When I had nothing
To pay grace told me that I
Had nothing to pay.
A man went to the valley of trees
Lordly face like a sword-edge.
Goliath might scorn, Goliath might spurn
Loud as wolves his howls of disdain.
Ardent man, sapient man, distinctive man
David had pierced bear and lion.
Harsh in the skull he would drive his stone,
Accurate, brash weapon on brow.
At his feet the shield-lord bowed humbly,
Fleet Philistines, hero-wrenched, fled.
“Is it all right”, I asked her,
“For me to lead my sister
Towards the fire?”
“Our father is dead”, she said.
“So who else would I want
To give me away?”
“I could help you escape”, I claimed.
But she replied, “No. See these ropes -
I myself made them
It was gracious of my Lord
To make my poor handiwork
The bands of a Man”.
Truly, day by day, strand by strand,
Her dexterity and patience had made
The finest ropes in Derby.
“The fire is ravenous”. But she responded,
“We must all burn, by fevers or rheumatics:
As well swift as slow.”
And when I longed that God would send
Elizabeth she said she waited for
One Monarch only.
She rejoiced that she would not see
A sin-marred world - “but I will see it
When Christ is king".
And “What is light? Is it to the body
What faith is to my soul -
The expansion of perception.
You will have to let go my hand soon
But remember that a stronger hand
Holds me still.”
I led her to the stake. She did not cry
Among the faggots but spoke tenderly
And her last word was “Jesus”.
When I was battered on a rugged shore
Grace took the oars, braved waves, and rescued me;
Grace had prepared both light and warmth before
My chartless ventures on the sullen sea.
I drew my burnt hand from the savage flame
Since grace had given me my sense of pain;
Grace salved my wounded hand, grace took the blame,
Grace held me back lest I should burn again.
Grace was the policeman who arrested me,
The coastguard who observed my zigzag course,
The fireman who has rushed to cut me free,
The surgeon who exposed my gangrene’s source.
And grace has served me that I might be shown
The throne of grace, with grace upon the throne.
Firstly, a woman,
In whom that which was begotten in her
As power of the Highest overshadowed her
Was of the Spirit of God.
Then an ambience of receptors,
Like pistils for pollen,
Prepared for Him in the temple
By the Holy Spirit of God.
About thirty years progressed
Till the substance of divine approval
Anointing a praying Man
Was the Holy Spirit.
An active life followed
Each word, step or touch
Blessing to men
By the Spirit of God.
Qualified for glory, qualified
For rule - He was qualified
To offer Himself to God
By the eternal Spirit.
Risen, elevated, honoured,
At the Father’s right
He acted as Minister of grace
Giving His Holy Spirit.
He has His church now
Integrated and vital,
Welled by the love of God,
Through the One Spirit.
After Christ’s pathway of perfection
In secret, in man’s situation,
His place as Son in God’s affection
Was marked by God’s annunciation.
Seeing Christ did not need to wrestle
To assert control in the creation
The twelve knew, as He joined their vessel,
The Son of God by observation.
And that was good - but saints would rather,
Knowing God’s joy in the relation,
Like Peter learn now from the Father
The Son of God by revelation.
Before Christ’s toil had its fruition
God gave in the transfiguration
The witness to His new position -
The Son of God in elevation.
When I was as impoverished as a beggar in a ditch
The Son of God came up to me, raised me, and made me rich;
He gave me treasures far surpassing all that I had lost
And told me in His grace that He Himself had borne the cost.
When I came to the Father, impecunious and distressed,
He welcomed me, He kissed me and He clothed me in the best;
He took away the filthy rags worn from the distant land
And gave me sandals for my feet, His ring to deck my hand.
The Holy Spirit has the wealth of heaven in His care
Available for all the saints who own Christ Lord to share;
He decorates and dignifies the features of the bride,
Then helps her grace the place that she will have at Jesus’ side.
Now unto God who made us rich, whose giving is immense,
There rises our responsive praise, our nard and frankincense;
To Him who is the source of all we gladly bow the knee
And willingly acknowledge “of Thine own we give to Thee”.
He did not come with troops, with flags unfurled
And burnished swords; He came to heal the lame,
The blind and poor; and to make known God’s Name;
And show God’s love. If Jewish lips were curled
Disdainfully, and jibes or stones were hurled,
He did not act as Judge. He was the Same:
Rightly could the Samaritans exclaim,
“This is indeed the Saviour of the world!”
He came to Greek, Jew or Samaritan
In grace and vigour, as the Son of Man;
He showed, in shedding love and power abroad,
The dignity which marks the Son of God;
While heaven - before His public work begun
Parted to acclaim Him, God’s beloved Son.
God heard amid His fresh creation
His angels’ shouts of celebration.
He had in His premeditation
A greater cause of celebration.
When Christ brought in illumination
That gave God cause for celebration.
Because of reconciliation
God bids us join His celebration.
Christ in His place of elevation
Is centre of God’s celebration.
Christ’s men by grace and derivation
Will cause eternal celebration.
(As the registrar said)
For life -
No remissions or paroles
As if the judge had said,
“In this case, Life means Life”.
For life -
Not the mereness of existence,
Lichen on rock,
Pinioned on the high winds
For life -
That, through God’s grace,
And by His discipline,
In His ways
Should shoulder staves for Him.
For life -
Smiths together, tasters together
Of the grace