Are We There Yet?


Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnets...
Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov. Painted in 1887. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Are We There Yet?

 

I often heard my children ask, “Are we there yet?”

 

On a trip we had just begun,

 

That was their way of saying,

 

They weren’t having any fun.

 

 

 

When I consider we’re all kids,

 

Traveling the same kind of road,

 

“Are we there yet?” means to me,

 

Someone is tired of his load.

 

 

 

We live in a smug cruel world,

 

Where we claim everything is under control,

 

But it’s time we search our hearts and ask,

 

Have we really reached our goals?

 

 

 

We haven’t found the ways to peace,

 

Though we tried with flowers in our hair,

 

Even SGT. Pepper could not stop the wars,

 

Even though we tried to care.

 

 

 

A white horse appeared on a cloud,

 

Its rider clutched a bow,

 

Representing conquest and a destructive force,

 

Sending peace reeling with a mighty blow.

 

 

 

Famine spreads across the land,

 

While food supplies dwindle down,

 

Animals and people fight to live,

 

But little grows on bloody parched ground.

 

 

 

A black horse stepping high,

 

With weighing scales at his side,

 

Famine strikes fear in all hearts,

 

While hope disappears worldwide.

 

 

 

A fiery horse gallops with color aglow,

 

Mass slaughter is his game,

 

His rider lets persecution and pain go free,

 

War is still the one to blame.

 

 

 

Pestilence still sweeps the world,

 

While we turn our heads in vain,

 

Trying to ignore terrible diseases,

 

That keep third world children in pain.

 

 

 

Death still stalks each of us,

 

We won’t leave this world alive,

 

But couldn’t we try to slow death down,

 

Allowing us a few more years to thrive.

 

 

 

Astride a pale horse with sunken eyes,

 

The Grim Reaper wears a grin,

 

He scans the earth looking for those,

 

Who have already died within.

 

 

 

Are we there yet?

 

It’s a question we should ask,

 

Have we done all we can possibly do,

 

Before we give up our chosen task?

 

 

 

The Four Horsemen continue to ride,

 

Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death,

 

With sword and gun they sweep the land,

 

And steal each feeble breath.

 

 

 

Are we there yet?

 

The question echoes on,

 

We can’t stop to boast or reset,

 

Until the battles are won.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew Became My Name


Matthew Evangelist. The text also says - Abrah...
Image via Wikipedia

Good deeds?  Yes, I’ve done good deeds,

I’ve had my share of helping others,

But I, Levi, got caught up in my own greed,

 

As a tax collector I was selected,

I swore to do my best in office,

But my dishonesty was soon detected,

 

All the good deeds I had ever done,

Were all forgotten by those I served,

And I lost all the trust I had won,

 

I was required to go before a judge,

I secretly offered a share of my profits,

But the man was honest and wouldn’t budge,

 

I found out he was afraid of the trouble it might bring,

He suspected officials were on to him,

Trying to snare him with legal strings,

 

I didn’t need to take an honesty test,

I’d take whatever the Romans gave me,

And of course, I would steal the rest,

 

Money was always worth fighting for,

Why worry about what the rich were getting,

There would always be the poor,

 

Because I stole I was always the one to blame,

When I was called to follow Jesus,

Matthew became my new name,

 

Most of the population still hated me,

They knew I worked for the Romans,

And the Romans were the enemy,

 

I don’t know why Jesus gave me mercy and grace,

But he said my sins were completely forgiven,

They were gone without a single trace,

 

Hated by the Pharisees, I was still a Jew,

But a different world was revealed around me,

And the more He taught, I knew.

