God Set Free

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Invitations rain from religious cattle cars,
Streaking by those deservingly scourged,
A hurricane awaits within the shamed,
Silent, patient, and longsuffering.

Outside the waiting storm,
Blind anxiety gorges upon popularity,
Another brick box to secure an ism,
Another wall.
Another reason.

Without vulnerability or need,
Love has no home,
Yet…freedom crouches,
Fearless of shame,
Unhesitant towards need,
Bounding walls of reason,
Rescuing saddened souls
from society’s jailer.

Love shares no vanity,
Hope warms the tummy,
Faith becomes visible,
Hidden flowers bloom,
Community erupts,
Realizing the Image within,
Is living in our midst.
Then, God is set free.

By Chris Clody
7/28/2017

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One Day In His Court

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Within the everglow of God,
When humility begs consent,
Where the soul barely sees,
How mercy bears our grievous offense,
Forgiveness, not violence, only makes our choices free.

Vanity tethers away all charity,
Corrupting once pure hearts,
Contently Numb to Poverty’s mourn,
Selfishly sculpting themselves as art,
Leaving faith, hope, and love cold and stillborn.

Nevertheless, God waits,
Patiently, dry day after day,
Vigils for the vast unknowing,
Beckoning that love find its way,
Choking ordained springs from overflowing.

Soon the thrashing floor will clear,
Mighty is the Lord’s winnowing fork,
Chaff engulfed by wrath’s unquenchable fire,
As Judgment holds its only court,
Illumined by the glow that love required.

By Chris Clody
2/19/17

A Baby. A Manger. Our Continued Stupidity.

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Left to deliver humanity’s solution, a unwed, fourteen year old Miriam pushes and strains to relieve the weight of her conscience. A small fire dances off her furrowed brow as the crisp, shriek of an infant cuts the stench of sleeping animals. Quickly she wraps little, desperate cries in rags before pressing quivering lips to her breast to suck.  Yet something is not normal as Miram’s wide, brown eyes capture the glow of a star stream.  The night sky is aflight with wings, singing, and… Angels! Yes!! Angels!!! Armies of choirs and music thicken the air that tremble her bones as her newborn warms and feeds as one again with her.

In five days, those pushed to the margins will still to just survive by whatever strips of life they can grab in hope of adding some normalcy to a life far removed from you and I. Oppression is the very hand that pushes the “great unwashed” to the half-lit caves of society.  The sub-existence of a life truly loved by neighbor scrapes by in both the physical and mental realms of forced martyrdom. Yes, in five shopping days churches will gorge on unworthy amounts of praise and monies by some that darken their doors but twice a year. Money for a priest’s three-bedroom house, or a ridiculous addition to the a McMansion of the likes of Joel Osteen, or bonuses for the talented but truly ‘passionate’ motivational ring leaders providing amid streaming confetti-like snow and a wondrous, laser-light show.  Quietly money will find its usual course to some promised charity while other towards legal fees intent on “settling” and silencing their latest sexual or financial scandal.  Money will find hidden pockets and obscurity and before suburban streets are adorned green and tan by orphaned fir trees amid strewn cardboard boxes. Aaaaahhhh, the magic of consumeri…..Christmas!

Maybe you have another word other than stupidity-  if so, please insert here _______.  At what point does the ‘faithful’ grow up and begin wondering what took place 2000 years ago during the virgin birth of an unwed mother.  You know we have a word for that… More importantly, outside the colossal, bureaucratic, orthodox governance or entrepreneurial marketing grabs of soul-selling Christianity, the curious outsider must wonder if the ‘faithful’ ever dared their vanity enough to lose their faith in order to find that reason spoken to Miriam?  Has a priest or pastor ever lifted their voice against the comforts of job security to stop this deliberate anesthetic-doping of Christian movement gobbled up by our pill-popping, consumers?

That first shriek of a shivering infant will end with a painful, final gasp of an innocent life of the man called Jesus. Consider that cost and our opportunity to partake and explore the humanity of this man. Imagine if we missed this coming Sunday and hand-delivered our biannual contribution to a local mission?  Maybe, for once in our adult ‘journey’ we will come just a bit closer to understanding why an impoverished birth crowded the sky with undefined awe and otherworldly wonder.  Instead of the same old, same old overfeeding the wealth management staples of ‘Christianity’ how about doing something one of Christ’s disciples would do by seeking their brother, their master, their Lord, in the lonely and forgotten?  Imagine that.

Maybe that other word is “surreal”… Seriously, who are we fooling? Certainly not Jesus.

Run to Him for He is cold, He is hungry, He is naked, He is sick, He is poor, He is in prison, He has a single mom, He has been wrongfully accused and shamed because who we say He is…yet when you find Him you will find an immeasurable kind of love that explains why He came, why He died, and why we no longer need to fear oppression.

Emmanuel.

