Saturday, 28 February 2009

THE DEAD

He raised the dead: advancing into Nain
He saw them carry the bier out of the gate;
He saw the mother, widowed and desolate,
And He was moved with pity, love and grace.
He touched the bier ‑ a touch of potency ‑
And when it stopped His word was "Youth, awake!"
‑ Death had to bend to power that was so great;
And willingly He went to touch the maid:
He cleared the feigning mourners out of the place
And with His few moved quickly and displayed
Mercy and power touching her where she lay,
Restoring her ‑ "her parents were amazed."

Friday, 27 February 2009

GENTILES

His grace was not confined to Israel
‑ All who had needs He diligently blessed:
The anxious mother who cried to Him for help
He tested first and when she stood the test,
Glad of her faith, He granted her request;
Or the centurion, one who confessed
Authority, and his unworthiness
Received by faith his servant in good health;
Or the poor woman Christ found beside the well:
He took His place by her, gave hope to her,
Wakened her conscience and caused her to repent,
And then revealed that He was Christ Himself.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

BLIND

While He was in the world He was its light
And if the scribes replied to Him with jibes
While Pharisees would constantly deride
It only proved they blindly led the blind.
But there were those who came to Him for sight
And He responded with power that was divine,
Endowing light He only could provide.
As He progressed He gladly turned aside
Since this fulfilled His Father's full delight,
For with their sight He also gave them life
Letting His light perpetually shine
Within their beings and there annulling night.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

DEMONS

In grace and power He cast out many demons
Combatting thus immediate powers of evil;
When some confessed the majesty of Jesus
They were rebuked for He would not receive it.
From demon power He gave a dumb man freedom
And men were moved to see that Christ released him;
One blind and dumb was brought to Him for healing
Who quickly found himself clear from uncleanness
While Satan's rigour seen in the man named Legion
In full display was broken by Christ's dealings:
The people wondered to see the wild man seated,
Sensible, clothed and in the power of reason.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

LEPER

A leper came to Jesus in confidence
That He was One omnipotent to cleanse:
But He had doubts about Christ's willingness.
He found a Man with more desire to bless
Than his desire to flee so sore a death,
Who freely handled him and was his Friend.
And, as for one, so was the Lord for ten
Whom first He tested in their obedience,
"Go to the priests, as evidence to them";
And they obeyed but even though they went
He had more joy in one come to confess
The glory of His grace than in the rest.

We'll have a few more from "Touching the King".

Monday, 23 February 2009

TREE

From the branches
Shooting over the wall
A few,
Rahab, Ruth, Ittai ...
Relished the fruit.

But how much further
The fruit hung when more,
Centurions, despised women ...
Savoured its lushness.

See Peter, branch out,
Growing the final inch
That topples the wall!
Gather with me,
My Gentile friends,
The fruit is free for us!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

GIFTS

Because I could not lift
My soul from sinfulness which was most grave
He gave,
In grace, faith as a gift.

Because I could not shift
My life from all that tended to deprave
He gave
A new life as a gift.

I need not lift in thrift
Because, exceeding all that I might crave,
He gave
His Spirit as a gift.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

LIGHT

There had been lamps
In the gloom; but John
Came as a burning and shining light.

Then came the dayspring. Christ
Visited, shedding light to His people
Cowering in death's shadow.
Most closed their eyes.

Light cannot be contained:
Wide-eyed Gentiles
- Centurions, needy women -
Came to the light.

Sunset fell, and what glory
Streaked the sky, despite
That sundown!

The world, sunk in the darkness
That it prefers, has not seen
That full light again.

His own have His secret,
The Morning Star,
In their hearts.

They await
The Sun of righteousness,
The cloudless day,
The healing rays.

Meanwhile He leaves us
As lights in the world.

Meanwhile His church,
In her serene progress,
His heavenly body, reflects
Him.

Friday, 20 February 2009

WHAT IS GOD DOING TODAY?

What is God doing today?
Forming the assembly in bridal affection,
Answering thus to her Bridegroom's perfection,
Ready for catching away.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

ANABASIS

We straggle forward.
The line
Elongated as the weak
Slow,
A wounded snake stretched from the fore horizon, to the rear horizon,
I am too fagged to look at.

