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The Day before Tomorrow

(x = space)

x

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The Day before Tomorrow

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Last day in Advent

Made it

Whew

Rain, snow

Overwhelming cold

We should be postal carriers

To endure

It all

Strange meeting place

This junction of

The Northeast, MidAtlantic

The weather comes

From north or south

Or east or west

I’m trying

To get used to that

It’s only taken

Twenty years so far

There are forecasts

But better to wait

To know what happens

Though encounter

x

How to plan a picnic

Must be an undertaking,

Strategy

Requiring options

(bring the ants)

Sometimes the living

Is absurd

If not cartoonish

But these are the days we have

And the environs

Those who stayed

Or passed back through

Appalachia

To stay

x

And all the world has

Its places

Its challenges

Its practices

x

And now (among

the practices)

It’s Christmas Eve

And there are days in Hanukkah

This year correlating

Come

To light our way

The world could breathe easier

Except in Ukraine

In Myanmar and Yemen,

Oppressive parts of China

And of Russia

And in the manipulative

Shadowed corners

Of the USA

All the places where we watch

For detonation

Also the human heart

The battlefield it remains

x

Sin and virtue

Pounding and pushing

Pulling circulation

Strain

(Sturm and Drang),

The devils on the inside

On the outside

Rendering Christmastide

So perilous

x

And yet we sing into

A night

We wish were silent

Save for children’s cries

For all the reasons

Children cry

Among them to receive

First oxygen and hope

Into the world

x

Render the night

Impossible in virtue

We’ll sing it,

Anyway

We’ll kneel

We’ll try to light our way

We’ll quietly acknowledge

Neighbors

Some will party

And some will do nothing,

I suppose

Though the world is affected

By what we do this night

And for a thousand years

And in the time

Remember birth and

Death

And everything

That circulates a world

Keeps it moving

In the spirit

In the flesh

x

Though maybe for an hour

Let all mortal flesh

Keep silent

And in fear and trembling

Stand

To receive

To hope for blessing

In the night

x

Let fighter planes

Fly so carefully

Perforce keep watch

Like shepherds

Over continents

And there might be songs

At crowded borders

And the lines

Kept distant

From welcome

Because mines have barred the way

x

Peace on Earth

The ersatz wish

Some must believe

(yet some must believe),

Withholding war

The practice

That must be enough

For now

x

Into the world

The child comes

The children come

And everyone

And everything

Now have responsibilities

To keep it together,

To throw

And try to seal patches

The worn places

And to keep watch

For the tearing places

On the outside of Earth

And, you know,

On the inside

Heaven

And hell

The human heart

x

Anxieties may end

Because it’s here

Our plans are done

And in place as they are

Out of necessity

Of time

As chronos

So might we have

Christmas

For a day

Twelve years

Perhaps a brief era

If only hours

x

A spiritual time

A cultural invention

Arms reach out for a change

Hand in hand

In brave hope

To sing a silent night

To sing in glory

Once the vigil is completed

And there is indeed

There really is

A dawn of hope

x

Glory and hope

Amazing

Because a child is born

That for a time

Affects the government

In minds

As well as capitals

Until when all time is done

And in a kairos of eternity

It’s Christmas day

And all the other graceful days

Together

x

C L Couch

x

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Photo by Monisha Selvakumar on Unsplash

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We Didn’t Know Who You Was

(x = space)

x

x

We Didn’t Know Who You Was

(Christmas Eve)

x

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

x

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

x

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

x

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

x

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

x

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

x

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

x

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

x

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

x

Sweet, little Jesus child,

They made you be born in a manger;

Sweet, little holy child,

We didn’t know who you was.

x

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.

x

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

x

And for this night we way

Welcome to the world, child,

And everything that starts

Now

x

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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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

x

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

x

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

x

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

x

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

x

C L Couch

x

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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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Pilotless Wheel

(x = space)

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Pilotless Wheel

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God is great

Traditions affirm

Many of them

Most of the living world

And the world before

x

God is good

A source of mercy

Even for

Those who do not know

Those who deny

Given space and time

Mercy in these

x

But, God, what kind of

Rotten world governed?

