we are God’s garden

by Jeff Rainwater, 20 April 2017, Cheyenne, WY

Dark, fertile, earth hides
under my fingernails.
Compost’s sharp scent
fills my nostrils.
Aching back protests
a good day’s effort
in my garden.

I become aware
sometimes new life
needs a little help.

And I wonder,
Does God enjoy
getting hands
dirty as I do?

We are God’s garden.

“the Lord God formed the human
from the topsoil of the fertile land
and blew life’s breath into his nostrils.
The human came to life.”

-Genesis 2:7, CEB

why I preach

By Jeff Rainwater, Easter 2017, Cheyenne, Wuyoming

New life
surprises.

Mountain vales
suddenly greening.
Shattered relationships
miraculous mending.
A lost life (sometimes mine)
graciously turning.

Look here,
when did that
happen?

Astonished,
I stand in awe
in front of another
empty tomb, awaiting
the voice of One Reborn:
Go on now…
Tell the others.
Such news is
too good to
remain a
secret.

while it was still dark

by Jeff Rainwater, 3 April 2017, Cheyenne, WY

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed…”
-John 20:1

When there is still scent
of death upon the wind
and darkness hides all
but fear and despair
and hope is but
a memory…

That is the Beginning.

When root of green grass
yields to cold ground’s will
no more, when life trapped
in chrysalis first dreams
of flight, before first bloom
is ever seen…

That is the Beginning.

Before sparrow sings
or trumpet sounds or
the Lord calls out, “Arise!”
there is quiet, inward, breath
and determination
to silence break…

That is the Beginning.

When Night has become
a snare and all you believed
good and right and true
has failed, light the candle,
set the watch, stay awake.
God’s not done yet.

This is just the Beginning.

hidden hosanna

by Jeff Rainwater, Palm & Passion Sunday 2017, Worland, WY

How could they say it?
Why would they cry,

Crucify! Crucify! Crucify!

Don’t you know?
Haven’t you been told?
Beneath every “Crucify!”

is a “Hosanna,”

wrapped in anger,
hidden in fear,
as a wounded animal,
ready to strike, yet
struggling to be heard —

a desperate plea…

Save me, Son of David!
Save me!

A note on this poem and the word, Hosanna: There is a natural hidden quality to the word, Hosanna. First, in Greek and in English, it is a transliteration and not a translation of the Hebrew word. That’s because, at the time of Jesus, the word’s use had varied from it’s original meaning and had become a shout of acclamation or praise — something akin to “hooray!” But within that usage, especially on Palm Sunday, I believe there is still that deeper, original, meaning, ever so important, that this poem calls upon. Hosanna (in Hebrew, hosia na) in its original form means ‘Please save’ or ‘save me.’

patience

IMG_1101

This poem brought to you by spending a day in our modern air transit system.
by Jeff Rainwater, 31 March 2017, Denver International Airport

A
fragile
resource
doomed ever
to encounter
inexhaustible
demand.
Wait
for
it…

before ezekiel speaks

by Jeff Rainwater, 27 March 2017, Denver, CO

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. -Ezekiel 37:1

How did the owners
of these bones die?
Should not that
have been asked?
That daughter’s femur,
This son’s metatarsal,
How came they to this
bitter end?
These bones, bereft
of life, still hold
a story.

Speak, O Bones!

Was it some great
Armageddon battle
fought valiantly against
enemy greater than you?
Was it God?…tired of
the stubbornness
and grumbling and
back-biting injustice?
(Not a very just
solution,
even for God,
if you ask me.)

Perhaps you simply
withered away from lack
of essentials holding
death at bay —
clean water, ample food,
shelter safe and secure.
Maybe the fatal loss
was deeper yet.
Compassion this
tibia lying here
required, as much as
sinew and skin.

Speak, O Bones,
before Ezekiel opens
his mouth!
Share your lessons,
for a biting wind I feel
in my country and
among my kin —
of a very different sort
than what breathed
into you Life
again.

ezekiel in aleppo

by Jeff Rainwater, 27 March 2017, Denver, CO
Inspired by Ezekiel 37:1-14

“The Lord said to me,
Mortal, can these bones
live?” [*]

Can dry bones find life
when tyrants walk free
who slaughter their own
and let bodies rot
as food for vultures?

Will these bones ever
stand tall again when
nations profit from
the bombs and bullets
that cut down children?

How will families
ever be remade
when borders and homes
and jobs are barred from
the woe filled remnant?

Can these bones live?

“And I answered,
O Lord GOD, you know.”
[*]

Only You know.

[*] Ezekiel 37:3