Christmas by the Forest


A Thick Forest
Image by Jon Person via Flickr

He wasn’t a mean man but he was grumpy at times,

He lived alone and liked to write poetry that rhymed,

His house, next to a forest, had a very pleasant view,

He wasn’t very happy though he had much to do,

He was often forgotten, his children lived far away,

They, too, said they were busy, and they’d visit someday,

His days were empty of meaning, his nights full of screams,

What was he living for, the world had taken his dreams,

A miracle was needed to soften his heart, he couldn’t turn life back,

If he could help someone, his life would be back on track,

 

His heart did not hear the tears or feel the anguished pain,

As a family nearby called out in the cold and chilling rain,

Five children stranded in the night watched as their mother died,

They huddled and quietly prayed, after their tears had dried,

Harsh reality took the stage as they looked at their papa to lead,

But things change rapidly at times, life is so hard to read,

Their father could not help, for this country was not his home,

He had to leave, he was banned, no longer could he roam,  

Five children with no one, determined to reach a goal,

Could they survive a world so cruel and the winter cold,

 

They gathered and prayed once more, nothing else they could do,

No money, no parents, their hope should have been gone too,

The oldest daughter took charge, said they would go out swinging,

They sloshed through the snow, their angelic voices ringing,

Their voices carried through the night and across the snowy wood,

Where a man waited for a miracle, where he could do some good,

The man rose to hear this group and its cheerful sound,

He wondered why they were the only joyful group around,

He heard their songs and invited the five in, to sit before the fire,

They smiled when he told them they sounded like a heavenly choir,

 

Then he asked about their parents, then asked what will they do,

His heart was touched, “Please stay,” he urged, “I have rooms with a view,”

His house had been quiet far too long,

He needed to fill it with happy songs,

When he asked them to stay a miracle occurred for them,

And when they said yes a miracle occurred for him,

Christmas by the forest changed his life within,

Christmas by the forest meant their lives had a chance to begin.

 

Celebrating Christmas


christmas 2007
Image by paparutzi via Flickr

OOPS!

I often feel like I’m going the wrong way,

On a one-way street,

Dodging all the others who have a direction,

Whether it’s good or bad,

It doesn’t seem to matter,

I’m a salmon going downstream,

Wondering why others are in a frantic pace,

Fighting against the current,

Or maybe I’m the one who didn’t get the memo,

Or I got it too late,

Or the one who gets the lump of coal at Christmas,

Instead of fancy gifts,

Why do I feel I’m the only one,

Screaming alone, when I should be,

Celebrating Christmas.

 

This time of year,

I can change some of those feelings,

Of being alone,

Of being unwanted,

Or neglected,

I can give clothing to the needy,

Visit those who are in prison or who are sick,

Give food and drink to those who go hungry,

And I can really celebrate Christmas,

By doing things for others,

And become a positive force,

In my town, my country,

And in my world.

 

 

 

Prayers and Doubts


Woodcut for "Die Bibel in Bildern", ...
Image via Wikipedia

I pray for
cold weather, you pray for hot,

I pray for
rain clouds, you pray they’re not,

Our prayers
are like arrows shot into the sky,

No one seems
to listen, we both wonder why,

Our prayers
can’t be answered if we cancel each other out,

If we pray
for the same cause there’ll be less reason to doubt,

You pray for
a friend’s healing, I pray guide the doctor’s hand,

What are we
really asking, do we both understand?

Is it
science we pray to because it seems so clear,

Or are we
more trusting with angels hovering near?

If God is with
us always, why am I filled with doubt?

If I don’t
see His hand in this, I’ve got to think it out,

A disease
strikes a neighbor, a madman is turned loose,

How did God
allow this to happen? I’ll pray, but what’s the use?

You say
you’ve seen God but you don’t remember where,

I’d like to
see Him too, can’t He show up here?

You say you
believe in miracles, can you name just one?

I’d like to
test it thoroughly, wouldn’t that be fun?

Darwin stated
we’re from the ocean, out of the water we arose,

We’ve been evolving since then, but where we’re going, who knows?

You can pray
for answers, while I still have my doubts,

Your answers
might come eventually while I think it all works out,

Science gives
us its theory about how we finally arrived here,

But I still
have many questions about what made life appear,

Patterns are
evident in the universe, everywhere I look,

And the
answers to my questions are not in a science book,

I believe a
power beyond my understanding created this earth,

Explanations
about life just happening have no intellectual worth,

I have to
believe in creation, I have no other choice,

For woven in
this tapestry of life is His voice,

I can’t see
God, but I see where He’s been,

I can’t
touch God, but I feel His presence again and again,

When
everything lines up against me, where else can I turn?

