Friday, November 20, 2015

Harvey S. Mozolak

worm slug snake
somehow its naked family
yet removed several times
and four times syllabicated
yet a crawler
by fur tufts and dangles
on the porch
crushed it will ooze an odd hue
pus green or decaying yellow
the thing will be difficult to move
this handless finger
without distaste
or the sweep of a broom

later that day

in the garage near the pile of empty boxes
toward the front of the cooling car’s grill
in perfect condition
a ochre and black butterfly
wings open as they were in flight
from flower to flower
beyond the open door
on its side fallen to the grey concrete
the two vestigial hairs that probed the air
for movement
the twin tiny hands that once
pushed the breeze
to taste from petal to petal
picked up and placed
on the grass
it leaves the powder of its wings
on my palm thumb and index tip
a palette with which to brush
a word cocoon

gathering feathers of light
Harvey S. Mozolak

my tawny dog
with catlike whiskers
but don’t tell him that
who thinks he is bigger than he is
likes to pull together afghans rugs pillows
towels and clothing left on the floor
raking them by paw
into a gathered pile
I have heard it said it is a nesting instinct

so when the small sliver of sunlight
comes through the dining room window
and falls onto the carpet
he attempts to enlarge it
by scratching at its sides
to make a wider warmer bed
no wonder
because he may have seen me
stretch an phone photo

it is the beginning slice of autumn
I too wish to scrape away
the starting fall of leaves
and gather leaving light
thin as it is
into a pile of summer still
a warm weekend
and more
now that the tree nests
are empty
and the dog on walks
finds fewer wings to startle

nail-less reverence
Harvey S. Mozolak

a few trees
among the many
to their roots and ground
a few trunks
among those who Babel upward
fluttering leaves
loose like senseless tongues
flapping winter twigs
like lifeless wings
at angels’ flying flames
a few from the forest
at the weight of the world
attempting to bind down
the weight of glory
bend they do
against the gravity of God
engrained and hammered in hate
hatcheted from heaven
for the burning noon
sun beginning the three days
of the Father’s only begotten


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thanksgiving Day

The Thanksgiving holiday is in the main a civic and secular tradition and yet many Christians gather that day or during that week to give thanks under the name of the holy and blessed name of the Trinity.  It is interesting to compare and contrast ordinary Thanksgiving with the extraordinary Eucharist.  There are obvious similarities beyond the definition of the Greek word.  People are urged in the civic sense to look and give thanks both for the common and ordinary as well as the special and unexpected.  In the church’s Eucharist the ordinary of bread and wine are consecrated and are for the communicant the true body and blood of the God-man, Jesus Christ, gracing the recipient with extraordinary forgiveness, life and salvation.  

Think of all that is invested in the candle lit, linen draped, Thanksgiving turkey-stuffing- cranberry-sweet potato-pumpkin pie with whipped cream topped table.   Do the Faithful find a kind of sacred soul-salivating hunger for the simple wine and often wafer-thin bread of the Mass that dismisses them with unseen forgiveness to share seen and rich peace? 
Advent 4  The Visit

Christmas is a time for friends and family to make trips by car, plane, train and bus to see family and friends.   The very first of these late Advent journeys was made by Mary to see her relative Elizabeth in the hill country.  This is perhaps the first of a number of trips Jesus makes up a hill or mountain and, of course, his earthly life will apex on one three decades later.

Liturgically, the celebration of this event is called The Visitation although it does ask the question as to who is doing the visiting.  Is Mary going to see her cousin and Zechariah or is it Jesus already beginning to visit more of this world.

The Gospels share much more about Jesus earthly ministry of some three years than it does of these early days of infancy and youth.  Are these early days of the new church year, Year of St. Luke, times for bearing Christ to others in the world, both those in low and high places?  Luther’s used an expression, was Christus trieben to say that the Scriptures and we with their message bear, carry, drive home, inculcate Christ.  In the latter days of December doings people will worry whether the mail or electronic messages will bring the last minute cards, greetings and invitations to their addressees, packages safely to doorsteps, the steps of family and friends home, gifts of food and surprise to neighbors and children’s eyes… but who will bear the good news of great joy that magnifies the Lord?  Who will share the rejoicing in the saving God, the blessed great things done for us, the holiness of the name of Jesus, the hunger filled, the proud and powerful fallen and the lowly lifted up? 
Advent 2 and 3  Year of St Luke (C)  John the Pre-Washer

One of the routines that many use, who can afford it and the regular, routine washing of clothing in general, is the use of a pre-wash.  

And here the lavabo before Christ is chaliced, a loaf in the manger, is John and his baptism of repentance.  First the “shout out” (sounds like the name of one of the spray containers we keep next to the washing machine) to filthy sinners, “Repent!”   “Repent the straightener, the flattener, the leveler is at hand.”

