Monday, July 1, 2024

Psalm 106: Seven Occasions of Sin and Forgiveness

 (This poem was written in 2020)

Praise God!

Give thanks to our gracious God,

whose mercy endures forever.

Happy are those who turn themselves to the Divine.

I allowed my expectations to soar

of others, but mostly of myself.

I wrapped myself in Pride.

But see Divine deliverance:

‘Enough’, says God. ‘Is enough.’

I endlessly sought achievement

and the acknowledgement of others.

I wrapped myself in Greed.

But see Divine deliverance:

‘Be satisfied,’ says God. ‘With me.’

I played the comparison game:

‘Do I fare better than he?’

I wrapped myself in Envy.

But see Divine deliverance:

‘You are,’ says God. ‘The apple of my eye.’

I sat staring at bodies

more beautiful than mine.

I wrapped myself in Lust.

But see Divine deliverance:

‘My love,’ says God. ‘Makes each unique.’

I starved and then I hungered;

binging only to later purge.

I wrapped myself in Gluttony.

But see Divine deliverance:

‘Who eats this bread,’ says God. ‘Shall hunger no more.’

I turned my pain to anger

and let anger build its walls of hate.

I wrapped myself in Wrath.

But see Divine deliverance:

‘My peace,’ says God. ‘Do I leave you.’

I hid under my covers,

eager to pass the day away.

I wrapped myself in Sloth.

But see Divine deliverance:

‘Come and see,’ says God. ‘That I am good.’

Save us, O God,

and deliver us from ourselves,

that each and every one of us

may shout out-loud: Praise God!

Psalm 109 Redacted (Take Two)

 (This poem was written in 2020)

Don’t just sit there and do nothing, God!

Say something!

Do something!

Come to my defence!

For people are spreading gross rumours about me—

horrid lies!

They are flinging hateful words at me

and attacking my for no good reason!

They only return hate even though I’ve only offered love.

I’ve tried to do good by them

But they only spew hatred and evil in return.

They say the most awful things





I’m not going to repeat their words.

I don’t need them rattling around in my head

haunting me in the night so I cannot sleep.


Give me strength to let these words go.

May they no longer harm me.

May I have strength to return forgiveness for their hatred.

May THAT be the reward of my

accusers from You—

the One who forgives in 

steadfast love.

But I need your help!

Act of my behalf our of your loving-kindness.

I feel so weak and wearied,

and my heart aches.

I feel like I am wasting away.

This pain is eating away at me bit by bit.

All that is left is shame.

Help me!

Save me!

Your love is all that I can count on.

Show them the truth!

Restore to me blessing and gladness.

May their falsehood be revealed.

May their true nature be made known.

I choose to utter words of thanks and praise,

because in You are salvation and life.

Psalm 18.1-19: A Child's Account

 (This prose poem was written in 2020)

As a child you depend on those bigger and stronger and wiser than you for protection. Such people are your rock, your fortress, your deliverer. Such people respond to children’s crises for help.

One day, before I knew how to swim, I was sitting at the edge of a neighbour’s swimming pool, dangling my feet in the water, while other children played. Suddenly, another child, in the spirit of good fun, pushed me into the pool.

I don’t remember if I screamed before my head went under. But I remember trying to see in the chlorinated water, thrashing around in fear, and the slowing of time as my hand—raised above my head—slowly slipped below the surface as I continued to sink.

Then the water became turbulent, shaking me to and fro with its force. A dark figure appeared before me, blurred by water and my fear.

Strong, firm hands grabbed by body, pulled me to the surface, out of the water, and sat me on the edge of the pool. I remember coughing up water as I looked at her and cried. 

I don’t remember her face; I don’t remember her name. She was merely the mother of this neighbourhood home. But she drew me out of mighty waters. She brought me out into a broad place. She delivered me. And I—for one—am delighted she did so.

Psalm 109 Redacted

 (This poem was written in 2020)

Do not be silent, O God of my praise.

For harmful and deceitful mouths are opened against me,

speaking against me with lying tongues.

They beset me with words of hate,

and attack me without cause.

In return for my love, they accuse me,

even while I care for them.

So they reward me evil for good,

and hatred for my love.

Psalm 117: In Defence of Our Joy

 (This poem was written in 2020)

The Creator of the cosmos,

known to us as Yahweh,

is characterised by constant love

and commitment to all that exists.

Listen to what Yahweh has done for us,

then you will understand

our joy

and our praise of Yahweh.

For Yahweh seeks to pour out love

upon everything

and everyone.

You’ll see—

Yahweh is the best!

Psalm 87: The Divine Spark Within

 (This poem was written in 2020)

A song by the musicians of the Spirit.

Within each molecule—

each atom of matter;

down with the electrons

and the quarks

of Creation

is the Spirit of Existence


The Spirit of Existence

residing in you

and in me—

and in that beetle 

and that tree.

We are the city of God;

the holy mountain of Zion.

But some cry,

that stuff is



without any consciousness,

or at least no self-awareness!

That stuff is,

I reply,

imbued with the Spirit of Existence


God resides there.

Nothing can change that.

It is God who decides

where God will reside.

Within each molecule—

each atom of matter;

down with the electrons

and the quarks

of Creation

springs the Spirit of Existence

that draws breath

into human lungs.

The Formational Spiral: Developing Confidence and Resilience

This is a poem original written in 2020.)

What is the difference between God

and Christ’s body when listening for the Call?

Can you trace the thin line between confidence

and self-sufficiency; between resilience

and doormat passivity? Is your anger

righteous? Or should you feel shame

for giving sin a foothold? Shame 

for letting guilt fester? God 

help you to be humble; to put your anger

to bed! Listen to the name-calling.

Learn to be resilient

even when your confidence

lies in shreds. You’ve heard confidence

is needed for success; that shame

is not of the LORD. Resilience

has been suggested, too. God

help you hold onto the Call!

You’re filled with righteous anger,

but maybe this anger

is just a sin, giving you confidence

and power, the ability to cling to the Call.

Pour on the shame!

Let yourself be reduced in size. God

is leading you down a different path. Resilience

becomes keeping your mouth shut; resilient

through the pain. Who will be angry

for you, if everyone is protected? God

is Love, but Justice, too! Can we not be confident

in that? You’re drowning in this shame

because we are not calling

a wrong a wrong. Instead we call

wrong a ‘perspective’ and ask for resilience

amidst abuse. Protecting douses you in shame

and turns your righteous anger

into sin. How will your confidence

survive? Or any sense of godliness?

Shame smothers any Call

to follow God with resilience.

Leaving impotent anger and shattered confidence.