Wednesday, 30 September 2009

NEAR

The word is near
That in the gospel we can preach,
Which casts out fear:
Jesus is Lord and, by His breach
Through death, salvation is in reach.

The Lord is near
His own in testimonial days
With words of cheer
Sustaining them through desert ways
And waking their delighted praise.

The time is near
When Christ the Lord will take His throne;
He will appear
With myriad saints who are His own -
His through His work and worth alone.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

WIDOW

Men saw the rich donating from their riches
And thought them rightly proud of all they'd given;
The priests were glad to see them boost their system
Not knowing yet the time of their dismissal.
But Jesus watched and all their gifts diminished
When Jesus judged the motives of their giving.
He called His own to bring within their vision
The greatest giver, an under‑rated widow
Who had not shirked dispensing all her living.
Though men despised her the widow was distinguished.
True judgment valued the one who men belittled
‑ Some trait of Christ, whose giving was exquisite.

Monday, 28 September 2009

FIG TREE

He came from Bethany where were His lovers
Towards Jerusalem where there was spurning;
In genuine manhood the Lord Himself was hungry:
He saw one tree whose foliage was abundant.
Seeking for figs He found that there was nothing
And solemnly He spoke to it and cursed it.
Quickly it dried up so that the watchers wondered.
The tree was symbol of His own people's dullness:
They saw His grace and felt it was repugnant.
The best of flesh was found to be unworthy
Exposed to One who should have gained their worship.
He spent His strength but their response was nullness.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

TEMPLE

The Mighty One had come within His temple:
None could resist the vigour of His entrance.
He overthrew the seats of the dove‑sellers;
From money changers the house was disinfested ‑
God's house of prayer was hallowed by His cleansing.
The scribes displayed their wicked preferences
And would have gladly destroyed Him or expelled Him.
But children sang ‑ this was what God intended:
That men should know the glory of the Person;
And if their cries related to Christ's splendour
God loved to hear it ‑ it was His intervention.
From babes and sucklings Christ's praise has been perfected.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

JERUSALEM

As Christ advanced to agony and woe
To bear my sins and for my sins atone
God's will ensured some recompense before:
Regally seated upon an ass's colt
Meekly towards Jerusalem He rode
Accompanied by crowds whose voices rose:
In acclamation they honoured and extolled.
They cried "Hosannah!", and thus His status owned,
The Son of David whom God will have enthroned.
They called on Zion to hearken and behold.
Had Pharisees ensured these mouths were closed
God would have drawn responses from the stones.

Friday, 25 September 2009

ZACCHEUS

Ridiculous Zaccheus made himself
Out on a limb because he was intent
Simply to see the Saviour as He went.
But Jesus stopped which he did not expect
And called to him ‑ if climbing up he sped
“How full of speed canst thou imagine when
Our Saviour called he powder'd down again?”
He feared no fall but answered as he heard
And when Christ spoke rejoiced at what He said:
Glad, he prepared a place for Christ to dwell -
“A son of Abraham” his righteousness
Secured a welcome for Christ, at His request.


This includes a quotation from Francis Quarles which I have googled and found here:
http://darbygray.blogspot.com/2007_04_01_archive.html .

THE TRIBUTE MONEY

Accosted by collectors of didrachmas
Peter was once again responding rashly
To prove the orthodoxy of Christ's reactions.
Probed by the Lord he found out, as he had to,
"The sons are free" ‑ outwith the world's transactions.
Yet not to give offence the Lord dispatched him
Back to the sea and his accustomed casting
(Though not a net ‑ no indiscriminate catches ‑
Since Jesus knew how strong the sea's attractions).
He would acquire one coin exact in value
From the first fish under God's sovereign action
"For Me and thee", the servant and the Master.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

THE MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION

Accompanied by three whom He had chosen,
Upon the mountain Christ sought the high remoteness.
And as He prayed in confident devotion
His countenance was changed and shone in glory:
Even His clothes shone as He stood before them;
Elias was with Him and also Moses.
Peter and James and John were soon awoken
To hear of truths to cause them to adore Him.
Even when Peter's words were rashly spoken
The cloud of glory drew its protection over:
Who could compare with Christ? There could be no one:
God has averred His excellent aloneness.


The form is somewhat of my invention. It is based on my, possibly defective, understanding of the Old French laisse. The general principles are:
each stanza had twelve lines;
all twelve lines assonate, i.e. the last stressed syllable has the same vowel sound - full rhymes are usually accidental;
the basic measure is the so-called iambic, unstressed syllable followed by stressed;
each line has five stresses and a break after the second or third stress;
in a substantial minority of lines there is an additional unstressed syllable after the break or at the end of the line, or both.

