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Broken Voice

1 – centuries

2 – beloved

There are no nights now when I don’t dream & wake in the darkness to find I’ve been weeping. But it has been ages since I’ve cried while awake, cause centuries wear on the heart, they erode it away. I’m still trying to record each word You spoke & if I finish I’ll fill up this earth. But the memory of Your voice leaves me empty, ’cause I’ve been banished & boiled alive & yet I remain & they still call me by name, but they don’t say it the same. I watched all of my brothers become martyrs & die one at a time, but I often wonder if waiting for You is the harder sacrifice. I’m still trying to record each word You spoke & if I finish I’ll fill up this earth, but the memory of Your voice leaves me empty. I may be feeble & barely alive, but I’ve yet to forget a single word that You said. If my voice breaks down & all of my strength gives out & I’m just a shell left breathing my last days out. Let it be known that time is a thief who surely steals everything, but in my case it just cleared out the waste for me. Nothing has dimmed; You have simply eclipsed all that stood in the way. I’d give 20 more lifetimes it would all be the same. In the end, I know I’ll find You will come once again. You’ll come call me by name.

3 – alone

Am I a barren temple left for newer ways of speaking mysteries my veils cannot contain? Should I prepare to winter spans again of silent centuries pierced for only certain men? What if I wake to find You’ve gone? What if Your presence was withdrawn & I was mistaken all along to think I could become Your home? It’d be no surprise to finally know that I am truly alone. Come death but likely sooner I’ll be alone. You moved Your temple inside our bones & it’s so hard to trust that You won’t move again. For all eternity You, stood with Your Father in perfect unity. And when You walked the earth, You only went were He led, You only spoke what He said. So for everything You left, & all of the glory You forfeit, no matter how low You were sent, You still couldn’t know what it’s like to be alone. Disgraced but You were never alone. Betrayed but You were never alone. Tortured but still never alone and nothing is worse than being alone. I have been thinking hard about us trading places that maybe I could wear Your beauty if You put on my shame. Jesus I’ve been trying so hard to look like You that I almost missed the worst of what I put You through. You didn’t die for sins, You died covered in them a prideful lying thief gasping out my final breaths. For that one moment You looked just like me so Your father left You & You died completely alone. For me, You were alone. He couldn’t bear it so He left You all alone. No better promise than true sympathy. You conquered death all alone. Cause You’ve known the deepest of all our needs. Never again, Never alone.

4 – deathbed

I’ve been sleeping sounder than I’ve ever slept before. I keep smiling & dancing like a fool around the floor. I’ve been dragging each beast from under my bed & I laugh them to death then lay down my head, cause I don’t fear the darkness anymore. Someday when You come bringing down the sky the whole earth will be exposed before Your light, & there will never again be darkness when Your will is done. I don’t fear old men on their deathbeds waiting for the end to take them. Because their short arms & shorter breaths are not equipped to back their threats so I ignore them. In the same way, I don’t fear the darkness anymore. Someday when You come bringing down the sky the whole earth will be exposed before Your light & there will never again be darkness when Your will is done. But Lord, if You already stand outside of time and keep the corners of the universe aligned then I’ve nothing to fear because You’re already here and Your kingdom’s come. Dawn breaks the darkness but you won’t find a piece. Light chases night away but you’ll never see it flee… the darkness has no substance of its own. Oh, the true light has shown & we’re already home.

5 – lazarus

I can’t sing that song the same way anymore cause I start laughing at the parts where I could only weep before. And it sounds sweeter now because the notes can’t ring, until they echo through each wasted year that You restored to me. I’ve been thinking of how You wept for Lazarus. Tears on Your cheeks, resurrection on Your lips. Sometimes mercy can feel like abandonment, but You know all about it. I used to think I had to write these songs just so. For heavens sake and for my own, I put myself through hell. But I quit striving for perfection, surrendered up to it instead & now the songs keep pouring out & I cannot contain myself. I’ve been thinking of how You wept for Lazarus. Tears on Your cheeks, resurrection on Your lips. Sometimes mercy feels just like abandonment. You let my heart die, but left Yours beating in my chest. Broken will, find your rest. Broken voice, you sing best. At 30,000 feet above, the earth was small enough to think of everyone I love. And then imagine them a thousand mirrors all reflect it back at once & any light would multiply & then remind me that Your love is more than the sum.

6 – garden

There’s a garden my brother started months ago. Though he prayed for harvest, it now lies overgrown. He shuffled earth but never sowed a seed. Only his doubts took root & they choked his faith like weeds. But when his nerves returned, he went to face those empty beds & found the earth had given birth despite his promises unkept. Brother Micah feared the seeds he’d sown & he prayed for mercy from crops he knew would surely grow. But there’s no way to hide the shame we plant at night. They may lie dormant but blooms will always find the light. If there was only justice in this world, he’d be alone, with his heart still left in parts that he could never whole. But now I ask you of his bride: “Friend, do you see that rose?” She is the loveliest crop failure he will ever know. We plant, water, & worry but we don’t have any control of the harvest itself. But, Oh, the Messiah, He is not like us, His power is endless & He won’t break His promise. And there’s still a garden, sown at the foundation, it’s ripe with redemption & spreading its roots. Bless the storm for the rain; bless the Lord for the proof that the harvest is soon. And I know that it’s true ’cause I have seen the first fruits. We are the first fruits.

7 – childbodybride

When they laid my king to rest it was my shame He wore to bed. And it’s the only part of Him the Father did not resurrect. Now in my Father’s land there are no lesser men. Nobody barely wins or only just gets in. ‘Cause Jesus never fell in love. With open eyes He walked directly to the cross. He knew exactly what I cost and He still went. Like a body–close, connected, & known–so You’ve called us & so we are. Like a child–nurtured, protected, adored–somehow You name us & so we are. Like a bride–cherished, adorned & waited for–so intimate, with every title that Your love affords. My God, You never fell in love with open eyes. You chose to die upon the cross. You knew exactly what I cost. I was worthless but You made me worth it. I was a slave content to beg beneath Your table but You took me in & made me a son. When I finally arrive & my prodigal eyes behold Jesus who once wore my shame, adorned in majesty on His throne, I will stand & belong wearing His righteousness as my clothes.

8 – doxology

Praise G-d from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.