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Author: h. renell

I am a poet, blogger, and Oregon resident.

Lighting the Way Home

The book of Genesis begins with a chaos of darkness. Then God hovered over the waters, created the light, and separated the light out of the darkness. And He saw it as good.

An angel of God blocks the Egyptians with a cloud of darkness on their side and a fiery light on the Israelite’s side. He sets the scene for a miracle using dark and light from the same cloud the night of their deliverance.

Ezekiel sees a valley of dry bones. The bones are so dry, no blood or marrow is inside them. Then God steps in, raises and breathes on them. He creates an army out of dead dry bones. He separates death from life.

Josiah shatters the idols of Judah. The darkness of Manasseh and his son Amon’s reigns, according to Halley’s Bible Handbook, obliterates the thought of God. Josiah separates the darkness of demons from the holiness of light.

Mary Magdalene looks into the tomb of Jesus, crying because His body is missing in action. She turns around and asks Him, where is her Lord’s body? She is focusing on the darkness of death until she hears His resurrected voice say her name, “Mary.”

The American colonies rebel against the darkness of British tyranny. A revolution ensues with a home-grown Continental army of soldiers. They are far outmatched by the most powerfully polished nation on earth. Fighting for the light and hope of freedom keeps the soldiers from giving in and giving up.

To rebuild a person, place, thing or idea, it starts with the death of the old and the resurrection of the new. As the Cambridge Dictionary defines it, it is “to build something again that has been damaged or destroyed.”

Our purpose is to work in keeping with the gifts and talents that God has given us to rebuild. We do our best, despite the obstacles, and leave the results to God. If we control the results, we invite distraction from starting new projects and invite an unholy manipulation of God’s work. Our projects fly to the destinations that God alone knows.

We bring to light Father’s business. Once we release our offering to the Lord, He uses every small and large offering to weave a tapestry of beauty. He weaves in the mistakes that are made along the way.

Rebuilding from a scale that incorporates both a worldly stage and individual lives, the work of our hands benefits ourselves and society by making us vessels of God’s love to each other. Stepping out in faith — be it personal, cultural, or political — we achieve God’s purposes. That was how the West was won and how it will be won again.


Cusp of the Cross

Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

When praying for the healing of our broken bodies and forgiveness of our sins, we usually cite Isaiah 53:5 (ESV):

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

One phrase struck me this year of our turmoil – for no one is untouched: upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace.

No one knows what the truth is. We write posts, articles, and podcasts to publish our opinions, trolling, news, encouragements, or propaganda. Confusion reigns even for those who try to do their best to find out the truth.

Our peace does not lie in the facts. God does not give any person the whole truth. He gives us His truth in what soldiers know as “on a need-to-know basis.”

Our peace lies in the hands of God — the peace that passes all understanding. He’s got this. He’s got the whole wide world in His hands.

And He sent His son on a cross to give it to us.


Celebrating Our Events

Photo by Donovan Reeves on Unsplash

During the dedication of the new Jerusalem wall, all the Levites throughout the land came to Jerusalem to assist in the ceremonies and to take part in the joyous occasion with their thanksgiving, cymbals, psaltries, and harps.
Nehemiah 12:27 TLB

Occasional poetry is, as the name suggests, poetry written for an occasion. The emotional range is wide: it can be celebratory or a time of grief. German writer Goethe (18th through the 19th century) wrote that occasional poetry was “the first and most genuine of all kinds of poetry.”

United States poet laureates are assigned the task of writing occasional poetry.

Though Robert Frost wrote The Gift Outright in 1942, he read it at President Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961. And although most Americans don’t think of The Battle Hymn of the Republic as an occasional poem, it is.

Nehemiah rebuilt the wall. And when it was finished, they celebrated.

Poets' Pavilion

Anchored In Dance

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,
Hebrews 6:19 NKJV

In Praise of Dancing
St. Augustine
I praise the dance, for it frees people
from the heaviness of matter
and binds the isolated to community.
I praise the dance, which demands everything:
health and a clear spirit and a buoyant soul.
Dance is a transformation of space, of time, of people,
who are in constant danger of becoming all brain,
will, or feeling.
Dancing demands a whole person, one who is
firmly anchored in the center of his life, who is
not obsessed by lust for people and things
and the demon of isolation in his own ego.
Dancing demands a freed person, one who vibrates
with the balance of all his powers.
I praise the dance.
O man, learn to dance, or else the angels in heaven
will not know what to do with you.

In my younger years, I danced in ballet and tap classes, and during college, I took a modern dance class. The pictures of me in a tutu and ballet slippers lay in a box with other photographs.

I still dance while doing the dishes or only to express my joy.

This expression, this dance — my Lord of the dance has sustained me, has been my anchor during the dark days of today.

Put on your ballet slippers, tap shoes, or whatever footwear you have (modern dance uses your bare feet) and express your joy in the Lord in an upside-down world.

Poets' Pavilion

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