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faith

Rank and File

(x = space)

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Rank and File

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Thank goodness

For the discipline

Of fire and cloud

And water

And the path

The faithless wonder

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There is a promise

When we forget

There is a promise

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There’s prophecy

To mingle with

What is before us

In contention,

All the other parts

That make up everything

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The everything we know,

The things we must

Believe in anyway

Sometimes from apostacy

Of fact,

Worse from the inside

Out

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Before external judgment,

We sentence ourselves

For lack of faith

When, reasonably,

How much is there to believe in?

Evidence of what’s unseen–

Thank you,

Says our agnostic

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The normalcy

Of matter and dimension

Fairly

Imposing,

Building what we stand on

For belief

And unbelief

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The believer is the doubter

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We go through this,

We are this

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Often there is more of us

On the other side

Of chrysalis

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C L Couch

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Hebrews 11:1

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Photo by Ruth Paradis on Unsplash

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Simon Says

(x = space)

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Simon Says

(based in part on verses)

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Is that the pie-man

Or Simon Peter?

Anyone

Who’d rather simonize

A game

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We know what Simon Peter says

He wrote letters

We have two

He fished

One kind and then the other

It seems he went back and forth

Between despair

And inspiration

His is a good cause

For reconciliation

Saying the one thing

You are Christ

Then falling, failing

Into water

(he is rescued)

First refusing foot-washing

Then wanting it all over

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Yet somehow he is the rock

A name

A metaphor

For church

Jesus says so

Then there’s the episode

Chapter and verse for us

When it is night

And his rabbi, his leader,

And his friend is arrested

xxxxxtaken away

xxxxxto the authorities

xxxxxwho can determine

xxxxxtemporal and real

xxxxxcontinued life

xxxxxor death

And when he’s near

To everything

And asked about it

Says he doesn’t know

He doesn’t know the man

And upon the last

Of three of these

He curses

And the rooster crows

And he sees

Maybe in every way

The savior

Who was his teacher

And his friend

And it’s over

No paradox remains

The holes have been dug

Into conviction

Into faith

And practice

In some new ways perhaps

At least on the inside

Where it matters

Unless feeding others

That is an outside matter

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What faith,

The joy he had

Have gone into the void

Like mortality

Into the entrance of a tomb

He goes away

He’s out of everything

For a chapter

Or two chapters

His own story

Torn out by the tearing actions

Of denial

Help my unbelief

He could have remembered

The cry of the parent

For the healing of the child

He could have wept

For Jerusalem

And for his friend

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Peter, Peter

Denier

Pumpkin-eater

Follower and friend

He said so

Jesus said so

Then everything was gone

He was gone

With the other one

Sometimes we lose our way

With the other

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C L Couch

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Matthew 26:69-75

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(the letters that are 1 and 2 Peter)

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nursery rhymes that are the stuff of ages, now

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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LoveSpeak

(x = speak)

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LoveSpeak

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What does God’s love say

In the face of danger?

Through many dangers,

Toils, and snares

God’s love says

I’m here

The love is here

The source is here

The host is here

We’re here

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Though there be anger,

Scorn, and fear

From enemies and friends

Alike

Because doubt and unbelief

Might have to have

Their way,

The love of God is first

And follows

Like the currents inside Earth

And over,

The moving pillars

Cloud or fire

That are before

And after

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Alongside in

The truth of companionship

But I can’t see that

You can

It’s more than senses

With which we perceive

As best we can

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Presence and love are better

They are inside

And out

They speak without words

Until it’s time for words

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When we have ears to hear

And cannot hear,

Count on the company

Of the divine

To know us better,

Pick us up

If fallen,

Go with us onward

Leading, should we ask

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C L Couch

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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“Amazing Grace” (the hymn) referenced above

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The People Walked

The People Walked

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God announces

God’s own birth

An absurdity of prophecy

Things bang together

Light good

Dark bad

(for now

for often dark is good)

People in darkness

Who understands?

God is coming

But God is here

God has been here

From the start

Before the start

God was

And is

And shall be

And now, what,

A child?

