Feathers A Christian Poem About Letting Go of Fear and Worry

Feathers

The weight of the world
is a feather in the hand of its maker.
It does not burden, break, or bury
the one who reigns outside of Time and Space's domain.

Our behemoths are merely single barbs
attached to that weightless shaft 
that flutters like the forest's souvenirs
given to a child, fallen from the wings of a jay.

In his hand our juggernauts 
are not threats but specimen.
His palm is large enough
to hold worry ad infinitum.

Push the crushing fear
off your chest and rest,
knowing that it's but a harmless feather
fluttering in your father's hand.

Justin Farley

The Tragedy of The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Every time I read The Parable of the Prodigal Son I am struck by the behavior of the oldest son. Ever notice how we never really get a resolution at the end of the story? The story doesn’t close with the oldest son saying, “You’re right, Dad. I’m so glad my brother is home – let’s go celebrate.”

My gut feeling is that the oldest son storms away from both his dad and brother, allowing his pride and anger to get the best of him until his resentment grows and turns into hate. It becomes pretty clear by the end of the story that he always did what was right with the expectation of getting favor from his father and an elevated status in the household. As soon as that assumption is questioned by the father receiving the younger son with open arms, the older brother’s real motive comes out.

We often read the story through the lens of the younger brother, relieved that God is a father of love and mercy, ready to receive us back with open arms. What we fail to see, though, is that more times than not we are the older brother – judging and prideful. The younger brother did not just sin against the father; he sinned in some of the worst ways possible. He spat on his father’s reputation so he could have money to have sex with whores and live in squalor.

Most of us in the church have never gone this low. Sure, we’re not perfect, but we’re not included in the lowest wretches of society either. And the pride of every Christian loves God’s forgiveness in his or her own life but scorns it in elsewhere. Don’t believe me? When’s the last time you invited a recovering drug addict, abuser, murderer, rapist over for dinner? Which one of us would have no problem introducing a prostitute to all of our church friends?

You see, God’s love isn’t fair. It’s radical. So radical that it bore nails for people that torture children, rape the innocent, kill for fun. I’m being a bit extreme to make a point. But seriously. Those people have just as much right to the love of God as the most ardent churchgoer. All it takes is for them to recognize their sin and come home like the youngest son did. Ugh. That’s not the kind of grace we like. We like our moments of anger, our quick unclean thoughts, our occasional gossip to be forgiven….But murderers? Rapists? Sadists? Those people need to pay.

And there lies the pride that quickly puts us all in the place of the older brother. Are you happy to see the worst of society in your church? Do you run to embrace them and welcome them home? Or do you wonder what the hell the lady with the short skirt and tits practically out is doing in church? Are you appalled by the stench of liquor on the man sitting next to you?

I relate with the older brother. I hate the fact that God reserves the same place at his table for people who have drifted in sin all their life as for the saintly. I deserve a gold star if I wait in line the whole time and not just cut to the front. That man who killed his wife sure as hell better not get the same reward as me.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a relief but mostly, it’s a tragedy. We all like to think we’re the broken son who gets embraced by his loving father. We can even see God running towards us – smile on his face and his arms opened wide. Unfortunately, for the most part, that’s a fantasy. We’re the pissed off brother in the corner fuming, asking, “What about me?” We’re the one questioning the fairness of love that sees everyone equally. We’re the one saying, “How dare you not give me my due for all the time, energy, and devotion I gave you.”

No single sin disqualifies you from the love of God, but your pride disqualifies God from your love. It is the deadliest and most serious of all sins. Yes, even worse than murder. Maybe not in the eyes of the law but in the eyes of God. It is easy for a murderer to know he is wicked. Blood is stained upon his hands. If he wants redemption, he comes broken. “My God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” But for the “good” pride causes a major blind spot, we come to God with chin up, head held high saying, “I’m not THAT bad.” In order to receive the grace and love of God, you must first know you need it. Pride is deadly because it convinces us that we have nothing to be sorry for, that there’s nothing that we need from God. And paradoxically, the son who never walked away is still the farthest from the father.

Contemplating and Discerning God’s Will

On my daily walk this morning, I was struck by the stirring of the Spirit as I was meditating on God’s will. I guess I’ve always imagined my contribution to society would be grand. Whether that has been my inflated ego or God speaking all these years, I don’t know.

We can never know with absolute certainty what God’s will is; we can only do our best to keep an open place in our mind and heart for the Spirit to speak to us, constantly revising where we’re headed based upon His promptings.

But regardless, I often find myself irritated by the mundane aspects of life- changing diapers, cleaning the house, helping with homework, watching kids, etc. because it feels like it is keeping me from realizing greatness. How am I going to be able to create a grand piece of art that changes the world if I rarely ever have time to write?

