National Day of Prayer 2020

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“We’ll pray for you”…. “We will keep you in our prayers”
Seems a meager token in the presence of such loss.
In the face of Covid-19 do prayers get through?
Seems more a roll of the dice… a lucky toss…
where some will win and some will lose.
The winners say their prayers got through;
Losers leave the faithful wondering why?
The scriptures say, “If you will humble yourself
and pray, I will hear …and heal your land.”
Is the key in the humbling more than the praying?
Pray for peace… become a peaceful citizen
We will pray for you… I will be there for you
So sorry for you loss… what can I do to help
Prayer is not answers, it is a reshaping of our minds

Today, Frank Hubney at d’Verse asked us to write a fourteen line poem of our choice. Since today is the National Day of Prayer, I decided to take a look at prayer and what it means in my understanding. You are welcome to agree or disagree. Come join us at: https//dversepoets.com

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Call to Prayer

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Why do we wait till crisis comes
When fear sets in and the body grows numb
To raise our hearts and voice in prayer
Calling to God // now made aware
And why do we think our begging and pleading
Will now be heard by Almighty God’s heeding
As folks are dying and we are reeling
Our invincible life precariously careening
Prayer is not the magic wand // making all serene
Nor the serpent on the pole to look upon for healing
God is not simply at your beck and call
Now that you have need and life’s about to fall
Crisis makes all aware that God has always been there
From everlasting to everlasting // though we never gave a care
Prayer does not bring OUR answers in time of despair
But rather strength and endurance to face all that’s there
So weep not for the grateful dead now no longer in pain
Rather weep for the soul who’s life has not yet waned
And for healthcare workers in the midst of crashing towers
Who find strength to help others in their final hours

Painting: Dwight L. Roth

Posting this for d’Verse open link night…

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Expectations and Faith

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After seventy-two years of observing the way Faith and Expectation works, I have come to the conclusion that we put way more expectations on our faith than the writers of our scriptures ever intended. The following is something I have been mulling around in my mind for a couple of years. This is the best way I can express what I personally have experienced. You may see it differently and that is OK. To me faith is simple and easy to understand. Many have made it complicated and demanding, filled with unrealistic expectations.

I’ve prayed but had no answers;
Believed in miracles // still waited my turn;
Had faith to move mountains
but the mountains remained;
Read the promises of comfort in times of trouble…
Believed I would find peace in the storm;
Yet saw only blackness and overwhelming sorrow.
Believed Jesus would carry me when I could not go on;
Instead, fell flat on my face crying to God for help.
Discovered there is a time for everything under heaven;
Everything in due season // sometimes sooner // sometimes later.
So, when you pray don’t expect expected answers;
You will usually wait for things to take their course.
Don’t lay on God expectations beyond what might happen;
Leave the miracles for the unexpected occasion.
Don’t let your faith become a denial of reality;
Most illnesses take their course // healing may or may not come;
Most troubles will blow over in due time with scars to show;
And yes, you will feel scared to death through it all.
So, hang on for a wild ride on this roller coaster we call life;
And, if in the end we are blessed with a loving caring family
and friends //consider them a blessing from God.
They will sustain us and walk with us
through the valley of the shadow of death.
If not, we will endure to the end…
When our spirit rises to rejoin our creator.

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It is interesting to me how different most prayers are from this example Jesus gave his disciples!

Matthew 6:9 –
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11
Give us today our daily bread.
12
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one…

NIV – Gateway Bible.com

Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Faster Than Lightyears-2

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What is faster than the speed of light?
186,000 miles per second;
Nothing in this physical realm;
But, there is another paradigm;
Traveling faster than light.
It is the mind /spirit within
Taking us places in an instant;
Virtual reality may just be the thing…
Just like Dr. Who or Beam me up Scotty.
Imagine the top of a mountain
A rocky flowing mountain stream
The smile of a baby
A vision of your parent who has passed on.
The mind is a wonderful entity
Transporting us to the depths of the sea
To the outer limits of the universe
To see love in an instant
To touch the mind of God
A prayer // a touch of the divine.
Just imagine a heaven beyond description
Or, the pain of a hell already experienced.
The spirit takes us inward to see who we are;
To remember our childhood vivid and clear
Just like it was yesterday;
Time flashes before our eyes, they say
All in an instant…
All beyond lightyears;
All beyond anything we have yet to imagine
The mind is instant gratification
… or torment!

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Shedding Religion… Finding God

The older I get the simpler life becomes
I feel sort of like a tree shedding it bark
End of life // is not too far in the future;
makes me stop and think…
“What is really important and true?”
The older I get
the more focused faith becomes;
Moving beyond religious trappings
guilt, fear, and control;
(Knowing those
were nailed to the cross for me.)
Understanding God’s grace in my life
brings me peace;
Knowing I am blessed
to have lived this long
in good health.
I let go of all those things
I once felt obligated to do;
Understanding that the metaphors,
taken so literally by some,
Are there to guide me along the way…
not to prove right or wrong.
I let go of “streets paved with gold”
and “mansions over the hilltop…”
knowing God is Spirit;
No need there
of physical things
we hold so dear.
I believe the image of God
is not flesh and blood
nor what I put on or take off,
but rather an attitude of spirit
that is loving and compassionate.
I came to the realization
that all those prayers I prayed
demanding results
never got past the ceiling.
I realize prayer is meant
to change me // not them
Prayer brings me closer to God,
as I focus on my needs
and the needs of others.
Infomercial religion has no appeal to me
…nor or to God…
There is no place for peddling the gospel
for personal gain…
nor to exert control over the faithful.
Hamster cage religion
leaves me frustrated
and going in circles;
Faith and action bring a feeling
of authenticity and connection.
Church should be uplifting…
an encouraging fellowship
full of good news
connecting us with God
showing us how to love as Jesus loved.
To me the Bible is my guide …
not my God…
words of truth to live by.

