This Holy Place

Two Saturday's ago, I was sitting in a beautiful day retreat with John Blase. It was a day of reading poetry and writing poetry. For some strange reason, I've been drawn to poems.  The brevity instead of prose makes me drawn to shorter expressions, brief insights into the world and into my soul.  For the last 10 years, this window has been open to me and I've found myself very glad.  This week, I got Mary Oliver's brand new book of poetry (A Thousand Mornings) and on this rainy and cold Saturday morning, I've sat here reading and being drawn into Oliver's insights and I'm the better for it.John Blase encouraged us to take 30 minutes and write a poem--or start one based on a word or phrase we found in a book he gave us to peruse.  So, I took my book and went outside at our retreat and sat in a rocking chair basking in the morning Colorado Sun.  Then it happened.  I found on a page, a phrase which stopped me... it was simply this...."This Holy Place."In my work with so many church leaders, I often hear the laments of the broken church. Some hate it now. Some are leaving it. Some are sick and tired of it.  I have my own struggles.  And in that rocking chair, I was able to give words to my own thoughts about my church.I"ll share my new poem with you here. It somehow brought my feelings out into the open and gave me a way to express this holy place called church--at least my church that I am discovering.  The high priest I refer to are the poets that have most inspired me, motivated me, transformed me and mentor me. This Holy Placeby Stephen W. Smith There are no stained glass windows here.Only the gold of the Aspens and the cathartic blue of heaven's skies.Yet, this is a holy space.And in my heart, I am bowing. The high priests swing their incense,And it is the words that sway me--that slay me.No candle burns here but my heart alone.and I feel ignited. I am burning--finally burning. The open book is my Eucharist.The wafer offered me by Oliver, Frost and Whyte.My cup is the poem of words that draw blood.Words that wound. Words that heal. This place--this moment is my churchand I belong. I am free. And I am at rest.The words--they do baptize my wondering heartto come home. To finally know this place as church.