Midnight Train

Train whistles at midnight

I’m on some distant shore

Though it’s my first encounter

Seems I’ve been here before

Her whistle is a warning

It’s a beacon and a wail

She spent all her life yearning

Up and down those rails

She took a break at one

But she’s back before the 7th bell

And here comes another stranger

Maybe he’ll prove a friend

Unaware of impending dangers

Supposing it won’t end

But the lines fade

And.the hairs grey

And the memories stay

Another day comes with the sun

But even if you run

Backwards or forwards or in circles spin

Even if that gold loaded ship comes in

Time won’t relent and she won’t take you back

So you just keep whistling your lament down the track

From Darkness to Light

Reflections after reading the December 1 excerpt from Malcolm Guite’s Waiting on the Word

I contemplate the paradox of our lives born into darkness and yet light. We are in darkness as we are void of knowledge or understanding about the world, our Maker, and even ourselves. We are in light as we are created in the Imago Dei. The Great Light is our Creator and we are made in His image and likeness. Enter in the will.

We are created on purpose, with a purpose and a divine plan for that purpose. We are created by a Maker that designed us for relationship with Him and our fellow creatures. Since we cannot be forced to love or else it is no love at all and because our Maker did not want mere robots we are given a will and the ability to choose. We choose wrongly thus darkness enters.

Despite the darkness of our sin there is that spark of the Imago Dei that was deposited within us at our creation and it seems that very spark seeks to draw itself to even more light until we are face to face with the Light of the World. This first spark is what I think of in reading George Herbert’s poem The Glance. The first glance from our Maker was at our creation. However the moment our will goes against God, it leads us into the hiding as Adam hid. In regard to this hiding as Guite notes in regards to Herbert’s poem there is this tension between hiding and seeking. There is this conflict between darkness and light.

The good news is this:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it

John 1:5

After reflecting upon Guite’s discussion of Herbert’s poem, I recalled a vivid image the Lord revealed to me that inspired the poem I penned below. The image was a dark canvas if you will that stretched as far as the eye could see. There were pin pricks of light breaking through. Then there were punches that allowed even more light. The pin pricks were glimpses of God and the punches were gazes. Discovering Herbert’s poem entitled The Glance thrilled my soul as I saw this common thread of Truth that predates the glimpses granted to me by the Holy Spirit.

Canvas of Truth

When I consider the stars
Dark infinite canvas
Glimpses of light
Glimpses of truth
Piercing the night

And then
Something is torn
Pain rips a hole
Yet through that pain
Greater light shines through
Not a glimpse, but a gaze
Of light
Of truth
Piercing the darkness

In time
Truth adds to truth
Even darkness becomes light
Basking in the truth
Of this canvas’ Creator

It is interesting and most consistent with what I know of our Lord that those gazes seem to accompany the hard seasons. In my youthful naivete I would likely have been tempted to forgo the gazes to prevent the accompanying pain. My flawed almost superstitious thinking was if I don’t see the gazes then nothing bad will happen to those I love. The reality is we live in a fallen world where pain and darkness exist, but our loving Creator gives us these gazes to sustain us through the pain.

This brings to mind a conversation I had with my Daddy about life and death. I thought it peculiar that every time a baby was born it was near a death in the family. I confessed my dear to my Dad. “I think babies are wonderful Daddy, but it makes you not want any to come so you don’t have to give up someone you love.”

Dad pointed out that my thinking was not in order. “No , Shelly it’s the other way around. Death will come. Those who pass on will leave, but God gives us new life in babies to show hope still lives.” [God is faithful as we bid Daddy farewell to his heavenly rest in July we welcomed my nephew James Knox this October. ]

Which brings us inadvertently to our advent theme. The darkness was in the world, but the light would not be overcome. So our Great Light, our Creator, Maker ,Elohim, Yahweh, Jehovah, Heavenly Father, The Great I Am saw fit to send us a baby that would not only show us hope lives despite death and darkness, but this very baby would defeat death.

Oh Christ child what a glorious gaze of light. That we may gaze upon your face and you gaze into ours so we may fully know and understand how loved we are by you. So in the darkness of advent we wait expectantly for the Hope that is the Light of the World.

Come Lord Jesus, Come

Advent Prayer

It took an extra day, but I finally decided upon my Advent reading for this year. I chose this work of Malcolm Guite and look forward to diving in and see how the Lord chooses to teach me through this work. However, before I dive in I must offer up my own Advent prayer.

My advent prayer-
Most Holy Lord, I wait for you. As I wait I pray that you would return me to my first love of Christ Jesus. Awaken my soul as parts of it have lain dormant in the harsh cold of life, loss, and out of mere survival instinct in a season of tumultuous tempests. Yet now the fog has lifted, the waters are not raging ,though they are not fully calm. My soul had a little respite. It was a long hard stormy season, but you have sent your dove with the olive branch saying to me “come out. It is safe. The greatest of the storm is passed for now and there is work to do. ” Rebuilding and building and planting and sowing. Lord as I wait show me what fields are mine to tend as you know I am an eager worker and aim to please so when I am committed I tend to take on more than you would have me do which leads to weariness and limits my fruitfulness. You do not intend me to be complacent or slothful or stagnant and yet you do not intend me to bear a burden too great. I do not know my limits. I underestimate and overestimate my abilities. Maker of my soul, you know. Grant me O Lord the wisdom to discern which is my field to tend and strengthen me to get busy about your work so that I may by your grace cooperate and assist in your kingdom building. What a great God you are! You do not need us for your work, but so sweetly invite us into it so that we may grow and be fruitful.
Lord as I enter this season of reflection, slowing, contemplation, and penitence make your will for my life quite clear. Lord I seek you. Assist me with thy grace to seek you with my whole heart, mind, and soul.

In the powerful name of our risen Lord and Savior Y’shua, Emmanuel- Amen