The Phoenix Rises

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Another senseless shooting here at UNC Charlotte this week left families devastated. The student who tackled the gunman gave his life to save his classmates. The whole community is in mourning over the incident. Many turned out along the highway today as the young man was brought back to his hometown of Waynesville.

Rising from the ashes
the phoenix returns.
Bringing hope and strength
to all who hear
the tale of rejuvenation.
In this time of violence
destruction and mayhem,
personal devastation and loss
may seem to much to bear.
But, like the phoenix
life will return
And from the ashes
good will come.

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Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Open link night at d’Verse. Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

 

 

 

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Finding God

 

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Somewhere amid the rules and regulations
The desire for correctness
The literal interpretation….
Underneath it all we hope to find God
Buried in the guilt and shame
Of imperfection // fallenness
We lie…
Controlled by our fears
Manipulated by our insecurities
Underneath it all we hope to find God
In creeds and sacraments of blood and wine
In stories of suffering // blessing // and chosenness `
We struggle to make right our wrongs
Knowing that…
Underneath it all we hope to find God
Our prayers ascend on wings of faith
Hoping to find an opiate for our pain
A clearing and focused mind
That can see and feel that…
Underneath it all we hope to find God
We open our heart to redeeming grace
Finally realizing // it’s not what we do
Not what we say verbosely to others
It is in forgiving others // and ourselves
That we find love and acceptance
And underneath it all we find God

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Stain glass window from the WUM Church in Weddington, NC

Advent of Innocence

Advent Painting - Piercing the Darkness

Advent of Innocence
Today is the first Sunday of Advent in the Christian Faith. Emmanuel, God with us, was the prophesy of the promised Messiah. A time when God himself would take on the human embodiment to show us what it would be like to live and love in a life contradictory to the norms and darkness of the day. It is interesting to me that the Messiah came to us in the innocence of a tiny baby. The future life and sacrifice of Jesus brought forgiveness, grace, and peace to all who choose to believe.

The Word made flesh
Advent of innocence brings
Light piercing darkness

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Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Shared with the Frank Tassone Haikai Challenge. Join us at: https://frankjtassone.com/2018/12/02/haikai-challenge-63-12-2-18-advent-and-or-hanukkah-haiku-senryu-haibun-tanka-haiga-renga/

Birds Give Me Hope

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Birds Give Me Hope

When the world around us spins out of control

Feeling all is lost // feeling fear’s on a roll

Just look out the window // watch the birds

Coming and going without a word

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Red ones // blue ones // yellow and brown

Eating seeds from the feeder // as some eat off the ground

Songs always follow as they sit on a limb

Raising their voices // like they’re singing a hymn

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Watching out for each other with a harsh warning call

Knowing danger to one is danger to all

Some birds are pests // just like us humans

Predators and freeloaders always fuming

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But in the end // they all live as one

In their woodland communities when the day is done

Continuing on with nests full of young ones

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They have no king //no queen nor president

But they all live together each one is a resident

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Too bad we can’t live like birds // caring for our own

Focusing on what’s really important // letting life go on

In the end they seem to realize //there is a place for all

To live // to grow // to follow their call

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Take hope from the birds //learn a great lesson

Peace and harmony comes // when we stop the aggression

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Risking It All

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Bing Photo

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I think of  all those who left family and friends to travel here, in perilous conditions, for the chance of having a new and better life. Some came for adventure, some for gain, and others for religious freedom.  I wrote this poem about my Great Grandfather’s family coming to America from Switzerland. On that voyage we are told they lost their youngest daughter. Details are unknown, so I wrote this fictional poem detailing what I thought might have happened. My Grandfather was only six years old at the time. It really makes me appreciate the blessings I have because of their choice to risk it all and come to America. I thought I would repost this as a reminder to us all.

