Misery and Miracles

Misery and Miracles

There are times in our journey where we say, “I Trust You Lord,”

We say, “I Trust You Lord,” and when we step out on faith, a Monsoon of misery discovers us,

And as we are drowning beneath the sheer confusion of the storm, Jesus says to us, “Why did you doubt?”

And we answer, “You know why I doubted, there is a fucking monsoon of unbelievable crap that I never could have imagined surrounding me!”

And he says, “Yes, there is.  But have you considered?  If I would allow this misery to surround you and suffocate you in this moment, Imagine what unbelievable joy and blessings and happiness I have for you on the other side of it?  So I asked you why did you doubt, because you began to focus on the misery more than the miracles which will surely follow it.”

And then we say, “Yes Lord, I see.  Now please give me the faith to walk with you toward the other side.”

He Was A Man

He Was a Man

When I was a young minister, I came across a man who was addicted to alcohol who was living on the streets.

The man said with a slur in his voice, “Hell is just a disinfesting place!!!”

As I have told several people over the years, this man’s proclamation forever changed the landscape of my consciousness.

He set in motion a profound transition from believing in eternal hell to believing in Universal Reconciliation.

But what was his reward?

He must have walked in the prophetic, just like I do,

He must have had a loving heart, just like I have.

He must have been destined for greatness, just like I am.

So why when he, an older African American Male who was obviously going through tribulations and trials, made his avowal did I not run to him and grab him and begin to pray that whatever the enemy was doing to derail his destiny be reversed and he be lifted high up on a hill so that men might see his good works and glorify their father in heaven?

Why, all of these years, when I have told the story of this man, have I treated him like a prop or a supporting character in my story rather than a man of his own, with his own hopes, dreams, and aspirations?

I remember reading the way in which Yogananda would sometimes talk about Indian Peasants in Autobiography of a Yogi, it was in this similar manner as if they were props or supporting characters in some grand Yogi’s story rather than women and men with their own hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

Or have you ever noticed the way that the people who were healed by Jesus in the Gospels were rarely given names, they were often just “a blind man” or “a demoniac” or “a lame man” as if they were little more than props in the story that the disciples were telling about Jesus and themselves,

But right now I assert to you that that man that I met was a man!

He was a man with a destiny and the prophetic anointing to see beyond eternal hell and show me a more excellent way!!!!

And so now I pray, “Lord God, please forgive me for all of the people that I have treated like props or supporting characters in my story.  Please help me to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that every homeless man or woman I bless has a name and a life and a destiny and a story and an anointing, help me to see them Lord God!! Help me to truly see them!!! And Savior please bless that man who changed my life so many years ago, please heal him of all that ails him, please set him high on a mountain of ease and comfort and joy and happiness, please bring him abundance, and please restore him in every way, that I may meet him again, high and lifted up above all humiliation and shame, and I may glorify my Father in heaven!

The Amazing God

I know a Muslim Fundamentalist who had decided to strap a bomb to his chest and destroy a Jewish schoolhouse in Israel.

And he told me that the night before the event, he had a dream and saw the prophet Muhammad in a vision.  And the prophet Muhammad came to him and said, “My Son, stop hating yourself.  We love you.  All of us love you.  Allah is beneficent and merciful and his mercy is for you.  Do not do this thing you are planning, but rather embrace yourself, shadow and all.”  The man woke up and started to cry and he cried for 4 days.  And when he stopped crying he thanked Allah for the beauty of the Jewish people and the wisdom of Ecclesiastes.

I know a Hindu woman who was very promiscuous as a teenager and she walked with a deep shame and bitterness, so much so that she could not bear to go to temple.  And one day, a Christian Evangelist found her and said, “Young lady!  Jesus loves you! Jesus wants you as one of his very own!! All you have to do is confess his name.  Just confess his name and you will live forever.”  And the woman confessed the name of Jesus, and when she did, she felt energy like water from a faucet rising up in her belly and she began to speak in unknown tongues and dance feverishly screaming “Thank you Lord Christ!!!”  “Thank you Lord Christ!!!”  That woman spent the rest of her life counseling teenagers on self-love and their worth before God.

I know a Baptist man who spent most of his days afraid that he would go to hell forever as he felt that he was unworthy of the Lord.  But one day he met a psychic woman, and she called him by name and said, “There is no such thing as eternal hell, and even if there was, you are not going there.  You are beloved by God and God loves us all so much that he will not let any of us writhe in torment forever.”  And the man normally would have dismissed the psychic woman as a worker of satan’s iniquities except that she sang him the song that his mother would sing to him when he was a child before his mother died and the psychic told him how much his mother had been watching over him throughout the years and how he would one day be reunited with her.   And now the man reads Tarot cards as a hobby, always stressing that Jesus can make anything happen, even if it ain’t in the cards!

