Saturday, March 31, 2012


A gardening friend once told me that a weed was simply a plant that was not wanted in a particular bed or plot. An extreme, if unlikely example: a rose would be a weed in a potato patch.

I am at a point where I accept most of the growth in my yard as equal — I have no emotional attachment to bermuda grass (it ain't naturnal to this region anyway). It's green stuff that grows, most of it gets mowed to be acceptable in this suburban environment. With any luck, that green stuff produces enough oxygen to balance out the damage done by the mower's internal combustion engine.

I'd like to think God looks at creation in the same way.

I like to believe there are no weeds in God's garden.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I Cor. 13

If I speak in human tongues
or the tongues of angels
but have no love,
I am a sounding gong
or clashing cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy
and knowledge of every hidden truth,
if I have faith enough to move mountains
but have not love,
I am nothing.
If I give everything I have to feed the poor
and hand over my body to be burned, 
but have not love,
I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind.
Love envies no one,
it is not snobbish.
Love is never rude, never selfish,
never quick to take offense
neither does it brood over injuries.
Love keeps no score of wrongs,
takes no pleasure in the sins of others
but delights in the truth.
Lover bears all things
believes all things
endures all things.

Love never fails.
Prophecies will cease;
tongues will be silent;
knowledge will pass away.
For our knowledge & our prophecy alike 
are partial,
and the partial vanishes when wholeness comes.

When I was a child, 
I spoke like a child;
I thought like a child;
I reasoned like a child;
but when I grew up
I put away childish things.
For now we see but puzzling reflections
as in a fun-house mirror;
but one day we shall see face to face.
My knowledge now is partial;
then it will be complete
as God's knowledge of me  is complete.
There are three qualities that last forever:
faith, hope, and love:
the greatest of these is love.

I found this as I was going through some old notebooks last night; it was written circa 1987.

I sat down with the Bible translations in my library (KJV, RSV, NAB,& Jerusalem) and picked out the phrases that seemed the most meaningful and/or felicitous. I'll confess I changed a few phrases for this transcription.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

NPR's Micropoetry Challenge

For the second year running, NPR is hosting a micropoetry competition during April. I wonder if I dare rise to that challenge.

If you watch the bottom of this page, you'll see my tweets - which are normally quite rare (my handle is @Jonah). However, for the season of Lent I have been observing a discipline of "Praying the Psalms". This has involved posting a 140 (or less) response to the psalm(s) appointed in the Revised Lectionary for the Morning Office. As much as possible, I try to include a phrase or an echo in my response.

The point being, I have maintained a discipline of daily tweeting. I've proved it's possible.

I greatly respect the work of Dave Bonta, who tweets a poetic impression of the world around his morning porch. He knows more nature than I do, and has more to observe than I do in my suburban environment. The standard Dave sets seems above my humble abilities.

Still, it's an interesting challenge. Would you take the challenge?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Your House of Light - Variorum

I can see the redbuds dancing
along the early misty streets
and I see the dogwood blossoms
gathered at my feet.
I can hear the young birds singing
with their youthful delight
At their place in your House of Light.
May I dwell in your house of light forevermore.

I can feel you walk beside me
under a canopy of leaves
your words are soft & subtle
as a gentle summer breeze.
Your breathvoice is sweet as honey;
your eyes are warm & bright:
that's how I see your House of Light.
May I dwell in your house of light forevermore.

When the farmers reap their harvest,
we hear the sermon of the loam;
and the barn is standing ready
for the horses coming home;
when the leaves explode in color
that gives my soulheart delight:
I know I live in your House of Light.
May I dwell in your house of light forevermore.

Now,Soon the sun will soon hang lower,
and the sharp crisp air draw us close.
My days will be build up like snow banks
and I hardly barely count the cost
for the turning of the seasons
have brought my soul 'round right:
within the halls of your House of Light.
May I dwell in your house of light forevermore.

Creative Commons License
House of Light by James A. Collins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Strange Encounter

Josie started attending my church about two weeks ago. I met her this Wednesday — she made a point of introducing herself after Evening Prayer. She mentioned that she's very shy, but wanted to meet me because I made an impression on her. Turns out, she's been sitting one or two pews behind me at church.

Well of course, my ego enjoyed that. We continued on to the dinner after the service, and sat with mutual friends. During the meal, she said that I made an impression on her because I was tall & lanky.

Now, I'm pretty clueless about when a woman is flirting with me. But, you can imagine the assumptions I leapt to from that piece of information.

After the meal, she told me she wanted to share the real reason I made an impression on her: "I could tell you were a spiritual person."

I think she just mistook my bald spot for a halo.