Whenever people confess Jesus as Lord, we are proclaiming that ISIS is not. The US is not. The threat of death is not the greatest power in our lives. We bow in submission to Jesus because we believe in a force more powerful. This is, in short, what the Bible calls “good news.”

- Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove in Acting Liks A State: ISIS, the US, and Jesus as Lord 

David’s Prayer of Praise

O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel,
may you be praised forever and ever.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty.
Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord
and this is your kingdom.
We adore you as the one who is over all things.
Wealth and honour come from you alone,
for you rule over everything.
Power and might are in your hand,
and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.

O our God, we thank you
and praise your glorious name!
But who am I, and who are my people
that we could give anything to you?
Everything we have has come from you,
and we only give you what you first gave us!

We are here only for a moment,
visitors and strangers in the land
as our ancestors were before us.
Our days on earth are like a passing shadow,
gone so soon without a trace.

… I know, my God, that you examine our hearts
and rejoice when you find integrity there.
You know I have done all this with good motives,
and I have watched your people give their gifts
willingly and joyously.

O Lord, the God of our ancestors
Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,
make your people always want to obey you.
See to it that their love for you never changes.

- 1 Chronicles 29:10-18

Two friends of mine got married this weekend on the Ohio – Kentucky line and in honour of my first time in Kentucky, love, and a wedding in a library, I thought it appropriate to post a Wendell Berry poem.1375283_10154560326230597_3050630246681434823_n

The Country of Marriage
by Wendell Berry

I.

I dream of you walking at night along the streams
of the country of my birth, warm blooms and the nightsongs
of birds opening around you as you walk.
You are holding in your body the dark seed of my sleep.

II.

This comes after silence. Was it something I said
that bound me to you, some mere promise
or, worse, the fear of loneliness and death?
A man lost in the woods in the dark, I stood
still and said nothing. And then there rose in me,
like the earth’s empowering brew rising
in root and branch, the words of a dream of you
I did not know I had dreamed. I was a wanderer
who feels the solace of his native land
under his feet again and moving in his blood.
I went on, blind and faithful. Where I stepped
my track was there to steady me. It was no abyss
that lay before me, but only the level ground.

III.

Sometimes our life reminds me
of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing
and in that opening a house,
an orchard and garden,
comfortable shades, and flowers
red and yellow in the sun, a pattern
made in the light for the light to return to.
The forest is mostly dark, its ways
to be made anew day after day, the dark
richer than the light and more blessed,
provided we stay brave
enough to keep on going in.

IV.

How many times have I come to you out of my head
with joy, if ever a man was,
for to approach you I have given up the light
and all directions. I come to you
lost, wholly trusting as a man who goes
into the forest unarmed. It is as though I descend
slowly earthward out of the air. I rest in peace
in you, when I arrive at last.

V.

Our bond is no little economy based on the exchange
of my love and work for yours, so much for so much
of an expendable fund. We don’t know what its limits are–
that puts us in the dark. We are more together
than we know, how else could we keep on discovering
we are more together than we thought?
You are the known way leading always to the unknown,
and you are the known place to which the unknown is always
leading me back. More blessed in you than I know,
I possess nothing worthy to give you, nothing
not belittled by my saying that I possess it.
Even an hour of love is a moral predicament, a blessing
a man may be hard up to be worthy of. He can only
accept it, as a plant accepts from all the bounty of the light
enough to live, and then accepts the dark,
passing unencumbered back to the earth, as I
have fallen tine and again from the great strength
of my desire, helpless, into your arms.

VI.

What I am learning to give you is my death
to set you free of me, and me from myself
into the dark and the new light. Like the water
of a deep stream, love is always too much. We
did not make it. Though we drink till we burst
we cannot have it all, or want it all.
In its abundance it survives our thirst.
In the evening we come down to the shore
to drink our fill, and sleep, while it
flows through the regions of the dark.
It does not hold us, except we keep returning
to its rich waters thirsty. We enter,
willing to die, into the commonwealth of its joy.

VII.

I give you what is unbounded, passing from dark to dark,
containing darkness: a night of rain, an early morning.
I give you the life I have let live for the love of you:
a clump of orange-blooming weeds beside the road,
the young orchard waiting in the snow, our own life
that we have planted in the ground, as I
have planted mine in you. I give you my love for all
beautiful and honest women that you gather to yourself
again and again, and satisfy–and this poem,
no more mine than any man’s who has loved a woman.