Poetry and Images from a Christian

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Church Plant

Recently, the church I attend celebrated it's 175th anniversary. I was honored to be asked to write a poem for the celebration. I was asked months ahead of time, which was wonderful. Although I thought about it and wondered what to write and even prayed for some leading all along, I was at a loss for ideas, until two weeks before the event. That was when the anniversary committee hung a lovely banner in the narthex of the church announcing the theme, "Continuing Branches of Faith." As I mulled over this theme in prayer one morning, the words began to fall into place. I am happy with the result, because it is a word of encouragement and hope for the church as we face a time of great change. I hope you will find encouragement in it also.

The Church Plant

Jesus is the Vine,
The Life and Spirit
Of an ever-growing church plant.
You are a branch.
I am a branch.
We are all gently grafted into the Vine,
Nurtured by branches who came before our own.
The Life of the Vine,
The Spirit of the Vine,
Flows through your branch,
And my branch,
And many others,
Quickening each,
Bringing forth buds and fruit,
And still more branches
Are grafted to ours.
And the Spirit flows through all the branches.

Jesus creates and calls the branches,
Grafts them into His Vine,
Directs all growth.

Jesus waters and feeds
Each branch,
Loves each branch,
Tends the fruit of each branch,
Sees and cherishes
The love, joy, peace,
Patience, kindness, goodness,
Faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
He finds on each fragile limb.
Jesus trains and prunes each twig
For still more fruit.

You are a branch,
I am a branch
Thriving in the Vine,
Growing side by side,
Even intertwined,
Humbly interdependent,
Together joyously dependent
Ever and always
On Jesus,
The Vine.

I am strengthened by the Life in you,
You are strengthened by the Life in me,
As we live and work in the great plant,
Our roots in the Father,
Our life in the Son and the Holy Spirit,
The Vine and the Gardener.

We sway in the wind of voices saying,
"The church is a dying institution,"
Even as we feel and see and hear
The Spirit and the Life
Flowing through our branches,
Even as we hear Jesus calling,
See Jesus moving in the lives
Of our brothers and sisters
In the great plant.
We know Jesus lives.
We know He is eternal.
We know we must thrive on in Him.
He wills it.
We will it with Him.

We live and work and pray in Him,
Let us live and work and pray in Him,
"Nurture our branch, Oh Lord,
Tend Your church plant.
Train and prune each limb, each twig.
Increase the beauty and bounty of our fruit.
Graft in,
Do graft in
New branches.
Let Your life and Spirit
Flow through us to nurture them.
Let there be
No dying,
No end."

Bleeding Heart is one of my favorite plants. It's name and heart shaped blooms remind me that Jesus loved us so much he was willing to shed his blood and die to save us.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Housewife's Challenge

I have found as a homemaker that there is a certain tension between the creation of beauty and the keeping of order. These two aspects of homemaking need each other, and enhance each other, if we manage to maintain a delicate peace and balance between them. The effort is one of life's worthwhile struggles. Giving expression to that struggle is the theme for this poem.

Sister Spirits

Two sisters lived together,
Though they moved from house to house,
One the soul of Beauty,
The other Order's spouse.

Order, quite capable could carry on alone
And sometimes left, in anger's grip,
Crazed by chaos,
The wake of Beauty's walk.

But once alone, her value fell,
For everywhere she looked,
And in the mirror, lonely,
All she saw was straight and plain,
So aching, sad, she'd amble home.

Beauty, on her own, worked long,
And made a tremendous mess.
Somewhere she'd created a sumptuous cake,
But for flour and sugar containers, icing bags, and colorings,
Books of inspiration and sketches on scraps...
Where were those frosting flowers,
And where was that lovely cake?

Somewhere she'd crafted a carpet
Of jewel-like silken scraps,
But now she couldn't find it,
For all the pieces she'd considered and discarded
Were piled high and tangled
In silver threads she'd laid aside,
While stitching a tapestry she'd started,
Before finishing the carpet.

Beauty, all in tears,
Tired and disheveled,
Wandered room to room.
She worried, "Where is Order?'
She was tense and distraught.

This was the scene Order found,
All the color, all the clutter,
Scraps of silk and velvet,
Heady scents of sweets and cooking,
Passionate activity written everywhere she looked.
Her face relaxed into a smile.
Lines of pain smoothed out.
Sparkling joy danced in her eyes,
And a question,
"Where is Beauty?"

Order moved quickly all about the house,
Setting things to right.
She tidied everywhere she went.
She found the cake and frosting flowers
And put them together on a stand.
She found the jewel-toned carpet
And tenderly spread it out.
She sorted the mountain of scraps for future works.
She set the tapestry, unfinished, on display,
And gently laid untouched skeins of thread
In rainbow fashion
To soothe the artist's way.

And just as she was finishing this
Last and loving task,
She looked around the room
And there was Beauty,
No need for her to ask.


Friday, February 24, 2012

A Different Perspective

I saw a fabulous photo recently on Facebook, which has had me ruminating over a new poem for a few weeks. Working on the poem this morning, I felt the need for some boundaries. I was thinking along the lines of Haiku, sort of, but what I ended up with was something that borrows a little from Haiku, a little from the Limerick, and obeys neither as far as subject matter is concerned. I have decided to use my artistic license and call it Free Limku, which has 5 lines, a syllable per line pattern of 5,5,5,7,5, and reveals something.

Used with permission from Unreal Hawaii. Thanks, David.

Rainbow Trilogy


Forty-six years passed
Acknowledging the bow,
Accepting the gift,
Then a photo, startling,
Flashed the depth of Truth.


God named the rainbow
For my partial view,
But He always knew
The token of His promise
Was a perfect ring.


How my own doubts swirl,
Questions pray God-ward,
Salty tears fall, vain,
From earth-bound partial views, while,
God croons, "Faith, believe."