Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I love how a poem written four hundred years ago can reflect nearly everything on my heart today...

John Donne. A Litany.

I'll warn you. It's a dense read. 17th century poetry is not known for its simplicity. But then again, neither is life.

Maybe that's why John Donne's my favorite. He doesn't sketch the life of faith in simple shades of black in white, as too many Christian artists are apt to do. No, he paints the vivid colors of joy and hope right alongside the bold, dark hues of heartache and frailty.

Because that's where the beauty is. It's in the contrast. That deep, fragile place where the mortal meets the divine. That's where we see the brilliance of grace.

I think I found something moving in every one of the 28 verses. But, just in case you don't have an hour to spend on a line by line metaphysical poetry analysis, here are a few of my favorite bits... hopefully some of you literature/theology geeks will enjoy the read!


From being anxious, or secure,
Dead clods of sadness, or light squibs of mirth,
From thinking that great courts immure
All, or no happiness, or that this earth
Is only for our prison framed,
Or that Thou'rt covetous
To them whom Thou lovest, or that they are maim'd
From reaching this world's sweet who seek Thee
With all their might, good Lord, deliver us.


From needing danger, to be good,
From owing Thee yesterday's tears to-day,
From trusting so much to Thy blood
That in that hope we wound our soul away,
From bribing Thee with alms, to excuse
Some sin more burdenous,
From light affecting, in religion, news,
From thinking us all soul, neglecting thus
Our mutual duties, Lord, deliver us.


Hear us, O hear us, Lord; to Thee
A sinner is more music, when he prays,
Than spheres' or angels' praises be,
In panegyric alleluias ;
Hear us, for till Thou hear us, Lord,
We know not what to say ;
Thine ear to our sighs, tears, thoughts, gives voice and word ;
O Thou, who Satan heard'st in Job's sick day,
Hear Thyself now, for Thou in us dost pray.


That we may change to evenness
This intermitting aguish piety ;
That snatching cramps of wickedness
And apoplexies of fast sin may die ;
That music of Thy promises,
Not threats in thunder may
Awaken us to our just offices ;
What in Thy book Thou dost, or creatures say,
That we may hear, Lord, hear us when we pray.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

Part of growing up is making decisions. Big, confusing, hard decisions. Like where to live and what to commit forty hours of your week to.

I hate deciding things. Decision making is a roller coaster of emotion. But it's a ride I have to take if I want to be an adult. Usually my process goes something like this:

Step one: feel like my life has no direction. cry a lot.

Step two: decide to do something about it.

Step three: tell everyone what I'm doing about it.

Step four: second guess "do something" plan. cry a lot.

Step five: regret telling everyone my plan.

Step six: epiphany: God's plans might be better than mine, and who cares if everyone else thinks I'm indecisive and confused. Jesus loves me. and his opinion matters most.

Step seven: make new plan.

Step 8: trust Jesus with new plan. cry a lot.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:8-10

I've been thinking a lot lately about work. About what it is that I should do professionally. What it is that I am meant to do. It's a bit overwhelming, frankly. There are so many options out there.

But this verse popped into my head this afternoon, and it's been marinating there all day. How wonderful to know that everything we do, even work, originates with one thing. Grace.

What a relief it is to realize that it is not I who works but him, working in me through his amazing and wonderful grace. What a relief to let go of all of the worries I have about my career, about the worth my occupation does or doesn't give me, knowing that my value and my purpose is found in his love.

This must be what he meant when he said "my yoke is easy and my burden is light."