I talk you talk we'll talk



Hurry Up, Please, It’s Time

(x = space)



Hurry Up, Please, It’s Time


Time to pray

My God, you are here

Sometimes your presence

Seems so thin

Like vapor

In the morning

Then sometimes a

Numbered weight

Sometimes a fire

That frights


It’s how we imagine you

Though you are manifest

As you are manifest

Not invisible

Not hiding behind a tree

Awaiting human mischief

For a peak

You are not voyeurish


As it is, you’ve seen it

Heard it

Touched it all

Our antics are not of interest

Unless we should please you


That would be

A forest of content

With scenes of love and action

(love in action)

That would delight

In fact

And in fact

Of all the constituents

Of nature

And believers


Animals might pray

Might live in prayer

We must talk

Must confess

Must ask

Though, yes, we may

Keep it in the mind

Just behind

Or just inside our tongues


You hear us

Remarkably, some time

And every time,

Which is the miracle

The need

Even the requirement

To pray

For us to mutter something

You to hear







C L Couch



(I take the title from T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land”)


Photo by Alex Wing on Unsplash


believe when things are bad

(x = space)



believe when things are bad


it’s a naïve message,

I suppose

I thought about it during

Bible study,

which was

about assurance


an assurance

that things will go bad

even as

a season entered,


but God is there

and we should be as well

(we should

show up)


believing is a practice

a practice of

a presence,

Brother Lawrence

might say

in church,

the pastor showed

a picture of

Where’s Waldo?

and I thought

we were

supposed to wonder

where God is

in that;


but I understand that

God is there,

all over


and the question is,

Where are we?


good agnostication

sharp skepticism

I hope

that we have more


along with

our petitions in the


of the season


c l couch



Psalm 121, a psalm of assurance


Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God


Rainy Water

Photo by sanjiv nayak on Unsplash x






Is something


We look up to

But if the breastplate’s right

We can look down to

God as well

Look ahead

Turn around

Lift up a scoop of earth

Part some water, just a little

We can look at hills,

Even mountains

Down inside a valley

Inside mouse holes

Even a glove compartment

God is not trapped anywhere

God waits on freedom,


God is in the well

And above the spaceship nosecone


Maybe there is laughter

Maybe there are tears

Maybe there is anger

There is always justice

With a willingness to heal

God’s is there


Breastplate-thinking’s right

Insofar as

God is there

And for our times,

Is God inside the germ?

Yes, even there

Somehow, lovingly

Inside the germ

Not to say that plagues,


Other eradications

Are God’s will

For I don’t think they are

Certainly not God’s pleasure

But where there might be comfort

In the presence

In anything inimical

Deep or shallow,

Yes, there is God

For Earth

For us


C L Couch



(from) The Breastplate of Saint Patrick

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I arise,

. . .

Settle Down

Settle Down


I feel the presence

Noun without a pronoun

Deserving all descriptors

Even ones that might not

Sound so nice

Remembering that while God

Is a friend, God is

Worthy of all fear and respect

It’s Sunday, but it could be Monday

Any day

I guess maybe I slowed up a little

As Christians in the USA sometimes

Do, the day made even

Quieter by the promise of rain

Darkening the sky and

Limiting light on the street

So nature helps

With something we might find


Waiting for the rain

And then the rain


I’m stretching out my lower back

A little

While I think

While looking at the darkened sky

The leaves a darker color, too

Second verse, I think

No coded needed or repeat

Let’s enjoy this moment

As a present thing

And as something given

(two-parts gift)

By everything that’s come before with

Some attuning to new day


C L Couch



The Beethoven monument at the Donauinsel remembers Beethoven’s symphony No. 5.

Herzi Pinki – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,


Lent 39

Lent 39



you must take time

to breathe

finish the song that’s been

going through your head

figure out what you were looking for

when you came into the room

(then find it)


pay attention to

what matters

which is not a scolding

but a happy watchword

paying attention’s fun

because you can (too) take the time

to gather in what’s pleasant

along the way


the thing is that the rest of the world

won’t stop with us, won’t take the time

except maybe to take it

and not give it back


choose something like a star

and Frost is right

we can select

from our own, something fantastic

that we’ll never keep

someone else could pick it, too

(we don’t have to tell

or make a fuss)

after all, what’s our own

but what is also shared

heart and soul

in an entire cosmos


the season ends tomorrow

with an entry into

everything that’s next

in practice and remembrance

we’ll have our parts

attendance won’t be checked

in any way that matters

(delight in grace)

but presence, well, let’s have it

as self-mandatory



and arrival

passion follows


C L Couch



Image by Mohit Mourya from Pixabay


Jazz Mass

Jazz Mass


Syncopated praise

Offbeat words and rhythm

Liturgy and litany

We have our ways to get



Invocated presence in

Bright colors through the

Music that we see and

Feel as well as hear


All are especially welcome

Here, for come-as-you-are

Takes new meaning


That which is not day-by-

Day is especially

Welcome now and here


It’s all right, though, the

Day-by-day folk are

Welcome, too


Everything is solid, yes

Though with haze

Around the edges

A cloud of unknowing

Truths because all of

Us might not know

What note might be

Arriving next


What might be played

What might be heard


What might be

Received from God

Snapping fingers,

Tapping toes, humming

As if the tone were

Sitting right with us


Because it is


And we might be

Changed for this time

Of many times—6/8,

4/4, 5/4, 7/8—however

It Gospel-goes


Out of the blue

Out of the blues



(a contemporary form of

Christian worship)

Writing Prompt [response]: Do you think that it is important to share? Describe in detail another way for you and others to share–to give to people around you.

“there are ways that others need our presences, too”

“in reality, we throw gold mines into the trash”

by Jacki Kellum

Do you think that it is important to share? Describe in detail another way for you and others to share–to give to people around you.

Presence as Presents

by C L Couch

On this Thanksgiving, I won’t be with family. I’ll be dining with neighbor friends. And I’ll be cat-sitting for other friends who will be away enjoying a family reunion of sorts.

I’ll be bringing nothing to my own activities except myself, my choice, and time. I will feed the cats then visit with them, and they will ignore me. I will sit with my neighbors, enjoying the company of children and of parents. Then I will go home, alone.

When others do this—providing nothing but themselves—I call this the ministry of presence. (So do others, too.) When I used to work with youth, I surprised my ignorance of talent with an asset of simply being there. I didn’t what to say to youth, then discovered that wasn’t the important part. The important part was reliable company. Youth needed to know that someone, ideally someone without an agenda, would be there this time and probably the next.

So that’s how I share. And I imagine how anyone can. I will say that I’m a trained and active listener, which helps in interaction of any kind—even with indifferent cats. But if anyone shows up without self-preoccupation and then maybe shows up the next time. Well, that’s sharing. That’s even ministry.

Yes, I guess it means going beyond merely eating food and watching the game. But not much more. Talk with those, a little, who are there. More importantly, listen to what anyone has to say.

So Happy Thanksgiving to the relatively inert, as I will be. Happy presence to all. And, to all, a could night.

(image credit, from Google Images)

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