  The Long Sad Voyage of 1882
       (Goodbye Little Sister)
Ships tall masts reaching high to the sky
Awesome for a boy of six just wondering why
His family packed up and left their home.
Heading for a new world they travel alone
Brothers left behind grown and married.
Younger and sisters stay with the family,
Watching the Alps fade as the shadows wane.
To the port of Le Havre floating down the Seine.
Ready to board this giant bucket of timber
Excitement rising trying to remember
All of his friends left behind in Basel
New adventures unseen in this perilous travel
Noise and activity surrounds them all
White sails slide up and begin to unfurl
Down to steerage on the ships second level
The Roth family finds a place to settle.
Into the briny dark seas they sail
To New York Harbor and where liberty hails.
As the week drags on the voyage is rough
Young Christian and sisters find sleeping is tough
The food is bad, unlike cooking back home
The water in barrels kept from the rats’ roam.
But somehow this packed and unsanitary condition
Made some folks sick with dysentery emissions.
Little sister was one whose resistance was lacking.
As the days dragged on her fever not slacking
Worried mother and father prayed for God’s backing.
Little sister got worse there was nothing to do
As her fever raged on everyone knew.
Late one night while everyone slept
Little sister passed on our little angel had left.
O how we cried and mourned this great loss
Little sister had died before we’re across.
The captain came by early that dawn
Saying sadly, “She’s gone, now we must send her on.”
The day was spent in tears and sad wails
As the orange sun was setting we bid our farewells.
Wrapped in a blanket lowered into the swell
Into the briny blue she fell.
With prayers and weeping the sadness abounds
Young Christian stood watching as folks gathered round,
Little sister was gone for her t’was too late,
Wondering if he might be next for this sad fate.
On reaching New York the emigrants unloaded
Ellis Island was crowded each family recorded
Christian and family moved on to Ohio
With promise of hope always held high.
Words still to come reflect how it should be,
“Give me your tired your poor yearning to be free”
Give me your sad you distraught still counting the cost
Seeking religious freedom in a land unknown
Where Freedom and Liberty stand alone!

I am Surrounded

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Christians around the world are celebrating Good Friday and remembering the suffering sacrifice of Jesus for the sins of the World. The hope that arises out of the crucifixion and the resurrection on Sunday is that there is hope an life beyond this life. People of faith know that death is not the end and when this physical body is gone the spiritual soul returns to God who gave us life. For generations our forefathers have believed and died in faith that they will continue on living in the presence of God and whatever that entails.  This Bible passage from Hebrews 12 speaks of them as heroes of faith. I have taken the liberty to paraphrase this expression into a song I wrote some time ago.

I Am Surrounded

I am surrounded by the Saints gone before

By the angels in heaven and God on His Throne

By His holy son Jesus and the ancients of old

I am surrounded in His praise ever more

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I’ll throw off what hinders… the sins that drag me down

Run the race set before me… I’ll endure for the crown

I’ll fix my eyes on Jesus… the source of my faith

I’ll see how He suffered… how He took my place

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I will not grow weary… I know I must not lose heart

For Jesus my Savior… I’ll gladly do my part

Now I’ve come to Mount Zion… City of the Living God

To the Church of the First Born… To be cleansed by His blood

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I’m happy in Jesus… by his grace I am free

His spirit lives in me… Awesome power I see

When my life here has ended… To that City I’ll rise

To sing with the angels… in that heavenly choir

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(For) I am surrounded by the Saints gone before

By the angels in heaven and God on His Throne

By His holy son Jesus and the ancients of old

I am surrounded in His praise ever more

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Hebrews 12 Paraphrase DLR

Vs.9-18-04 & 9-1-11  NIV

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

 

 

Charcoal Remains

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Charcoal Remains

Devastation burns its way into my soul

How can I rebuild from these ashes my life

Everything’s up in smoke only charcoal remains

How can I survive this intense pain and loss

Where do I go from the depths of despair

My canvas of life lies before me

Charcoal a reminder to sketch a new picture

I work on that sketch and paint in days to come

A life full of color and beauty all around

Letting seeds of hope back in I paint

Wiping away the charcoal no trace of smoke

A paradigm shift from the life of fire and devastation

Charcoal remains but only for sketching

Bright dreams of hope live once more

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Paintings: Dwight L. Roth