Photo:  Dwight L. Roth

Are You Really There?

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When life begins to implode on you, it is tempting to begin questioning everything you believed. When prayers are not answered and God seems absent, it really sends you for a loop! This is what happened to me many years ago.  In time, all worked out and life got back on track. It was during this time that I wrote this poem.
My God… MY God… Why Have I Forsaken You?
“I will never leave you nor forsake you”
This promise I had learned
Then my God why am I forsaking you
Are you really there?
Is there method to all the madness
or are you just a good feeling
that comes and goes
to those who wish it so
You seem so far away
Too distant to hear my cry
Too removed to feel my pain
Answers don’t come life goes on
mixed with tragedy trouble and heartache
I have lost all hope
My life sits on the edge there’s no one here for me
No one to share the pain
Still I pray…
Are you really there?

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Photo Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, HA asked to write a confessional poem that revealed something of ourselves that we may or may not normally have written. I wrote this poem many years ago when, at mid-life, I went through a time when everything in my life seemed to be falling apart!

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

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

All Alone

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Many years ago I went through a very difficult time in my life. Everything was turned upside down and I did not know which way to turn. Nothing helped. It was during this time that I felt like Job…lost and alone. So, like Job I questioned God. asking why I did not find help in my time of need. I, unlike Job, did not get a scathing reply, but in time things did level out and life was as good as it ever was before.

WHERE WERE YOU GOD?
WHERE WERE YOU GOD // WHEN I NEEDED YOU MOST
WHEN MY LIFE COLLAPSED AND MY LIFE TURNED BLACK?

GOD // WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I EXPECTED THAT YOU CARED
WHEN I BELIEVED // I TRUSTED // AND THOUGHT YOU HEARD?

WHERE WAS THE PROMISED PEACE OF MIND…
THAT THROUGH DIFFICULT TIMES I DID NOT FIND?

WHEN I WALKED THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH
I FEARED EVERY EVIL // I FELT ALL THE PAIN

WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I CRIED OUT IN PAIN
WHEN I PLEADED // I BEGGED // AND CALLED YOUR NAME?

WHEN I HURT SO BAD I WISHED I COULD DIE,
WERE YOU THERE TO SEE // DID YOU HEAR MY CRY?

I COULD NOT TELL // I FELT LEFT TO FATE…
WITH NO WAY TO HELP // BEFORE IT WAS TOO LATE

WOULD ALL THAT HAPPENED, HAVE HAPPENED ANYWAY
OR WERE YOU THERE // WHAT DO YOU SAY?

WHERE WERE YOU GOD, WHEN I NEEDED YOU MOST?

~1995~

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Frank, at d’Verse asked us to write a poem about frustration, disappointment or heartbreak.   Come join in with all the fun.

https://dversepoets.com

Did You Hear Me, God?

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Did you ever wonder why God did not answer your prayer? I believe everyone goes through those times of questioning. This is especially true when the circumstances are so bad that there appears to be no hope. Many years ago I went through a similar situation. I was depressed and despondent an did not know what the future held. As the poem says I reached out to God and could not feel his presence at all. With the help of supportive brothers and sisters, I finally came through and again renewed my faith and trust, believing that God really does love and care for me.

Where Were You God?

Where were you God // when I needed you most
When my life collapsed and I felt my worst?

God, where were you when I believed you cared…
When I trusted you to direct my path?
Where was the promised peace of mind…
That through this difficult time I did not find?

When I walked through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I feared every evil // I felt all the pain.
Where were you when I cried out in vain…
When I pleaded // I begged // I called out your name?

When I hurt so bad I wished I could die,
Were you there to see // did you hear my cry?
I could not tell // I did not know why.

I felt alone // left to fate
No way to help, before it was too late

Would all that happened have happened anyway…
Or were you there, what do you say?
Where were you God,
When I needed you most?

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth  –  my mothers funeral… unrelated to the poem.

Alone

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One of the hardest questions to answer is why doesn’t God answer my prayer. In the middle of tragedy and loss we wonder why God allows this to happen. When it comes to broken relationships it is easy to feel isolated and alone, thinking no one understands. No one cares about my situation, not even God! But, we are not puppets. We are creatures of freewill and as a result God does not intervene in our choices. Pain and tragedy come and we all seem to go through our struggles. God is there. He still listens and hears our cries. But he does not take us out of troubles he helps us through. If we understand this we can move forward through the darkness to the light of his love.

 I Cry Alone

I cry alone I cry alone for no seems to care

So I cry alone

The depth of hurt I know the knife of pain

Cut deep into my soul when no answers came

I cry alone, I cry alone, for no one seems to care

So I cry alone

I cry but you’re not there I’m all alone

Helpless and empty the pain is always there

So I cry alone

I cry alone, I cry alone, for no one seems to care

So I cry alone

Lord are you really there you seem so far away

My life sits on the edge no one’s here for me

So I cry alone

I cry alone, I cry alone for no one seems to care

So I cry alone

For no one feels the pain    …of what I bear

 

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth