How many little moments will we find
Were not without significance at all
But were the subtle graces of a kind
Untarnished by the twistings of the fall?
How many hours of testing will reveal
Themselves to be the reasons for our joys?
How many wounds will show they served to heal?
How many pains upset the serpent’s ploys?
How many seasons thought to have no end
Did end one day with mercy fresh and new?
How many things seemed only to offend
But deepened both my love and faith in you?
How often is there more than eyes can see?
How little do we understand of thee.
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We want but are not satisfied in gain,
And so we gain new wants to add to old.
This futile journey is an old refrain
Of wants too weak to trust the Story told.
“Our hearts are restless till they rest in thee,”
The saint once wrote, and still his words resound.
They ring from Africa across the sea,
True both on foreign and familiar ground.
For we were wrought to reckon with our ends,
To know the purpose t’ward which passion points:
Temp’ral desires call for that which transcends;
What leads to life divides marrow and joints.
O LORD, align our wanting with your will,
And turn our hearts to you and so fulfill.
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The quoted line above refers to a line from Augustine’s Confessions.
True, hopes deferred may make hearts sick,
But so may hopes fulfilled.
And comfort for a smold’ring wick
May not be what it willed.
For often hopes transfix upon
The means, and so detach
The running from the marathon,
The sewing from the patch.
And what was meant to foster growth
In fear and love of God
Becomes instead a broken oath
Upon the paths we trod.
Tis better far to see the gifts
In light of he who gives
Lest graces be turned into rifts,
Nouns turned to adjectives.
Remember heaven ne’er forgets
Its own. God e’er shall be
Sure hope in spite of fears and frets,
The anchor in the sea.
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A number of my friends from seminary work in local churches, meaning their coworkers and bosses are fellow believers. A number of other friends, however, work in coffee shops, department stores, or in other non-religious occupations. One such friend recently asked how Christians in such positions can best represent Christ to their coworkers, specifically when lifestyles and ethical frameworks conflict. Today, I want to offer a few thoughts on the subject.
Elusive fulfillment, promising much,
Master of anticipation and lust,
Warping a want till it feels like a must,
How many more must be crushed in your clutch?
Questioning you grows progressively more
Treacherous, for you twist my desiring
From pure motives in holy retiring
To meaner modes. I cease to see the war.
Awaken me, O Spirit. Help me hear
The still, small voice reminding me the way
To fullness is to seek a higher end.
My God, you reign. Teach me to love and fear,
To trust in your provision for this day,
And to abide in thee, most faithful friend.
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Death will come for all men in the end.
None escape the final reckoning.
All who climb the mountains must descend.
All must heed th’ eternal beckoning.
Righteous men and wicked men alike
Fade at last into obscurity.
Actions matter not, for doom will strike
All. The grave remains a surety.
Is there gain in doing what is good?
Can we earn a single day of bliss?
We still die in doing what we should.
Vanity of vanities is this.
Yet the story need not end in vain.
Death does not possess the highest pow’r.
Life embodied died to end death’s reign.
Now we need not fear the final hour.
Slain upon a skull and then entombed,
Life partook in full the fatal drink.
Life then rose again, the curse consumed.
Hope now lives and nevermore will sink.
Therefore we have purpose in our ways,
For we follow him who doth transcend.
Christ has given meaning to our days.
Now we know that death is not the end.
Photo by Elijah Hail on Unsplash
From him are all things:
Earth and sky and all thereof.
All creation clings
To the voice that called in love
Ev’ry sound that sings.
Through him are all things.
By his power he sustains
Ev’ry sound that sings.
Gifts of sunlight and of rains
Year by year he brings.
To him are all things:
His the glory and the throne.
All creation clings
To the king who hears the groan
And salvation brings.