A virgin birth,

Come on

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A working together

Of generations,

Places

So that everything

Comes together

Complements

Too much

It is too much

You try the words too much

The documents are old

And sacrosanct

We keep them in a temple

Leave them be

What we believe

Is in the temple

Leave it be

We sacrifice flora and fauna

We dedicate

Our children

We don’t need another child

Or of such scandal

Leave us be

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We are specific

We are everyone

(analogous)

We have freedom

In measure

We hate the other measure

But taxes

And armies

Are the world

It could be worse

It has been worse

We plot

Inside the darkness

In our own planning time

As we say,

Leave us be

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So God is coming

And it’s taken centuries

Ages, if we count

From the beginning

And before

The God who answered nothing

With creation

And now a child

Without instruction

For our training

As a Caesar

(any Caesar)

This is too much

We have our own children

And for Caesar

Charges and complaints

From Spain and France

Morocco, Egypt

To Iraq and Israel

Rumors in Russia, India, and

China

All the world

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Everywhere

And everywhere we know

Is burden

Don’t weigh us down with more

Words and promises

And obligations

Expectations

You expect us to believe?

Unlikely

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C L Couch

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I don’t know how I got to thinking about Christmas while summer is hot on.  Maybe it’s wishful thinking, though I like the seasons as they happen.  Maybe I need a charge of faith, like a CO2 cartridge making soda pop in the soda fountain.  Maybe I need some soda pop.  Maybe I’m preparing what might seem way ahead for liturgies in Advent (the good news and the difficult).  Or maybe a little future holiday (of any number of holidays) is okay for the present, that is, right now.

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Photo by Alistair MacRobert on Unsplash

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Prized

(x = space)

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Prized

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God’s will

I treat it like a puzzle

A mystery

A riddle

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The prize

For being smart enough

For endurance

For cleverness I don’t really possess

Is success and later on

Salvation

I win at last

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Except I think, liturgically,

That the truth is not in me

Or anyone who thinks and contrives

Philosophy this way

x

God is not a puzzle

(I like puzzles

and I hope you do)

There is a clarity

Like the still waters

God takes us beside

Willing

To point out the deep parts

x

Skywriting isn’t necessary

(relief for Dorothy)

Read the code for life inside the books

Or listen

Listen, anyway

It’s easy

As it’s easy

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There are commandments

There are two prioritized

There is a parable of sheep and goats

(poor goats)

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These are enough

To take us through the day

A season

A life

And should we like to choose

Life after

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Mysticism, symbolism

Are for other verses

So to coin a phrase

That serves the here and now

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That’s all, folks

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C L Couch

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Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

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Homilies

(x = space)

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Homilies

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Church tomorrow

Virtual and virtuous

Teaching about Lazarus,

I think,

The one from Bethany

Who with his sisters

Was a friend of Jesus

Having hosted him

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Then Lazarus

Gets sick

Or something

Like that happens

Because he’s clearly dying

And the sisters

Contact Jesus

Who delays in coming

Then their brother dies

Martha comes to Jesus

Speaking words

Of faith

While Mary cannot move

It’s all right, Martha

Jesus says

I know it is in heaven,

She replies,

When I shall see Lazarus

Again

Yes, and I mean more

Than that

Mary manages

To say something

Reproachful

And then Jesus goes

To where their brother

Lies, wrapped and

Spiced in burial

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Take away the stone

Lazarus, Come out!

Jesus commands

And Lazarus emerges

From the dead

Into the living

Into his sisters’ lives

Again

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There is a meal

Mary breaks a bottle

Of perfume

And with the oil

And the scent

Bathes the feet of Jesus

Judas reprimands her

For wasted expense

Jesus turns on him

As only love can turn

Teaching him about

The poor

And when it’s all right

To be rich,

Say, when we’re

At the feet

Of Jesus

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C L Couch

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John 11, first part of 12 (in the Christian New Testament)

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Photo by Bruno van der Kraan on Unsplash

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Eligibility Requirements

(x = space)

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Eligibility Requirements

James 1:22-27

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What does the Lord

Ask of us?

