Friday, February 27, 2015

is there such a thing as seasonal "effective" poetry?   

county creek eyelet 
Harvey S. Mozolak

words written with the churning flow
of an early spring mountain stream
reaching the piedmont
where it slows the flow
to eddy and feed the red clay
with life that wiggles 
almost imperceptibly with the rapidity
rocks wove miles and months ago

winter’s limp leaves and storm-stripped pine
aground a decaying line
graying green at the undisturbed edge

stepped into it swirls 
around the wet walking boots like roots
the untying shoe laces
looking for the march
into April of furtive fin and feather

Thursday, February 26, 2015

a few more commentary thoughts on Lent 2 Gospel

Perhaps it is Mark's attention to detail, he who writes of the GREEN grass who also notes that Jesus teaches that he must undergo GREAT suffering (polla pathein)... peak passion, terrible torture... again we might struggle some with whether it was whip, thorn, nail and scorching sun that are the GREATNESS of the Passion or whether it was all the world "not setting their minds on divine things", the rejection by even those closest like Peter and all those who want to take gain and profit from the world rather than from the creator and redeemer of the world, the Son of Man who is the glory of the Father and the glory of the holy angels.  

Next thought: We like to think the stuff we do wrong, our faults and failures are certainly rebuke-able things but as Jesus addresses Peter beginning the dueling rebukes, Jesus responds that the duel involves Satan using Peter as his weapon against God. Rather strong, that our Lord does not say Peter is acting in a satanic manner but rebukes Satan by name. This is a forceful occasion. Mark has a number of exorcisms early in his Gospel (1,21ff 5,1ff, 6.7); might one consider this also something of an exorcism of Peter?  

Recently, in studying St. Mark's Gospel for Bible Class I was again reminded that the theme verse is usually isolated as 10.45, the greatness in service text, but 8.35, saving and losing life, certainly sounds like another take on the same theme to my ear. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Thoughts as commentary for Lent 2 Cycle B Year of St. Mark

Jesus I will follow ... on paths of promise 

Mark 8.31-38 
It might seem that we could get a little deeper into Lent before we had a conversation about great suffering, rejection and killing but Jesus has to teach about it. When you think about it, it seems like it is not something that would have to be taught: suffering, rejection and killing. Maybe planning pain, honing rejection and the skills of a deadlier aim but not the nature of sin's ease in refusing and discarding God and all others. Rejection is a synonym with disbelief. Suffering we know but we do not understand suffering perfectly except in Christ. 

And of course, we would know nothing and believe nothing of the dead after three days ...

There was no veiling in the proclamation of the first Lent for, "he said all this quite openly." Peter's rebuke of the raw wounds of God and thus his deep love merits a responding rebuke. Charge and counter charge. Guilty, no I am not, yes you are and so I will be for you. You are not thinking God-things but earth being-stuff and I am the God-man. The disciple must be behind him, he must go and be first. Openly we are taught the hiddenness of sin and the veiled glory of grace in Christ, who is the heavenly-mind. set on the earthly

We are behind also, to follow and carry and be lifted with him. 

C.S. Lewis speaks about our relationship to God through prayer in a way that leads me in the following direction. The Father creates the desire to pray. In the divine Son become human we kneel. The Spirit lifts and carries our new desires bound in holiness to the throne of the Trinity. We lose our lives in the triune God's-life for us
Gain that loses is our desire. Gain that saves is God's will and way in the cross. 
The cross is contrasted here with "the whole world," literally the _kosmos_. Yet the cosmos the adorning of God not God. God is at the center of the universe in the gospel of the cross

The shame of centering other things and gods is pictured in the Old Testament image of idolatry as adultery. What loving bride loves her veil, flowers, dress and dowry more than her husband? The world and all that surrounds seeing, as well as angels and the unseen, is the glory of God coming for us. Christ undergoes, below, that we may rise above. 

Genesis 17.1-7,15-16 
We read elsewhere that Sarah had difficulty with a nine-month plot line while God, in the Abrahamic covenant has a long range set of chapters involving the many, nations, peoples and monarchs.  And add to that the everlasting quality beyond quantity.

