On the Heart


Is there something on the heart
That is crushing hope and joy
Do you see the City miss
Things that simply lift a friend.
Are we all so busy fretting
Where this virus plague will end
That we fail in common courtesy
Neither empathy employ.
It is easy in the Spirit
“Is it time now with that one?
Father give me some direction
That I might extol your Son
That I might lift high His Gospel
To a dry and doubtful one.”
But no other glorious purpose
Fits the need these fearful days
Like the calm and care of Jesus
And His hopeful, healing ways.


The Target, Yes Attainable



Bearing with me through all these years

Speaking rich hope, but many my fears

Yours is a loving-kindness matchless I’m sure

Yours is a mercy impartial and pure.

God will there come a day I give you joy?

Cleaned up and thanking you, this humbled boy

Won’t come from grim resolve, must be by Grace

Mould me, enfold me, disclosing Your Face.

Bells of Peace

Jean Francois Millet, 1857 – “Angelus”

A friend has sent me a wonderful little book entitled “The Music of Silence” by David Steindl-Rast, Benedictine Monk.

It examines the portioning of each day into episodes of peculiar significance consistent with the stages of the Gregorian chants, made regular exercise in the monastic life.

At the Sixth Hour Chant (Sext – Noon) the author reflects on a story concerning the induction of a certain Zen Buddhist Abbot in New York. In the midst of the most solemn  portion of the service the Abbot’s wrist watch went off, sounding noon. His response to the gathering was very direct, “That’s my watch, and it is no accident. I have resolved at the noon hour, wherever I am and whatever I am doing to stop, reflect and pray for peace for a world that needs it.”

In the moment that followed the large gathering remained quiet and prayerful as the leader had suggested. An unforgettable “now” in the passing of time.

Author David reflected:

“I have told the story of the Abbot’s installation many times, and I always find that people are eager to help revive this custom. Now, all over the world, people are praying at high noon for peace, as we have done in the monastery for hundreds of years. How beautiful it would be to hear bells and gongs from famous shrines ring out peace on radio and television at high noon.”

Instead, regrettably, our communities are full of adults focusing on violent sports, wrangling politicians, nuclear debates, survivor celebrities and striving merchandisers; our children are lost in games of monstrous conflict and mayhem and tales of wizardry and domination.

Oh come Prince of Peace to settle the Tempest.

As the Churches Re-open…

There will be many cleanliness, traffic control and distancing issues. Joyous song with masks on? Nope.

Recording the names of all people present.

The awkwardness of “don’t touch” with people we have missed for months.

Who gets to enter and who gets turned back at the door? The Premier has presently allowed a gathering of no more than 30% of normal seating capacity.

Anything done additionally in cars in the parking lot?

Certainly “testimony time ” will be filled with many Covid 19 stories and adventures.

We shall see how things develop. It’s a good start. Ready now…a collective sigh of relief.

And let us not ease up on valuable online ministry options. They have proved novel and exciting, allowing also for comments and exchange. Remember how this helps seniors, shut-ins, hurting ones and curious auditors checking out “Church”.

On the other side of all this I see a new vibrancy, expectancy and exciting novelty in our churches “re-formed”. Let it be so. Certainly there has been a lot of unshaven and unadorned prayer, scripture and Gospel music brightening the dens in our homes. Now comes the applied science and art as lights come out from beneath baskets.





This one up

That one down

The tension felt

All over town.

And Facebook

Sparking with contempt

No pausing first for

What was meant.

Just come out

On the winner side.

It’s easy distanced

Filled with pride.

And what we lose

Is empathy.

A gracious bent for

You before me.

And listening dies

While lies bear fruit.

We hate, we laugh

We judge to boot.

Oh come Sweet Spirit

Show the way

For “social” media

Just ain’t today.


The Place of Desire


Ever been to a manastery?
I did once, spring 2016
Mepkin Abbey, near Charleston
Visiting friends Anthony and Jody.
Wonderful day we had
Through the old city
The battery, the buggies
Robinson Island. Poe.
Exquisite seafood near the jetty.
Often hurricane visited.
Gators in lowland marshes.
Sparkling wavelets from Atlantic.
Container shipyards
(Where Anthony used to deliver
Before illness.)
Then, much too late
To Mepkin Abbey.
Mostly closed for the day
But the luscious greenery
Geckoes, groves.
Jody and I left the car
Anthony stayed behind (praying?)
Pathway took us to
A Jesus spot.
Statue of the Christ
Tenderly cradling a lamb.
Took several snaps
For posterity.
Later that evening
Anthony reviewed the images:
“Doug, Look here…
Around that shepherd statue
Some sun-dog rainbow portions.
Two o’clock and eight o’clock.”
He often caught hold
Of things like that.
God in the happenstance.





The people are frightened

They look for a change

‘A black man been strangled

A white cop’s quiet rage.’

The victim a martyr?

Not quite people say.

But that won’t stop riots

Throughout USA.

Now buildings are burning

And businesses gone

The fires and broken glass

The pain just goes on.

‘Shame on all white oppressors’

The cry in the streets

But skin colour lost from view

As Hate lies and cheats.

It’s more about justice

And empathy’s task

‘Why do my kids get stopped more

While white brats walk past?’

In wisdom just sit down

To talk about fair

To talk about decency

To pause, clear the air?

This now must come forward

Giving reason a say

Giving “pursuit of happiness”

A chance still today.