Many things, I think

That Noah build an ark

That Abraham sacrifice

His son upon an altar

Made for animals

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That Rahab should save

The spies of Israel

In Canaan

That Mary should conceive

Without her affianced

And then give birth

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That Cain should confess

That sinners should confess

That we should be

Doers and not hearers only

Of the word

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That we should seek justice

And do justice

That we should love God

And each other

Be generous with enemies

With material and with prayer

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I’d like to say it’s easy

As salvation is

Through grace

And belief

But frankly it’s the start

Of a grown-up life of faith

In which there should be joy

And humor, too,

And if there isn’t

Then we have been told

In someone’s catechism

Something wrong

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C L Couch

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James is a brief, epistolary work in the Christian New Testament.

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Photo by Taras Chernus on Unsplash

“I am from Ukraine, there is a war going on in my country now. Your help is more important than ever.”

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And, But, Or, Nor, For, Yet, So

(x = space)

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And, But, Or, Nor, For, Yet, So

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What do I do

When God is gone?

A question I don’t have to ask

Because it doesn’t happen

God doesn’t go away

I do

I go away when I want

To think of someone else

Of something that I want

That I shouldn’t have

When I need

Or presume to need

Enough to bump out God

From my awareness,

Which qualifies the need

As something else

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This is straightforward:

I choose to have God in my life

Closer to me, anyway

Since God is there

Creating

Maintaining

Weeping or laughing at

What we do

Preparing for Parousia

Yet

Cherishing each moment

The now we have

We linear beings

Meaning for us

It’s a saving moment

To a saving moment

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God is close

God is inherent

In electrons

And cellular nuclei

God will become more obvious

As we wish

As we choose

As we ask it so

(the asking’s prayer)

The devil has many ways

To snare us away

It is agenda

Of the kind that pushes will

And understanding

Inside a frame that illustrate

An attitude

Against people and the

Environment

The Earth we stand or glide

Or rest upon

All of which, the devil says,

Is unimportant

When favoring

Profit

Unhuman strategies

(inhumane)

That only matter as

Winning so that the rest

Are losers

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Who is lost?

The burden’s hard

The burden’s easy

It’s paradox

Of faith

Of belief in God who’s only known

Through evidence unseen

Who wins a case through this?

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Such contradictions

Such opposites

The world we love must be eschewed

If we would live, there is first

The inevitability of dying

Sheesh

No thank you

Or thank you

Our will to embrace

To choose

To live in love

With the good in everything

With faith

And hard belief that has gentle edges

In what we show each other

(as in manifest)

In what we sense

And how we deal

With everyone

With everything

By which and in which

A spirit accompanies

For good

For upbuilding

For faith

And, yes, for love

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We live in hope

That God is there

That God is there when we return

Or when we turn around

In attitude

Repentance

Sorry and a new embrace

Of faith

Gove love this Earth

And the extraordinary creatures

That you’ve made

That is each of us

Not that we are perfect

Or perfectly anything

But in everyone

And everything

The three remain close by

The three remain close by

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C L Couch

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By Finoskov – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=109525350

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Second Sight

(x = space)

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Second Sight

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Be Thou, my vision

Begins my favorite song

In church

God should direct my sight

I should set my sight

On God

Maybe to the classic hills

Where help does not come from

Though our mortal selves might hope

But from God

Who made heaven and Earth

And those hills

Behind which God will come

If God wills

The will of God

We want to know

We get in wrestling matches

So to know

But the outcome is unclear, as the child’s

Magic 8-ball used to tell us

And then we grew

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God wills

It’s no fun not knowing

Inwardly, we might turn into fatalism

And there are less constructive

Ways

Is there a knowing beyond knowing?

I imagine so

But without genetic arranging

Or supernal training,

I must wait my turn

With the rest

Who want to know when heaven comes

And this be paradise

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Or what to do about tomorrow,

As if clairvoyance

Or supernal understanding

Were a guessing game

Sorry

If such, then such should be respected

All of us may pray, if we may

And we should,

Then use our best impulses

And instincts

Our best use of faith

To go through the day

Hope for tomorrow

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Clarity, the better vision

Direction, as we know it,

And we have ways to know a lot

With faith and allowance

For the rest

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C L Couch

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Photo by Roland Seifert on Unsplash

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