But the beginnings of the coming of God are in the pruned womb and stemless vine of this ancient pair. In them the promised presence will grow exceedingly fruitful until their offspring is chaliced and placed paten-tly, God's creation, against the sky to follow not for ninety-nine years but for forever. 

Psalm 22. 22-30 
Are the poor, the far-flung and even those who reverently sleep in the earth, the people whom God does not despise but rather satisfies? Thus we remember, turn to the Lord and praise. Even the unborn will hear through us of the deeds that save. 

Romans 4. 13-25 
Here is commentary on the Genesis pericope and homily on the Marcian gospel. 
Inheritances have to do with faith, especially before you fully receive them. No matter what the legal will, promise, covenant says, until you have the inheritance itself, it is only legalese, words which under threat should be adhered to but if there is nothing to give, if nothing is received, what is the blessing of the bequest? 

"Hoping against hope," the nose of hope pressed against the pane of tomorrow, bracing expectation against an embrace of the unseen but committed, trusting the anticipated to hold what we do not have. It all sounds possible on paper until Sarah rubs the wrinkles on her belly and Abraham remembers a passion long forgotten. Yet he trusts, she with laughter, the God who brings life, to heap up hope as a mound rises from the cave in her flesh. 

Will Jesus do the same to an old, old flat earth that buries its dead beneath a plain, wrinkled surface, on which all things decay, forgetful of the passion for hope?   We now live beyond that couple’s hope in God engagement with us.  

Evening Prayer 
Lord of Abraham and Sarah, we are one day older, our barrenness increased by sin. In to Christ's hands we place our sin. Give us hope in each tomorrow for the resurrection in Jesus. AMEN 

Seasonal Prayer 

In Jesus’ embrace give us trust to know that what we clutch and save, we loose, and that which we have no strength to hold, holds us and all in a saving brace of wood, nails and divine love. AMEN 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lent 2 
Mark 8. 31-38 

making the sign of the cross
Harvey S. Mozolak

it used to be the custom 
to make the sign of reverence 
or doff one's cap or hat 
when passing 
steepled stone 
a new cross 
plain outside this mellow 
sand colored suburban church 
growing as it conquers the rust 
of unbelief in this old steel town 
almost like a flag pole 
to recall a fallen soldier 
set in concrete 
the base wears a brass plaque 
I cannot read 
at the distance and speed 
with which I pass 
but a guess, 
it reads: 
in memory of my son 
you erect again 
this fallen tree 
signed, the Father 
is the Spirit of the thing 
but more likely it marks 
like a dog a barked trunk 
the rebuke of God 
for some lesser child 
but greater loss 
the grieving parents' heart set 
on human things 
rejected and denied 
applied to raising wood 
and rock where God 
has more in mind 
and angels ready 

if artisans or armies are needed 

in universal travail
Harvey S. Mozolak

on my way to church
out of no where
in my speeding path
a squirrel running 
across the road
not a thought 
less an instinctive
stomped foot down
only a slight thump 
“Oh, my….”
(without the comma)
the tail and body
now a lump
smear near the center line
in the rear view mirror 
the expression comes from
nutts a fondness for the fruit
fallen back now a mile
life there and completely gone
in the blur per hour
the sweet meat
of the hard-kernel boned-head
cracked hope for all that is hoped for
in the head of a twitching searching
burying body
no tree to rescue
for the beast 
only for the wheeled priest
wielding death

on a groaning creation

Saturday, February 21, 2015

early Sunday past Ashday
Harvey S. Mozolak

forty below and falling
freezing purple skin
turning black
Lent like the coldest hour 
before the dawn
is winter’s last scream
“more darkness!”
death dragging down
clawing by cold clay
the warmth of God
cooling in the thin woods
through which Roman soldiers ride
amid crushing cursing shouts
like slapping pendants proclaiming
an ice kingdom that will never melt
the hidden horizon in the east
has other things to declare
if only a thin outline of gray
dust furrowed buried on the brow
the forehead of a hill
announcing the coming of the Lord’s day

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lent 1’s Gospel

How about the contrasts?

