A Fortress Not of Stone


Psalm 27:1, 5-13

Into your courts, O Most Holy,
we come bearing our weights and burdens,
to cross the threshold and breathe in the cool air
redolent with tallow, incense, wood soap,

dust motes set ablaze and twirling
by colored grass and the breath of prayer–
a humble little church, carpet threadbare
from the tread of feet drawn to your radiance.

Your house, O God—
made not of stone or plaster,
but lyric of the human heart,
a refuge from all that assails
when we see beyond the skin that divides us
to the image of eternity with each one..

Here I see You, O redeemer,
in the beauty of your living temple:
in the sticky face of a child playing in the pew,
looking up to say “Amen;”
in the young woman whose very step across the threshold
is an act of bravery and resistance
to the pains yoked to her against her will
by those who thought themselves God’s anointed, praying
that this day she will be reminded of her beauty carved by your love;
the mother who has prays for her son awaiting diagnosis,
the young man whose job hangs by a thread,
the elderly father whose children do not call.

You call us to embrace of each other- that is your church.
To sing for those who breath is tight,
to welcome those seeking shelter,
to embody grace for the bowed down,
to flare with hope and tenderness for those casting off their burdens.
made free by your mercy.
In resting on each other,
we rest in You.
This is a fortress not of stone,
but of being a people for others.

You, God, are our sheltering fortress,
rock and refuge,
our dwelling place for all our days,
shelter in storm and trouble
made visible in the peace that we share.

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