When I’m at
the bottom of the pit and by the world I’m spurned,

Who is the
King of Glory, and where does he reside?

I can’t
point Him out, but I know He’s inside,

Has He
forsaken me or are there too many on His list?

Is He off
doing something important and He’s forgotten I exist?

Are the
hairs on my head counted, do I mean anything at all?

Have I been
too long out of compliance, is my faith way too small?

When I pray
heavenly Father, am I not heard because of doubts?

Why don’t I
get answers when my whole world is crashing about?

If I’m one
of His children, a joint heir of the King,

Am I
surrounded by angels, will I ever hear them sing?

Am I
protected from demons and from the prince of this world,

Or will I be
tortured forever by the poisonous barbs he’s hurled?

What about
miracles, or is that an entirely different tune,

Are miracles
stories in the past and I’ll never see one soon,

My doubts
spring up continually, sometimes out of control,

My prayers
seem unheeded, despite pleadings from my soul,

I could give
up my belief that God still rules supreme,

And join the
world in saying that God is but a dream,

But in spite
of doubts and fears within, I cling to my hope,

That life
continues past this world beyond science’s microscope,

I believe all my trials and sins on earth will be covered with love,

While my
questions and fears will be answered in the realm above,

And the time
we spend discovering the pockets of faith inside,

Will come
back tenfold, and within that faith He’ll abide,

I’m forever
getting stronger as my faith answers my doubt,

I realize I
just have to believe, it’s not for me to work out.

Soul Catcher!


The Seduction (1982 film)
Image via Wikipedia

It was an
evening ritual,

One that was
surreal,

One that
made her senses reel,

She was
ready when her phone rang,

Strident and
demanding, loudly it sang,

He whispered,
“Answer it.  It’s just me,”

She did not want
to recognize his voice,

But the
second time he whispered,

She had no
choice,

“Answer it.  Pick up your phone,

I won’t tell
anyone you’re all alone,”

“Who is this?”
she said loudly,

But he said
nothing, for his power,

Would be
gone that very hour,

If he let
her control his name,

He continued
with his game,

Seduce
someone if you will,

I’ll just
watch and get my thrill,

I’m not flesh
and blood like you,

But I enjoy
all the things you do,”

At first it
was a thought, then her dreams,

He tore her
future apart, seam by seam,

At first the
night life was fun and energizing,

Then all the
pleasures became paralyzing,

They were
like a stream,

Then a
flood,

For she was
not struggling,

Against flesh
and blood,

He was
constantly urging,

Discovering
her weakness,

Dashing
here, creeping there,

Brushing
away a lock of hair,

Once she had
seen through his disguise,

Seen his
fiery, glaring eyes,

With her
peripheral vision she knew,

He was
watching her too,

“An
illusion,” that’s all,

“There are
no demons that tall,”

A figment of
her imagination,

And thus it
went, day in and day out,

In the
evenings and dark of night,

He carefully
kept her in his sight,

When she was
relaxed with her guard down,

He was
watching and waiting,

Not for her
flesh that made her whole,

He was
waiting to catch her soul.

 

 

The Son Will Rise


Full sunrise
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve never enjoyed the heat of day, and tried to avoid the light,

