So many beautiful pieces present the comforting image of being carried safe from harm and pain on the shoulders of a Greater One. There is the above song and the famous poem “Footsteps” and the song “You Raise Me Up”.

I believe that in turning to the Lord in struggling times there will be a reprieve, a gracious rest. But the path remains and the ground is hard and rock-covered and we must again make contact with earth’s realities and our own difficult circumstances of providence.

But Jesus has a word for us – “yokefellow” (Matthew 11). He invites us under His yoke/ethic, just as He comes alongside to share the load of our rugged realities. There is a “partnering in” rather than a “removing from”.

Picture the oxen under the yoke. Perhaps only one is hardy, muscular and courageously trained to the task. His little partner has every reason to give thanks and pull forward in teamwork.


As Many as He Touched

A classic song, “The Touch of the Master’s Hand”(1921)

Apparently Myra Brooks Welch submitted her little poem to a church periodical. It was a blessing, but later came to be named “Anonymous”. A song was composed, as might be expected. In one convention after a reading, a man stood up and claimed that the words were those of his mother Myra Brooks Welch. She had been confined to a wheelchair and ravaged by arthritis. Writing was increasingly difficult with gnarled hands. Nevertheless the incredible joy of the Lord came to her in poems and the world was the richer. She once told her son that the poem was truly the Lord’s, having come to her in thirty minutes’ time and without any difficulty.

Mark 6:56 King James Version (KJV)

56 And whithersoever he entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.


I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD – Light is the guide and encourager along our path, the revealer of God’s wonders and the means of exposing wickedness. All of the times and cycles of our planet depend upon the sun and yet the Psalmist goes on to say “in thy light shall we see light”. Without light nothing is fresh or healthy or nourishing. “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. O continue thy loving-kindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart” (Psalm 36:9, 10). The man of blind birth in John 9 was given eyes to see that Jesus, the gentle healer, was the beginning of blessing and not any institution of man.



Do you dare measure
The limits of Jerusalem
Scope of her reaching
Or gleaming of her light?
You with the rod
Of heartless feet
And inches
Tallies and tokens
To gauge her worth aright?
Pointless this plan
To weigh the sum of mercy
Sobs of relief
Or joy of family found
Words of Messiah
That promise constant keeping
Purpose and plenty
To all on Holy Ground.
Better you view
A single act of kindness
Savour the smell
Of Jesus drawing near.
Tend to the marvel
Of widows’ love rekindled.
Delight in laughter
Of children freed from fear. (Zechariah 2: 1-5)


kaleidoscope shifts into beauty

This is going to be

A glorious unfolding

Just you wait and see

And you will be amazed.

(Lyrics in new Gospel song by Steve Curtis Chapman)

I am waiting for it. I dream about it. The Victory Parade where Jesus rides in triumph, and the whole world looks upon its conqueror, creator, sustainer, redeemer, avenger and King.

We have heard of the other parade. In shame and mockery up the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem, with almost everyone writing off the kindly Galilean. And standing in disgust and curiosity at the foot of a grizzly Cross.

We did not see the Homecoming parade in Heavenly portals where angels and translated saints applauded the glorified, resurrected Messiah, mission accomplished. (Read Psalm 45).

For so long in my upbringing I hoped upon a spiritual resurrection and reunion with happy saints in spirit in Heaven. I had no idea of a bodily resurrection and a healing of the planet (Isaiah 11, Psalm 16, Zephaniah in its entirety). But the lights have come on. The sovereignty of God has shone brilliantly. The Plan of Redemption is unstoppable. Look to Romans 8:

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body

Our Little Lives

Alfalfa takes the winter melt

Then basks in quickening sun

Rejoices in rich peacock blue

Then sees its flowers gone.

The smallness of it all a shock

The shortness of its span

Until absorbed in Christ’s rich love

And timeless, joyful Plan.

I’ll leave off with the poetry. A dear and trusted friend once sat across the table from me, smiled and said:

“You know the older I get, the more limited my sphere appears. I love my family. Invest lots of time in them. I do my job in good conscience and see periodic rewards. I have a small clutch of valued friends. We engage in mutual uplift and help and the occasional good time. My plans and ambitions are in jeopardy of shrinking. I battle monotony and self-doubt. I do not connect with the larger initiatives of my community. I wonder if that is all there is for me.”

I identify with a lot of this. I woke up this morning with prayer and requests for blessing in this day. We intend to visit my Mother, age 89 in another city. She is in fine physical condition but suffers pathetic loss of memory. Every visit appears to be enjoyable for her in the moment. But the details are soon jumbled and forgotten. She has one remaining friend, Dorothy, and they chat each day by phone.

In a chaplaincy role elsewhere I have watched other seniors leave this life by increments. I have consoled them by saying that on the eternal scale of things they are still very young. Life goes on for believers in the ever-expanding sphere of Jesus’ love and activity. Read John’s Gospel chapter fourteen. Be enlarged.