in gratitude for the full-time pastorate
Though lyric praise unending ’round the throne
From angels shakes the sky, the morning lark
Finds Audience for ev’ry cheerful tone.
You heard the gearshift, then, thud into park.
And if you see each doe and baby fawn,
You saw the light turn red again and stop
My homeward efforts on that crowded hill.
In summertime the sun is slow to yawn
And set, so in the heat I sat atop
The rumb’ling engine, questioning Your will.
Another breath of Newport-flavored air
Paired nicely with the warmish Gatorade,
The only draught available in there
To rinse the seven trips to landfills made
That coated now my throat. The weight of all
The former treasures, clutter, filth and trash
Asked quite a bit of that begrimed blue box –
The shade of my own uniform, too small
For comfort, and too worn to wash
The smell completely out; boots full of rocks.
In Old Dominion, where the mountains hide
The far horizon, purposed I to go,
Assured where Heaven leads, it will provide.
As Father Abraham did not yet know
His destination, but in faith struck out
To find the land of Promise, so did I
Leave father, mother, home, to follow You.
That I would find my Canaan, not a doubt
I entertained, down South to where the sky
In open, cloudless welcome stretches blue.
All truth aligns to Your Amen; Your Word
Commanded galaxies and stars to be.
And by the blood of Calv’ry prayers are heard,
Although through stained glass darkly now we see.
In joy then, not in fear, I made my start.
But had I on my pillow seen that sight:
Obediently sweating in the sun,
With weary bones, sore back and broken heart,
Would I have woken, frightened in the night,
Convinced to hide as Jonah did, and run?
I carried a piano in the rain:
The first day of the answer to my prayers.
The stiffness knotted up and turned to pain
While waiting for a God who says He cares.
The heat could be unbearable, and those
Discarded bags had borne it for a week
When we were called to haul it all away.
I tossed one high, and on my face and clothes
Poured curdled milk. Their laughter made me meek,
But no inheritance was mine that day.
Had I thrown ev’rything away for this –
To sit inside a rubbish truck and sweat
And feel betrayed by Heaven’s spiteful kiss?
I know there’s more from life that I could get!
But even the Cahaba when it flows
Up over it own bound’ries, filling up
With water only summer squalls can bring
Cannot compare (as Heaven surely knows)
With all the gratitude that fills my cup:
I wouldn’t trade that day for anything.
When battle rages hot, the charge will sound.
An army must not let itself break ranks,
Although they see the cannon all around.
To my Commander humbly I give thanks,
For I see not the field as He, in view
Of all the strikes and counterstrikes that come.
My eyes catch only sludge and sun and steel
From where my muddy boots wear thin. So who
Am I to question You? Let me be dumb!
Your wisdom, more than all of this, is real.