The God of Abraham, The God of Isaac, The God of Jacob, The God of Malcolm, The God of Martin, The God of Hindu Yogis teleporting themselves to other dimensions, The God of Sufi Mystics spinning round and round to the sound of the universe, The God of Cogic Pentacostals tarrying and sweating and clapping and dancing and praising on Friday nights, The God of Einstein beginning to remove the veil between the invisible and the visible, the concrete and the ethereal, the physical and the spiritual, The God of Jimi Hendrix mesmerizing his fans throughout the universe as he works miracles on his vintage guitar.  The Amazing God has so many faces which sometimes look so different from the outside, but if you look closer, beneath the scaffolding of dogma, you see a love as wondrous and multidimensional as the creation that he, she, it, they created, and then the bliss of awe overtakes you and you feel the soft and thunderous caress of God’s unconditional love.

The Shadow

In times of transition, as we walk a tightrope of hopelessness, the shadow comes to claim us.

The shadow descends, reminding us that there is no way out of the endless darkness.

The shadow screams at the top of its lungs, “there is no hope my child.

Your destiny is to wander in dark places with quenchless thirst for a new beginning.”

The shadow surreptitiously insinuates itself into every aspect of our perception.

The shadow ensures that when trials come they descend like an avalanche,

And we feel like the darkness is infinite and that all things begin and end in suffering.

But all shadows need light to accent their darkness.

There can be no shadow without light.

And while a shadow is delimited by shape and form, light is endless and eternal.

There can be no shadow without light, and the light from which the shadow garners strength is endless and eternal.

I do not express this through emotion or inspiration, as my emotions are buried beneath the debris of depression’s languid odor.

All I sense and smell, all I feel or see is darkness enveloping me in the deception of the shadow.

But there is a knowledge of light that cannot be vanquished.

And it is with this knowledge that I declare that all shadows must eventually succumb to the light which begets them.

And this light is wondrous and glorious.

This light is more than enough to lift me to the sky and beyond.

And so I say, even in the grips of hopelessness, that light is the truth of all things and this light has claimed me.

The Edge

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

The woman steps out on the balcony of her high rise apartment and among the buildings and streets and stoplights witnesses a fulcrum, an edge.

An edge, the edge, the intersection of beginnings and endings,

The moment when crops are ripe for harvest.

The edge calls to us and invites us to forsake what is known,

The edge calls us to test the limits of our understanding,

And step into an abyss of possibility,

Sinking down into relaxed awareness of beauty,

The edge awaits us.

The edge, where race no longer matters and neither does popularity,

The edge, where souls delight in the magic of music,

The edge, where souls revel in the power of seasons to change and of death to beget life,

The edge is the precious moment where we are neither disappointed at what we have not done or anxious that we will not continue in doing,

The edge is where we can see a life, a leaf, a soul for what it is without a biased back story of prejudiced contrivance,

The edge is where babies go when they are awakened in the womb,

The edge is the horizon where sunrises and twilight take our breath to the height of admiration,

For only God can make this atmosphere to shine just right as the sun and moon dance their dance of gratitude,

The edge is what I wish for now and always,

The woman steps out of her house in the mountains and among the stars hidden in sunshine and premature butterflies hidden in billowy leaves on trees she witnesses an edge, a fulcrum.

Where divinity and gratitude explode in the praise of creativity and the worship of life anew.

Edges, edges where comfortable platitudes have no voice and ignorant assumptions are ostracized,

Come quickly edges, come quickly and embrace me.

Oh Death Where Is Thy Sting?

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

Born into tragic reckoning,

We understand that all the bliss we have is but a moment in Creation,

Elation and tragedy come to nothing beneath the last breath our body takes,

And death opens wide to swallow us into that great mystery.

Born into tragic reckoning,

We try and create a memory that lives beyond our present breath,

But that memory is hollow compared to the touch of loved ones,

We grow and live knowing that someday we will lose our parents and friends to that dark dominion,

And yet does death still sting as before?

Born into tragic reckoning,

A man lived in sorrow, hoping and reaching for a better tomorrow,

Born into poverty and oppression,

A man refused to accept the limitations of his age and grew to become like no manner of man that has ever existed.

Born into tragic reckoning, a man grabbed the hand of God and demanded life,

And when it was his time to die he embraced the abyss,

Three days later he rose from death’s clutches and said, “I am that I am.”

The great dream of tomorrow beyond the sting of loss is real and it is rather the sensation that things end which is mistaken.

For there was and is a man, who will ensure that tragedies are transformed into triumphant reconciliation.

For there was and is a man, who guarantees that even in the height of despair there really is no end and all mysteries give way to beginnings of blessing.

Oh Death, because of a man who was, who is, and who will be where is your sting?

Or sorrow where is your victory?

For death can rule no soul.

So into the great beyond, go with courage dear sister, go with courage.

