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Revisiting A Psalm: Holy Week 2016

I remember when I wrote this piece. It was during a holy week, and I was walking through the park and noticing how the chestnut tree was thriving above the cemetery of unmarked graves of former slaves. The whole scene was vision of the harm we cause, the enormous grief in the hills, and the enduring power of love. I still walk through those hills in holy week and marvel at beauty of the earth that makes this journey so sacred…Alleluia.

With arms outstretched on the hill

An American chestnut tree stands resurrected.

In powerful silence she draws new life from an old stump.

Its blighted roots died with millions

Of her brothers and sisters

A hundred or so odd years ago.

She is a witness to the truth that love thrives,

As she casts a shadow over shallow graves lying

Stoneless and invisible in her valley.

The sunken earth is the only marker showing

Where our brothers and sisters enslaved were laid

A hundred or so years ago.

They were laid to rest in hallowed ground,

Wreathed in wildflowers, acorns and vines.

Laid among scattered paw paws and May apples.

Their graves are filled with the memory of seasons.

Beneath tulip poplars that witnessed

The solemnity of these graveside wakes.

This is the valley in the shadow of death where I am not afraid.

I want to lay down in her green pastures and weep.

This valley holds our broken history in her belly

And the hope of new life that sprouts on hilltops.

On this sacred, holy, ground you can hear

Owls flying at half mast cry out,

“We cannot kill what the creator knows is beloved.”
Nothing is forsaken since love runs deeper than

Shallow graves and dead stumps.

Love seeps through roots into hearts and blesses everything.

Over the shallow graves and under the resurrected chestnut,

We remember our treasure lies in these woods

Where thieves cannot break in and steal or rust ruin.

This land is where our hearts live and

Where we weep for blights, floods, and injustices.

But even if we wanted to hang up our lyre,

The bluebirds and yellow-bellied sapsuckers, like a faithful choir,

Raise a song that makes the weary believe there will be love after death.

The woods themselves join forgotten bodies, blighted stumps, and birds

In “Alleluias” for this sacred, hallowed ground . Amen.

As we walk through Holy Week together, may your soul be challenged and may it find rest. #loveheals


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For Hal and Michael

On the Occasion of Their Wedding: In the beginning was Love

One of the foundational properties upon which all mathematical truths are built is the transitory property. If A=B and B=C, then A=C. Scripture teaches us that God is Love. It also teaches us the Word is God. Therefore, the Word is Love. In the beginning was Love, and all things came into being through Love. Without it, not one thing was made. Darkness could not overcome Love, death could not kill it, laws and institutions could not banish it, fear could not drive it out. Love has remained from the beginning, woven into the fabric of creation like the transitory property that knows Love from God is the light for all people.

The love professed at this altar tonight by Michael and Hal is a shining ray of that same light that has been shining since the beginning.

It shines through their journey, through green pastures and through and over the tall mountain oaks. It shines through the secret depths woven in the earth. Their ray of light shines as generously as the scattered wildflowers blowing with the wind and in the sacred memory of God that holds love in an eternal heart, a heart that can roll stone and shine through the darkest times.

Hal and Michael’s love is filled with light that lives beyond feeling and is powerful enough to cut through dense forests to light new paths for others. The overflowing cup of their light spills over into the world to shine on others as they work for economic freedom and justice for all in their care for the most vulnerable. Their marriage is a powerful union that will feed the light that burns bright, but does not consume. It is a light that doesn’t burn out.

The word that is Love is costly. And so it makes sense if when seeing Michael and Hal stand and prepare to make their life vows brings a well of tears from the depths of our hearts, we weep in the face of Love.

Love that from the beginning asks us to lay down our lives for its sake, to hold it as our highest principle, and create a longing as a deer searching for its water brook. And so as we witness Michael and Hal swear their lives to each other and love, we weep, as we behold Love before us and watch them vow to live into its covenant.

So let us pause in the face of the love we behold. Let us bow our heads to the haloed bands of light pouring down upon you, Michael and Hal. Let us dance with the candle flames lit by hope and joy. Let us stand as still as a single ray in awe and thanksgiving for this moment where we hear the word, and the Word is Love.

Wherever the light carries you, the Word will be with you.

Whenever long and restless nights cast long shadows, the Word will be with you.

However you continue to share the light through your work and marriage, the Word will be with you.

This is the Word, and the Word is Love.