Table of Contents:
Introduction • Daniel R. Jones
What It Takes• Linda McCullough Moore
Temptation: The Story • Linda McCullough Moore
Seen Unseen • Linda McCullough Moore
The Blessing of Being • Kathryn Sadakierski
On Sanctification• Daniel R. Jones
Springtime often reminds me of a famous Charles Dickens quotation from Great Expectations: “It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
While it’s April now, it’s pretty remarkable that those words hold up over 150 years later, and in a different continent! The weather here in Central Indiana has been prone to its ups and downs, as is common for this cranny of the world. We’ve had 70 degree (Fahrenheit) temperatures and snowfall within the same week.
Even still, spring has been my favorite season for as long as I can remember. Because after the cold, wintry months, it holds the promise of new life and better weather. I’ve always felt it made perfect sense to celebrate Resurrection Sunday in the spring time for this very reason. Christ’s death and resurrection are His followers’ clarion call to hope. And while Jesus reigns supreme, the “summer in the light” has rendered the “winter in the shade” meaningless.
This issue, by and large, centers along the theme of victory: from sin, death, and suffering. In Him, we are a new creation, and I hope that the writing herein reminds you of that.
What It Takes
He made the never sighted,
share the seeing.
But some doubted.
He stood still, not tippy,
on the curly waves that made
the sober sailor dizzy;
that sure footed on the sea.
But some did not believe.
And crucified, he hung
by spikes on cruciform,
gave death three days,
then let five hundred
see him back alive.
Of that number
some did not believe.
However, he met Nathaniel
(a.k.a. Bartholomew) and said,
“I saw you sitting by the fig tree earlier.”
And Nathaniel/Bartholomew said,
“You are the Christ, the Son of God,”
and fell down on his face in worship.
He met an often-married woman
at the well of Jacob and told her
common-law not quite the same
as marriage with the first five men,
and she goes off to bring salvation
to the town, “Is this not the Christ.
He told me everything I ever did.”
On the morning of the Resurrection
before she will be sent to tell the news,
before the angels know, he speaks
one word, “Mary,”
and the world is reinvented.
That’s how much we want
someone to know us.
That’s how sure we were
it couldn’t be.
–Linda McCullough Moore
Temptation: The Story
The enemy appears just past
the six weeks fast, just when you,
gentle reader, have come to like
the hero or begun to think you might.
In the story one is called the devil,
angels are not named,
(I don’t believe they care) and
God goes by the name of Jesus.
The devil says, “Come here, I want
to show you something.” He curls
his finger, squints one eye. “Turn
the stones to bread,” he says, and tries
a smile. (A big mistake.)“Throw yourself
off this cliff here.” “Fall down and worship
me.”(Decidedly no poet, he.)
And Jesus answers, No, and No, and No,
and adds a tad of Jesuit elaboration –
not his first temptation.
“But I will give you bread and honey,
wine and dancing girls, protection plans,
and all the kingdoms of the world.
Oh yes, and adulation.”
It’s not his first temptation either,
though the sell could still use work.
“Get thee hence, dog,” the Lord says,
the canine reference mine. Jesus calls him
Satan. Not a stranger by a long shot, having
seen him fall from Heaven. (Think skydiving
from space stations with no parachute,
And now the sweet part. Angels traipsing
up the mountain in the wilderness, loaded
down with food enough for fifty, fasted men,
and power in the flutter of a single wing
to drive off every harm on offer, and there
they worship as the Lord Almighty first
designed the thing to be. You see. It’s they
who give him Satan’s offerings,
his proffered three: food/rescue/adoration.
You turn the devil down,
God cues the angels.
That’s how it works.
–Linda McCullough Moore
“But God is everywhere,” he says,
a line most often sung by people
who do not have a clue where God is
or might be,
by women who have not tracked him,
laid traps, tricked and pleaded, by men
who have not hammered at the gates
of heaven, just to get a glimpse of grace,
much less His face.
“God is everywhere,” says he,
who has not once gone looking for him
in the pagan hours of the night,
in fright so fierce guards quake;
the room tilts round,
your separate parts go flying off
in wild trajectory.
He’s right of course.
God is everywhere.
But he like me
– for variations on the reason –
will miss the sightings. His God fluff,
mine solid stuff. Same difference.
He, his eyes on other prizes,
will mistake Him for a vapor,
(see: everywhere above). A notion.
Not a bad idea, if perhaps
an airy one, wraith insubstantial.
Me, I doubt that I could
pick him out of a line-up,
inasmuch as He refuses
to resemble such a god
as I design.
–Linda McCullough Moore
Linda McCullough Moore
Linda McCullough Moore is the author of two story collections, a novel, an essay collection and more than 350 shorter published works. She is the winner of the Pushcart Prize, as well as winner and finalist for numerous national awards. Her first story collection was endorsed by Alice Munro, and equally as joyous, she frequently hears from readers who write to say her work makes a difference in their lives. For many years she has mentored award-winning writers of fiction, poetry, and memoir. She is currently completing a novel, Time Out of Mind, and a collection of her poetry. www.lindamcculloughmoore.com
The Blessing of Being
Snowflakes weightlessly fall
Past a cardinal, waiting, unnoticing
On a white-laced branch of tree,
A ruby set on a staff of light.
The snow, laid out gently
As a baby’s cotton blanket
Cradling this land,
Wiped clean like the white clapboard churches,
Festooned with their evergreen wreaths,
Lining the town commons
Still under the soft string-light glow
Of early winter,
Faint dove-gray skies
Touched by a copper necklace of sun,
Cozily warm as though shining from a tin lantern.
Everything is filled with a quiet importance,
As though, just by being,
Each part of this scene
Is blessed with beauty,
A holiness of humble spirit,
A benediction of inborn serenity
Encircling all that breathes, and returns
To the heart’s center
Where the power to lead is sparked,
Where the hope burns that draws the stars
Back from the evening’s vestment of dark.
Night sweeps in from the dust of sunset
Like a song fading out on the radio,
Ushering in another tune
A bunching of pink in the sky
Is still extended earnestly,
Like a rose bouquet
Offered to you
To light your way home,
To the soul of hope where you long to go,
Where dreams and love
Will always belong.
Kathryn Sadakierski’s writing has appeared in anthologies, magazines, and literary journals around the world, including Agape Review, Critical Read, Edge of Faith, Ekstasis Magazine, Halfway Down the Stairs, Literature Today, New Jersey English Journal, NewPages Blog, Northern New England Review, Origami Poems Project, Silkworm, Snapdragon: A Journal of Art and Healing, Songs of Eretz, Spillwords, The Abstract Elephant Magazine, Today’s American Catholic, Toyon Literary Magazine, Yellow Arrow Journal, and elsewhere. In 2020, she was awarded the C. Warren Hollister Non-Fiction Prize. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. and M.S. from Bay Path University.
When I was a kid,
mom offered me a bite
of her rum cake.
But what about the alcohol?
The apotheosis of evil
to a six-year-old evangelical.
It all bakes out, mom said.
By the time its out of the oven
the alcohol is gone.
Not wanting to call “unclean”
what my mother called “clean,”
I took a bite.
Spongy and soft, sugar and oak.
I tasted and saw
the cake was good.
May my life be the same.
Consumed in your Holy Fire
may all my evil cook out.
–Daniel R. Jones