Religious hurricane

The sweeping wind
of religious authority
scatters humanity
to drown in waters
of blind idolatry
of human effort.
Flailing arms
reach out to me.
Instead of “Save us!”
they cry, “Join us!
We have the truth!”
But why would I
search for truth
when I have found it?
Why would I
search for peace
when I am in
the eye of the storm?
And how can I rescue
those who want to drown?

Be still and know

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Those words beckon inner peace. For most of my life, I have enjoyed that thought in isolation. But recently, someone suggested I look at the context of the Psalm. These are a few of the phrases from the preceding verses:

  • the earth gives way
  • waters roar and foam
  • mountains tremble
  • nations rage
  • kingdoms totter
  • the earth melts

Psalm 46 is not only about finding inner peace, but about finding inner peace despite external circumstances. How? God is our refuge and strength.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Psalm 46

Photo by Duncan Kidd on Unsplash

Relaxed inside

A North African friend was searching for the English word “peace.” The word eluded her. Instead of asking for a translation, she created my new favorite collocation: “relaxed inside.”

Isn’t “relaxed inside” a beautiful description of peace? That inner knowledge that one’s slate is erased of error. That gentle cleansing after destruction of guilt. And the confidence that at the end of our life struggle is heaven.

Peace

This peace tonight
Surpasses understanding.
Fresh. Gentle.
A cool summer sunset
That settles in naked nothingness
Around my shoulders
Like slippery sheets.
A completed dream
That leaves me thirsty,
Arising in the blackness
To pray.
And when sleep comes again
There is only God.