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Loving first again and again and again and again

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10


I have long been delighted with the prevenience of God. God acts first. God moves first. God loves first. Before I awaken, He is awakening me. Such grace abounds. This view of God’s pre – action, before my awareness, is evident even in Mark 4 in the parable of the sower or soils. God is sowing good seed into our lives; in fact God is always sowing good seed that would awaken us to Him and His Kingdom.


Recently while reading James Bryan Smith’s book Embracing the Love of God, I was introduced to one of Soren Kierkegard’s prayers. I’ve been reflecting on it and praying it for the past week as an advent reminder. Here it is for you. I hope you will be reminded of God’s ever-present unceasing kindness and faithful love towards you.


You have loved us first, O God, alas! We speak of it in terms of history as if You loved us first but a single time, rather than that without ceasing. You have loved us first many times and everyday and our whole life through. When we wake up in the morning and turn our soul toward You — You are there first — You have loved us first; if I rise at dawn and at the same second turn my soul toward You in prayer, You are there ahead of me, You have loved me first. When I withdraw from the distractions of the day and turn my soul toward You, You are there first and thus forever. And we speak ungratefully as if You have loved us first only once.

Grounds for Play

Eeny meeny, miny moe; catch a tiger, by the toe.
If he hollers, let him go; eeny meeny, miny moe.

Samuel Grisdon Grey the Third went down the stairs to play. His
Nana watched him from the stoop and longed for peace today. All
souls played well in deed and word till Dean’s disproving scowl, called
back his happy children close to hear his whispers foul. He

sent the children out again and Nana breathed relief. She
chatted with his mother saying, “No need for ugly grief.”
Joining hands the children spun their circle fast and tight, till
with a wink, a chirpy shout, their secret plan gave fright. To-

gether on that fateful hour two freed their hands from his. Their
unsuspecting mark flew back and banged that crown of his.
Grounds for play turned red and damp as all turned pale and quiet. Dear
Sammy did not move until his Nana said, “Let’s fight.” “Let’s

fight this scene in prayer and praise the only Holy Name, the
One who knows the wink and cost of every deadly game.” And
so she prayed and so she sang until dear Sammy stood.
“Let’s forgive them Nana, they don’t know what they did.”

Eeny meeny, miny moe; catch a tiger, by the toe.
If he hollers, let him go; eeny meeny, miny moe.



Mountain Preacher

In eight quick strides he left his nook.
In three he ascended the steps.
Surveying the room he eyed the lineup
And massaged his leather book.


Reverently turning its golden pages
He began his usual windup.
His pitch sounding low like a far-off train
Whose Conductor has eyed the gauges.


‘Till words. Words from the page slow and steady.
Words from the heart hot and heavy.
Then words pouring forth like staccato banjo.
Words knocking on my heart but I gotta go.


‘Till words. Words punctuated by shrill breath.
Words lost in the wonder of red-faced death.
Then words painting pictures of heaven’s delight.
Words loud enough to wake the dead just in sight.


‘Till words stopped and the righteous waited.
The man heard an “Amen;” the fish had been baited.
He drew us in with punctuated pauses
And called the song leader to save us for glorious causes.


Then it was finished; we could sing along.
Just as I am without one plea.
At verses seven, eight, and nine you can’t go wrong
If you run out as a kid, who needs to pee.

Neighbours’ Hope


As the Southern sun
angles across the North,
monochromatic green gives way,
revealing sweet treasure
in leaves of gold,
and red, and orange,
so Grace does
for our

Nervous around the collar

January 17, 1991
My dismay began with a setting sun,
Clear skies, and a red wafer on the horizon.
Driving westward on I-20, news was proclaimed:
we are dropping bombs from planes.

My task, to keep the boys happy in Fort Worth Hall,
Kept me moving, counting money, and refilling the machines.
Soda Pop. Cheese Crackers. Milky Ways.
Sugary snacks for them all.

Their cheers.
Their yells.
Their hoots and hollers.
Pierced my soul,
Made me nervous around the collar.
With every explosion they proclaimed:
our dark distance from His pain.

The enemy: faceless.
The TV: another game.
How hearts so quickly act as if
there’s no cross to bear.

The war machine…
does not care.