Praying With Eyes Open

Blessed are the poor in spirit

A beech tree in winter, white

Intricacies unconcealed

Against sky blue and billowed

Clouds, carries in his emptiness

Ripeness: sap ready to rise

On signal, buds alert to burst

To leaf. And then after a season

Of summer a lean ring to remember

The lush fulfilled promises.

Empty again in wise poverty

That lets the reaching branches stretch

A millimeter more towards heaven,

The bole expand ever so slightly

And push roots into the firm

Foundation, lucky to be leafless:

Deciduous reminder to let it go.

A reformation may be in process in the way pastors do their work. It may turn out to be as significant as the theological reformation of the sixteenth century. I hope so. The signs are accumulating.

The Reformers recovered the biblical doctrine of justification by faith. The gospel proclamation, fresh and personal and direct, through the centuries had become an immense, lumbering Rube Goldberg mechanism: elaborately contrived ecclesiastical gears, pulleys, and levers rumbled and ...

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