But what if the grand is keeping me from realizing the great? What if God’s will is simply for me to be a great husband, a great father, a great teacher and preacher to my children? Maybe the grand artist is my will and not God’s.

We can never know with absolute certainty what God’s will is; we can only do our best to keep an open place in our mind and heart for the Spirit to speak to us, constantly revising where we’re headed based upon His promptings.

Better to live by the Word of God hidden from the world than to be elevated by the world without it.

My job is not to elevate myself. The world will one day forget that I existed regardless if I become “famous” or not. But hopefully the work that I do contributes to preserving the name of Jesus Christ so that thousands of years from now people will still know His name. There is no shame living a life that the world never notices if it is well lived, measured not by the world’s standards but by God’s. Better to live by the Word of God hidden from the world than to be elevated by the world without it. Teresa of Avila provides a lovely mantra to live by: “whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.”

A life that brings even a single soul closer to God is a life of greatness.

This philosophy allows us to enjoy life and live fully, content in the present moment. It is folly to strive to make something out of YOUR life. Rather, live in a way that makes something out of His life. A life that brings even a single soul closer to God is a life of greatness. Don’t be blinded by the grand. Excel in the everyday, ordinary tasks, and the grand will occur if God wills it.

The more seriously you take yourself, the less seriously you take God. For when you become master, you bind yourself in chains of action, always striving harder and harder, less and less sure you’ve done enough to create a lasting legacy.

…the only time our souls are full and content is when we live in the Spirit and join in the centripetal, ever-revolving, relational love of God

But the more seriously you take God, the less pressure you have upon yourself. Laugh at yourself and the ridiculous, pompous thoughts of the human ego. God didn’t create you to glorify yourself; God created you to glorify Himself.

So love life and the people in it. Love the fact that God is going to help come to fruition His will whether you’re completely on board and do everything right or not. God doesn’t need us to glorify Him but knows the only time our souls are full and content is when we live in the Spirit and join in the centripetal, ever-revolving, relational love of God.

We are infinitely cherished and special beings while simultaneously being utterly unnecessary in the grand plan of God. This allows us to live with purpose yet pile all the weight of the world onto the Cross, onto the only one this world truly needs.

Justin Farley



My first chapbook of collected poems is available now! I hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.


You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.
Amazon: Kindle Paperback
Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback

Thank you for your support!

Light Wielder Poem About Bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth

Light Wielder

Crystals hang from the heavenly chandelier
on the city upon the hill.
Catching light and doing for the eyes
what wind chimes do for the ears.

     A rustling.
     An awakening
     of an ancient force
     that remembers,
     that yearns
     with an unquenchable thirst
     for transcendence
     for totality
     for unity
     for eternity.

Crystals catch the sun's light,
act like mirrors with the power
of those at the Pharos lighthouse,
and reflect it to the ends of the earth.
Never giving birth to work
by its own power,
only transmitting a greater light
whose flame has burned
indefatigable to the chagrin of the night.

Again.

     A rustling.
     An awakening
     of an ancient force
     that remembers,
     that yearns
     with an unquenchable thirst
     for transcendence
     for totality
     for unity
     for eternity.

I count
hundreds
thousands
millions
of crystals dangling like diamonds,
gleaming beneath the sun.
Dazzling like the thread
of the spider's web she's spun
catching the nightmares of the world
like colossal dream catchers,
waking up those who've fallen asleep,
and giving sight to a world walking in darkness.

Justin Farley





An Outstretched Hand Poem About God’s Grace

An Outstretched Hand

Grace waits patiently for everyone
like Charon beside the River Styx.
But Grace requires no coinage
for sin's payment has been nixed.
The sound of a boulder's rumble,
louder to the soul than deafening thunder,
is the receipt for the cost of transgression, paid in full.
It leaves even angels still in wonder
at the depth of love that bears such a brutal toll.
Grace holds her breath with an outstretched hand, 
the pinnacle choice of life for every man.
Grace's hand is still open to you.
Will you take it?

Justin Farley

Deus Homo Poem For Good Friday Lent and Easter

Deus Homo

Who is this man
who hangs like fruit from a tree
baking beneath the sun
shrunken, shriveled like a prune,
writhing in misery?

Who is this man
whose flesh is being used like lumber –
cold, iron nails piercing hands and feet,
under the weight of the world,
under the weight of a pounding hammer?

Who is this man
who forgives while being crushed by their sin,
who turns the other cheek
while being jeered and spat at
time and time again?

Who is this man
who cries out, “My God, my God,
why have you forsaken me”,
who breathes his last breath
and swings motionless from a tree?

