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Jesus

O Sweet, Majestic Lord

(x = space)

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O Sweet, Majestic Lord

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O to invoke you

Oh to complain

Or sigh as if

I could rest

Upon your feet

Or lay my head

On your knee

It’s not worship

I know

But it would be amazing

To rest on God

This way

And feel the cloth

And flesh and bone

Beneath

Because the one of you

Who has these

Could come to me

This way

And I could sigh into my sorrow

And hope to

Sanctify my dreams

While you might

Accept my tears

Not as libation

But as something honest

Offered

Of myself

For a change

And for a change

Reverse the pietà

I want to rest on Jesus

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C L Couch

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Photo by Boudewijn Huysmans on Unsplash

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distracted

(x = space)

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distracted

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in the concluding

of the service

we sang

in the hymn

behold his hands and side

and I stopped following

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that’s hard

the hands and side were pierced

there was blood

out of its natural place

and it ran away

from the body,

stealing life

and we are to behold all this

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it happens to others, too,

the bleeding

from a fall

from a blade

(the scalpel blade is good)

or from a bullet

or from shrapnel

or part of a car or truck

or other crash

and we can talk about

what missiles do

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we release so much blood

and it becomes

the thief of life

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what was Thomas thinking?

maybe he knew brutal living

and the dying

all too well

and didn’t mind the asking,

blood for proof

or the holes in hands

and mark of the spear

at least

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was he chagrined?

he knew his master

and the following

restored

for everyone, as far as

Thomas might be concerned

and in euphoria

he might not have cared so much

about the scolding

because blessed are those who

don’t need such evidence

for proof

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whatever

he was back

he was alive

the gruesome marks

the signs of blood,

blood now thwarted

in thievery

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the marks he saw—and

did he touch as bid?—either way

concluded,

concluded

everything

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c l couch

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photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

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the story of Thomas doubting is in the twentieth chapter of John’s gospel in the Christian New Testament

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The Loneliness of God

(x = space)

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The Loneliness of God

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God is not alone

For God is

In three parts

And always

One

And always three

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Jesus in the flesh

Could leave

And left

For hillsides

Other isolated places

Divine agony

And privilege

For sorrow

Things to feel the first time

All alone

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Divine surprise

Pain

And maybe

Astonishment

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C L Couch

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Photo by Alex Blăjan 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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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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Infinite Pleasure

(x = space)

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Infinite Pleasure

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There are things that

Enthuse me:

People learning

Youth ascending

Good things to read

With sight to see them

Pleasance in sounds

Or none

Peace in the small things

Peace in the ideal

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The spirit of God

Moving across the water

Separating night and day

But keeping both

And rendering them

Necessary

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Brownies with walnuts

In them

Someone said it’s popular

Now

To talk about the smell of Jesus

(that smells like Jesus)

I think Jesus

Smells like brownies

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C L Couch

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Photo by Eugene Golovesov on Unsplash

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We Didn’t Know Who You Was

(x = space)

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We Didn’t Know Who You Was

(Christmas Eve)

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Let’s not slice it to death

This time

Let’s simply have observances

Let all the contradictions go

We know there’s folklore involved,

Which should fascinate

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There was such darkness

At hand

Of one kind or another

Of the past, of

The present

Lack of awareness

Of the import of events;

Only to the players

Did things matter,

They in acts

No one to put it all together until Luke

And a little bit in Matthew and in John

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Prophets old and new

We have to say

Knew and know some measure

Of the meaning

Of it all

They are extracted

And we read them, too

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Such dulled and slow senses

Sometimes history goes that way

Sometimes it’s spiritual

The people walked in darkness

There might be other forces, too,

To keep us from the light

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But it is there

The birth is there

Incarnation as a doctrine

Thought some of it at least

Might have been as any birth

A baby in the world

This one in a cave

And that’s unusual

And all around

The mystery

The strangeness

There was adventure in the sky

And from some people

Who in an iron empire

Chose to dedicate another lord,

Another life to follow

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The child is God

But who knew that?

Mary and Joseph

Angels

And the magi knew something

While the shepherds were told something

As good news

This is the messiah!

Who really understood?

How could a baby save the world

Who is not Caesar

With family, tutors, strategists

Sheltered behind stone walls,

Armies out front

That keep the world

For them?

x

Well, other parts conspired

Into a birth, a life

That through faith

And later patchwork

Yielded doctrine

And a way

The people of the way

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As on that night

(let’s call it a night)

There would be amazement

There would be awful things as well

But wonder now

And wonder later on

And with us, still

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Praise God, for God is good

God is love

God is a spirit

Who wonders now

And offers light inside the darkness,

The kind of darkness that is not

Romantic but it

Stultifies and kills

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Believe the child

Humbly, take the child in

To dwell with you

Maybe like a foundling, at the start,

Then as a teacher

And a savior

And a temple of salvation

In the city of God

(new heaven)

And on God’s free land

(new Earth)

Forever

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Sweet, little Jesus child,

They made you be born in a manger;

Sweet, little holy child,

We didn’t know who you was.

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Didn’t know you’d come to save us, Lord,

To take our sins away:

Our eyes was blind, we could not see;

We didn’t know who you was.

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We didn’t know who you was

Maybe we should have

Maybe we can, now,

And into new ages

Love revealed

Prophecy fulfilled

The child grows up

We grow up

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And for this night we way

Welcome to the world, child,

And everything that starts

Now

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C L Couch

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could be a choral or a choir reading

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“Sweet, Little Jesus Child” is a song of African American origin.  The precise source is unknown, and there are variants and variations.

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This is the third in a creative, liturgical series for Advent and Christmas.  The other two parts are the last two days’ posts.  I think I’ll work on something else now.

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Photo by Agung Raharja on Unsplash

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House of Answers

(x = space)

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House of Answers

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Here’s what I can do for him

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With what did she wash

Anoint

The feet of Jesus?

The story says perfume

And she used her hair

We think to mean

Devotion

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God was there

God is here

The preacher says it’s so

I agree with the preacher

About this

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Then I use books and glasses

I can read the variations

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I can keep these in my heart

Except for this

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C L Couch

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John 12:3

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Photo by Christin Hume 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

x

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

x

Take away the stone

Lazarus, Come out!

Jesus commands

And Lazarus emerges

From the dead

Into the living

Into his sisters’ lives

Again

x

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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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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on the altar

(x = space)

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on the altar

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lord

what shall we give

but everything

and what is everything?

if i offer myself upon an altar

then will you send an angel

to stay my hand?

if i offer up my part in relationships

will you have an angel

tell me

not so much

before i am alone?

if it’s my wardrobe or accounts

or the corporation or the army

(like saint francis)

or plans

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earthly luxury

or earthly victory

will you send a hallelujah chorus

to tell me, no, not that much?

or will you tell me to keep

going:

my body to begin with

as a living sacrifice,

my mind turning only as you turn it,

the sadness of

living against the world

for the renewing of my mind

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my body as a sacrifice

in worship

without sacrificing animals

or the worldly counterparts

but sacrificing me

the only thing to set apart,

holy for you

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could you ask that much

or do you ask that much all the time

while i do not hear?

then i should listen with the

hearing that you gave me

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c l couch

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romans 12:1-2

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photo by ricardo gomez angel on unsplash

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