Poetry 020: Bathsheba

I have made a covenant with my eyes

Job

 

A few lines musing on the root of lust. 

It’s strange that I would wish I hadn’t
raised my head from the soft pillow.
For maybe I this madness wouldn’t
have ingested from the window.
In slumber I’d my thoughts so ardent
Kept concealed and winnowed.

And so I’ve lived in persistent fear
of that day when the Lord would come,
for the cool – once an oasis near –
now burns my parched tongue.
And his words – once songs to my ear –
the noose from which life hung.

If love lived in a hunger unquenched,
and lust was a drowning thirst,
Then merry many sweet fruits untouched
would have kept us with the first.
And the words he placed to stay the tears,
would have worked to stay the hearse

© Denis Adide 2011

Once he saw her, he was lost. Two people lost their lives, two had their lives changed and three relationships were broken. Bathsheba, like eve, is not to blame.

The Service

My sister asked me, as we drove to church on Remembrance Sunday, if there was going to be a third world war. I responded by saying that if there was that there definitely wouldn’t be a fourth – misquoting someone. My wife cut an eye at me and reassured my sister that there wouldn’t be a third world war because it was something that no one would benefit from. It seemed a good response for my sister as she stilled; I was troubled by it. If the reason for a cessation of arms is a selfish one rather than a social one then is peace really a reality. I suppose it is one of those things that you have to accept when it comes rather then analyze. What is clear though is that there is a deep lament within humanity for rest.

I wonder what my Sister will say to my children, or my children to hers, about Rememberance Sunday?

Lines written after the service

I could hear the children making noise from the annex
as everyone else stood in the moments of silence.
Inside I chuckled in the realization that for the most part
the future has a way of, at it’s inauguration, forgetting the past

© Denis Adide 2011

Poetry 019: The Seat

I often wondered if the world in darkness shone for itself. Maybe it is we, who look but never see, that are blind.

D. Adide

The Seat

A poem about a blind poet

Seated, he heard the foreign sounds
Of passing cars, of children, of hounds,
Of planes sailing through the clouds
Of silent moments, and of crowds.
The wind through the leaves whistled
The bamboo heaved along with the thistles
Distant worlds in torrents neared
But window blinds blocked out the mounds

Seated, he thought to find the nouns
For subtle smiles, for tickles, for frowns
For faces floating from the downs,
through greens, through forests, and through towns.
Deep within old cinders glistened
He strained his heart so it would listen
And the world without in torrents neared
But window blinds blocked out the mounds

© Denis Adide 2011

Psalm 137

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever”

George Orwell

Life can seem unfair. Things can look bad.

1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept 
when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

 

When the Psalmist writes, Israel is in captivity. The Babylonians have come in and taken them into slavery. This was a situation they knew they would only find themselves in if they were collectively disobedient. Being right with God equaled being In Israel and worshipping in Jerusalem. Being rejected by God equaled captivity.

To be a Jew then meant to be set aside for God. To be chosen away from the rest of the world, to be God’s special people. To be rejected by God meant loosing identity, it meant loosing their sense of significance; and loosing their land. And to make matters worse, the Babylonians mocked them and asked them to sing songs about God.

As Christians – God’s chosen people – living in today’s world, the boot on the human face, it is hard to feel constantly connected to God, Let alone praise him. The sense of God’s absence, or what we perceive to be his passiveness is magnified. With all the power at his disposal, why is it that people die of hunger, children get abandoned, siblings become strangers, and divorces happen. Fathers reject sons, loved ones pass away, heartbreak and loneliness are commonplace even within the church. Meanwhile thieves get away, embezzlers get rich, and power stays with the corrupt. And at times corrupts the true.

 4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD
while in a foreign land?

Well first thing is to follow the psalmist and remember Jerusalem.

“They defeated the evil one by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony”

Revelations 12:11

Last time I focused on the ‘word of their testimony’ part of this verse as an urge to us for honesty with each other, sharing the moments of God’s blessing and intervention in our lives. This time I focus primarily on the ‘blood of the lamb’ part of this verse. The first thing this speaks to me about is that God didn’t let the evil one prevail. Even from genesis where sin has caused mans separation from Eden (the place of unity with God), within the curses of separation is a promise. Of one whose heel will stamp on the head of the serpent.

The problem of the world is the human beings within it. Adam and eve with the freedom that God out of his love gave them, for pride and selfishness turned away from him. What we see and experience are the accumulated effects of this same pride and selfishness over the span of man’s reign.

The solution to the world comes from the God who made it and them. This is the Good news, that God has not left the world – and us – in the state that we are in. That there will be an End, which will in fact be a beginning for perpetual joy and fellowship, and deep intimacy with Father. In fact with Christ, this end has begun.

 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only begotten son, that whoever believed in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

   may my right hand forget its skill.
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.

Remember that God has a plan. And that there will be an end to injustice – the boot kicking the face will be stopped. There will be an end to pain, to sorrow, to rejection, to insecurity, to sickness and to loneliness. There will be a beginning to life, to joy, to peace, to reconciliation, and to freedom.

The Psalmist says.

“happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.”