Who is this man
whose death shakes the earth at her core,
who brings the roars of thunder,
and tore the veil of the Temple,
open for all forevermore?

And who is this man
who Death couldn’t hold,
older than the dawn of time,
grander than the universe itself,
who creates anew, who constantly unfolds?

He is Jesus of Nazareth.
He is the Christ.
He is the Word made flesh.
He is the Light that conquers the darkness.
He is the inspirational force of creation.
He is the sound blaring in the silence.
He is Deus Homo.

Justin Farley

Hello, everyone! I have recently published my first chapbook of Christian poems titled “A Voice in the Wilderness – A Chapbook of Poems about God”. This has been developed and polished over the past six months or so. I am happy with the final product and hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.
You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.
Amazon: Kindle Paperback
Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback

Thank you for your support!

They Say…

They Say...

They say follow your heart,
but I'm thoroughly convinced
mine doesn't know where
the hell it's going.

They say the heart wants
what the heart wants.
Mine wants to pull down the shades
and get rip-roaring drunk.

They say love yourself.
I think if I love myself any more
I'm going to join Narcissus
at the bottom of that damn pool.

They say put yourself first,
but I'm so far in the lead
that there's no one left
for me to pass.

But He says 
I'm broken beyond belief,
that my heart is deceptive,
and can't be trusted.

He says that only fools
follow the desires of the heart
because they lead to
bottomless pits, never satisfied.

He says quit staring
at yourself in that mirror,
that my hope isn't found in self love,
it's in the depth of His love.

He says the first shall be last
and to love my neighbor as myself,
to help pick up the wounded runners
rather than worry about what place I finish in.

I love my heart,
which is why it's so painful to admit
that His Word sounds like truth,
and culture sounds like childish chatter.

Justin Farley

Planting is a Prayer Poem

Planting is a Prayer

Planting is a prayer.
If you do it right.
If you take delight in the present
but keep future possibility in sight.

For God doesn't need words.
With each heart beat
you lay at his feet
a million complaints, hopes, fears,
doubts, joys, and defeats.

A creator knows its creation
better than the creation itself.
Your ink filled his pen.
He outlines your story, your end
before it evens begins
but allows you freewill 
over the final edits.

Planting is a prayer.
If you do it right.
If you're aware you've been given oversight
in a chapter of a story
that's been continually expanding
since the Word first spoke to the void:

"Let there be light".
Let you delight
in the blessing you've been given - 
partial control over the story of life.

Justin Farley

Conversion Poem About the Love and Grace of God

Conversion
A Poem About the Love and Grace of God

I began divided.
Quite selfish with a heart hungry for evil
yet filled with a deep longing brewing
below the surface that never seemed fulfilled
by anything other than you.
So what was I to do - 
in love with myself and my selfish desires
but realizing more each day my need for you?

I opened my ears to your voice
but kept my heart safely distant.
You told me to follow you.
And I obeyed...
at a snail's pace,
slowly inching my way towards your grace.

The closer I came the louder my name
reverberated from your lips.
Though the louder too were my selfish longings.
Lust ran high in the dry, dusty desert of restraint
and tried to pull me back
into the slavery of gratification.
 
I gave in time and time again
but refused to allow my sin
to convince me to hide in shame from you.
For at the core of my being,
I knew you held something true - 
an answer to a question about the essence of life itself
that couldn't be answered along any other path but yours.

So I continued hauling my heavy shell behind me
and sluggishly crawled onward,
but the way forward didn't get any easier.
I only found myself more divided,
fragmented into forces fighting within myself.

My head became a bed for commotion,
tossing me to and fro like the waves of the ocean.
The inner struggle only made me more aware
of the seriousness of my situation:
I had a head full of God
and a heart unwavering it its insistence
upon serving itself.

It was daunting,
haunting me in its clutches
and causing me to lose sleep
like a nightmare stuck on repeat,
waking me up in the night
to the harsh realities of life.

How was I to serve two masters
and attend to both of their matters?
My ego wasn't lulled to sleep
nor cowered to the call for its destruction.
But raged and rattled the cage
your spirit had created for it.

I trusted that your grace
was vaster than all the stars
shinning forth forgiveness in the dark
to the farthest corners of the universe;
surely my sin was no match for your goodness.

I resolved to stop worrying
so much about "do nots"
that I never seemed capable of obeying
and to focus on following through on the "dos"
I was perfectly capable of undertaking.

And there your spirit freed
a seemingly unsavable prisoner
from the bondage of self
and turned me towards the Divine.
For you kept me so busy doing your will
that I forgot about mine.

Justin Farley