Earthen vessel

Vessel

You lift me up

in the valley of despair

above shadowy sorrows

downcast discouragement

ground-level grief.

You flatten my mountains

of pharisaical pride

arrogant accomplishment

puffed-up knowledge.

You level my rough spots:

habitual temptations

chronic conflicts

persistent flaws.

Your glory shines forth

through all the cracks

in this earthen vessel.

Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed
and all people will see it together.
Isaiah 40:4-5a NIV

Day of Atonement

A sixteen-year-old girl weeping

in the dark basement room

I didn’t understand

God watched me

through the ceiling

as if it were the cover

of the golden mercy seat.

If I could have sensed anything beyond

overwhelming pain

I would have breathed in

fragrant prayer incense

felt flicked sacrificial blood

trickle down my forehead

glimpsed Yahweh’s great glory

as the bright cloud settled above me

between cherubim’s shining wings.

Instead of tears for food

I would have tasted sweet manna.

I would have traded despair

for Aaron’s budding staff of hope

with healing leaves

from the tree of life.

Today light floods the dark room inside

as my Father rips the thick curtain

top to bottom.

* I referred to these Scripture passages in this poem:

Ex. 25 & 40, Lev. 16, Ps. 42:3, Mt. 27:51, Rev. 22:2

Undertow

by Thursday night

the week has washed over me

in a heavy undertow

and I can’t take even one more

harried conversation

printed word

dirty dish

software crash

unpaid bill

without gasping for air.

Under the surface

I wash grime away

from life’s dim mirror.

There Isaiah’s vision overwhelms:

smoke lifting toward the throne

seraphim singing praise

blazing blinding light.

As the hot coal touches my lips

I praise You from the depths:

constant

everlasting

transcendent

holy

mighty to save.