Jessica Mesman: Church as muse

“If I want to feel faith and emboldened in my faith that happens through art. My most profound spiritual experiences have probably happened through reading books.” -Jessica Mesman

Hope and heartache on this side of the grave

I understand that my death could come any day. My own life experiences have etched this understanding into the channels of my heart. I carry a consciousness of my mortality into all my ordinary actions. Knowing that the potential of death looms nearby influences what I think about, dream about and do with my days.Continue reading “Hope and heartache on this side of the grave”

Poetry: How do words become flesh?

How do you pray? Do you pray with hands folded? Do you air out your words on the line? Do you clip them down one by one, and then let them dance in the breeze until they smell fresher, lighter? Do you tell yourself stories of meaning and mystery? Do you let the metaphors danceContinue reading “Poetry: How do words become flesh?”

Rejoice with me

  Along with three others sisters in their mid-30s, I am in a busy café in St. Louis, Missouri, enjoying a lunch of sandwiches and salads. A bit ago, we prayed over our food. Between bites, we’re laughing and chatting about the work we need to do. Feeling happy and a little anxious, we stillContinue reading “Rejoice with me”

Our Common Call to Contemplation, Communion and Creativity

On an ordinary morning, I kneel into The Now. I am alone in my bedroom, sitting cross-legged on the floor. I have set my timer, so I know when I must move. But for now, this is all there is. I light the candle nearby, then close my eyes and move my mind — myContinue reading “Our Common Call to Contemplation, Communion and Creativity”

How Do Words Become Flesh?

This womb of mine will not know the pangs of pregnancy. My skin will not tighten when another body becomes part of my flesh. My inner organs will not shift to make room; my ankles will not swell; my appetite will not increase because my body is making another person. This womb is empty, creased.Continue reading “How Do Words Become Flesh?”

God, the Ocean

A little over a week ago, I got to be near the ocean. I didn’t get to see it. I didn’t get to tuck my toe into the salty fluid; I wasn’t able to wade upon the sand and rocks and contemplate the depth beyond the shore. (I was near the ocean because I traveledContinue reading “God, the Ocean”

Call for creative communion

  I nearly skipped the liturgy. I almost didn’t head out into the cold night. After two full and exhausting days at the Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I wasn’t sure if I had any energy to interact with another person, especially any of my literary heroes. Yet, I made myContinue reading “Call for creative communion”

#MeToo, #ChurchToo and the hope in breaking the silence

The courage and resilience of survivors of sexual assault choosing to share their stories gives me hope. The wave of very public accounts of sexual assault and misconduct sweeping the United States, for many, has made what once seemed safe and certain seem suddenly dangerous and frightening. For those recently opening their eyes to theContinue reading “#MeToo, #ChurchToo and the hope in breaking the silence”

Following Jesus outside the box

Since I was a kid, good folks started challenging me to think “outside the box.” In one case, I remember sitting in the shade on a hot day with a group of girls at Bible camp and our counselor offering a puzzle: I am going on picnic and bringing cookies and my glasses. What are youContinue reading “Following Jesus outside the box”