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faith

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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The Second Story Mountain

(x = space)

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The Second Story Mountain

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Merton wrote

The Seven Storey Mountain

About his journey to faith

And affiliation

David Brooks has written

The Second Mountain

About the search for a moral

Life that also

Has in it

Brooks’s journey into faith

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There are many such stories

(John Henry Newman, Anne Lamott

Karen Armstrong—I give these folk

in order of reading them),

And high places

Are often an association

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Once we climb, once we achieve

The phenomenal

The numinous,

We end up

On a mountain top

There is, in fact, the mountain-top

Experience,

A trope of faith

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On my way back recently,

I skirted a tunnel torn up for construction

And drove over two mountains

As an unmarked detour,

Taking roads who edges were too near,

Too sharp, too narrow

I was scared

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And wondered among things while driving

How folk could live on either side,

Having these as ways

To take a normal day

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I don’t like heights

I don’t like driving off the road, either

It’s all done now, and if I’m smart

I’ll never take that way again

There was a mountaintop, I guess

There were two such tops

I only noted a change in incline

Down from up

There was not a park or anything

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A pullover,

A bench with an inscription in huge letters

Come and have your mountaintop here

Rather the only words I got

Were my own

That said, don’t look down so much

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I’ll live in the valleys,

I suppose,

And have my faith life there

Or at the oceanside from time to time

It’s not stormy weather

That I mind

Though someday it should take

Me home

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I’m sorry, this is more a story

Than a poem much cleverer,

Not much more

Than talking

In the room

Over coffee or some such,

Should we be meeting

At a table

Or in comfy chairs

Or with both

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I have my life of faith, such as it

Might be

I hope, I even pray, that

You have yours

In a healthy sect or tradition

That suits you and

Creator and

Creation

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Fits you like a story to

Which you return

Time and again

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C L Couch

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The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton

The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks

Route 641

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Photo by Fabrizio Lunardi on Unsplash

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Next Sunday

(x = space)

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Next Sunday

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I am nearly asleep

I can hear the voice

On the machine

Thanks to Vimeo and Livestream

And presettings

It’s a message about Thomas

And doubting resurrection

What we see

What we unsee

And believe in other ways

Don’t be afraid to doubt

The pastor says

He’s preaching about Thomas

Don’t hide the doubt

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That sounds

Savvy

We’re on an adventure,

After all

Before discovery, often there

Is disappointment

If not disbelief

Then we come upon the X

Not that we have to doubt

There are those who believe

From just off the map

‘Til X

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I thought

I was gone on walkabout

But he’s started talking

About treasure

An old coin

What to believe in

For faith

Doubt is real

Maybe necessary

On the way to faith

(or maybe having left,

walking back again)

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Liberty is a theme,

I think,

In that we are free to doubt

On our own mortal terms

And to believe

With the same set

Of qualities and variables

A search for faith in love

An end to war

Peace talks

At our table

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The singers rise up

The sermon’s over

Captions appear

Soon I’ll have to turn it off

Get on with my distant day

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C L Couch

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Photo by Jiroe (Matia Rengel) on Unsplash

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Peace to You

Now are the times of Orthodox Easter, Passover, and Ramadan.  Praying for blessings to all the faithful.

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Peace to You

(John 20 and elsewhere)

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Peace to you

The teacher showed up saying

Peace

If God appeared

In the room

We were in

Then words of peace

Might be needed

To still our hearts

And keep them working

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God shows up

In the room

Alive in every way

(later we’ll share meals)

Except in expectation

For we had thought

Never to see

Or hear the words again

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Scars from nails

And a spear

Maybe the marks of thorns

On the brow

God appears again

God with us again

Immanuel

The end of

Maranatha

Folk at the center of the world

May suggest

While those outlying

Hear the story

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There is life again

Three days’ waiting

We weren’t counting

We forgot

All prophecy

And understanding

Thomas,

God lives again

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C L Couch

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Cross with Dove and Red Cloth in Pirenopolis, Brazil

Photo by Emily Crawford on Unsplash

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Thessaloniki

(x = space)

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Thessaloniki

(from a skeptic maybe unknowing, maybe envious)

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To the Thessalonians,

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God wrote you twice

Once was not enough

Why not?

