The Church: Provisional but Necessary

You’re Welcome

You’re Welcome

You're welcome until you're homeless. Until you're drugged up, or drug dealing. Welcome until you're angry, or angsty, or anything other than sane....   Welcome until it's harder to let you in than keep you out. Until the questions you carry are a gospel of...

Tree of Life: Upside Down

Tree of Life: Upside Down

There is a tree grows upside down, Its roots are in the sky; Its lower branches reach the earth When amorous winds are nigh.   One lone bough there starkly hangs A Man just crucified, And all the other branches bear The choice fruits of the Bride.   When...

Love You to Death

Love You to Death

I am beginning to understand I saw a sign once; outside a church.  It said Are you really living or just walking around to save the expense of a funeral?  I didn’t know that Love is real life, and everything else is just a more or less entertaining way of dying, and I...

Darkness Comes

Darkness Comes

What isolates me here in frozen clay But that same tidal shock which fell First upon England in your day? Betrayal of the truth is no new thing Within the fellowship of Christ, yet new Was the cold glare whence alien ripples flashed....   The darkness comes as...

Religion is over

Religion is over

The last quarter of the moon of Jesus gives way to the dark...   Religion is over and what will emerge from the body of the new moon, no one can say. But a voice sounds in my ear: Why so fast, mortal? These very seas are baptized. The parish has a saint's name...

The way into church!

The way into church!

I see a door, a multitude near by, In creed and quarrel, sure disciples all! Gladly they would, they say, enter the hall, But cannot, the stone threshold is so high....   But see, one comes; he listens to the voice; Careful he wipes his weary dusty feet! The...

Heaven in ordinary

Heaven in ordinary

Prayer the Church's banquet, Angels age, God's breath in man returning to his birth, The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage, The Christian plummet sounding heaven and earth; Engine against the almighty, sinners' tower, Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing...

How to listen to a sermon

How to listen to a sermon

Judge not the preacher; for he is thy Judge If thou mislike him, thou conceivs't him not. God calleth preaching folly. Do not grudge To pick out treasures from an earthen  pot. The worst speak something good: if all want sense, God takes a text, and preacheth...

How to go to church

How to go to church

When once thy foot enters the church, be bare. God is more there, than thou: for thou  art there Only his permission.... Resort to sermons, but prayers the most: Praying's the end of preaching....   In time of service  seal up both thine eyes, And send them to...

Pray with the most

Pray with the most

Though private prayer be a brave design, Yet public hath more promises, more love: And love's a weight to hearts, to eyes  a sign. We all are but cold suitors; let us move Where it is warmest. Leave thy six and seven; Pray with the  most: for where most pray, is...

We are the Lord’s last message

We are the Lord’s last message

Christ has no hands but our hands To do His work today; He has no feet but our feet To lead men in His way; He has no tongues but our tongues To tell men how He died; He has no help but our help To bring them to His side. We are the only Bible The careless world will...

Singing with mind and heart

Singing with mind and heart

The fineness which a hymn or psalm affords, Is, when the soul unto the lines accords.   He who craves all the mind, And all the soul, and strength, and time, If the words only rhyme, Justly complains, that somewhat is behind To make his verse, or write a hymn in...