Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Five views of the lions' den (Daniel 6)

1 The Satraps

Petty politicians,
irritated by integrity,
consumed by mongrel jealousy
that an upstart immigrant
should get the biggest bone,
they schemed and deceived,
then smirked when it worked.
But it didn’t.
In the end,
the only bones being given
were theirs.
To the lions.

2 Daniel

Integrity, honesty,
devotion to God—
all of this was true.
Even so we can’t assume
that Daniel wasn’t afraid,
that as he prayed in the window
he was not stinking with fear,
throwing up to God
his panic. Help me!
We can’t even assume
he was sure
God was listening.

3 King Darius

Friendship with the Hebrew
had subtly changed him.
Exposure to light
in a dark place
does that to people
over time.
Thus his distress
at his own foolishness,
thus his sleepless night,
thus the mixture of doubt and hope
in his anguished question,
Daniel, did he rescue you?

4 The lions

What was this scorching ball of light
thrown down so suddenly,
causing them to scatter to the peripheries?
What terror drove out hunger,
shut their jaws?
Or did the glory so overwhelm them
that God’s dumbstruck beasts
simply went to sleep?

5 The people

Forced by royal decree
to add the God of Daniel
to the Persian pantheon,
how did the citizens respond?
Did anything eternal happen
in the homes and streets
of downtown Babylon?
Perhaps a ray of light entered
the collective consciousness?
Did the foreign deity ever
become more than Daniel’s God?
Or did he only add another hue
to their already rainbow spirituality?
Does conversion by coercion
ever work?

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Pacifist Poet

William Stafford, sweet poet,
said that one in every ten poems
he wrote was good enough for publication.
That encourages me
‘cause I write a lot of bad poems.
But, like Stafford, I’m a pacifist.
I don’t kill any of my poems.
For the nine poor poems
I find a comfortable spot,
lay them down, and let them sleep.
You get to read the tenth poem.
Lucky you.

                                Eddie Lobanovsky

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Poems from the book of Colossians

 Last year I adopted the spiritual discipline of meditating, praying, and writing poetry through the books of the Bible. I'm building up quite a collection. I'm not sure how good the poetry is, but the practice is causing me to read Scripture in a new way.

I begin each early morning time with the prayer from Proverbs 119:18: "Open my eyes that I might see wonderful things from your word." After reading and spending time listening in silence, I converse with God about the portion I read. That's the poetry part. Simply conversing with God.

Recently I spend several weeks in the book of Colossians, Paul's treatise on the doctrine of Christ. Here are a few of the poems (likely to be edited and polished in the future).

Hold Fast

Colossians 1:17, "...in him all things hold together."

Jesus is the gravity
that keeps our feet on the ground.
He's the centripetal force,
the reason we don't fly
off into space, lost forever.
He's the magnet
that binds us to faith, hope, and love.
He's the compass
that heads us down
the true path.
He's our superglue;
we need never come apart.
Someday all things
will join in him,
a vast and holy reconciliation.
In the meantime,
Jesus is what keeps
you and me

Colossians 1:24, "...I fill up my flesh what is lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions...."

Christ suffered
for our sakes,
but he didn't keep
it all for himself.
The bucket of miseries
is not yet full.
We get to add to it.
We get to fill it
because Jesus knew
we'd want to suffer
for his sake.
So as we carry the good news
to all people, we weep,
we laugh, we bleed,
we bind our wounds.
We serve with joy.

Well Dressed
Colossians 3:12, ..clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience."

They many not be the latest fashion,
but your new clothes fit perfectly.
You've never looked better.

Colossians 4:1

"... Provide your slaves
with what is right and just."
Free them.

Remember My Chains
Colossians 4:18

When you pray
include those in prison
paying for the harm
they've done to others
and to themselves.
Include those
unjustly imprisoned
for faith, race, or human error.
Imprisonment has a way
of dismembering people,
ripping them from family,
values, and life's normalities.
Re-member them
in vision and petition.
Re-member all the broken ones--
refugees, victims of war or rape,
neighbors beaten down
by domestic violence,
loved ones battling cancer or addiction,
those suffering rejection and divorce.
The lonely.
People have so many ways
of being enchained and broken,
of being torn and dismembered.
Your task is to remember them.
Remember them everyday.