It was easier to take what I wanted, in the dead of night,

I slept through the dawning, I hated the bright sunrise,

Night’s cloak of darkness was safer, to use my deceit and lies,

Like the others, my hopes were on a ferocious king,

If the Romans were driven out, prosperity it would bring,

Then the world would notice, and make up for years of loss,

But now I’ve had time to think, while I’m hanging on a cross,

I was curious about the stories I’d heard,

So I followed this man who taught the word,

I joined a group who was eager to hear,

He spoke boldly about God, his father, without any fear,

But there was more to learn, to our surprise,

He performed miracles right before our eyes,

At a wedding in Cana, Jesus was asked to provide more wine,

Normally it took money and lots of time,

I thought that was a strange request,

But he obliged his mother after a slight protest,

I watched the servants filling six waterpots,

And saw the ruler’s expression at what they brought,

Jesus was a man of action when there was a need,

He drove the merchants from the temple when he saw their greed,

The Jews were angry and wanted to know why,

“This is my father’s house,” was his angry reply,

During this time it seemed the world had gone mad,

People were hoping for a leader, someone strong and bad,

Jesus was popular among the people and drew great crowds,

But he talked of peace and heaven, and warned of being proud,

John the Baptist declared that Jesus was the one,

Who was sent by the Father, to die as his son,

I was seeing many miracles, yet I dared not believe,

For the crimes I had committed, great punishment I should receive,

I didn’t always follow Jesus, sometimes I stayed in town,

I could steal the most when Jesus wasn’t around,

Because I usually stole at night, I rarely saw the sun,

It was not until people began to wake, that my work was done,

I didn’t agree with Judas that Jesus should be turned in,

Despite my disbelief he was the Christ, I considered him my friend,

I was careless and got caught, stealing during the day,

Thrown into prison and left waiting, while Jesus was away,

There was news of the arrival of a new-found king,

It had to be Jesus, for I heard the hosannas ring,

He would overcome the Romans, with God at his side,

I wish I could have seen him then, but I was locked inside,

“Don’t worry,” said another thief, who was there with me,

“According to Judas, Jesus will hang for all to see,”

“That can’t be true, he’s done no wrong,” I said in dismay,

“We deserve what we got, we know crime doesn’t pay,”

In my dreams I saw my life, and I didn’t like what I could see,

I would taste the bitter cup of death, hanging on a tree,

I was nailed to a cross, along with the other thief,

 Another cross went up, I could feel the sorrow and grief,

I believe that Jesus was born to bring truth and grace,

Barabbas should have died, but Jesus took his place,

“Jesus, I deserve to die for the things I have done,

Lord, remember me when your kingdom comes,”

Tomorrow is another day, but I won’t see the rising sun,

I expect before the break of day, my life will be done,

Before I became a witness to the light,

I was a common thief who stole in the night,

At that time I didn’t understand the reason why,

An innocent man was condemned to die,

I’ve always known I’d die someday in terrible agony,

But I believe the Son will rise, in spite of you and me.

I’ll Love My Neighbor, My Community, and My World


A segment of a social network
Image via Wikipedia

I’ll Love My Neighbor, My Community, and My World

When I was a child I felt secure in my mother’s arms,

I didn’t worry whether she would keep me from harm,

My world was limited because my vision was small,

But my understanding of relationships grew tall,

My nights were filled with moonlight and dreams,

Dreams of people who were part of a living stream,

Thus I began my quest to learn who they were,

And find where I would fit within this endless blur,

The search to belong became my secret song,

I wanted real relationships with the bonds strong,

Real questions that had meaning I wanted to ask,

To know my neighbors, was that too big of a task?

I wanted to exchange truth, not cause anyone strife,

Not to tell me they’re okay, then take their own life,

I wanted a community that found common ground,

Where people of all kinds were happy to be found,

My house would be open to all who passed through,

Not just for old friends, but even the new,

Failures of yesterday would become foundations for today,

Each mistake used to motivate to find a better way,

Relationships building up each other, with mercy and respect,

The rewards would keep returning, more than I expect,

I love my neighbors, my community, and my world too,

I would like to start somewhere, so what can I do?

No one was meant to be alone, whatever may befall,

You’re invited to my house, whether you’re different or not at all,

I’ll do what I can to share my life and maybe so will you,

We’ll build bridges across our differences and see what will ensue,

For all the world to see, our friendship would be on display,

If it’s all the same to you, there’s no reason to delay,

I’ll care for my neighbor like myself, compassionate and loving too,

I’ll seek good whenever I can, and that’s all I’ll ask of you.

