He Lies Laying

The v-like manger-cradle
balanced the babe in a bed
so cold but comfortable
    He lay

in the midst of the struggle
the manger-cradle king
with star-found worship
    He lay

when they saw heaven on earth
in the clouds greater than the sun
between the branches of David’s line
    He lay.

Our winter stars shine in adorned
worship when heaven on earth
    lies laying

grace in the midst of our struggle, the
v-like manger-cradle
balances the babe
    lies laying

love in our cold but comfortable
battle worn defense of the fire
    He lies laying

joy when He lay laying
the venom’s lies left
when we left our sins

and truly
the babe lies laying still.




The Lines of Our Joy

Undoubtedly, no amount of writing
describes the unmeasured happy, leaping joy,
the loudly whooping folks and toys,

the happy days,
the mellow ways
the lays, the lines
streaming the tree of time,

doting time,
times of dreams
and dreams in dreams.

I’ll watch them laugh
all splayed with wishes and
ways of yuletide joy

in the measured time,
doting time,
dreams in tracks of time,

the happy days,
doting ways,
dipped in lays and lines
streaming the tree with times,

And no word or measure
defines our happy times and toys
nor the whistling tracks of our timeless joys.




This is the Church

This is the Church

 

It is the beautiful and broken body of Christ.

It is stumbling, faltering, and flawed. Pray for it.

It is vibrant, triumphant, and redeemed. Rejoice in it.

This is the Church

 

It is sacred and marred. Righteous and erring. The blood of the Lamb covers it all; redemption soaking the ground beneath its feet.

It is filled with sinners, hypocrites, blasphemers, and liars saved and transformed by the grace and love of the Giver of all good things.

Coarse and ugly, it is a priceless treasure. Loud and inconstant, it is the apple of Jehovah’s eye. Timid and afraid, it is the army of the omnipotent LORD of creation.

It is God’s reflected light to the world. The hands and feet of the Great I AM. The voice crying out in the wilderness, calling all creation to renewal. It is the bearer of the greatest mandate ever given. It is the prophets, preachers, and teachers proclaiming truth in a world of lies. It is the lovers, nurturers, and healers extending grace and justice to a world of brokenness. It is the missionaries, Gospel-bringers, and martyrs humbly offering the Bread of Life to the starving.

This is the Church

 

Christ is its cornerstone. It is loved and cherished, sustained and protected. It is the bride of the Lamb, adorned and exalted. The gates of hell cannot stand against it. It is chosen and set apart. It is buffeted from every side, yet it will never fail. It is eternal and victorious, not by the strength of its hands but by the power of the LORD of hosts.

Reject it at your peril. Mock it at your risk. No weapon formed against it will prosper. All those who rise against it will fall. It is God’s holy and established institution on earth, His ambassador to the nations. It is the imperfect representation of the Kingdom of God. It is the hopeful expectation of the perfected union of Heaven and earth. It is to be loved, nurtured, protected, purified, and embraced. It is the bride that is loved with a love so fierce and so overwhelming. A love that did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. A love that emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant. A love that humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross. A love so amazing, so divine it transcends all human understanding.

That love has called the Church His body.

His love.

His bride.

Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate.

This is the Church

 

Redeemed

Forgiven

Eternal

Triumphant

Loved

This is the Church

 

 

 




Approaching Autumn

REO proudly presents Ben Plunkett’s newest poem – Approaching Autumn. We decided to present this one in a different format than usual, hoping that it would capture more people’s attention. It deserves that. One suggestion, please watch it in Full Screen mode for best viewing. Otherwise, the text might be hard to read for those with less-than-perfect vision.

 

 




The Five Hours of World Conquest




The Tick Tock

A little away
the clock tick tocks
the time where
we know He knows
it tick tocks
the clock rocks

away
when all was lost
He left the stars
where love is lush to
touch our hands,
our heads, our souls,

standing
in His thunder
underneath in
the nothingness
of our ticking,
in the sea of our tocking,
in the ticking, the tocking,

away
when life was lost
and deliverance
crossed into our
land where love is losing,
where He touches our hands, our heads, our souls,
where He views this sphere so

away
ticking, tocking,
our sides
plumped with bumps
and clumps and thorny lumps
far away
from His sigh
of mercy,
of death, His death,
of life, His life,
of the tick tock
the clock rocks
today.




Speckled Spring

There is resolve
in
the green
armies of the textured lawn
yawning
its chasms of dawn,

in
leaves wandering
to and fro,
to and fro,
in boughs
that grew years ago,

in
the sun in the cloud’s
burning light
on dandelions running
with yellow swords to a yellow fight,

in
our speckled spring,
the light shining
to and fro,
to and fro,
in beams that
grew years ago.

And life is in
the hanging ferns so
to and fro,
to and fro;
the ferns swing
and breezes blow.




Phases of Grace

I. Death

After He sighed His last,
the dead came out
to bat their eyes and survived,
the earth revived.

The light
of God passed into
the fields,
the whitewashed fields.

The land survived,
the land revived.

II. Resurrection

There were burrs and
bellyaching
and holy outrage
in our dying race
in need of grace.

And grace is in
a tomb and a tree,
my brothers and sisters,
in a time that is free.

Death was on the earth,
it did not realize,
it did not recognize,
it will not survive.

III. Everlasting Life

There are still burrs and
bellyaching
and holy outrage

as men and women gallivant
from here to there all nonchalant,

and
cities coil with selfish boys
and girls.

But He sighed and
we came out
to bat our eyes,
we revive,
we will survive.




The Dove: A Story of Hope and Salvation

I. The Dove of Hope

“After forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark.”
Genesis 8:6-9a

The water
            lowers, skims, parts, foams,
the boat bumping the dropping surface.

Curses to the flood after days and nights
           spitting back the flesh and bones
             of our friends without sound.

             One day daylight zapped
the ancient tomb after an age of stuffy howls:

           What sights, what feelings, what
             sounds, what smells.

The sable raven,
the fair fowl, scoured the watery land
             without a caw of contentment.

Therefore the dove,
white as their reclusive faces,
             said, I will soar
and seek a
a land.

He viewed the water-crossed circle,
this domed and submerged miracle,

and brown-green weeds wafted to the surface.

             Behold his empty hands
             in a time of empty lands.

What did you see,
what, little dove, when we sent you forth?

The fowl who invited himself into the uninviting world,
do not despair, life is not forgotten.

The waters roar, the earth shakes,
the sky blurs with steam-borne lakes,

and the dove,

             he is the dove of hope.

II. The Dove of Salvation

“When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth.”
Genesis 8:11

The water sounds like a receding end,
          sinking in parts,
           frazzled and flailing like feathers
             with hollow bones.

I, the dove,
hearken to the end,
lowering myself into the never parting,
           always beating wave’s brown eyes.

My
flailing feathers
            bump the half-drowned hills
with their sopping tops gasping for air.

I
hearken to the branch of hope
on the stark tree
in the brown waves and
            foam.

My feathers dance.

I will bear salvation in the evening.

We see salvation in
the mountains and in the branches
             and brown valleys,

in all the gray-green earth.

The waters recede, the earth subsides,
the sky shines with star-lit guides,

and I, the dove,

             I am the dove of salvation.




The Mighty

“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.”
Genesis 6:4

There is
my master, o bride,
he stands before his throne
dribbling wine into his long beard.

O bride, my master cries with laughter;
daughter of Seth,
my master clashes iron, blushing with welts,
with a cinched belt
of gold, with splotches of death coloring
his fingers.
Of the Nephilim is he, beating his bride, daughter of a river
farmer.

River-farmers
hid their gaunt oxen at his first appearance.

A farmer-child,
a river-daughter, my mother, she yielded;

my master dangles sons and daughters like trophies
and lines his
hall with river-wives.

The father of father, his father is old, his
white hair circles a veiny crown. In his elder years
he shackles shaking limbs with death-cords.

Snaggle-toothed, father’s father
snags sons from the courts of
Seth; they are
still and
knowing
that Cain is
little more than the nothings of a
ten-pillared hairy head.

See here,

the three-horned monster pets of my master deck
his throne ascent. With trunks for legs,
with jeweled backs for
riders, trampling
a carnivorous frog that flaps sticky-traps.

I was a child, o bride,
a child of my master, born to a
a village-daughter, the river-farmer’s daughter, swaddled
in ivy stains and an inexplicable lamb-cloth. My father,
my master came forming crude bonds with her, o
bride, ransacking and rending with fraudulent cords,

and mother loved him.

I played in the fields,
the fields of my
father, with the city-children.

The city, the city of female-spawn, city of
manservants; not so civil was the site
of the chaos and fight, conflicted swords and fists,
bleeding knuckles, swollen wrists.

Affixed is the flesh, o bride, the flesh
of our fathers who turned
us backwards; we stare at ourselves in an imaginary paradise.

Here the women lower their buckets down
deepening wells, wells that thrive with
swords and seething. My master, o
bride, is one with the seething,
one with the swinging sword. I
am alive to both breathe and
to bear a wreath of blades.

On my hands, on my legs, my arms,
my chest burns
funeral pyres and unreal fires. I wonder,
did the Sethites feel this feeling way?

A warrior am I,
little loved, little loving.

And little loving, am I guilty?

For there are more funeral pyres that I worry about.

As my chest unbuttons
beside my bursting hands, legs, and arms
I am one with the swinging sword
and my master
deepens wells, wells that thrive.

Our women with buckets lower their buckets,
staring at our very unbecoming paradise.

Our knuckles and wrists are swollen
and chaos and fight conflict us.

This is our city of female-spawn, this city of many.

There are slaves in the thousands
in the fields of my father, my master.
A child, I played in his fields. And
the mother I loved loved and feared him.

Great was my master who came pillaging,
coming in coyness in one of his
fearful riverboats, pillaging a tribe by the river.

I am his child,
o  bride,

and ten pillars bloat my hairy head.

And in elder years,
my father, your father, your father beats another
river-wife and
the sons of Cain
clash in chaos.

And still, o bride, o daughter of Seth,

I wander and wonder:

Who is my master?