Saturday, October 10, 2015

Grandfather's Leaf

Weightless, cradled and rocked by a barely perceptible breeze, the single brittle leaf floated downward onto the eagerly waiting loam below. The poor hapless thing cursed to be consumed and converted to compost.

Over. End of story.

That leaf reminded me of my grandfather's long ago words--

"Life is like a leaf, when it hits the ground it's over, there is nothing more."

Over. End of story.

Haunting words.
Words that wrap around my chest like a too tight sweater and constrict my breath.

"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most pitied."

Each fall, as the trees begin to shed their summer foliage, grandfather's leaf asserts itself in my head as an unwelcome walking companion.
On those evening walks, I pass cozy homes where palpable life pulses from dimly lit family rooms, and soft, amber sprays of light thread the street casting a warm glow across my path.
Seasonal wreathes and colorful door mats whisper welcome!
It's the epitome of home.

Home, where the lights are always on.

But it isn't long before the gentle night gives way to the wayward words of my grandpa-

An autumn wind pushes against my back with rude impatience.
A harvest of dried leaves, caught in the vortex of an Autumn current, frantically scratches the pavement in pursuit of me as if I were the pied piper of lost souls leading them to the afterlife of winter.

The leaves feel animate and their trailing deliberate. Desperate. Eerie.
I pick up my pace and pendulate my course to avoid the withered foliage but it seems they just match my every step.  I find myself praying the dead things relent and retreat.

Leaf words, one mans hopeless, earthly pilgrimage. A journey void of direction and subject to the mercy of a seasonal thermal that has no soul.
The thought of it makes me feel as dry as the leaves that nip at my heels.

I hope his words were just a simple musing and not a solid mindset.

I hope he made it home.

"In my father's house are many mansions...I am going to prepare a place for you. 
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take your to be with me 
that you also may be where I am. "

I hope he made it home

Blessed is the man...who delights in the law of the LORD,
He will be like a tree planted by streams of water...
whose leaf never withers.

1 Corinthians 15:19
Psalm 1:1-3
John 14:1-4

Friday, September 25, 2015

Womb of the World

Marcin Sobas photography

 Rasped tremolo-
of cricket knee
 soft lullaby
 wooded melody.
Auroral anima-
womb of the world
silent sacred
night unfurled.

Cover me
oh dawning soul,
your barely blue, and gray
 Delay delay delay-
I bid the day.

Rays slip slow-
horizon creeps
dark contracts
lucent seeps.
cloud canopy-
 illumined mist 
 lighted loam
Oh, holiness!

Cover me
Oh, dawning soul,
your barely blue, and gray-
delay delay delay
I bid the day.

Pavilion pitched
veil drawn
no man prevents
Gods birthing dawn.

And then there was light,
It was good.
                          L. Paddock


Where morning dawns and evening evening fades
you call forth songs of joy.
Psalm 65:8

Friday, April 3, 2015

He Still Sends Rain

Shrouded by early mornings darkness, I listen to the steady rain.
It sounds like a rushing river on the hillside before me.

 I am at a loss for words.

What do I say to Him on this anniversary day? This Good Friday.This dark Passover. How do I pray?
'Thanks' seems to minimize the sacrifice and praise meager in its offering.

Far be it from me, Oh, LORD, to spit out words of worship and petition.
For even in my most humbled effort I fail to truly comprehend that I am handling holy things with my mouth--syllables and sentences that rise upwards to your sacred sanctuary.

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help.
From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him...
Psalm 18:6

It is inconceivable to realize my voice travels beyond galaxies and constellations and nebula's and black-holes and time itself. 
That my words arrived in a holy place above-- the heavenly tabernacle, the very chamber of God where angels tread and God resides.

Did a heavenly hush fall in those courts? 
Did the holy congregation slowly turn their eyes to the sound of words?

I imagine that awkward moment of charging in tardy to a staff meeting, a wedding, a seminar, or even a church service during the offering of silent, congregational prayer.

Every head looks up. All eyes on you.

Woe to me! For I am a man of unclean lips...and I am undone!" 
Isaiah 6:5

Who am I, LORD, that you are mindful of me.
Psalm 8:4

Is it possible the whole of heaven grows fearfully silent, turning its full attention to the intrusion of our  prayers?

Such knowledge is too...lofty for me to comprehend.
Psalm 139:6  

But here I am on bended knee, peering into the forested deep of morning and mouthing morsels for your ears, O, LORD, all the while knowing that as soon as I rise, I will fall again.

Martin Luther's cry becomes my bewail: "O my sin ! my sin ! my sin !"

Suddenly the firmament cracks and the thunder of  God's voice is heard.

Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice; to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. 
Job 37:2

And the rain follows then; rivers of life that flow from the Holy Temple.

What wondrous love is this?
Who can comprehend, who can comprehend this grace gift?
This unspeakable, incomprehensible, unfailing, redeeming, raining love?  Who?

