May your love be a rebel
river that runs upward
away from the salty mouth
of the insatiable ocean,
up, up the incremental slope.
May your swift currents rope the hills;
may you upstream with the motion
of the head-strong salmon
ascending through the boulder fields
into the narrowing canyons,
scaling the tall falls like a parade
of water striders climbing the curtain.
Wind toward the glaciered peak,
carving channels through the snow
as you go higher until you lasso the summit!
Gathering speed, summon your last push
to rush the pinnacle, and at the tip
of it launch an inimitable
explosion of droplets and spray
in a never-before-seen array of
bright ribbons braiding the clouds
with pearled bands curling spaceward,
there beyond the world noise, His voice
come clearer, nearer, and your love a revel river
buoyant with joy, elegant with scars,
translucent in the light of the stars.
This poem is for my son Ren and my new daughter-in-law Caroline on the occasion of their wedding, June 3, 2017. I had the incredible privilege of serving as their minister, and I read this poem to them immediately before they spoke their sacred vows to one another. The poem is inspired by Romans 12:2: "Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." It is a prayer that they will follow the counter-cultural river of giving over grabbing, self-emptying over self-preference, laying down their lives for one another in the same way Jesus laid down His life for the world.