There is beauty

There are delightful moments

There is too much injustice

Too much lack of protection

Too much destruction

In the name

For the cause

Of politics and profit

x

You are in charge

We are

It is a war itself

Of wills

We think that you arranged this

We believe

x

In this alliance is

The cause of misery

Of evil

The stakes are high

They must be

This is real

Everything must matter

Assignments

Consequences

The religious call them covenants

And so they are

x

Sometimes the wheel is left alone

Sometimes there’s a grab for it

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C L Couch

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Photo by Maximilian Weisbecker on Unsplash

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August on Deck

(x = space)

x

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August on Deck

(easy greetings)

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It’s Friday

Anticipate a weekend

Late summer

Final trip before the school year

Work at home

Clean at home

Leave the home

For the park

For stores

For church

Find company

Leave company

Hours on one’s own

The quiet might invite

x

Or out into the world

A different way

A drive, a walk

To nowhere in particular

A new nowhere

Untried

Something heard of

Or an inviting opening

A path into

Some inviting part of the world

Keep safe

Why not

x

After the anthem,

Play ball

x

x

C L Couch

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Photo by Maksym Tymchyk 🇺🇦 on Unsplash

Ukraine

I look at this

I can smell the stalks, the petals

Memory, I suppose

x

Flag Day 2022

(x = space)

x

x

Flag Day 2022

(for everyone)

x

I am thankful to be an American

And hope you are thankful

For your nations

We can’t love them because they’re fair

Without acknowledging

The ugliness

Even as we might want to change

Corruption and injustice

x

There are small victories

We might have taken part in

Or might

Someday

x

Someday our nations might be perfect

Not if we stand against each other

In the nation

Nation against nation

A nation is defined by how it lives

How it saves

Then how it waves

x

With ready refusal to

Participate in Armageddon

x

C L Couch

x

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Flag Day in the USA is 14 June.

“I Am Thankful to Be an American” is a song.  I think of it when I think of Flag Day.

Photo by Samuel Branch on Unsplash

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Briefly, the Apocalypse

(x = space)

x

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Briefly, the Apocalypse

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The circle won’t be broken

Angels will hold

The breaking places

‘Til we get there

x

We’ll keep the world together

Until an ending that is proper

Appropriate for

New heaven and

New Earth

x

C L Couch

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Photo by bhuvanesh gupta on Unsplash

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Allowancing

(x = space)

x

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Allowancing

x

Should the

Spirit lead

Should an angel say

So that we rest into

Advice

From listening

x

Pointers of direction

For the way

This is a response from prayer

Or simple stillness

Being still

Into the world, into night

Into the quiet blue of day

x

Whatever time

To step outside

To step inside

Creation’s bands

The movement of the universe

Let it ride

For us

For a while

x

We rest within

We rest without

We try to listen with disinterest

(not un-interest)

For a while

x

If we get something

It’s a gift

Treat with care

Treat with confidence

Now get up

Carrying the lightness of a gift

Into the world again

Into time

(kairos into chronos)

Into hours of the day and night

Into chores

Into decisions

Into life

Into peace

Or needs be war

x

Not worrying a win

But plainly things are better

If no new rewards

Maybe a win for all

x

C L Couch

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Photo by Aaron Huber on Unsplash

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Born Again in the USA

(x = space)

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Born Again in the USA

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A sabbath time

To stop

To breathe

To wait for it

To be over

x

Counting the minutes

Of the homily

Or sermon

The teaching of the word

Waiting for communion

To be over

x

Now, where is the car?

How long will it take

To leave?

Thinking about

Food and rest and TV

After

The holy time

Set apart

Once a week if that

x

Bigger deal

Maybe wireless

For those who could

Be there

At Christmas and at Easter

What is wrong with

All these things

Is nothing

But set apart is set apart

x

Then the chance

To splice it

Graft it all together

Stronger, faster

Like the cyborg hybrid

Only real

Sacred and prophane

With blessings

Rain from an aspergillum

The scent of flowers

From a thurible

x

Sensations

Only God

Can bestow

In the world

And the world

Can respond

x

C L Couch

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Photo by Bas de Korte on Unsplash

“Storm in a few minutes.”

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