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The Day of Great Silence

There is really

Only one question

That matters. 

What do you want? 

Not, what do you think

You want. 

Not, what do you want

For Christmas. 

But underneath

It all, when you are 

Laid naked, 

When all distraction

Fades away

And you face

The Great Silence

And you are unwrapped

Like a gift, or a mummy.

What is the answer

To the question

That you are 

Wrapped around

And around

A billion times?

What do you want?

What do you really 


To be fair, 

It’s a very difficult


That’s why God

Gives us an entire


To answer. 

And we will all


We are all


Right now. 

What are we 

Wrapped around? 

Close your eyes. 

Feel down deep

To that burning

Coal in the depths

Of your furnace. 

Feel it burning

In the womb

Of your chest. 

Cradle it in 

Your hands.

Turn it over 

And over again

Like a fierce 


Or a piece 

Of roughened 


Prepare for the day

When you will be

Naked before God. 

And I mean naked

Like you have

Never been. 

Mind and heart

And soul laid bare, 


Like when 

As kids we’d

Grab a handful 

Of dirt, and 

Scatter it on 

A slab, looking

For the bug

We were trying

To catch. 

He will sort 

Through you. 

And in that moment

You will finally see

What you really


Either sparkling

Or rotting

There in the

Scattered dust

Of all you thought

You were. 

Better to know it now

Before the day

Of Great Silence. 

Many will be unprepared

For what they find. 

And so I ask again, 

What do you want?

We may say things

Like love, or to be loved, 

Or goodness, or peace, 

Or justice, 

Or to make a difference, 

Or to be happy. Or to 

No longer be in pain. 

Go deeper. 

We all say those things. 

But what do we mean? 

What lies beneath?

Animal instinct? 

Chemistry? Biology? 

Are you just a function

Of time and chance? 

Just another squirrel 

Trying to get a nut? 

What if the Ancient Book

Is right? What if we

Are eternity wrapped

In skin? What if, one day

We are unwrapped,

Set free to float

Or fall forever?

What if we are born

Running home,

Whether up

Or down?

And what if God

Is love, like He says? 

What if He is peace? 

What if He is goodness?

What if He is joy? 

What if He is justice?


What if He is, Himself,

One day, 

The end of suffering? 

If you really wanted

Those things, 

Would you run

From Him

All your life?

And if He is 

All of those things,

What do you think 

You will find 

At the end of the road

That leads away 

From Him? 

Is eternal misery

So strange a fate

For those who 

Look Life, and Love

And Joy and Justice 

In the face

With eyes He made

And mind He made

And say, a million times,

A lifetime of times,

“I don’t want you.

I prefer happiness

Without you. 

I’ll take my joy

And leave.

I’ll take breathing

Without breath. 

I’ll take living

Without life.

I will go 

Where you are not

And find

My dream.”

Beloved, this is hell. 

The place where God

Is not with you.  

And so I ask again, 

Who do you want? 

There are only

Two to choices:


Or death.


Or Him. 

And herein

Is our tragedy.

Show me the one

Who loves virtue

More than convenience;

Who has

Forged himself

A heart 

Of truth.

There is none righteous.

No, not one. 

We are wise

To despair.

We are all 

Born running


Coal, not diamond.

Goat, not sheep.

But here is

Good News:

I am told

There is One,

Who is glorious,

Whose appearance is

Like unto a son 

Of man.

I am told

He once made

Water into wine. 

And long before that,

Nothing into


He makes coal 

Into diamonds. 


Into saints. 

How he loves

The crooked ones,

Like us.

How he gives

And gives 

And gives 


To all 

Who ask. 

And how 

He longs for you

To long for Him. 




One day

My child

Your scars

Will be 


House of Cards

In Him we live.

In Him we move.

In Him we have our being.

You woke this morning,

Opening eyes

He gave you,

To behold light

That He spoke.

You think,

"Time to get up."

With a mind

He gave you.

You think in words.


A concept

He originated

When He

Spoke matter

Into existence.

Matter that makes up

The sheet and quilt

That you now

Throw off.

And the coffee

That you now

Picture, with






Functions granted

To the living

By their Creator.

You feel

Cold air 

Flood over

Your bed-warm


Skin that He 

Draped over you

Tingles and 


You stumble

To the shower.

Glorious warmth

Rains down on you,

Chasing the cold,

Igniting quiet joy.

Joy. Emotion.

The gift of His image

Imprinted on you.

Hot showers.

A gift, hand-delivered

Through delivered

Hands, and technology,

And social infrastructure,

And all the billions

Upon billions

Of blessings 

Stacked and interlocked

That make this blessing


What in your life

Is not the grace

Of God?

Common Grace.

We all taste

And see,

All day,

Every second.

The water

In your shower

Runs cold.

You use

His gift of speech

To curse

Under your breath.

Under the breath 

He breathed 

Into you.

Someone used up

All the hot water.

They should have been

More considerate.


As in considering


"Considering others

More significant

Than yourselves."

Philippians 3:2.

His morality

From his Book

Woven into the fabric

Of your culture

And your mind.


Yes, fabric.

Whatever you are,

In your essence,

Is a strand

Woven into

An endless

Fabric of His 


You look in the mirror.

What you are seeing

Is blessing

Stacked on gift

Stacked on favor

A trillion-fold.

Yet you think that

What you see

Is you.

An independent




And yet the very act

Of seeing, and all you see

Is the work of the 

Word and breath

Of your God.

Who you may even

Disbelieve in,

Since he has granted

You the luxury

To do so.

You are a house 

Of cards stacked 

High as a skyscraper

In a windy world.

You are ten billion

Trillion points

Of failure, and yet

You stand.

At his pleasure.

You are the miracle

That defies your own


And yet you stand,

Mindless of the grace

That makes you


Your life is a vast

Fabric of grace.

And whatever

You are, underneath 

It all, is eternal, 

For he has made you so,

And infinitesimal

For you are not God.

Only His blind



And what happens,

Beloved, in the end?

What happens if you,

Rejecting the Alpha

And the Omega,

Want to take your ball

And go home?

What is you?

What is your ball?

What is home?

What is left 

When you extract

Your own bones

And blood

And brain?

When you, ready to go,

Seek to pay

Your infinite tab

With a pocketful

Of borrowed sand?

You think Hell

Is a just a hotter version

Of this Earth?

Or is it at last

The revelation

Of all that He was

For you?

What can it mean

When your Benefactor

Has granted

Your request,

And ripped Himself,

All your good,

Away from you,



Holes in your being.

Infinite wounds.

Leaving you

As small and wretched

As you are,

And as you always were,

Without Him.


Infinitely tormented

And sad and 



And gnashing

Your teeth.

On our most 

Bitter days

On Earth,

We have tasted

Nothing but mercy.

His love and 

Common grace

Are all we have 

Ever known.

I shudder to know

There is a place

For those who insist

They want nothing

To do with God,

Who is Life,

Who is Joy;

A place

Where he leaves you