Water and wilderness
he comes and he is driven
the Spirit’s immediacy and long forty days
the voice of being pleased and the tempting voice
baptizer John and his crowds and the wild beasts and taming angels
the release of Jesus at large in the world and the arrest of John
the time in the desert and the time fulfilled
the aloneness of the retreat and the God come near
the bad news about John and the Good News to be believed

we do not so much follow Jesus into the tearless, thirsty tracks so much as Christ follows us into our desert where we have deserted him

Lent 1’s Genesis 9 Reading

God’s second flood is the blood of his Son
an ark was needed in the first flood in the second the raft of two pieces of wood was for the drowning of God in the world’s sin

compare the bows… Noe’s thrust upward releasing an arrow lifting his God-given thanks to God
and the downward bow-bend of Christ, our Eucharist, in the darkness of the clouds, the saving reign of God in death


In the desert of the daily we know we are surrounded both by wild beasts and angels.  Show us only the Son who conquered the evil angel who is driven by his love and the Holy Spirit to be among us.  In Christ we believe and therefore pray his promises.  Amen.  

Monday, February 16, 2015

early rush of Mark
Harvey S. Mozolak

the heavens torn
for the dove descending
God looking for a perch
what of that distant
desolate tree
whipped by wind
stripped by storm
and stilled
but two barren branches?

driven into the wild
by the Spirit that rips
the light from darkness
above the river’s rippling waters
bathed with blessing
drying in the dying
into desert
his urgency

tempted by Satan
among the untamed fierce beasts
himself bestial with blame
this deliverer of human shame
shammed by sand molded
making evil’s mirages

repentance is fierce
violently torn and driven
so empty and alone
so all that remains is
to believe the good news

of God’s immediacy

Lent 1 
Mark 1. 9-15 

in, by, with and on 
Harvey S. Mozolak

without human contact 
for forty days 
a space and time 
the Spirit drove 
in silence 
but not in solitude 
Satan dangled 
what flesh and blood 
must need and have and do 
with beasts whose nature 
has grown wild 
beyond their day of naming 
only angels wait at the edge 
of emptiness 
to fill with the glory 
of obedience 
the space and time of loss 
we without such sacred contact 
hear the call with repentance 
to await his return 
from the desert waste 
become the kingdom 
God's pleasure and love 
teased by our arrest 
to come near 
where angels wait 
with wild beasts 
tempted by Satan 
and torn apart 
by the descending Spirit's sending 
to a greater trial 
among the stripped and arid trees 
of a wilder forest 

Lent 1
Mark 1. 9-15

Harvey S. Mozolak

the beasts are assumed
snakes and scorpions
dripping toxin sap 
twitching whiskers taunt
tails tucked 
claws and paws bloody

) strange parentheses (

carcassing vultures
winged beasts beyond human reach


and the heavenlies
teethed with lightning
offering what was once

with and waiting on

he returns to the world 
(also full of wild beasts)


Friday, February 13, 2015

religious verse can be both light and humorous in addition to something like John Donne cartographically contemplating his death… 

le bon fire

quick burn something
I forgot to order the ashes
for this Wednesday
weep day for the cold dead coal stuff
was it to have come from
the church supply store or maybe Ashby?
no they do calendars
and I should have earlier
consulted theirs
where do church supply companies
get their palms from anyway to cremate
and how do they get them
so cream-ated smooth and free
from cancer producing roughage
were they ever in the chancel
of a church on Palmarum
or blessed and held by the Faithful’s palms
even pious children flagellating siblings’ cheeks?
a house burned down down the street
where did its foreheads go
the folks who lived there
after it was emptied by the fire personnel?
what if I used its charcoaled door as a smudge pot

there are no ash trays accessible anymore
healthier the forehead thing seems
a less a dooming dreadful thing
furnaces have burned clean for decades
forest fires are mostly remote
and burning autumn leaves is against the law
and this season in our part of the world
has veiled with lids its backyard barbeques for months
if the kitchen oven has not been cleaned
since the ribs were made last month
would you suppose any red sauce
might symbolize something passionate and sad
rather than hickory enhanced finger licking good?
the Israel lights were left cooling
campfires of the wandering years
forty like about to start without the black smear
thanks to my forgetfulness of how to mark the grave
can the cross be drawn on
with our emptiness to fill?