Insoluble Words (A Poem)

Insoluble words,
Unable to dissolve,
Lingering as
Well-worn permafrost.
Ready to be re-spoke here,
And re-said there,
Until one day,
Meaning becomes meaningless,
Because we’ve heard it all before.

–Richard Bryant

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King Juan Jakob Gingleheimer Smyth (A Poem)

Juan Jakob Gingleheimer Smyth

Juan Jakob Gingleheimer Smyth
Lived near the large oak tree,
In the southwest corner,
of the front yard.
He wore a crown,
To conceal his frown,
Which also meant,
One never saw,
His eyes or face,
Or the mouth he used to taste,
His favorite dish:
Flambéed macaw.
There he’d be,
In his oversized malaise,
Waiting for someone,
Perhaps even me,
To pass the macaw mayonnaise,
A jar he’d never see.

–Richard Bryant

We Are Praying for Peace in India and Pakistan

It is a tense time on the subcontinent. Kashmir, much like Northern Ireland, has been a hard place to live for those in both sides of a contested border. You know the scourge of ethnic violence, sectarian tensions, and terrorism. However, I need to tell you to keep calm and carry on without using nuclear weapons. You’ve got to stay calm. Talk to each other, listen to one another, and remember the words of the Mahatma, “Nobody wins in a nuclear war.” Gandhi didn’t say that exactly but you know it’s the kind of idea with which he’d agree. His widely attributed remark that “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” works well here. Retributive violence leads to debilitating consequences for the whole of humanity. When nationalism and faith become tools of destruction, harm, and oppression no one is better off.

Step back from the danger zone and take a deep breath. We are praying for you. Our little band of Christ followers in a place called Ocracoke believes in peace. We love the neighbors we have never seen in both India and Pakistan. Our lives are inextricably linked by everyday human experiences. We want the best for our children and families. Safe homes, schools, and communities are essential to people in Kashmir, Karachi, New Delhi, and Ocracoke. So this weekend in our church, we pray for peace, vision, and the ability to love when love seems distant.

As the great poet Rumi once said, “Let us raise our words, not our voice.” We raise you in prayer.

Blessings in the name of the God of Abraham,

Be with those in the middle,
Sandwiched between calls for violence and the desire for revenge,
Comfort those who are grieving,
May they know your presence,
Be with those in power,
Equip them with compassion and restraint,
May the silence be a time for listening,
May speaking be for understanding,
And may God’s will be done.
Amen

Richard Bryant

Waiting in the Dark

We wait for Christmas to come;
singing in the dark of night.
As expected as Christmas is, we never see it coming.
We are taken by surprise.
What is the light? Where is it from?
Christmas is a single light, recognizable from everything around it.
The light of Christmas is unmistakable. It can be nothing else.
This is Christmas.
The unopened day on the Advent Calendar is here and still beyond our reach.
Christmas, growing brighter and warmer as it draws closer.
The light is for all who see it, a gift to be shared.
No one owns the light.
The light simply is.
Christmas is the light which cannot be wiped away.
The darkness is overcome.

–Richard Bryant