Still true, now:

The blessing of the Lord
Is spoken through a friend;
A curse from the Lord
Is averted through a friend.

I will set a constellation in my heart
Towards the worship of the Lord;
The northern stars will be the word of the Lord
And the stars that move with my vessel will be good friends.

Dear Clark Christopher,

December 27, 2010

Your name is a story, and you will grow up in the telling of this story.  Over meals, in our going out and our coming in, even in your lying down, you will hear this story.  Your mother and I are eager to see your own story be told; each action and word and development; who you meet, how you respond, even what you will look like.  But I want you to understand even now, while you are in your mother’s womb, that the story of your name is part of a much larger story that you will be telling.

The prayers I wrote this September:

The legacy I want to leave this son is one of Your Kingdom, O Father.  I want him, each time he considers his name, to be reminded of You; to be reminded that he is, first and foremost, born into Your service; the son of Your maidservant.  Tell me the story of his name so that I can tell him; so he can grow up in the story.

Clark – Literally means (clerk, scholar, a scribe, a chronicler, an historian of record).  The men who wrote the Chronicles and the histories of the Kings were keeping the records of God’s works.  How He moved through men, on behalf of men, even as a man to deliver us all from evil is written down in acts of worship so that we may remember God’s kindness. 

The prophets each were taking down the Words of God in His courts (or caves, or visions, or exiled by foreign rivers).  All of the Words telling the story of Christ.

Christopher – He shall bear Christ with him in all of his work.  In all of your words, Clark, and in all of your actions, you will bear Christ; His story will be hoisted up on your shoulders.

Psalm 45 says it as clearly as it might be said, so let me say it covering you: I thank You, O Father, for answering me.  For telling the story of Clark’s name.  That he would come into this world knowing You; adoring You.  That his heart would be overflowing with a pleasing theme; he will address his verses to the King; his tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.  If I can, if it us under my authority, I sanctify his tongue – no man can control his tongue – but Father, I ask that You fill his heart – those four chambers that moved me when I saw them beating – fill them with a pleasing theme even now, so that when language does come, his tongue will be shaped and taught and trained by praises for You, our King.  Pour grace on his lips as grace is poured on Yours.  

May he forget his people and his father’s house; may he cause Your name to be remembered in all generations, so nations will praise You forever and ever.

Sincerely and with great love,

Seth and Katie Wieck

Christmas is for hoping in Christ’s return

“Whenever there is disaster,” he said, “it means a new day, a new life.” When he saw the tree decorated with the faces of the dead, he cried, he said. But he was where he belonged, he said. “We don’t have anything else,” he said, “just to pray and continue.”

– A young Iraqi Christian on Christmas Eve, commenting on the slayings of Christians by terrorists in Baghdad.

Christmas is for hoping in Christ’s return

Journey of the Magi

By T.S. Eliot (Follow the link and listen to him read it).

‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.

Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped in away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no imformation, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt.
I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like
Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.


By Ryan Culwell


Broke my hammer pounding words

And sounding warnings seldom heard

Forging bells out of rhyme

While something older has occurred

People swaying to my sirens

And the rhythm of my work

Singing oh how we love these love songs

While I cut their heads off with my dirge

When we appreciate art, isn’t it partly for the experience of seeing something difficult done with grace? Isn’t it a perfect metaphor for how we wish life would be?

Josh Ritter – I may be quoting Mr. Ritter here out of context, and certainly outside of his intention, but where his intention is well aimed, his range is a bit short. Beauty, which is difficult to achieve, points at the way we wish the world were.

Beauty is another reminder that the world is broke.  No matter how many times the artists attempt to make the world beautiful, it is still full of ugliness. But our endless attempts say we expect the world could be beautiful, and each word that a poet puts to page, each stroke that a painter puts to canvas, and each ping of the hammer and chisel to marble calls out, “Come Lord Jesus! Come quickly.”


…when Thanksgiving is secularized, what’s lost is precisely the Object to whom we would render gratitude. In other words, we end up being thankful for “gifts” without being able to recognize the Giver.

So we come up with a substitute Giver, which is something like the idea of “America”–the land of the free. And our current climate would rather think of “America” as the product of force and might (as the national anthem prefers). So if we are thankful for America, we’re thankful to the military who, proverbially, “protect our freedom, ” “keep us free,” “make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom,” etc. Soldiers are thus revered as the warrior-priests of freedom.

And what are we free for? Well, to shop. And so the best expression of thanksgiving is precisely Black Friday, that Dionysian display of consumerist passion when people literally die in the frantic pursuit of consumer goods.

Advent Sonnet #2 – Romans 1

Romans 1:3-4

O Messiah, Your prism mysteries
Have scattered the light ‘cross my feeble eyes.
In my blinking, I’ve seen the strange stories
Of how one man born can be fathered twice.

Son of Man, son of Adam, David’s son:
Death spread to all men because we all sinned.
You, grafted in, donned our skin to be undone
Like the oven-fired grasses just de-stemmed.

Son of God, declared by resurrection:
The Glory of Your heavenly Father
Breathed new life into fallen creation
With the same Spirit that hovered o’er waters.

By that Spirit do we call out, “Father!”,
Having been dead, now raised His sons and daughters.