Sometimes I just don't want to listen. Sometimes the back ground noise of life mutes what God wants to say. Sometimes, though my ears are open and I hear God in the most interesting ways and places.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jelly Beans

All the color.
All the flavor.
I started hiding them,
like my mother did every Easter.
On dusty ledges
high and low.
In tin cups.
Soap dish.
Picture frames.
Some of these little
smooth pebbles
lay in places to be
found during the next
major cleaning.

What would Jesus do
With these tiny gems?
Maybe He would hold
them in his palm and roll
them around and smile.
He might see all the color,
taste all the flavor.
He would think of you.

That yellow one is the sunshine
that rolls around your face.
That green one would be the
curving curiosity of your heart.
That white one would be
the stone you brought home
from Lake Michigan and put
under your pillow.
That marbled pink and red
one that imbued your
sensitivity and passion.
The blue sky that you
look up to every chance you
get lays rolling from rim to rim.

Each one passing over His
life line, moving, rolling
like a stone away from a tomb.
His lips purse, then relax 
a gentle smile.

GAB  Easter 2010

Wednesday, April 20, 2011



All the sudden an icon pops up…friend request.
What would the icon look like?
The Catholic Jesus?
The Protestant Jesus?
The Pentecostal Jesus?
A cross, a dove, a fish?  
Would I have to think a bit before pressing “accept”?
I would definitely look at His info page.
I mean, I’ve heard lots of sermons about Him.
I’ve read about Him in the Bible.
I have my perceptions and interpretations.
I accepted Him once. I’ll hit accept.
I head for His home page.
His status update…”I love you.”
I hit the “like” button.
Immediately He pops up to chat.
“I was just thinking about you.”
Huh? I thought.
“What?  Don’t you believe me?”
“I’m sorry, just a little disbelief.”
“Yeah, I get that a lot.”
“Oh me of little faith.”
“Ever see a mustard seed?  Talk about little!”
“So you’ve been thinking of me…what about?”
“How much you look right through me.”
“How can a puny little human like me
 look right through the Son of God?”
“You would be surprised how many do it.”
“So, how do I look through you?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“I’m not exactly sure, but I do want to do the right thing.”
“I know that about you Jerry, all your life doing the right thing
has been up there on your list…Do you remember when you grabbed that
bar of soap and took a bite out of it?”
“Ha!…My mom didn’t even know I said a bad word.”
“Your conscience has been pretty healthy through the years.”
“Yeah, but I still did and thought a lot of  not-so-right things.
Still do.”
“You live in a not-so-right world with a not-so-right heart.”
“Amen to that.”
“But listen, I gave you a part of Us to help with that.”
“Do you mean the Comforter?”
“Absolutely, He has partnered with your conscience to turn you
when you need turning.”
“You mean repentance.”
“Yes, but I try to avoid words that have lost their power
because of over use in religion.”
“Wow, I brush over a lot of words like that because I’ve heard
them so many times in the Christian culture!”
“That’s how.”
“That’s how what?”
“That’s how you look right through me.”
“What?” My heart sank.
“I know how important words are to you.  John’s gospel said I am the Word.
The difference is that I am a living word.  Yet often I am a word that is simply read
on a page, or used as a by-word…a curse word.  Remember the other day when someone
used my name in vain?”
“Yeah, I thought how it was a shame your name had so little value to that person.”
“Jerry, you do it too.  You don’t use it as curse word…you have other
words you use for that.”
I cringed.
“Don’t sweat that so much, just keep track of your heart.  But when it comes
to my name try to remember that I am behind it.  I Am, you know.”
I do know, sometimes I know too much, I thought…It’s just that the knowledge gets
rattling around in my brain.  It’s fun to know stuff and let it come out in
“Hey, don’t be afraid to tell me what you are thinking.”
“Sorry, it’s just that you make me think.”
“I was hoping for that.  About that knowledge that rattles around your brain…you need
to swallow it.”
“I’m sorry?”
“You need to swallow that knowledge and get it in your gut.”
“In my gut?”
“Yes, in the Old Testament some would meditate day and night.”
“So meditation is like swallowing?”
“Yes, and I would compare swallowing with understanding.  Understanding will
show up in every day stuff.  Get knowledge in your gut and your actions and
response in the ins and outs begin to transform.”
 “So what happens to the knowledge I don’t swallow?”
“Your brain and ego get puffy and sometimes it comes out in conversations.  It gets
good when you hook up with other puffy brains.  Someone coined the term ‘talking
heads‘…that would explain it.  Back in the day the Pharisees were pro’s at it.”
“Ah yes, the bad, ‘good’ guys.  You didn’t have much patience for them did you?”
“I suppose pride is something for which I have little patience.”
I paused and thought……”hey, aren’t we ‘talking heads’ right now?”
“What do you think?”
“I don’t sense that we are, yet we are talking.  Why is that?”
“It’s because our conversation is in the context of relationship.  Remember
yesterday your lunch with Barbara?”
“Yes, it was rich.  I felt so close to her.”
“Yeah, but all you were doing was talking.”
“I get it, it’s because we have a context of 26 years of living life.  The words are
thrown into that context and meaning is ‘quickened,’ brought to life.”
“That is what I desire for us and anyone who is willing build a context for us to
have conversations.”
“Hey, I’m sorry but a context is calling me right now.  The kids are up and need
some help with their Honey Nut Cheerios.”
“Yeah, I’ve noticed.  It was so nice to chat with you.”
“Yes, like wow, it was rich.”
“Just remember, I am with you always, not just on FB.  Lol”
As I wrote I love you on his wall I saw that he was posting with lots of other people.
“Slow down….let me help you pour that milk….”

