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Saturday Coffee

25 Jul

I press the chop-saw through a two-by-four
and Van Gogh glares dust down around him.
Above his clay-brown hair, the rim has a big chip.

His expression says, I never asked for this
as if he guessed that fate would glaze him.
I make another cut: yellow dust settles

on the last of the cold black in my mug.  I pause,
arrested by his sober gaze…then check my mark
and raise the piney dust again.

VanGoghSelfPortrait1889-90OrsayAA web

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O Christ, Our King, Creator, Lord by Gregory The Great

11 Apr

O Christ, our King, Creator, Lord,
Savior of all who trust Thy Word,
To them who seek Thee ever near,
Now to our praises bend Thine ear.

In Thy dear cross a grace is found,
It flows from every streaming wound,
Whose power our inbred sin controls,
Breaks the firm bond, and frees our souls.

Thou didst create the stars of night,
Yet Thou hast veiled in flesh Thy light,
Hast deigned a mortal form to wear,
A mortal’s painful lot to bear.

When Thou didst hang upon the tree,
The quaking earth acknowledged Thee,
When Thou didst there yield up Thy breath
The world grew dark as shades of death.

Now in the Father’s glory high
Great Conqueror, never more to die,
Us by Thy mighty power defend,
And reign through ages without end.

Gregory The Great, d. 604

250px-Gregorythegreat

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God by Martin Luther

3 Nov

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

250px-Luther's_Ein_Feste_Burg

songsandhymns.org

The Violence Bearer

30 Oct

3.  The Violence Bearer

To recap, there is no virtue in me that changed the meaning of violence in my life.  But there is Jesus, who was subjected (in humble reliance on his Father’s goodness and loving-kindness) to the collective brutality of every sin.  On the cross He absorbed every violence that ever was, and ever would be.  By doing this he enabled the forgiveness of every sin (past, present, and future) for everyone who would call on him for forgiveness.

After all, every violation of God’s good law is ultimately against God and his son Jesus (and the Holy Spirit).  The historical figure of King David makes this very clear in his response to the prophet Nathan’s rebuke of him for killing Uriah and taking Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba.  (Continue…)

Robert Buchanan, Hindenburg Docker

14 Oct

260px-Hindenburg_burning

Robert Buchanan waited on the field,
in wet clothes, to dock the Hindenburg.
No shadow marked its’ place
beneath the heavy morning sky.
The airship came close, then, POOF!—

strange enormous light, a bite, and suffocation.
He wondered, is this the end?
Heat shoved him, outran him, jumped down
on him.  It was the hottest thing
he would ever live to tell.

Rain came twice while he had waited;
twice its’ grace fell on him.
He escaped, but had to run a long way
before he turned
(to see from what he had been saved).

Robert Buchanan was interviewed for the PBS program History Detectives (Season 6, Episode 5).  His testimony of how he avoided severe burns and possible death at the crash of the Hindenburg inspired this poem.