemed over these months, that the excesses of my weaknesses have superseded the magnificence of my Maker. I've been all but utterly lost.

The psalmist states it: "Until I came into the sanctuary of my God" (Ps. 73:17a). Yes, I've been there, countless times in my ruin, and that perception -- that knowing, has been gone. He says, "I was pierced within," and so have I been. Unspeakable pangs, and wild gushes have sent me back and scrambling.

I'm detailing for a friend, the passage of each church that has lent and supported me these years, and as I've wandered back, it has pried open these portals, and propped a remembrance on which I now lean.

These pages began in a descended silence, and they've taken me again, beyond that divide present in my mind. I wrote of a family that bred draft horses, while reminded of their church moved by oxen in the Vermont winter; of a train ride through a state entirely in bloom; of entering a room of strangers playing banjos and plucking tunes; my first kiss to Montana, and the ineffable feeling of "coming home." I've gone east and west, and still I'm not there. I've felt at once that I could "stay here forever," and yet I've moved along. I look through windows of home and pass there; it is not my own.

This heart! It wants to unfold; to unravel and be upheld, and despite my especially transient nature, my patchwork creation of unattainable home is only complete because I am not yet there. I piece together the sounds, fabrics, soils and scents of what it means to me, and I seek out those who might get me there, but it is not in them; any of it. Home is in heaven, where my Savior awaits me.

But oh how I falter here! Every path beckons, and the day's, how they taunt, but in my inner sanctum, I remember what He's taught: "Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him." (Jn. 14:23). Jesus' words have been terrifying to me of late, but just now today, I find in them, great comfort. I was made for Him, and my only stay will in Him, be found.

I am thankful that I am comprised of longings, and of yearnings so intense, that I must realize that I am eternally made. No created thing will satisfy, and all the darling pleasures that rightly enrapture, and bless my soul, are only, ever, meant to direct my endlessly wayfaring heart to Him.