run the race

The questions fly through my mind as I race,
feet that pound and heart that pounds –
Why do I see the face of God more in the runners,
panting and swaying and
feet pounding –
than in the people in the pews?
As I reach the first summit and I hear the bells and
the obnoxious clapping plastic hands
the thoughts come again.
run run run don’t stop these people won’t let you stop

With their bells and hands, they want me to keep going.
And they can’t do it for me.
But they can tell me to do it for myself.
The first mile approaches and there is a woman
on her front lawn,
water hose in hand,
arching the spray across the road
Some glorious rainbow of promise that the miles to come will be worthwhile.
And like the sailor and his animals I feel some burst of
energy –
I’ve found another
vow to trust as the spray kisses my already-damp
The first mile is over after the Boy Scouts
thrust cool water toward my lips,
like they knew my parched soul would come running by at any moment.
if this was how we greeted them at the gates of our temples
maybe i would find more reasons to stay and keep drinking

Theology and physiology bumping up against one another in my brain
as the first two miles end and
I let myself slow.
When I walk I do it guiltily,
like I’m betraying the treadmill that trained me up.
So I only walk until my body starts to appreciate it.
Through the patchy-sun subdivision is when I start to beg the road to wane
because surely I was supposed to be finished by now.
The people with the highlighter-orange shirts
and the clapping plastic
and the bicycle bells –
they are at every turn, pointing us in the way to go
and telling us there isn’t much more
Even when there is much more, their stretched truth is a catalyst,
reigniting the match I lit that morning at 5:30.
maybe if we wore highlighter-orange when we walked around in the world
it would be easier to see who we are –
they’ll know we are christians by our highlighter-orange,
our highlighter-orange –
like a never-ending vacation bible school staff

Then, like it always does,
the end comes out of nowhere.
And of course it’s a hill the whole way there,
because it wouldn’t be a symbolically satisfying poem without one.
The hill is where Paul starts shouting in my brain –
Paul, whose words are so often shouted at me as reasons
why I am less,
why I can’t be in charge,
why I must hush –
now intoning the truth I rarely let myself hear from him that I must run this race with endurance.
Because that’s what we all do, in the end –
we sprint uphill and we keep going back even when we are almost fully
Because for every which way we pull the holy words,
there is still God saying
run the race run the race run the race
and try to let people be there for you while you do it
and endure

And so crossing the finish line is a swell of tears and
shouts of love from people unknown who cheered the whole way there.
And my questions
why is this race more like church
than any church i’ve been to in five years

stagger their way into my mind and heart.
And I write
and I wonder
and I sign up for another race to taste more of that same

Mountain to Mountain

mountain to mountain

Leave Sinai for Zion.
Drop the law at the foot of the mountain
And burst into My banquet hall set with a feast.

No longer cover your face,
No longer glimpse the back of Me –
But instead find My eyes with yours
And let Me hold your hands once more.
Let Me wash you of your ashes,
Let Me exchange your fig leaves for a body free of shame again.

Walk with Me.

Tell Me again of your heart’s deepest desire
And let Me fulfill it.
For I will again be your Mother Hen –
in My wings you are safe.
I will again be your Shepherd –
I have never stopped searching for you.
I will again be your God,
Always Yahweh, always Emmanuel.

And you with your new name –
The name I gave you long ago,
The name you’ve been searching for,
The name that seals your wholeness.

You are complete again.

You have found Me waiting in Eden’s gardens
And I have closed the pits within you
And I have emptied your soul of demons
And I have done what I promised.

Sit next to Me and tell your Abba again all the stories of your life.
You have My ear forevermore.

Galaxy Rest

galaxy rest


Go before me, like a forest dweller with a machete –
Carve a way in the wild.
Make a path for me in the brush of the shadow-life,

And when we reach the flower field on the other side,
Teach me the freedom of dropping the blade
and forgetting the battle.

Teach me to rest among the dandelions,
To fall asleep easy under the blue black
dotted with the light of galaxies that never burn out.

Back to it.

more to say

My blogging is sparse lately.

But in 2016, I hope to change that. I’ve been adjusting to life without school – life with work and rest and planning and new worries and new excitement.

But there is oh so much in my heart and in my head. And I intend to pour it back onto a page again.

So stick with me, lovelies. I promise I have more to say.

A Revelation Psalm

A Revelation Psalm by Courtney Raymond

When I found myself in the last moment –
The last battle,
that deeper place, my real country –
Standing on the other side of the door to my life –
I was, at last, ready to receive the name
You reserved for me.

All at once the Hen who took me under Her wing
and the Rider atop His steed,
You stood before me.

In the silence and the magnitude of
joyous stillness,
I was knighted.

And I finally knew who I was
The way I had known all along
Deep in my heart and soul and the rest
of the hidden depths inside me –
I knew who I was but it was more than I
ever could have imagined.

Standing in my new knighthood,
Priestess among the priesthood –
the questions of a life already lived flowed from me.

How have You called me the name I have
longed for
my whole life
When not even I knew what it was I
How have You known me so well,
And how have I known myself so little?
When did you see the furthest reaches of my soul –
Where was I looking when you set an expedition
into the wastelands of my heart
And found among the brambles the
hidden treasure trove buried there?

Yet there I was,
and am.
Once-hidden manna clutched in my once-wanting hand.

Here I am, standing in all the glory I
never knew possible,
And You want me.
And there I was, standing in the scorched-earth desert –
And You wanted me then, too.

After all this time searching for my title,
my heart,
my self –
You had it all along
Waiting for me to claim it.

Revelation 2:17