Monday, April 26, 2010

The Longing Way Home - Prologue


For a long time I've been thinking of writing a book on longing as an essential link to God. I even began writing it about a year ago and for several reasons postponed continuing it. Recently it occurred to me to start writing the book again but this time as my Blog on which successive chapters would be presented as Posts. I'm writing now to tell you I'm going to give that idea a try. Before I begin, I want to suggest, or perhaps warn you, that this means my Posts won't be any shorter and possibly could be longer.

So if what you want are short Posts, my writing is probably not for you and you can log on to other posts more to your liking. It also means that my purpose in writing is to share ideas and experiences about what I consider to be critical life and faith issues about the meaning of life from a religious or theological view. That means it won't necessarily be boring or tedious but neither will it be a quick, easy read. However, my hope and intent is that each Post it will be worth the time and thought it takes to be helped, stimulated, even inspired and blessed by what I write.

If so, stay with it and respond any way you find appropriate. If it isn't, your likely response will be to shut me down but I'd be grateful if you'd let me know why. One additional note about this effort to write a book as a Blog is that I want to blend personal memoir with spiritual reflection. I'm not sure if, or how, that will work but the point is to make the book incorporate my life experiences into my reflections and thoughts. Any comments about that are welcome.

The title of this Post is the proposed title of the book. I've started each of my Posts with a prayer. The book's Prologue, this first Post, is such a prayer.


A Prologue
O Holy One, Creator of all and everything,
when you first snapped unquenchable light,
scattering the glistening dust of it as far as forever,
white whirling scythes of galaxies cleaving the darkness,
O Lord you knew, didn’t you? Yes, you knew
that light would set us against our own darkness,
this insistent pelting, this dazzling inhaled air,
this silent pulsing energy would unleash longing’s urge
and pull our souls like sap, like slowly fermenting wine,
through cell, fin and claw, tail, thumb and tongue
until life became weeping, singing self-aware.

Of course, you knew that light would spin our longing,
would set creativity, imagining, climbing like vines
along the double-helix string of gene and promise;
that it would glisten our eyes with unflinching hope
and lump our throats at beauty we can scarcely bear;
that longing would be what life would wrap itself around
and by it we'd gradually discover wonder to be its truest guide.
Yes, at the genesis you knew, lest light be waste and life absent.
Longing is in us, rising red-warm as blood - you stirred it there.
It surges with wiser passion as day’s light slants and cools,
and gratitude turns insistent, longing to praise real as love.

Life’s autumn light is long and slow, as are the longings of age,
a slanting, not a blazing one, and so, clearer and more steady,
a gentler embrace for mind, heart, soul to more easily gather
to hear unspoken stories, hum unscored songs, see dim visions.
Longing leans to touch the thin veil 'tween known and unknown,
and sketches on the here what it senses of the “could be” there,
signals like the scent of a summer garden on a pitch-dark night.
The sin, if it be that, has always been failing to inhale, to attend,
to heed the undying light that agitates and complicates the dust,
that sigh-sings its secrets into the bud, tells its stories to the blood.
Now, out-back in autumn’s weary, browning yard the stubborn roses
make their last, determined witness to the whiff of beyond what is.
Mums, a weary, waning petaled congregation, lift their secret liturgy.
These scruffy yet mute sentinels still display the strange summons
of longing reaching toward the promise, even in the dimming light,
of a season yet to come, a greater beauty, a more glorious garden,
the sought of all seeking, author of its stories, composer of its songs,
the You who's call, like a mother's, ever lingers in the air to come home.

1 comment:

  1. Charis RobertsonMay 1, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    Hi Ted,

    I'm from Scotland, and stumbled upon Guerillas of Grace back in 2005 when living in Liberia, West Africa. It was quite the revelation! Since then I've used it loads in personal devotions and also in corporate worship times with the communities I'm part of - and thought I'd write and hopefully encourage you how much impact your thoughts & words have had!

    I now work with inner city young people, and your heart for the God of justice and mercy, mixed with a need for us to express our own sense of brokeness, is so helpful when approaching mission in my context.

    I've bought your books for numerous friends & family, and in turn they've bought it for other numerous people. My Grandmother (90) said "its like someone's putting down on paper exactly how I'm feeling". And she's captured my thoughts well...

    So, thanks for sharing your God-ponderings! And if you're ever in Scotland, there's many people who'd love to meet you, so please get in touch (

    Charis Robertson, Scotland