Isaiah 53-56; 2 Peter 2

Looking the Other Way

Who is this grotesque figure before me,
despised, deformed, and bruised?
Who is this afflicted man that repulses me
and causes me to look away lest I retch?
He is nothing more than once-human garbage,
now a lamb led to the slaughter.

And what have you done with my coiffed Jesus
whose golden locks flutter in the wind?
Where is my Savior whose righteous good-looks
model the happy Christian life?
Give me my All-American Lord
leaping from the pages of GQ.

How can I have a less-than-perfect Hero,
a downer from pantheons and comic books?
Do you want me to believe in a stricken God
who stumbles while carrying his cross?
I’ll take the airbrushed doctrine every time,
but the harsh reality I’ll emphatically reject.

Can grace be so ugly
that I fall down before the Servant in fear?
Can death be so horrible
that it sends me running for my Life?
I will accept the Sacrifice
if I can avoid the agony.

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Isaiah 50-52; Psalm 92; 2 Peter 1

Would You?

When a tree ages, its gnarled exterior and expanded girth
testify to resolute heartwood and spirited sap
ringing the echoes of years of drought and years of blessing.
Fed by the hidden depths of its rootedness, the tree keeps faith yet,
with sweeter fruit and more abundant harvest
that sows a forested legacy.
Moved by the wind, the canopy waves in praise of its Maker
as it casts a long shadow to shelter the tender young
and welcomes transitory birds and playful squirrels.
Even in its death, the tree sacrifices itself to build;
even in its destruction, the tree sacrifices itself to give rest;
even in its decay, the tree sacrifices itself to nurture.
Would that we saw people with the same eyes that admire a tree.
Would that we were pining to venerate these living monuments.
Would that we esteemed such ancient beauty.

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Isaiah 46-49; 1 Peter 5

Adversary

Beware, the Adversary is on the prowl.
The apex predator is ready to devour,
In the high grass he stalks
Out of sight to build your fright;
He marches from behind with crouched pride,
Exploiting his kingly reputation,
Convinced the stars testify to his eminence.
With a lyin’ roar and specious mane
The man-eater mesmerizes with exotic guises.
He wants you to imagine, as he does, that he is the cat’s meow.
Fool! Do not be fooled—never think him tame.
He seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.
Yet his teeth can never pierce a soul.
Hence, you must never panic, maniacal in terror:
His greatest hope is that you run blindly,
Breaking your own neck so he can consume you at his leisure.
Turn and stand with the sword in your heart and on your tongue—
You are not helpless; you are not alone.
Be Spirited and bold, forcefully tell him to scat!
Then you will expose the Prowler for what he is: merely a fraidy cat.

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Isaiah 43-45; 1 Peter 4

Desktop Theology

My theology is as messy as my desk—
piled up with books of learning,
plenty of junk mail,
along with unanswered requests,
and to-do’s to do.
There’s no apparent system to observers.
It looks pretty cluttered.
But I know what’s there and why it’s there—sort of.
Okay, honestly, most of it probably belongs in the garbage.
I’ll throw it out eventually,
but it will sit awhile first.
I don’t know why.
For now, it’s just easier.

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Isaiah 40-42; 1 Peter 3

Dried Flower Arrangements

Faded beauty faking it
Flowers and foliage of different size, color, and texture
Together, but not too crowded
Turning on a lazy Susan
Rootless stems propped up by foam
A little hair spray to keep them intact
Essential oils add a remembered fragrance
Withered lives made to look natural
Exposed to the elements they would fall apart
These dried flower arrangements make themselves at home in the sanctuary
Right next to the ornamental Bible on the altar

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2 Kings 20; Isaiah 38-39; Psalm 75; 1 Peter 2

At Least During My Lifetime

Look at the horIzon and what do you see?
RIght In the mIddle is I, meaning me.
Hence my vIsIon for lIfe: make today okay.
That’s all that matters because that’s where I stay.
If I can borrow on all the tomorrows,
Then I can contInue to defer all my sorrow.
WIth some luck, I won’t be around to pay—
My offsprIng wIll Inherit my debts one day.
I want to hold onto my comfort and peace;
I want to enjoy every whIm and caprIce.
I can’t be bothered by this grImy aIr;
ConservatIon Is a duty I sImply can’t bear.
I will subdue all the earth’s fIne treasures
DIvInely placed to supply all my pleasures.
How can anyone thInk It such a heInous crIme
To have two I’s focused on my lIfetIme?
God Is nIce to take such good care of me.
So I’ll let hIm worry about my legacy.

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Isaiah 36-37; Psalm 76; 1 Peter 1

Bought Love

Sugar- and sentiment- coated Valentines turn sour
That pretentious artsy doggerel leaves me dour
Inane love songs you can’t sing strike no chord
Wilting bouquets and cutesy trinkets make me bored
Love is bloody
Love is hard
Love is fiery
Love is scarred
Love is shocking
Love is pure
Love is humbling
Love will endure

Love is not a misplaced treasure you stumble upon
Not an inferno assuredly growing wan
Love is not a fluttering heart or endorphin high
Love is sacrifice that dies so it will not die
Love is bloody
Love is hard
Love is fiery
Love is scarred
Love is shocking
Love is pure
Love is humbling
Love will endure

God forgive us when we sell love as a commodity
In this world what is genuine is a scorned oddity
No wonder living Love was crucified on a cross
We throw away the gold and wear the jeweled dross
Love is bloody
Love is hard
Love is fiery
Love is scarred
Love is shocking
Love is pure
Love is humbling
Love will endure

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