Advent in most parts of the world gets gunked up, frosted with sugared lights, dripping decorations and oozing ornamentation.  What if it was a time when the wilderness of the world was allowed to be seen… unfruitful trees growing up everywhere not as yard shrubs or limbs for strings of lights but like after a storm, fallen on roads, branches breaking windows and trunks opening roofs.  In childhood tales and stories, the woods are where the wolves, lions, snakes and boars roam and hunt.

The one who follows John is opening a path, clearing the threshing, lighting an unquenchable fire.  This is a season in which God washes the world for the coming of his Son who will need a virgin mother’s lips on her fingers to clean the milk from his which will  soon speak peace, a time for the coming of The One who will need linens for the soil of his humanity, who will require Joseph's calloused hands to support his first steps toward, in the fearful forest, one particular tree of our wrath and his good love.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Advent 2  Year of St Luke (C)  Benedictus

A good saying, bene-dictus, blessed Adventide!   Merry Four Fir-circled Weeks!   It doesn’t get said much.  No cards to carry Zeck’s waiting silent face or Elizabeth’s bulging joy.  No one arranges a small model first century Temple with a tiny plastic priest holding a match-tip size bit of incense to burn.  “He spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old that we would be saved….”  But of course, now the greeting is not seasonal holiday sounds but the mute wait of one whose child will be the last of the old prophets and the first of the new forth-tellers.  When the priest took in hand to write, to the witnesses’ astonishment, Zechariah perhaps inscribed the very first words—“His name is John”— of the New Testament canon.

Go before the Child, children, and say the good as in God the Most High and evangel-news and tender mercy and forgiveness.  Nights seem more powerful in the northern days of December, lengthening to their limit and allowing seasonal displays to feature our creativity in the face of our fear of mortality.  But each day is a dawn of God breaking upon us, guiding our feet into the way of peace.  Burn the incense, write, speak…

Advent 1  Year of St Luke (C)  Signage of the New Age

“There will be signs….”  And the signs are, “in the sun, moon and stars and on earth distress….”  Symptoms of distress, Luke the physician might conclude include, boils, fever, rash, seeping blood, belly pain, vomit, glazed eyes and confusion of speech.  Clues like the investigators find looking at the trail of human fluids, gun splatter, broken glass and overturned rooms.   It is not difficult to know that something is wrong, even in the best of times.  Help is needed, ears perk up to hear the sirens and flashing lights of rescue.  But look also at the trees that in some parts of the earth are barren and in more southern climates are budding and putting forth green.  God’s life is near not only as God always is, creating, in charge, willing and molding his way in power but also in the bulging belly of a young woman’s body swelling magnificently with God’s mercy.  Signs: caution, stop, yield, go on guard with lifted, enlightened hearts filled with the divine, “words which will not pass away.”   Pray now before the sign, four small pillars of light as posts about the straw bed upon which the fire of God’s incarnate forgiveness will descend.   

People speak of “heart healthy diets.”  The divine love that increases and abounds in the Sacraments strengthens our hearts in holiness with Christ’s blamelessness in his coming.  “Therefore with angels, archangels and all the company of the hosts and saints…,”  we thank God for the joy of these days together in the church.  

Pausing before either an empty creche or the boxed manger figures among the opened packages of wrapped ornaments and tangled, colored lights:  Signs sometimes stand in the depth of what they indicate.  “Deep water” may warn at drowning depth.  “High Voltage” can hang on the pole draped with such power.  The hay, a sign, will move and shift at the turning of time-bound eternity swaddled in humble obedience, commanding evil to stand still and fall in defeat.  
Christ the King

Revelation 1.6 says that the loving washing in Christ “the faithful witness and firstborn from the dead who is ruler over the kings of the earth has made us kings and priests to his God and Father. “  When faced with terrorism, even those with secret intelligence and advanced weaponry do not feel like they are in-charge kings.  When faced with cancer, few feel like they are kings much less healthy priests.  They feel trampled and trodden down, inescapably cornered by danger, disease and death.  But the promise is strong and true, the reality is that the Lord Jesus is Rex of all realms.   If the blood has covered, we are priests.  If the washing of his death has passed over us we are kings before Christ’s Father and our God.  Of course that first of all means that we also are under his rule since he is ruler of all the kings of the earth whether monarchs presumed by their own wealth and armies or whether potentates through the power of Christ’s cross-bound weakness.  The truth is, as Jesus told Pilate, “the kingdom of God is not from here,” but here it comes in the birth, life and death of the witness to the Father, Jesus, King of the Jews and and of all beyond— in belief.  (John 18. 33-37)