Saturday, November 30, 2013

Your Youness

by Jim Rapp

It is your Youness that we seek in you,
not things that wear away with age,
but the things we see you do
and say when you engage
on friendship’s turf
with those you love;
the tiny little kerfs
you cut in hearts of
unsuspecting passersby,
made hard by daily living,
re-shaped by coming eye to eye
with goodness bent on unremitting giving.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bucking the Lord’s Day

by Jim Rapp

Pews ordinarily full
have scattered empty spaces,
showing the Lord lacks the pull
of bucks at fifty paces.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Fall Guy

by Jim Rapp

I left the oak leaves lying on the porch so long
the first snowfall cemented them to the decking.
I should claim I waited, fair Autumn to prolong.
Alas, the truth is I was procrastinating.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hating What God Hates

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are  quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.  (Proverbs 6:16 – 19 NIV)

It would be good if the world were as nice a place as some would like us to pretend that it is; free of evil people, free of evil itself. It would be nice if the bad things that people do to each other were not the result of a nature that tends toward self-interest, self-aggrandizement and self-gratification. It would be wonderful if we all were basically good people who need only a small amount of occasional redirection to keep us on the path of humanity and civility.

The truth is, we have all sinned and have all fallen far short of the glory that our Creator envisioned for us when he put our race upon this earth. Regardless of whether our race was once pure and then became impure or if it has always been impure, it is nonetheless impure now. And it is the stated goal of our Creator to make us pure (holy) as he is pure. But it hasn’t happened yet in my case and does not seem to have happened to anyone else – save Jesus Christ – who has occupied this human frame to which we are all confined.

So let’s face it. We are all doing things – either in thought, word, or deed – that God hates. Not because He hates us but because He hates the effects our sins are having upon our natural world (a cherished part of his creation). He hates the effect of our sins upon the societies in which we live. He hates the consequences of our sins upon the people living in those societies.  God loved our world (cosmos) so much that He sent his one and only Son to die here as a perfect human sacrifice so that no one need perish but that all, through faith in God’s Son, could have everlasting life.

My prayer: Father God, thank you for Jesus the Christ (the Messiah), whom you sent to die in my stead for my sinfulness. I receive the grace and forgiveness purchased for me by his sacrifice. May I, day by day – and each day more than the last – put away from me those things that you hate, pride, and malice, and cunning, and selfishness, and deceit. May I hate them when I see them in my thoughts and behavior just as much as I hate them in the behavior of others. Teach me to hate the things you hate.

Note: this meditation was inspired in part by, and follows the format of, Joshua DuBois' excellent new book, The President's Devotional: The Daily Readings That Inspired President Obama. I recommend it highly. It is beautifully and non-politically written.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Son-time on a Rainy Day: Nov. 6, 2013

by Jim Rapp

Rain is such a blessing,
even snow if it comes.
Bringing two blessings I’m guessing;
A son and perhaps a grandson.

How old was I when, at last
I had a two-car attached garage?
At forty-six and aging fast
he’s still chasing that mirage.

But for now he’ll work in mine
on this cold and rainy day,
and, aging fast, we'll all cherish the time;
make every precious minute pay.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Leaving Good Enough Alone, Especially if it Isn't Yours

Grieving the Uses of BG
by Jim Rapp

BG has spoken – spoken well – spoken truth.
His cords once strong and filled with youth –
ringing unafraid, undefiled, and couth –
now frail with age can barely move.

But electronics serve to prop an old man up,
keep him speaking long beyond his years;
speaking long since his words, now served up
in fragments, bring spirit-meaning to our ears.

BG no longer hears the call of God anew
but those who need his name are not averse
to keeping the ruse alive, whatever they must do;
ghost write a book, create a film, or worse

insinuate their will and plans into his will,
speak “in his name” and make the claim,
though voice and body fails, he’s speaking still.
But not, alas, with prophet voice of BG fame.

Oh lord, preserve your servant’s legacy;
preserve the decades spent in service willingly
against the thieves who, stealing stealthily,
would leave only badly muddled memories.

Don’t Mess with my Words:
Still Thinking of What They Are Doing To BG
by Jim Rapp 

I don’t care what your motive is.

You may wish I had said something
      I purposely chose not to say,
or regret that I said something
      you wish I hadn’t said.
You may be embarrassed
      at my uncouth words,
distressed at my punctuation,
tempted to enhance my legacy
      by “cleaning up” my work.

You may simply want to erase
      all memory of me.
(Good luck. That’s been tried before.)

If the Author of my words,
      the One in whom I live
      and breathe
      and have my being,
      deems them worthy of     
      continuation all you do
      will only cause them to
      live longer.

But just leave them lie, please.

I’ll stand before the Great Judge
      and give account
      for every word spoken
      or written –
even every thought.

I don’t need you tampering with them
      in the interim.

So when I am gone,
      keep your hands off my words.
Let them speak to you
      from where they lie,
or not speak to you at all.