Like a devoted parent caring for a helpless child, you carefully minister to your afflicted children.
Changing our clothes, washing our minds, renewing our hope and tending to this broken temple that houses your name.

The rifts and ravines of our life course like errant rivulets seeking direction, thirsting for truth.

Damaged DNA from the garden's trespass are we--
man and beast and bird and dirt and air and tender shoots and flowering bulb and weeping willow.

All of earth has been fractured by the fall of Eden. Infected. Wounded.

Earths soil is stained with the sin of it all.

"For the creation was subject to the frustration" (the err of Eden)... and "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time."
Romans 8:19 and 22

We are webs of twisted twigs reaching broken, upwards, for life giving water.
Tiny, fragile buds on life's branches, we desperately push to break through the hardened bark of this ole troubled world.

Wretches of the world but saved by grace for those who know your name.

Still, you tenderly care. You send refreshing.
You ride the skies to rescue us.
You send grace in spite of our guilt.
You send the rain and remind us that we are yours, you have heard our prayer and--
you are making all things new;

Father, let your teaching fall like rain on our hearts and your words descend like dew on our souls, 
like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.
And we will proclaim the name of the LORD.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
Deuteronomy 32:2

For you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.
Malachi 4:2

*A HUGE thanks to Kent Burgess for permission to use his incredible photo's. *

Monday, March 9, 2015

Song of Stairs

Jerusalem is built like a city
that is closely compacted together.
That is where the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD,
to praise the name of the LORD
according to the statute given to Israel.
Psalm 122:3-4


Watch over our frame,
the temple you dwell
this body our home
this sinew and bone,
lest left to ourselves
to labor in vain
use stubble and hay
chaff in the wind--blown away,
then wake up to wonder
what happened today.

Watch over our cities,
the souls that swell
descendants on loan
the tribes of our own,
lest left to ourselves
to labor in vain
water with worry
dilute the trek--live the flurry,
then wake up to wonder
what was the hurry.

Watch over our walls
our life citadel
our heart enthrone
your peace to own
lest left to ourselves
to labor in vain
with mortar of man
like Babel's tower-reaching sky,
then wake up to wonder
just how did we die?

Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem.
May those who love you be secure.
Psalm 122:2
1. Psalm 119:13
2. 1 Peter 3:18

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Grace in the Garden

Saving. It's all God's idea.

Before I was formed in the womb, before I put my foot forward on the pavement this very twinkle in time, before I chose that disobedience or that donkey or dropped that word in the room, even beyond the Garden to the speaking of creation into the void, it was all your idea to save. To give grace.

Today is no surprise to you, it's appointment doesn't change the circumstance of Edens Keening or Gethsemane's wailing or the triumph of Calvary's tree, or my continual need of thee.

For while I was dead in my trespasses, you were designing my bent.
While I was dead in my trespasses, you were in the wilderness fasting, and praying for me.
While I was dead in my trespasses, you were turning water into wine.
While I was dead in my trespasses, before time and eternity, you died for me.


Jeremiah 2:24a Ephesians 2:4

Friday, September 12, 2014

All that is You


I am in awe that you humble yourself to look upon us!

More than that, you actually walk among us !

 How I long to live in the light and life and hope and holiness and peace and truth and forgiveness and mercy and grace and power and glory and majesty and splendor and all that is you.

I need to touch the hem of your robe now, I need to feel the spark of your spirit ignite me anew.

I long to be garrisoned within your glory and given that eternal perspective of a distant land-- that place of peace, those holy heights of heaven, and be granted strength for the journey as I keep my eyes on the flame that burns on Sinai's soul.


Psalm 113:6
Revelation 2:1

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Winters Worm

In short, winter depresses me.


I begin to dread it's arrival on July 4th, the date I consider summers mid-way mark- the apex of the all to short season that represents everything green and alive.

Winter is death and dark shadows.
Winter is grey and cold and sinister and claustrophobic.
The days are short and the nights are long.

But this past season, strangely, I didn't want it to leave me.

It seemed winter had found it's worm-it's anima.

I felt it behind me, pulling me inward towards its cold soul and wrapping me with the wings of its frigid cloak much like a behemothic seraph might.

It  became somewhat of a protective guardian isolating me from the world.

I can't explain it. I just felt safe, shrouded.

I didn't want to leave the confines of its cradle.

Maybe I needed a sabbatical from the spinning sphere of humanity, a soul rest.

Maybe I needed my brittle branches snapped, the cold and selfish heart thawed, the dormant faith revived, the obstinate will tamed and the road of righteousness restored.

Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly before your God
Micah 6:8

Maybe Winter needed to have it's way, so that I could heal, and be that gentle spring rain, the new green leaf, that doe of the morning or coo of a dove.

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the cooing of doves is heard in our land...
Song of Solomon 2:11-12