Autumn Sunshine

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

Sometimes in the fall, the sun becomes red like a royal crimson fireball,
One Friday night in 1997 I asked a woman to marry me and we made love,
9 months later, I stared into my wife’s eyes and saw a mixture of relief and ecstasy,
As the midwife showed her the fruits of excruciating pain and endless love,
On March 3rd of the year 1998 I met God and he gave me a gift for the ages,
But as he placed her into my arms he sternly advised,
“This gift is someone you can never own, but if you protect and serve her, you will see my face.”
Ever since then, from time to time, God shows up and says hello,
Sometimes he is dressed in punk rock regalia and other times in beautiful Sunday dresses,
And one time I even saw him in my parent’s back yard trying to bounce a tennis ball with an over sized racket,
Sometimes God will try and hog the car radio and force techno down my throat,
But always he says the same thing, “My son, this is your daughter Autumn and in her I am well pleased.”
One Friday night in 2011 I went to Marshall Middle School and heard a young teenager sing a song by Katy Perry,
When she finished, I knew that there was no stopping her and I felt a gratitude to my creator against which no bad memory could stand,
I felt gratitude for a gift that I do not own, but through whom God has said, “I love you” in a thousand phrases and smiles,
Sometimes when I have had a bad day I think of a precocious two year old trying to bounce a tennis ball with an over size racket and I reflect on the woman she is becoming,
Sometimes in the fall, the sun becomes red like a royal crimson fireball,
My daughter is named after the fall, her name is Autumn and she is my sunshine.

The Fence

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

I see my brother walking, running towards dust,

It couldn’t be?

Oh wait! I think I see?

A bit far off, he jumps against and falls so short to disappear.

But no one Saw?

God bless the men who jump the fence to wave at me imprisoned.

And as the watchman fixes sights, a hazy, shady outline of a barb as thick as any soul who tries to silence, sister’s strength,

As locked in one, we journey towards and up, surmount this wire hold.

I just begin to glimpse it.

What fear it must have been to blind a border wall so menacing,

Incarcerates us all against sublime the state of reason.

And as the watchmen fixes sites, acute to slightest stirring.

I grab a hold of passers by and scream, implore to see about this bulwark that imprisons us.

“We must attempt to jump this fence, my friends and brothers strong let’s go.”

And as such passers by I saw, “lets free to climb and see beyond.”

“Just dust, you fool there’s nothing there!

Just dust”, response, “it’s just mirage, just ask the one who sits atop to guard against a foreign fear.”

“But wait I see it clear as day.  My friends, I ask, I beg to run and soar against this barbed thing, perverting as I only hope to what might lay beyond its hedge.”

“Just dust, you fool there’s nothing there!

Just dust”, response, “it’s just mirage, just ask the one who sits atop to guard against a foreign fear.”

“But wait! My brothers, I implore, let’s soar to see what lay beyond, to see what’s past this bulwark fence.

Let’s clasp our feet and march as one.

Like thunder we shall strike it down so that the brothers after us might see beyond its evil stare!”

“Just dust! You fool there’s nothing there,”

Response, “it’s just mirage we say!”

And as the watchman fixes sights, the children sit eyes sweet and pure and wave my hand I do goodbye and run to touch and break it down,

I jump to grab and shake it down, and as I do a shot it rings, and such a peace enraptures me,

I rise to see what lay beyond.

“My friends I love and say goodbye, just see my brothers not the dust, just see my brothers dear to soar.

And as the fence grows out of sight, I FEAR NO MORE!”







Come Glory This All Hallow’s Eve

By:  Woodrow Odom Lucas

As I drive by the end of days I see a pumpkin and a happy witch on the doorstep of my joy,

As I pass by my four year old’s awe toward friendly ghosts down the street of nostalgia,

I am reminded of Saints gone home and good souls on their penitent journey,

Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Paul Robeson and the poets of my past,

Hendrix, Morrison, Michael, Louis Armstong and the Sounds of my testimony,

Prince and Wynton Marsalis, Miles Davis, Amadeus, Earth, Wind, and Fire,

Saints living, saints dead, souls vibrant, souls sad in the darkness of regret,

We are a glorious symphony on this, this all Hallows Eve,

The eve of that day when I celebrate the muses of my sacrifice and the foundations of my epiphanies,

“Halloween is here” my youngest daughter exclaims and I am reminded of many a night spent scavenging for sweet things and expectant laughter,

Tragic kings like Edgar Allen and Charlie Parker, souls with so much pregnant genius that the world was too much for them,

It is our celebration dear friends that will move the mountains of discontent,

And so in this season of harvest, carpe diem calls me to absorb as much love as I can as the sun sets on purple leaves and gorgeous corn stalks,

And in mother Africa, the ancestors dance like their Celtic sisters who fused the worship of our Lord and the glory of mother Gaia,

And in mother Africa the land recovers from the grief stricken sting of rape,

And in mother Africa my sisters and brothers celebrate the saints gone forward into that great mystery,

Tecumseh and Black Elk I celebrate the brilliance of your aptitude,

And I cry with you in triumph for the resurrection of a people forsaken but not defeated,

Come Glory,

On this All Hallows Eve, I celebrate the beauty of a journey full of confusion and catharsis,

For the reality is that we truly cannot fail,

As our cloud of witnesses sing to me of the victory that awaits,

Tonight, adorned with the fashion of merriment,

And the subtle chill of October wind reds our lips,

Come Glory and Glory be to the faithful departed,

Happy Halloween!