Sometimes I can hear them through the digital quilt of my son’s smartphone, San Antonio songbirds not unlike the full-throated prophets I hear in the backyard, not minor prophets, like Micah or Nahum, although come to think of it these would be good names for the night birds. No. They are small, easily overlooked, not altogether heard which leads me to my theory about Isaiah, not a minor prophet at all but must’ve wanted to be for awhile in the naked days when his voice competed with the spectacle of it all–ordinary-man-naked, not rendered complete until the blood-and-agony Redeemer he sang about
Isaiah 41:14 NIV
 Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
Badass Isaiah walks naked through the streets of Jerusalem, stopping occasionally for a tuna sandwich and thinking about clothes. Clothes of the invisible God. Clothes of the kinsman-redeemer. Clothes eventually gambled away at the foot of an impossible Cross.
Who trades a God for a worm? Who does that?
A fisherman, I guess.
middle page of something
My words to you
unnailed, unpierced, still love
Bones, sinews, ligaments
Teeth and bones become
Rebellious things in the house
Unknit, unswept, unmade
what is left?
When I cannot walk to you, run to you
Reach the limit of the horizon
Lie awake old
Teeth, old bones
Grind out hours in the dark
wondering where was
Ezekiel’s army beneath
No longer insanguinate
They lie down, sleep children cuddled beneath
The coverlet of
God singing His
Bruising love song
Lullaby in the place of the skull
Has, is, will
Sing to the dead
Spoke to life
Grip the blade,
Fit to fight
Sometimes things I write will stick in my mind. Today it was Jesus whipped men for less.
I wrote it and then I really thought about the implications.
Jesus whipped people. And not only was it not sin, it was holiness.
Why did he whip them? They were using the name and worship of God to lie and defraud people. The worst sins are often cloaked in the church. We lie, cheat, and steal in the house of God.
But He does not forget.
We cannot see Jesus as he really is unless we can see all of him –suffering and beaten on the Cross, angered and righteous in the temple.
Our God is a man, but no ordinary man. And just as most of us have not experienced enough of his love, his tenderness, his mercy, none of us has really experienced the full challenge of his holiness.
One day it is coming.
The clean fire of love.
Mark 1:4-8 (NIV)
And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.  John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.  And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.  I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
So we Christians struggle with waistlines and our answers over the years have been biblical diets– the Daniel diet, the Eden diet…we scour the pages of the Good Book looking for guidelines for weight loss. But I have yet to see rise of the “John the Baptist” diet. I am pretty sure he was rail thin and that I would be too if it was all foraging in the desert for bugs and honey!
The wilderness, the loneliness, the uncomfortable crunchiness of exoskeleton. The meaningfulness of the way John lived is impossible to ignore. He was passionately sold out. He held nothing back.
People don’t cotton to the voices of prophets. They are often lonely folk. They do not tell us what we want to hear, they tell us the truth. The truth can drive a man to lonely places.
The truth is we are broken, messed up sheep. We are communal insects. We have laid our world bare to death, sin, and pain. The prophet shouts these things unsparingly in the loneliest of places.
Then God walks in…