Love, Justice, and Ashes

February 14, 2018

By Amy Vaughan
This year, a cosmic happenstance -- Ash Wednesday on Valentine’s Day, and Easter on April Fool’s Day!   May these three short poems about love, justice, and ashes carry you through the “Day of Love” and through the ashes on the journey toward Resurrection!
First, love and calling:
Mirror on the Wall
To see the heart of another person
Requires opening more than your eyes.
What do they love?
What do they desire?
What do they seek?
And, conversely,
Where do they hide,
And what shuts them down,
How do they go from on to off?
Take a look around you,
And see the souls who love deeply,
All that comes before them,
Who desire recognition and equitable treatment
Who seek to have and hold
To be loved and to love,
To be at home in their own skin.
Those who hide from cruelty and
Who shut down when the core of their being
Is attacked without love,
Who turn themselves around,
U-turns in the road,
When our beloved institutions say
You are of no value?
Look to the margins,
Where we have pushed people out
Of the heart of all that is
It is there,
There that we will find,
Those we are most called to
To love,
To accept,
To cherish.
We know that we can only understand
God's love,
When we understand and love ourselves,
With all our weaknesses and faults.
We must accept that who we are is meant to be,
What we live into produces the fermentation
Necessary to turn ordinary grape juice into
Holy wine.
Let us gather in the grapes of all colors
And know that what they bring
Adds the high notes and low notes,
And all that lies between,
To make us richer than we were before,
A compilation of the spirit of all
That is holy,
And  promised.
~Amy Vaughan  July 1, 2015
Next, a poem about Lent and the Kingdom:
Baptism and Blessing

Forty days,
Nothing but wild animals
And angels for company,
To weather all that
And to come out on the other side
Proclaiming the nearness
Of the kingdom!*

May your days be
Counted in remembering your
Blessings, your baptism into the family.
May your trials be endurable,
Accompanied as you are
By the Spirit within,
May the other side of these
Forty days find us shouting
The transformation of the world
Has begun!
The Good News is now ---
Let us believe!
Let us find truth in the journey,
And hope in the destination.
~Amy Vaughan   February 20, 2015
And finally, a poetic suggestion about a practice that could be a Lenten practice for preachers and others who like to talk.  

Lessons on Silence-keeping
Teach me the loveliness
Of silence.
A place where words are not
Where space around
Makes ideas abound.
Sometimes a quiet glance
Can say more
Than a thousand words.
The empty space
Can be so full of hope
And possibility,
That to pour out empty
Syllables would be
Teach me to hold my tongue,
Even when I have much
I could say,
For it is in the moments
Of less
That I allow
To be born.
In this shared silence,
Our souls can speak
~ Amy Vaughan    November 16, 2016
Amy Vaughan is an ordained Deacon in the Western North Carolina Conference who serves as the pastor-in-charge of Marvin United Methodist Church in Lincolnton.  Previously, she served beyond the local church in ministry with UMAR, as the Art Program Director supporting adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.   You can find more of her poetry at and   or in her collection of poems published this year:  40 Days of Grief and Lament (email for more information)
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