What is that sound?
We have heard pursuers,
The gritted wind,
Vultures.

What is the sound?
Like an echo, but
Unlike an echo, since
It grows louder.

To our harsh desert
Where a thousand Greeks
Strew their bald corpses
This sound sings down the line.

Hearken, brothers, hearken:
Pass back the strong men's shout,
"The Sea, the Sea".

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

RHYME

In all God may say,
In His dealing with men,
In Christ is the yea,
And in Christ the amen.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

PAUL

The greater adventurer, you were a good soldier
Of Jesus Christ, striving in the good conflict,
Unentangled with the affairs of life
To be pleasing to the One who enlisted you;
Clad in the complete armour of God,
Belt, breast‑plate, helmet and sword,
Armour for advance only; standing,
Having done all things, able to say
That you had combated the good combat
‑ Example and guide for all who attempt the Way.

Strong drink brims in the vessel. It tilts,
Pluming a rich fruitful ribbon to the sand.
The aroma mulls through the mind. A purple clot
Decorates the desert. Then fades. This was the libation.

Among your frequent journeys
Why did your send your companions
By ship while going yourself on foot?
Was it to feel the land's
Tilth, the desert sand
And the rock's grain, conducive
To the spirit's soaring, the soul's
Grasping; and the silence needed
To go aside and rest a while
Close only to your Lord and Master?

Monday, 16 February 2009

PETER

What did the waters you walked on feel like?
Did it ooze round your feet like mud
On which to slither? Or was it hard and slippery
Like ice? Did its waves move under your feet?
I doubt if you knew. You were used to waves
Supporting you, literally and metaphorically,
Fisherman. But your whole attention centred
Then on the Catcher of men who would make you
A catcher of men. Impetuous as the water
You were caught by the line of love.

And you were His stone. You knew Him the Cornerstone ‑
And formed yourself on His pattern; the Foundation Stone ‑
You built upon Him; the Capstone ‑ you supported Him
‑ For without that Stone you were as weak as water
But you found in Him the Petrifying spring.

Did a sense of adventure
Move you into the water?
Or into the centurion's house?
Your invasion of Gentile land
‑ First man into the breach
When the middle wall was broken ‑
Secured the bridgehead and brought
The preciousness nearer our grasp,
The glory nearer our eyes,
Once your many errors had harnessed
Your rashness into useful action.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

ELISHA

Chariots of fire were not your style ‑
You bent forward patiently with twelve
Yoke of oxen, their damp warmth
And soft breath wrapping you, though cold,
Turning tilth sucked your feet.
Your nostrils savoured fresh earth
‑ And fresh dung. But always your eyes
Aimed for their mark, engraving the fields
With straight, fertile furrows.

Effectiveness. Problems, debt, disease and death,
Barrenness of land or woman, great or small
Personages, your skill with God always answered ‑
Precursor of a Greater, you secured God's solutions.

Water was your special element
Signifying and creating
Both life and death:
To the thirsty kings coolness
But in your enemies’ eyes blood.
Knowing the bitterness you
Could cleanse the bitterness ‑
Since you had crossed Jordan
The axe swam in Jordan:
Was it because when young
You poured water on the hands
Of Elijah, the man of God?

Saturday, 14 February 2009

SOLOMON

You had them all ‑ the ivory throne
With guardian lions; the palace of the house
Of Lebanon; vast revenues of gold;
Widespread domains and exotic embassies;
Each day's thirty oxen, its hundred sheep,
Harts and gazelles; a splendid palanquin
Enhanced by your sixty swordsman escort;
You had them all ‑ but not these only ‑
To probe a matter, the glory of kings,
One sword for wisdom and for justice,
Solutions to enigmas, three thousand proverbs,
With your own ascent to your God's house,
And desire and skill for songs and psalms ‑
All the accoutrements of monarchy.

And of these songs one only was the Song of Songs,
Depiction of love and beauty, the incomparable ode
To rapture of love, loveliness, cruel jealousy ‑
The symbols apt in their sensuousness, apt to love,
Apt in their spirituality ‑ breathed through the love of God.

