Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Who Among Us

Who among us
believes he is unblemished?
Who among us
justifies our transgressions?
Who among us
wears a mask to hide their imperfections?
Who among us
tastes hate and not love?
Who among us
is proud of the scriptures we know?
Who among us
has followed the broad path
when the narrow seemed difficult?

If we identify with one affliction,
we possess all,
covered in stains of sin
and scars we see as ugly.
We hate, we judge, we seek revenge.
We are proud peacocks,
Pharisees in the midst,
standing at the entrance to the narrow road,
where the incline is steep
and the terrain is rocky,
struggling daily
to take one more step in the journey.

copyright 2017 - Donald P James Jr

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


I trespass,
stepping over a line drawn in the sand.
Some prophets of this day
have spread their ideals
like wind through the grains
and the boundaries are less clear.

Do I seek
stepping barefoot into sand
I should never feel?
Is the experience
worth the loss?

I trespass
into a world seemingly pleasant
and then,
I long for the simplicity
I once held tightly
in my heart.

Father in heaven,
be kind to me when I return,
a wanderer,
a prodigal.
Hold not my debts against me
and help my heart to forgive all that scars its flesh.

copyright 2017 - Donald P James Jr

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Psalm 65:10

You fill the furrows of the field with water
    so that their ridges overflow.
You soften them with rain showers;
    their sprouts you have blessed.
Psalm 65:10 (ISV)

You drench the earth
that life might spring forth
from its soil.
You fill the furrows
and quench the thirst
of a land once dry.

You till the ground
so it might be
to Your nourishment.
You bless all that comes forth
from the pastures
of love.

copyright 2017 - Donald P James Jr 

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Sower

Jean-Fran├žois Millet - The Sower

He set out into the fields,
a man with a singular purpose,
to sow good seed onto the soil.

His garden is well prepared,
but it is bordered by weeds
and the birds of the air are hungry.

His clothing is of no status.
His gait is hindered by tired limbs
and arthritic feet.

His life is to plant,
to offer his gift to the course of existence,
to nourish those who would spring upright from the dirt.

With a gentle motion of his hand
the seed takes flight into the breeze,
scattering like dust.

Is the soil of his field receptive,
or have briars and weeds
rooted in the depths of the ground?

Will some of his offering
land on hard stone,
where there is no dirt to hold it in place?

Will some land where the briars have domain,
to be corrupted in infancy,
before the roots have gained strength?

Will some land where the soil has been tended,
where life will come to blossom
and fruit will be multiplied to feed the hungry?

copyright 2017 - Donald P James Jr


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Charity (Matthew 6:1-4)

One came in his robes, proud of himself and the status he held.
He sang praises in the open courtyard. 
One would say he was a faithful servant. 
He smiled when his title was shared as such.

There were beggars.
There were those covered with the sores of disease.
He steered clear of the harlot and her tattered children.

He is the most pious man ever seen. 
His garments speak of his devout faith. 
His public deeds show his love of fellow man.

Look, he drops silver coins in the lap of the poor man.

And the diseased one?
They would stain him from his religious duties…
and the prostitute is an abomination in the city streets.

Where are the others who care for the stricken?
Why do they not boast?
Why do they not embrace those wearing public disdain?

They do not beat their chests in places of worship.
They do not lift their arms in praise, so others will witness.
Their offerings are humble.
They do not seek the praise of men.

But the Father sees all that they do,
those who seek not an earthly reward are precious
in the eyes of their maker.
Those who stand proud in the face of adulation
have received all they will ever be given.

copyright 2107 - Donald P James Jr 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Love and Hate

Love the one who is hardest to love,
words we see in scripture,
words we recognize
in the Gospel of Matthew
and Luke.

Love the enemy,
love the one who hates you.
Turn your cheek,
offer your strength for service,
give them your coat.

Are we far from where we have been called?
I say I am human,
hatred is part of my condition.
I forgive,
but will never forget.

I wish to draw away,
but Jesus said
draw closer.
Care for those who care the least for you,
pray in the midst of persecution.

You found me in my weakness.
You found me in my sin.
You found me as a pauper
You found me as a heathen.

You found me because of Your love
and I need You because of my hatred.

copyright 2017 - Donald P James Jr

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Ninety-two Years (Poem for My Father)

Donald P James Sr - March 5, 1925 - June 21, 2017

Ninety-two years,
Bronze Star
and a Purple Heart,
and father.
A voice for those who were silent.

Ninety-two years,
most spent in machine shops
defending your country
as you did
when storming beaches.
A supporter of the few rights
in the world.

Ninety-two years,
under the gaze of God,
knowing the cross,
questioning the temples
and following faith
where it led.

someone I could talk
of Notre Dame football with
and then
the challenges of knowing Christ.
A man
whose faults were human
and gifts were sacred.

the icon standing taller than I.
Ninety-two years,
an example of light
shining out
through the shadows of life.

copyright 2017 - Donald P James Jr