Graveyards and Memorial Stones

Memorial Day from the Old Testament to present

Stones of remembrance
found in a graveyard
help us to focus on freedom’s cost.
Tombstones remind us
we are indebted
to those brave soldiers
whose lives were lost.

Stones of remembrance
(boulders of blessings)
were ancient Israel’s visual aid.
As God commanded,
rock piles signaled
how He brought freedom
as they obeyed.

Stones of remembrance
that mark our history
focus our gaze on Gods faithfulness.
Markers remind us
how He has led us
in times of sorrow, blessing and stress.

Stones of remembrance
serve as reminders
that God is with us guiding our way.
As we possess the land we’ve been given,
He will prove faithful
through come what may.

* the above poem is based on Joshua 4:1-8 and can be sung to the tune for “Morning Has Broken”

With Praise for Our National Parks

Celebrating the National Park Service Centennial

The Parks we know as National
are like a crown of gems.
A diadem of glory! But for who?
Yosemite and Yellowstone,
Grand Canyon, Mount Rainier
are treasures God bequeathed to me and you.

Death Valley and Denali,
Arches, Everglades and Bryce
are all members of a fam’ly we adore.
A President named Wilson
(some one hundred years ago) 
established these great parks and many more.

There’s Crater Lake, Saguaro,
Mesa Vertie and Big Bend,
Rocky Mountains, Mammoth Caves and North Cascades.
The Badlands, Zion, Grand Tetons,
Great Sand Dunes, Isle Royale.
My goodness, Uncle Sam, that’s some parade!

The NPS deserves our praise.
It’s kept this legacy
protected and pristine (deprived of scars).
So on this anniversary
of parks we know and love,
let’s celebrate this gift uniquely ours.


The Singer and the Pastor

An video interview between Bono and Eugene Peterson

In a lakeside setting
the singer and the pastor
drink in the beauty of God’s creation
while sipping coffee
and feasting on the Psalmist’s nourishing
(tho sometimes salty) words.

It’s a candid conversation
about The Psalms
to which I was privy
(thanks to YouTube).

It’s a conversation
between Bono and his brother in Christ…
a bearded preacher
whose hoarse voice betrays a lifetime
of countless sermons
and encouraging words
to those he’s mentored.

It’s a conversation
convincing the casual Christian
and doubting skeptic
of the life-giving lyrics
of Israel’s ancient hymnal.

It’s an honest exchange.
No pretense or sense of celebrity.
An old man and a middle aged one
drinking coffee, eating cookies
and digesting “The Message”
while inviting musicians, artists,
poets and preachers
to savor the authenticity of God’s truth
with the taste buds of their soul
and praying that each will respond
with creative expression.

I’m so grateful this video visit
is going viral.
If you haven’t seen it,
I hope you will watch it.

My Mother’s Hands

A lasting symbol of a faithful life

My mother’s hands are gnarled and quite wrinkled.
The kiss of time has left its beauty marks.
Those slender fingers clutch for more than mem’ries.
They reach in love to comfort hurting hearts.
My mother’s hands upraised in praise to Jesus
call me to worship and to seek His face.

My mother’s hands still fold to ask God’s blessing.
They grasp His hand and hold on for dear life.
Much like a toddler takes her daddy’s fingers,
my mother clings to God with knuckles white.
My mother’s hands recall her deep devotion
inviting me to serve the Lord she loves.

My mother’s hands are strangers to an iPad.
But they make music when she’s asked to play.
An old upright or baby grand piano
provide the keys on which her fingers pray.
My mother’s hands can entertain her neighbors
while worshiping the One who owns her heart.

My mother’s hands will one day cease their motion.
Deprived of life, they’ll lay unclenched and still.
They will remind me of her faithful service
responding to a call that she fulfilled.
My mother’s hands will on that day direct me
to fix my gaze on our eternal home.

*the above poem can be sung to the tune “Finlandia”