Not gardens only, nor beds
Of spices, interested you ‑
You knew the value of tillage:
"He who tills will be satisfied
With bread"; "Manual labour
Will increase wealth"; "Truth
And mercy will attend those
Who plough good". These were
Your kind of adage. But,
Did you follow your own advice?

Friday, 13 February 2009

DAVID

The movements of your cadences are lost from hearing;
The texture of your voice is a thralled secret.
Did regular rhythms underpin your structures;
Or were words secured by the clasps of rhyme?
The technique is beyond the scope of our imitation;
But the power of your themes excels our inspiration.
Your structure is nothing compared to your concepts,
Scorched in the forge of experience into soul.
Deep calls to deep among your swell of tides;
Light answers light above your sun-soothed lands.
Out of the shepherd, fugitive and warrior
Endurance worked the sweet psalmist of Israel.

And an Israel cored by Zion, the hill of His holiness,
Stretched by your vigour, built from the ramparts and inwards,
Struggled for from God's house outwards, founded
On the promises of God, reaching even to the Euphrates,
Each tributary nation giving gold for the house of God.

You came from the House of Bread,
The luxuriant valley, through the tent
Set for the sun to Saul's pavilion ‑
An Honoured, chilly place.
Soon the sky was your roof again,
Or the dank limestone of Adullam,
Wandering in deserts and mountains,
And in dens and caverns of the earth ‑
Mad in the Philistine's presence,
Priestly in God's tabernacle.
You found Jehovah your fortress
Even into your kingly palace.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

MOSES

Muscle was needed. The throb of thighs,
Shift of feet on the mountainside. Strain
Of gaining the crags of Sinai's summit,
The gentler tops of Horeb, or the heights
Of Pisgah. This was your route of approach
To the nearness marked in advance for you ‑
And the friendship. So that rest, peaceful security,
Was something valuable as you were with Jehovah
Since you arrived through harsh experience
But softened since experience with Him, His eagle
Winging to Himself to be through long tramping
More than any other "among His priests".

And only through such experience could you be His people's shepherd,
Leashing their waywardness, cajoling, using your rod ‑
Mindful always that it could become a serpent but using it
More as provider of water ‑ till their princes could dig with their staves.

But the desert was not all harshness
Since from its drought songs echoed
As splendid punctuation. While dearth
Parched tongues and the sultriness
Enervated your doctrine bathed
Like the rain, your speech flowed,
A refreshing dew. A gentle smirr
Sprouted the tender herbs,
To make the grasses pullulate
Lush strands skyward ‑
Patience, with God, made song.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

ABRAHAM

You had felt the land's tilth
Ooze lushly, the land's desert
Sand your feet, its barren rocks
Graze and bruise. You tent's pegs
Had beaten into arid and arable
Ground of your promised land. Never
Had your share dug deep. Although
All was your own your only possession
A grave plot. But there was the possession
Gained from earth, dust and stone
On the hardened feet of you, the wanderer.

And possession of faith. Not human hope against hope
Nor the dull grasping of the disturbed thought through the crust
Of scepticism. But the certainty of trust in the Lord Almighty
‑ The admirable demonstration of bold credulity.
You, like God, saw the things that are not as existing.

Nomadic, but still a builder,
You cast earth, heaped rocks,
Not forms of grand appearance
But created from the textures you knew ‑
Altars. Rough but vital
They stand as milestones on your pilgrimage
Marking, guiding, smoking:
Each altar drew you nearer,
Higher, to become friend of God,
Ready approacher ‑ a priest's service.

Monday, 9 February 2009

01/08/04

“This is my Body” -
Uniquely prepared by God - “which
Is given for you.”

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Friday, 6 February 2009

29/07/04

Trees, bushes and grass
Console and light my eyes with
Nature’s blend of green.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Sunday, 1 February 2009

HIM

In Him
We have redemption,
Forgiveness of offences.

With Him
We have been buried,
And with Him raised and quickened.

From Him
In highest glory
The Spirit has descended.

Through Him
We, by the Spirit,
Have access to the Father.

For Him
The church, His body,
Is here in testimony.

To Him
Will soon be bending
The knees of every being.