Haiku

                                                                          my sump pump, too,
                                                                           a use of force
                                                                           spring rain


    Maybe haiku is not your thing but let’s get under the hood and look at one.  There are usually two parts being compared in a haiku.  Let’s take the easy one.

    Spring rain: rain drops in April hit us like nickels around here.  The early rain is heavy.  It arrives in that cold ‘not yet’ when everything is still covered in snow or death.  Spring rain comes before green that  blesses the earth.  That was the easy one.

    The other half, ‘my sump pump, too, a use of force,’ came to me in the April Dontre Hamilton was shot by a  Milwaukee police officer.  He struggled with mental illness and his story opens a deep wound about use of force.  We are all caught in this question.

    I have to have a sump pump.  It runs all the time.  There is a swale between my neighbor and I, and I am on ground just a touch higher, so my sump pump burdens the swale and runs toward him.  So his sump pump runs.  We affect each other.  Some days I don’t even know when I am harming my neighbor.  But whenever I shovel, I clear snow past the lot line all the way to his drive.  He does mine when I have a night meeting.  Green comes.  

                                 my sump pump, too,
                                 a use of force
                                 spring rain            

                                    Modern Haiku 47.3, 2016

June 2016

Renewal

 

It will be increasingly rare to know the value of a Sabbath-keeping community.  As churches close and we reckon what they did for us, we will long for their ancient wisdom and sacred voice. Today I am thinking of Deuteronomy 5:12-14—the “other” ten commandments.

Observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work.  But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord you God; you shall not do any work, -- you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave; or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. 

Remarkable that even in the days of the Hebrews and Israelites, slaves rested—and were free for a time to reconsider their innate dignity—no one was meant to be a commodity for 24/7.

There is rest for the beast of burden so their bodies would not be broken or worn to the contour of their labor—something we cannot say for the worker in this land. Where else do we go for this perspective?

Sabbath practice is resisting the 24/7 life on the go America we live in.  I have long been reading Wendell Berry’s Sabbath poems—written on his Sabbaths for the past thirty years. I write some on my Sabbath.  This is one from years ago in one line to mimic the action in the poem:

a swinging branch back to its level Sabbath

It is a gift, this time of rest. Something in us snaps back, comes back to its proper place, we reset.

I am grateful for this time of renewal leave and I will see you September 1.   I will pray about how to best receive the gift of the leave this summer and I will return with more long and dreary blogs in the fall. I will miss you, but I will be thanking my lucky stars I am in a Sabbath-keeping community.

                                                                            the Sabbath

                                                                                fencing

                                                                                his garden 

Easter

Easter afternoon
the preacher’s favorite
Ole and Lena joke

Easter morning is a beautiful commotion.  That first Easter held an empty tomb, stories told to make sense, and new life.

Our Easters, if we commemorate them, are getting ready, heading to worship, singing, and thinking what new life is God bringing now?

This year I feel nudged toward consideration of Acts 10 and the crux of Peter’s speech: God shows no partiality.  It took the gifts of dream, community, and God’s grace to get that into Peter’s head and heart.  That God regards Jew and Gentile equally is a baseline proclamation of the early church.  I think inclusion is more than tolerance, it is the way of Easter that we could be made into something new.  Think the interfaith relations among the three Abrahamic faiths, race relations, our relationships, and each of us at life’s end—Easter is the surprise that we could become something new.

The haiku above calls to mind what was customary on the frontier—people in their church and family gatherings told jokes on Easter.  Why? Resurrection people can laugh at anything.  We have newness of life.  We tell it in large and small ways on our day.

Easter afternoon
the preacher’s favorite
Ole and Lena joke

I hope I see you Sunday.
Dan

A Friday in Lent

A Friday in Lent
such praise
for cod

Welcome to 2.0 of my blog.  Grace gives us a 2.0 or reset or just time for another cup of coffee so we can muse and enjoy.  I will leave behind the feverish weekly effort to offer commentary on the scripture for Sunday. Four people read it. Two were me.

I am thinking about a more natural conversation when the Spirit moves me. The above haiku got under my skin when Deb and I were sitting down to a fish fry in Milwaukee.  A Friday in Lent is sort half woohoo it’s Friday and part oh yeah its Lent. As we sat down to wait for a table, the gentleman next to me went on and on and on about the cod. In its final form, the poem helps reflect all the praise cod gets, and how we live in increasingly secular days.

But the fish was awesome! Lightly battered and fresh, hot on the table. There we were with the sacramental reminder of the fish stories of the New Testament. Let down your nets in deeper water. There was the great catch that strained the net. There was the subdued meal of fish on the shore of resurrection.  There is so much to praise, thank God.

So if you have a grace sighting, some recent momentary gift that connected you to the holy more that endows our days, leave a post. Or just thank God.

See you Sunday.

Dan