All the other cities

Jerusalem

New York

That did not get a postcard

Or a phone call

A telegram to say with urgency,

Wake up

And smell the western Asian coffee

You got two letters

It could be said you’re twice as bad

Or that the urgency was dear

Are you better now?

I should come to see you

How you’re doing

But I don’t have a camel or a burro

And Land Rovers are expensive

I have to see the wall

Through video eyes

Though I hope my prayers

Are real enough

I write my petitions

And read your letters

(I see you’re actually

pretty good)

Hope for the best

And signing off

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C L Couch

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Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

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Photo by Elena Theodoridou on Unsplash

Thessaloniki, Greece

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Deception

(x = space)

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Deception

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A devotional

Means devotion

Means devoted

Attending and obeying

A liege lord

There is one, only one

Who may pull rank

On all of us,

Stewards in the realm

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A king, one king

Call it queen

There might be jesters in

The courts of heaven

Reminding us

That foolish to the world

Is wise

Fools for stewards,

Then

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The world, though,

Might only get angel cacophony

From those who hear

The choirs of heaven

Over the fields

And do not believe

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The shepherds

They are wiser

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C L Couch

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Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

“Electromagnetic Crown”

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Diocletian Martyr

(x = space)

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Diocletian Martyr

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In my cell I see a bird

I think the bird is

The spirit of God

I don’t know for sure

Until the bird speaks,

Speaks to me

Without words

This is a real cell

A cell from which I will be taken

To die

At the hands of one

Who can command it

Though cannot command anything

About my soul

God has come to comfort me

To tell me I belong to God

And will be meeting

With God, soon

In a closer way

I could not know on Earth

The pain might be quick

It might be long

The bird does not tell me,

Imperial will having its own way

Despotic yet

Graced with freedom

As is mine*

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I could have been quiet

I needn’t have said anything

When questioned

Or at the corner

Where I told the story

Of God’s goodness,

Standing on the edge

Of all I knew

And soon would lose

I don’t know what happens next

In terms of what I gain

Maybe a mansion

Maybe nothing

I don’t permit myself an expectation

But relationship

Knowing my loved ones

Once here,

Beholding curing

Of my enemies

And me of them

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Great harmony

Before the Lord

And the Lord

Who might dance with me

While the angels sing

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C L Couch

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*(in freedom

   maybe grace

   we are all despots)

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Looking Up

Photo by Prince David on Unsplash

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Wake-Up Gospel

(x = space)

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Wake-Up Gospel

(John 10:25)

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My works I do

Show God

They testify of me

Jesus did that

And says it every time

We read or hear it

He shows

And says it again

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Works righteousness

Alone,

Some say

Indulgences for sin

Is close

When works as

Polity and practice go wrong

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Indulgence on a decorated paper

Certified

Purchased

Ahead of time for sin

This doesn’t happen anymore

Reformation

Counterreformation

Timing keeps them apart

Though unity

Should bring them near

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Then there are

The Evangelicals

The siblings

The independents

They are seen

And heard

Close in doctrine

But there is the edifice

The cathedrals

The state churches

The republic in the Vatican

What shall be done

With these?

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Still, there could be

A table

‘Round whose delegates

Might bring a gift

For conversation

Each thing distinct,

Each thing to say

We are here

And we have something

To make it better

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Then everyone could talk

And everyone could listen

The works of God

That show God

Could be manifest

Together rise

Against decline

Against blooded

Or bloodless war

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There could be peace on Earth

Well, some of it

Bless-ed assurance,

All that’s needed

In God

In each other

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C L Couch

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SOURDOUGH

Photo by Conor Brown on Unsplash

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Deborah Would Know

(x = space)

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Deborah Would Know

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So where will I go

And how will I get there?

I will go with help

To a place that’s been decided,

Which is an affirmation

Of some sort of prophecy

And nothing of

My own

Where it be miracle or grace

Or a birthday surprise

Tickets for the circus

Though I found close-up

The circus had been hard

On animals

(I hear they’re doing better)

Somewhere

Somehow

Like lyrics in a song

Something fixed

Something to believe in,

Something to avoid

Eaten up with stress

If only I could believe

As I believe in the core of Earth

Or air,

Both unseen

Or unheard

Except when working on or in

Something else

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C L Couch

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a statue of Deborah (1792) in Aix-en-Provence, France

by Georges Seguin (Okki) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1524991

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