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Jesus

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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Fish and Bread for Breakfast

(x = space)

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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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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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Flesh, Spirit, and Everything that Matters

(x = space)

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Flesh, Spirit, and Everything that Matters

(for Easter)

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Good Friday becomes Easter

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Good becomes better

Good becomes goodest

Abandonment is over

The teacher has returned

And the homeowner

And we each have a place in that home

It is so large

And always adding

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The wounds are healed

There are reminders;

Mainly (surely),

He is alive

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There was no question that he died

We wept, we keened

We buried

There was a stone

There was a guard

There was no doubt in this

The emperors

And would-be emperors

Clinked their glasses

And sat back,

Sighed

That’s done

The conspiracy is over

Plot succeeded

And we can blame other people

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God and people are

Reconciled

Through life and death

And life again

The absurdity of the final miracle

Over death inexorable

Unavoidable

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And NOT forever

What?

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This is what we know

And now through resurrection

We must believe that

Death is not all

It is not inexorable

It is avoidable

We may die

We might sleep

If so,

We will awake again

How does this happen?

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It is God

Who has a part in us

Who made us

Who is spirit

And flesh

And everything that makes up

A creator

And a lover

And a savior

Immanuel from Hebrew

God with us

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We walk a bridge

That wasn’t there

God is on the other side:

In fact,

We can find out

God is on both sides

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C L Couch

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Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

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All Love

(x = space)

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All Love

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All of us

For Jesus

All of each of us

I heard it in Sunday School

Today

Sure, you may have it

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Really?

If Jesus wants this broken body

And this tired mind

And all the loves

Requited, unrequited

Then

Jesus may have them

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Is that so much?

Not really—you

May have it

Have it all,

Jesus

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C L Couch

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Photo by Matt Marzorati on Unsplash

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my heart to give

(x = space)

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my heart to give

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my heart to give

lord Jesus

my worn heart

broken, stitched

machined

hardly new

why should Jesus

want it

but he’ll take it

I think

not because

of its condition

or because

he can renew

but because

he is all love

and will not refuse

love given

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after reading “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Christina Rossetti

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C L Couch

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Photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash x

Mud-Healing

(x = space)

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Mud-Healing

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Jesus didn’t need

Things

He didn’t need mud

To heal,

To draw in the dirt

To make a point

He didn’t need a drove

Of pigs

(poor pigs)

He didn’t need a feast

He didn’t need

The perfumed oil,

Though he adored

The one who gave it

I am sure

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He didn’t need Martha’s

Food

He didn’t need Mary

At his feet to learn

Though I imagine

He was happy for

Her devotion

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Jesus didn’t need

The Earth

Though he came

To save it

And to give

Too much

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This was

And is

A God of love

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When we love,

So many things

Don’t matter,

Anymore

And what does

We’re willing

If not ready

To give up the world for

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Sacrifice

For service

For devotion

Life for another life,

To dive or run into

Dangerous waters

For rescue

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C L Couch

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(the sermon started in John 9, mud-healing)

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Photo by Piotr Hamryszczak on Unsplash

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Majesty

(x = space)

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Majesty

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Born a king

Because he was male

Had he been a girl

Born a queen

Like Esther

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A monarch for salvation

Of the world,

Which grinds against our notions

Of democracy

How can we kneel to a ruler—the

Words don’t really mean that,

Do they?

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And they do

Words surrounding words

Of majesty

Omnipotence

And glory

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Such that we’d be glad

To bow before the one,

To lie on the floor

If that were called for

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A birth into the ages

Love coursing through

The blood, the

Organs,

And first breaths

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Born into prophecy

Surrounding prophecy

With grace for that

And will

To make mountain

And the sky above

And stars so far

Beyond our reach,

Though we reach for them

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How will it be

To meet the creator

And the sovereign of the

Earth and skies?

Wake up each day,

Face the sun

And do not stare

Meeting God

Is like that

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C L Couch

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for the birth of God, the next day, and for our days

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A corona mass ejection erupts from our sun on August 31, 2012.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

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Who Wins

(x = space)

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Who Wins

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An empty room

Where there might have been a meal

Smell the hope and then the fear

And here’s a garden

Pretty

There was violence here

Now the plot is done,

Everything realized

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Another foe

Who sought to shift the blame

From Rome to us

Our need to have an enemy

To stoke our places

In tradition

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The others should be caught

The followers

No hurry

The serpent is now headless

Only nerves remain

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The world has won

And we are glad

Our own strategy to overthrow

Goes back into a box

In which there is less silver

To count

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An easy price

To pay

For indolence

Now back to lethargy

We have time

And everything is scheduled quiet

Scheduled noise

Again

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C L Couch

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Photo by Daniel Katz on Unsplash

Masada

Lookout through ancient Masada building.

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