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Christmas 1

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Christmas 1

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It’s Christmas day

What shall we say

But that the world

Is old and tired

And ornery

And peace taken

For an illusion

Some might enjoy

Invented

Only on the inside

Then a webinar

With fees

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Here,

The sun is out

The temperature has climbed

Into two digits

There are icicles on the screen

Outside the casement

Of the window

Church is on line

Not only hundreds of miles away

But the consequence of heart disease

Is to stay

When the weather is extreme

Either way

And to deal with low energy

As in

It takes me forever

To do anything

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And did Christ come today

Christ comes

Every day

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And in a good way

I don’t care if

It was December 25

Or the ides of March

Something happened

The child of God was born

The child is also God

Was born

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Is there meaning

In the other ways?

Of course,

There is

These seek the truth as well

And we should

Be

Should be

With them

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Christmas is cultural

I’m at church

Hearing the songs

Hearing about the welcome

Of Ukrainians

Here

And I am glad

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It isn’t peace on Earth

Only in

Such a small portion

Of the whole

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And shall we say

Jesus was born?

I think we should

It’s history

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Then in a supernal way

Maybe the spirit’s born again

In loving refugees

And loving refugees

Maybe there were times

When mortal Jesus

Felt outcast

Alone on Earth

As and why he walked away

From time to time,

Once

Prayed in the garden

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You know,

We may take up

Exegesis

And

Evangelism

Later

And may I pause midstream

Like the saint to say

To the child Jesus

(I to you

and I a mortal child),

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Merry Christmas

And for twelve days

That make

This varied

Still hopeful

Hopeful, still

Yes, brief

Season

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C L Couch

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Photo by Robert Kalinagil on Unsplash

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Quiet Victory

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Quiet Victory

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There is yellow sunlight

On things this morning

Or is it gold

Or is it wishful thinking?

Church is going on

I’m trying to listen

The advantage and the irony

Of virtual

If I’m distracted

If I distract myself

It sticks

(the distraction)

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(Saint) Paul is confessional

I think that’s good

I was thinking yesterday

Of (Saint) Peter

And his qualities to lead

That are pretty awful

He leads anyway

Jesus said so

Called him foundational

To a new movement,

A new church

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We are flawed

And at our best

We do not deny our flaws

Because that is honest

Because vanity

And ego

Won’t win anything

The battle

Or the day

Or the age

Or the world

Or the cosmos

Better to be the silent planet

As Lewis has created

Until we speak in power

Due to love

And lead the battle

And the world

And the age

In love

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C L Couch

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Solar Eclipse

Photo by Obed Hernández on Unsplash

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transept

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transept

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and what presses in from outside

the church

the light of day

human noise

the natural world

the word of God

that says open the doors

and let me in

let those come too

under my arms

my coat or cloak or umbrella

those who are also

under my care

Ignorance and Want

and many others

ignorant of allegory

needing shelter and recognition

these are people

these are my creation too

let us in

then let us out

bearing what you may provide

what you have here

for their good

and mine

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c l couch

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photo by Bcny on Unsplash

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We Prayed Today

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We Prayed Today

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“Today is a privilege” she said she’d

Embroider on a pillow

And on the other side, “I’m still

Breathing”

Because for all the despondence,

The despair we take to prayer

In our group,

There is beauty and joy

And so much to love

In fact, it’s what we love that turns

That often

Leads us to prayer

Compels us

We pray for the good things, too,

Wanting the goodness

We pray over cherishing the messed-up

World we have

And the messed-up lives we care for

And our own

We say amen

Knowing it’s never

The end

And we say thank you

With intention

We mean it

We are grateful

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C L Couch

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Photo by KARTIK GADA on Unsplash

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Happy Birthday, Church

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Happy Birthday, Church

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The birthday of

The Christian church

Not the first day of Advent

In November of December,

Which is the birth

Of the Christian year

Itself

And from there the

Days of seasons

Counted,

Advertised through colors

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Pentecost

That has a five in it

(to look at it)

For fity

And is a celebration

Out the Jewish culture

And tradition

(for Christians,

the parent culture and tradition)

But Christianized

Like Easter

Keeping the name

As well

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I suppose the Christians

Own it mostly, now

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Liturgically,

It is a day of fire

A day of wind, the kind

That carries fire

Destructive forces

Reined in by the Spirit

Even as the Spirit

Gives it, first

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The church is born

From hiding

And from sorrow

That Christ has left

Two times

With promises,

That living in the keeping

Could be hopeful

But wears on followers

As well

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Red helium balloons

Are not unusual

Or dances to resemble fire

(people

and balloons

can do that),

Movements

The like

We have not beheld

Since Palm Sunday

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People could wave palms

Now;

They would match

The setting of

Pentecost events

In western Asia

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There is the matter of

Languages:

The Spirit spoke to each

And more importantly

Those crowded

outside

(Why a crowd?

had a fire been reported? were

they for

the five-and-fifty festival?)