Feb. 2010

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

When Sleep Came

Your eyelashes moved the
air between us.
The lids which carried them
would swing open and shut…
open and shut.

And there, soft blue would
circle the light within you.
That little light of yours
that did shine…
did shine on us.

When we were with you
lower loves were called up
to the higher one.
Agape’ would surface…
it would surface in us.

Your family would see
your smiles spread across.
Sometimes you would
lend them to the rest of us…
to rest on us.

A language from above
you would speak.
A coo of your own tongue
would rise above our questions…
rise above our questions.

Without a first step,
without a framed embrace,
without a formed word,
you spoke into our lives….
spoke into our lives.

And we slowed down
down to our being
where the still small voice is
that voice you heard
that voice we hear.

And when sleep came,
it came so sweetly and
air slipped in and out and
God held our breath…
God held our breath.

For the Webb family
in honor of Aiden Josiah Webb
April 1st 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


When butter melts into the toast
When a robin juts its chest out
When a five year old dimple speaks
When a classic guitar introduces “Blackbird”
When I hear Barbara’s voice on the end of the line

This is when the dust in the pan is forgotten
This is when the tides of life hush those of death

When the sound of machines are put into the closet
When outside the stars wink through the oaks veins
When silence is remembered and it shuts my mouth
When frost filled air settles on my burning eyes
When being still invites knowing

This is when the length of days is measured
Not in coffee spoons but momentary trances
and deep breaths of God

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tone Deaf

The concept of faith has whispered in tone deaf ears.  My tone deaf ears.  Faith's tone is a distinct one.  I recently read that Kierkegaard coined the term "leap of faith" which gives the tone of setting reason aside.  Understanding per se takes a break and we jump over it to God and His mysterious ways.

I have a friend who is a mechanical engineer and he often will deconstruct a beautiful object or room or, or anything.  He would wonder how a certain thing was formed, compiled, or constructed.  In those moments of wondering the concept of resting(faith) in the beauty of a creation is set aside.  It's an engineers mind and if you know one you know what I am talking about.

Humbly I would say that God is the master engineer.  His designs are far superior to our Image bearing manipulations of this material world.  Besides, the idea that God can perfectly deconstruct an infinite amount of things is probably unnecessary given his all-knowing nature.

I have been slowly memorizing Psalm 19, which is one of my favorites.  We look up and are in awe, or we are detached and/or dead.  "The heavens declare the glory of God..." My eyes leap and defy for a moment the gravity glue on the souls of my feet.  For a moment every now and then I set aside my arrogance and refrain from deconstruction and stand below the wonder of it all.

Faith's biblical description is found in several places.  It is the evidence of things hoped for yet not seen.  It's underlined in the stories of people in the 11th chapter of Hebrews.  The scriptures state that it comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.  This brings me full circle to my hearing impediments, often chosen.  I stick reason in my ears and "La, la, la, la,..."  "If there was a way to drown out faith..."  "I am not sure I can leap that far..."  The self talk would morph into murmuring and complaining and the object of my affection would fade away.

I will once again pull my fingers out and point up to the heavens and breathe deep and my heart might even leap.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Little Seed

I try to keep track of all the orbits of my household.  I got up from the leather chair after thinking about everything and nothing.  I shot up a few prayers.  I listened to the noise.   I read some of Paul’s words on tearing down strongholds which I was reminded of yesterday.   
Then I sat back down and closed my eyes.
I opened my heart to listen.
There were wars and rumors of wars.
There were earthquakes and tsunamis.
There were little lives fighting for life.
There was one who is absent from his little body.
There were loss of jobs and dignity.
There were relational rifts, understanding set aside.
and yet…
So many blessings flow through the deep
currents, churning in and through the despair.
Hope is deferred but not dead.
Pain and sorrow are nurtured just enough to
to bring new life and vision.
Just like the earth snuggling closer to the sun
and warming up our side of things we too can
snuggle up to our God and find warmer hope
and anticipation to new things.
We can be like the crocus breaking through
the crust of dormant days.
A tiny seed of faith can see us through.

Friday, March 11, 2011

In and Sometimes Of

I remember praying
words only our spirits

Those mysteries behind
a veil where angels gather
and gold is laid.

Some would say you were
in the world
not of it.

Yet those who loved you,
who came near you
knew this was a small
truth of your life.

The essence of your life
was as pure as the
cradle of the womb.

Those who cared for
you became embryonic fluid
and they baptized you
in the fully immersed
waters of love.

The contractions would
come and go,
come and go,
come and go,

In painful grace
your mother and
delivered you into
the arms of Jesus
as your father
released you
to his Father.

Seven perfect years
our Lord lent you to us
to teach us about
the highest love.

Sure, Caleb, you were sometimes
in the world not of it.
No formed word uttered
but the word of your
very life taught us so.
It taught us so.
For Michael and Corine Johnson
In honor of Caleb Johnson
By Gerald Barrett
March 7th 2011