Longing for the Good Old Days!

A vintage photo of Wenatchee, Washington (my hometown)

The way it was is gone for good,
but it sure was good back then.
No wonder we are always quick
to ask “Remember when?”

We savored life. We thanked the Lord,
even though those times were tough.
We didn’t have what we have now,
but we sure had enough.

We scrimped and saved to get ahead,
but mostly stayed behind.
Still, neighbors knew when we had needs
and helped us in a bind.

The good old days found us in church.
We made sure we were there.
We were one nation under God.
So we took time for prayer.

But now it seems we’re backwards prone.
We are wealthy, but we’re poor.
We’ve little time for those we love,
while jobs we hate take more.

But since we can’t rewind the tape
to days of yesteryear,
let’s make the most of time God gives
and cherish those we’re near.

The Greatest of These is LOVE!

Valentine’s Day is more than just a day

I’ve heard it said that love is blind.
It overlooks what seems unkind.
It seeks intentionally to find
some ways to show you care.

Love shows its colors when you’re blue
through little acts you choose to do
when feelings fade or joys are few.
Love really is a choice.

It turns the cheek and feels the sting
when blindsided by hurtful things
that rob you of your right to sing.
Love never does give up.

So Valentine’s is not a day.
But rather it’s the Jesus way
through what we do and what we say
to put another first.

Reflections on the State of Our Union

A painting of the U.S. Capitol Building by Elizabeth Roskam

The state of our union
is not what we’d like.
There’s growing division.
The dawn’s early light
has morphed into darkness
and shrouded our hope
that unity can be restored.

A Congress divided.
A White House beet-red
from classified docs
Biden wants put to bed.
And fears of recession
that won’t go away
just add to our growing despair.

There’re protests in cities.
Things aren’t black and white
when it comes to policing
and criminals’ rights.
The blindfold of Justice
needs to be retied
while those who are guilty are judged.

The Church is in conflict
over what Scripture means.
Are it’s teachings still timeless
or what culture deems?
Should preachers be silenced
from speaking their minds?
Has tolerance trumped what was truth?

Yes, the state of our union
is fragile at best.
There’s constant division and brewing unrest.
We need a revival of psyche and soul.
May God bless our nation again!

How Sweet the Sound!

This month marks the 250th anniversary of Amazing Grace

How sweet the sound!
Amazing Grace
played on a piper’s bag.
The haunting drone enveloped me with peace.
A tune I love reminded me
that lost souls can be found
and those we lose to death find faith’s release.

John Newton knew this truth first hand.
By grace his life was saved.
A reprobate became a parish priest.
Through many dangers toils and snares,
‘twas grace that helped him see
that all are objects of God’s love…
the greatest to the least.

This month marks the 250th anniversary of the most-loved hymn of all time. I was grateful for Neil Hubbard’s rendition of Amazing Grace at a memorial service I recently conducted. Truly amazing!

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

On the eve of Epiphany there are a multitude of sounds to consider

On this twelfth day of Christmas,
I’m listening for the percussive rhythm
of twelve drummers drumming.
But I don’t hear it.

I don’t even hear the familiar melody
of that traditional song
that calls attention to (among other things)
five golden rings,
three French hens
and a partridge in a pear tree.

Perhaps I’m barking up the wrong tree.
It’s entirely possible.
The recent “blizzard of the century”
that blanketed upstate New York
in an unprecedented snowfall
unleashed the sounds of sirens
from emergency vehicles
helping the despairing
and searching for the missing.

Rather than twelve drummers,
what’s drumming in my head
are the snares of holiday travel
that kept families separated
from one another this season.

I’m aware of the sighs and tears
that punctate the pain and grief
of those facing this new year
without a loved one
who left through the doorway of death
in recent days.

I’m hearing the cacophony
of chaotic concerns
related to the recent upticks
in COVID variants.

I’m listening to the constant
(and as-yet unanswered)
prayers for peace in Ukraine
while those in Ukraine
hear the scream of rockets overhead
and the scream of victims on the ground.

My ears embrace the sounds of suffering
from terminally-ill kids in cancer wards
in children’s hospitals
as well as the muffled weeping
of countless women who regret their decision
to abort their unborn baby.

I can’t help but hearing the sounds
of praying parents and grandparents
calling out to God on behalf of those they love
who are making self-destructive choices
or suffering the consequences of mindless decisions
made in haste.

And on this day before Epiphany,
when we will
at long last
celebrate the magi’s arrival
at their longed-for destination,
I also hear an infant’s cry.

It is a cry that echoes down the hallway
of two millennia.
It is the cry of empathy and understanding.
God-with-us is with us, indeed.