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To each one (anyway)

The language of one’s own

Is what one heard,

A long list given

Of the nations, nationalities

Assembled

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A confusion of clarity—what

Was said to each?

We could wonder—but

Peter rises

And in words clear enough

First excuses

The excuse of wine

(we herein are not drunk

it’s the morning,

after all)

And proceeds to talk of God

And of the child of God

And of the promised Spirit

For each one

(what we now call trinity)

Now for each one

Who asks

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From this day,

The church grows

As any life might

After being born;

There will be a first debate

Too soon

Within itself

And first divisions

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But there will be miracles

And the word does go around

Into many persons

By hearing

By conviction

By will for each

And water for baptism

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Air for exhortation,

Land to carry missionaries

All around,

Ships that move as well

Upon the Middle Sea,

Which sometimes wreck

So that the persons there

Might hear of it

As well,

A word of God

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A saving word

As any choose

To hear it often first

With ears

And always in

Another way

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C L Couch

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notes

5 June 2022

Acts of the Apostles, second chapter (though as with most things maybe read around)

“Easter” is not Jewish—though Easter often happens near Passover—but is Babylonian in origin.

“Pentecost” is for a Jewish celebration (Feast of Weeks, Shavuot).

Photo by Susan Wilkinson on Unsplash

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Fish and Bread for Breakfast

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Fish and Bread for Breakfast

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And he does

Jesus loves you

Grumpy we might be

Though post-resurrection letdown

A haze of liturgy

Formal words that don’t match up

With Easter

But here we are

Since the book is ours

Invited to have breakfast with Jesus

Fish and bread

Common enough fare

Or not

The English

And others I’m sure

Have kippers

That is herring

England is an island nation

Israel is by the sea

And by an inland sea

We’re having breakfast

And hearing about metaphoric sheep

From a shepherd who knows the work

Perfectly

And is calling us to do it

What

How can we take from perfection

Well, we can’t

But we’re all here

It’s what and whom we have

We can dine with Jesus

That is the Christian church experience

But then we have to be out there

Out here

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A message from white men

We need to hear from everyone

We need to hear the story

From the lips

And other parts

The parts that move,

That dance,

That look and try to look with love

On a good day

While struggling on another

This can’t be a message of perfection

It has to be real

And what do we know of perfect

That is real?

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And we are loved, anyway

And we must love

And it’s the best thing going, anyway

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C L Couch

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(church with preaching on John 21)

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Photo by Andrew Valdivia on Unsplash

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On the First Day

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On the First Day

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It’s Sunday

The day Al Roker

Announces in

An echo chamber

I’m not sure why

Maybe his mother

Told him to

Maybe because

It’s game day

I’ll have church

In a little while

Service and Sunday

School in a virtual

(and, yes,

hopefully virtuous)

Way

And the day will continue

We’re expecting snow

In the afternoon,

Over night into

Monday morning,

Which could make

The commute

A mess

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C L Couch

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Photo by alexey turenkov on Unsplash

Published 1h ago

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Revival

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Revival

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Litany

Reading and response

Perhaps an antiphon

Might it happen in the forest

Where leaves are hymnals

And the altar

Is a clearing?

The supplicants

Are independent creations

Of all kinds

Petitioning for food, water,

Or the succor of the soil

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The forest as cathedral

Is nothing new

As metaphor

I wonder if each clearing

Is a parish

While alongside (in

earthly terms)

The desert

Is a church so vast

That all the Notre-Dames

Might fit within

With room for more

As if to invite

A wider awe

By people

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C L Couch

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Photo by Thomas Ho on Unsplash

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Missing Church

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Missing Church

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It used to meet

In buildings

Who’d have

Thought

That would be

Novel, given

Centuries

Of scary-high

Structures with

Ornaments that

Trod through

Ages’ worth

Of styles,

Of schools

x

But then,

Before

The buildings

There was nothing

Formal but

The people

Who met in homes

And basements,

That is,

Tombs

x

Cathedrals now

Are cyber

While the

Pandemic surges,

Though we wish

To have our

Lofts again and pews

And pulpits

Or, for

Some, a room

Big enough

For all of us

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I don’t know

If there’s teaching

Here about

Where we

Meet—that it

Doesn’t matter,

Maybe

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Two or three

The standard,

Maybe

Really

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C L Couch

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Photo by Xavier Coiffic on Unsplash

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Vatican

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