Your Words Are Treasures


A woman and a man performing a high five.
Image via Wikipedia

It’s time to clear your mind of clutter,

Of harmful words that you might utter,

Clear the slate of words that sting,

Think of terms that love might bring,

When the air is filled with words of praise,

They warm the nights and soften the days,

Those words build relationships deep,

Forging bonds that your heart will keep,

A base composed of appreciation and trust,

With treasures that won’t break or rust,

Positive words will increase self-worth,

There is a shortage of those on earth,

Those sweet words that build self-esteem,

Are given to you when angels dream,

Your body language and tone of voice,

Can strike fear or give cause to rejoice,

Show mercy to others as given to you,

What goes around, comes around, you know that too,

Let terms of endearment sweeten your tongue,

Let your kindness be legendary, your praises sung,

If respect is given to both young and old,

Your hair might turn silver, but your heart will stay gold,

Encourage others to search for a star,

Give them a boost if they can’t reach that far,

And let them know your heart, tell them you care,

You’ll love them forever, and always be there.

What’s Prayer Got to Do With It?


People praying during Durga puja. Original tit...
Image via Wikipedia

When You already know what I’ll ask,

Is it to stretch me well beyond myself,

So I can see the greatness of Your task?

What’s my role in the words I say,

What’s my heart got to do with how I pray?

Let my heart be a sounding board,

As I talk to Your son, the Holy Lord,

Fill my spirit with compassion and love,

Let all my words flow from above,

What’s prayer got to do with it?

It lets my heart and mind be a perfect fit,

It’s not in the beauty of words I spout,

But how my soul takes away the doubt,

You are the one I want to magnify,

 Your word flows through me, it’s not about I,

There are no words that I need to say,

Except Your will be done, I will obey,

What’s prayer but conversation between You and me?

Your blood shed on the cross is what I see,

I pray for Your love to cover all the sins,

That the world displays, and those within,

I’m still learning what I need to say,,

Our heavenly Father, give us this day,

The things we need for our daily bread,

Help us face those things we dread,

Teach us how to reach out and forgive,

The wrongs of others with whom we live,

Deliver us from the evil that fills our day,

The temptations that seem to come our way,

All the power and glory to you belong,

I’ll celebrate Your love all life long,

I’ll pray for the boy lying in a hospital bed,

I don’t know why it isn’t me instead,

Nine years old with a terrible disease,

He hasn’t seen life, so take me please,

Let life through his veins run its course,

Please don’t let death take him by force,

I’ve wasted years doing things not so bright,

He’s too young to turn out his light,

Innocent as a lamb, he’s caught in a trap,

If it’s his time to go, let him sit in Your lap,

The beauty of this world won’t be his home,

But there he can dance and have places to roam,

With tears in my eyes I approach Your throne,

I’m ready, take me instead as one of Your own,

He’s nine years old, lying in his lonely bed,

Heal him with Your power, take me instead,

I’ll pray for the girl who cries in the night,

There is no one to listen to her sad plight,

We turn away from accepting her abuse,

Insisting nothing can be done, there’s no use,

The Holy Spirit listens as her spirit cries,

Within each of us part of our own spirit dies,

All the promise, her hopes and dreams,

Are not important to us it seems,

What can we do if evil is around?

We call on the Lord for demons to be bound,

Each of us knows of wounds that need to heal,

Our hearts are willing and we want to feel,

The fields are ripe with broken people today,

Why should we wait when we can pray?

I’ll pray for husbands to love their wives,

And wives to respect their husbands all their lives,

For the couple who argues in the night,

Haven’t they seen love’s pure light?

God has called them for so much more,

So why do they choose just to ignore?

Their hearts are hard, it’s all about self,

There’s not room for two egos on their shelf,

Their children watch and learn how to fight,

They think love is weak, and might makes right,

Rarely do children see their parents in prayer,

Little do they forgive or show compassion and care,

Do they really hate the ones they love?

Should they be listening for guidance from above,

What’s so important about daily prayer?

It awakens our spirit and feeds it there,

I’ll pray for the homeless on the street,

Who struggle daily for food to eat,

They have no permanent place to stay,

In alleys at night, and shelters by day,

What little they have is precious to them,

Their pasts are dark and their future grim,

Arrested by the police because they trespass,

When they guard against storms under an underpass,

I’ll pray for the homeless, society’s outcasts,

That someday all this will be in the past,

Prayer is the starting point for each of these needs,

It’s just the place to plant the seeds,

These gardens of lives need tender loving care,

The work is ready, and now I’m prepared,

To carry out the tasks that started with prayer.

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