Chris

 

LOST IN THE FOG OF GRACE

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Grace, the reception of unmerited favor, has derailed Western Christianity not because of its innate capacity but because through misinterpretation. The favor and beauty of unmerited mercy does indeed have a cost. It is not given merely for lip service when juicing regretful memories but in our willingness to seek Christ while offering to also carry His cross through the eyes of empathy and compassion. The reason the pure of heart sees G_d is because they have no hesitation, no filter, no willingness to see other than Christ in the heart of another’s need. The Kingdom at Hand is glimpsed by those who strive to see the purity through radical charity. Every knee bows alongside the downtrodden, the orphan, the widow, the refugee, the hungry, the naked, the lonely, and forgotten to bring friendship alongside to those who need it most. The corporate business aspects of Christianity refuses to bow that knee. From the burning bush to the ascension, Christ did not come to establish a corporation built on the ten percent of union fees. The crucifixion came to as warning signs posted atop Calvary and the Resurrection as a direction towards mercy. Unfortunately, Heaven’s signposts is also surrounded by a dense fog of misinterpretation. True Christian actions is assaulted by hateful defense mechanism built by power and greed. Why? Because the “Good News” is true liberation for ANY bearing the weight of oppression. The distractions of escapism incorporated into misunderstood grace is exemplified by the lie of the Rapture, continues to find hungry ears in the savvy consumerism of Western culture. For those to hardened for a kenotic journey towards purity of heart illuminated by Torah and gently taught on the Sermon of the Mount, they will be offered unmerited favor through the lifting of their cross.
Blood will still drip from the hands of preachers and ears of their believers during judgment of their willingness to partake in saving mercy. Every soul will be judged. There will be no free pass via “Christ the Spaceman” sucking up those who raised only their hands and voices in some emotional church service. Transparency and corruption, along with all evil doing will have no place on Earth’s New Heaven. YHWH is love as is the purity of His mercy and simplicity of His divine faithfulness.
Christianity has sold its soul to political recognition and ephemeral gain. Truly, if Christ was the Lord of our life then discussions and actions would gather humble and candid expressions of concern instead of hateful vitriol and polarization. When will the soul famished for divine mercy be granted a seat at the table of Christ’s abundance? When will transparency in the corporate structures of religion and politics offer a clear view of a waiting bride walking through the Kingdom’s Garden?

How long Lord? How much longer do we wait?

His Peace,
Chris

A box for God

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I wrap my prejudice,
In a box,
With skin that crawls,
From a heart unlocked.
I can see my Savior now,
Facebook to face,
Bearing His wounds,
Yearning for my embrace.
Christ no longer hidden,
From my view,
For His presence,
Becomes what I do.
Moments become sacred,
Between two,
Time slips away,
As He makes all things new.

By Chris Clody
8/25/16

My All

I could complain and empty my anguish regarding war and its consequence of the unnecessary sufferings of poverty and sickness. My rage towards humanity’s grabs for power and pleasure instead of honest, loving, vibrant communities. Thankfully, my faith rudders my contemplation away from this imploding darkness towards the hopeful glow of finding some way to love my God through my neighbor. Yet before I can prayerfully think towards mercy, I am drawn to first hallow The Ineffable Name* of Mercy itself.

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YOU Are

YOU are my endless epiphany,
My eternal morning glory,
Breathtaking yet life-giving,
My soul’s majestic sunrise,
One man’s hope for brotherhood.

YOU’re wild and uncontainable,
My swirl of curiosity,
Man’s DNA for mercy.
My horizon of glory,
And newfound purpose to love.

YOU are my wonderland of tomorrow’s hope,
For eye has not seen,
nor ear has heard,
nor heart imagined,
all YOU have prepared,
for those who love YOU. (1 Cor 2:9)

By Chris Clody
8/21/16

*Inspired by Abraham Joshua Heschel and his poetry in The Ineffable Name of God: Man: Poems. 2004. ISBN 0-8264-1632-2

Seeing More Clearly Now…

Normally I realize the presence of God by looking in the rear-view mirror with awe and a smile. However, lately I don’t feel I’ll be waiting for that hindsight. Spending another Sunday with teaching and friends that lift my awareness beyond my normal religious experience. My thirst for intimacy with the Divine is an incessant hunger and restlessness. The beauty of deep teaching does not push me away from the familiar but rather expands one’s joyous radar of the One in our midst. Thanks Don and friends and Dust Covenant (http://www.dustchurch.com/). Shine on

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Brighten My Eyes

Remove this heavy darkness,
That dims Your kingdom from my sight,
Still me with eternal prayer,
That holds me in your holy light.

Brighten my eyes, oh Lord,
and heal my soul,
brighten my eyes oh Lord,
and heal my soul.

Wash my vision with your Truth,
Magnify your increase in me,
Make visible your image,
To cherish You through Charity.

Brighten my eyes, oh Lord,
and heal my soul,
Brighten my eyes, oh Lord
and heal my soul.

by Chris Clody
8/8/2016

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23)