But does this mean we can’t complain about how things currently are? At times I’ve found, that being a Christian magnifies the sorrow of the situation. Knowing how good things were or could be, or will be (in our case) makes how things are sometimes more painful. For instance: I pray for the health of my non-Christian friends because the thought of them dying without ever knowing the love of God through Jesus is difficult to deal with. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to actually loose a loved one before they knew God. Or even just loose a loved one. I haven’t spoken to my father in months. Knowing God and his love for me, amplifies the desire to be loved by my father and increases my pain at his silence. These things make some of my conversations with God extremely difficult.

I remember the first time I spoke to one of my friends (he was not a Christian then) about God, he swore at God. Life had been so hard on him that the thought of God loving him didn’t make sense. And a God who seemed to stand by while everything bad took place in his life wasn’t worthy of praise but on the contrary – to my friend – should be cursed. I stepped back because I thought lightning would strike him and was a little shocked when it didn’t. What actually happened was a slow resilient hug from heaven. He was a Christian in the space of months and still is today.

9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.

This is the anguish of a true complaint. The sorrow of the situation expressed. We all want some sort of retribution and the psalmist is merely asking for what was done to Jewish children to be done to their captors. The law of an Eye for an Eye. The problem with this law is that if we call for it then we have to live by it. And by the same law that the psalmist condemns he is condemned: the Israelites wouldn’t be in captivity if they hadn’t disobeyed God and the wages of sin – disobeying God – as we all know is death. So having been forgiven, or even praying for forgiveness, we are left to wrestle with forgiving others. Turning the other cheek is difficult.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t complain. Knowing the end, knowing Jesus should usher us into freedom not into bondage. Paul says “there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love” and that God’s “grace is sufficient for us”. This means that we can come boldly before God with our deepest pains’ deepest anguish and darkest laments knowing that the father – thanks to Jesus – understands. And we know this because on the cross, in the darkness, in the loneliness  where he who was perpetually in a relationship was separated from his family and himself, and was being mocked by us; the people he was suffering to save. Jesus, feeling abandoned by his father, complained.

“Elohi, Elohi, Lamma Sabbach thani”

“My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me”

Jesus more than us, understood God’s plan for humanity. He even knew the glory that he would receive after he resurrected. That didn’t stop him crying out to his father. And when he died, the curtain that meant Jerusalem was the only place where we could find God was split in two. We were given the right by his blood to come before God as sons and not criminals.

So… take a moment.

Be Still and Know!

….

Feel Free to in comment or query.

The Beautiful Game

I had thought, moving to High Wycombe would mean the death of my footballing and the beginning of that ever looming belly. Grumpily I had complained about the lack of places to exercise as well as the shrinking drive to jog. I think it was out of a mix between Pity and ‘I have to stop him winging’ that my wife looked up football in High Wycombe, sending me an email with the relevant clubs and contact details. Sheepishly I said an almost tearful farewell to my London Club.

I have played a lot of football games, been a part of many teams. So today’s games weren’t supposed to be any different. The routine of working through training, patiently waiting for the next game and the chance to play was something I was already okay with. But something different happened today. There was a sense of peace that almost overwhelmed me when we all stood still for the minute after praying. Praying!. What a thing, to involve God in something so personal, so fun. That on top of the prospect of two football matches on the same day just made it dreamy. Granted there was the occasional swearing and a possible fight in the friendly but that was more than compensated for by the goals scored.

Sitting on the sideline is never pleasing. Watching football makes my feet itch so being kitted out and waiting was almost torture. Long story short, with 20 minutes left the substitution was made and 15 minutes late I was on the score sheet.

Good start Den. Good game St Andrews.

I leave you with this piece I wrote a while back that I think sums up today.

The Beautiful Game

My feet tingle as I wake, breakfast awaits
the golden sun like succulent bait
causes my heart, alive, to salivate.

The grass is greener now,
Winter’s slow howl makes
for the weekend a softened brow.

The slow ticking clock – a tease –
as I set my sights on my pilgrimage,
with thoughts on the soft breeze.

I know as in the forgotten night’s dream
reamed into morning, the greens
will welcome me again.

© Denis Adide 2010

http://www.teamstats.net/sacfc/

Complex, Intricate, Beautiful, Designed

“Oh, was there ever sailor free to choose,

That didn’t settle somewhere near the sea?”

Rudyard Kipling

I’ve tried hard to find a sort of niche from which to emerge from, but the thing keeps eluding me. When I attempt to rest on academic thinking and writing, I find a creative surge emerging within it – ruining the edifice from its foundations. When I try to find space within my creativity, my philosophical tendencies emerge and create such great hurdles and wind breaks so as to almost choke the continuity of my minds processes. When I return to reason and Logic, faith emerges and overturns all the senses of certainty from which I first embarked. Finally I find myself a sailor on a boat in a raging sea with no land or light house in sight.

I suppose this is what I get for trying to express myself as a sense making sentient. The most annoying part of it all is that my heart always knew that my place of rest wouldn’t be in any sort of rooted position. Rather that I emerge in routes through different anchors. Rhizomic then my expression will be: peppered with different windows into each of the various places I try to call home: Complex, Intricate, Beautiful, Designed.