If these technical details are a distraction, forget them; if lack of them would distract, refer to them.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

FEEDING THE MULTITUDE

As great crowds came to Him Christ was concerned
And spoke to Philip regarding food for them;
Although He was the answer in Himself
The Lord took Philip and put him to the test.
Andrew the finder had found a boy with bread
And two small fish, yet numbers overwhelmed
The feeble faith of all of Jesus' friends.
He took control ‑ all sat at His behest
And having blessed in grace the Saviour served.
None could go hungry if Christ administered:
None could surpass the greater nourishment
Now made available through Jesus' death.

Monday, 21 September 2009

ON THE SEA

In consternation they felt the narrow keel
Buffet upon the billows of the sea.
Where was the Master? And could He help achieve
A safer place, or help assuage their fear?
Where was the Master? They found He was asleep;
Whatever squalls could not disturb His peace.
At His rebuke the raging waters ceased
And at His word the calm became complete.
They questioned in their hearts Who this could be
Whose voice the elements owned as supreme:
Although the Friend who granted them relief
In Person Christ could say "I, I am HE!"

Sunday, 20 September 2009

CORN FIELD

As the disciples followed Him through the fields
The presence of the Lord made them so free
They plucked the wheat and having rubbed the ears
Had liberty to choose the good and eat
The strictures of the carping Pharisees
Were met by Christ who spoke of David's need
And how he took the shewbread from the priest.
Thus Christ announced the message of release
That He had come to foster and to preach,
Which His own rights and sorrows would achieve.
Lord of the Sabbath establishing our peace
He left the Pharisees to taste defeat.

This begins another wave of laises of "Touching the King". Others, of the total of 120, will follow in due course - if the Lord will. They have the tag TTK

Saturday, 19 September 2009

ROCK VIII

For the support of such a grand creation
As God's own house only one Rock is sure
To uphold all God's structure and endure
Attacks and storms ‑ and Christ is that foundation.

There is one glorious pattern which alone
Can gratify God's heart ‑ not a mere plan
From which to measure, but the glorious Man
Who pleased God well: Christ is that Corner Stone.

As patterned on that Man we can be built
As living stones each into his own place,
According to the riches of God's grace,
Freed from the stain and penalty of guilt.

The work continues. Soon God will present
His masterpiece ‑ yet we already know
Enjoyment of it ‑ and that work will show
The Headstone, Christ, its finest ornament!


(End of "Rock")

Friday, 18 September 2009

ROCK VII

Be, become, conform to being,
To me, your rebel, persistent wanderer,
Recurring prodigal, even to me,
A rock ‑ a covert, refuge and strong
Hold ‑ a rock of habitation
Whereunto I ‑ I, myself, who
With the mind serve God's law ‑
May continually, and continuously too,
Till time dissolves out of continuousness,
Resort, like the rock badger,
But a feeble folk ‑ yet exceeding wise ‑
Who make their house in the cliff.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

ROCK VI

Behold, He smote the rock
waters rushed out,
streams overflowed:
how did they doubt
His gladness to unlock
boundless resources yet to be bestowed?

He led them through alone:
He gave them food
from the rich soil;
and soon they could
suck honey from the stone;
while from the flinty rock He gave them oil.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

ROCK V

Yet in experience the Rock can be
A stumbling block; too high for me
I appears to observe and mock my attempts
To scale it: I knock my head against
A flinty cliff; I cannot unlock
Or smite out of it water, oil or honey.

I stumble at the foot of the crag ‑
Enervated, unable to drag my body
From the earth. On crumbling slag I stand
But with any effort I flag; no
Way appears. Into my grazed flesh
Harsh outcrops jag their sharpness.

My desire is directed upward; my soul
Burns like a fire if I weakly
Decline or retire. How make headway
To heights I aspire to? My body
Languishes, muscles ache, arms
Tire, for my flesh outweighs me.

*****
As for my feet, treading miry clay
He set them on a Rock, and He
Established my goings; I called
And he led me to Rock which is higher
Than I; and in the day of evil He
Will set me high upon a Rock.
For who is a Rock if not our God
Who makes my feet like hinds' feet
And sets me on my high places.
Gracefulness and agility superseding
My natural sloth and lowness I
Walk and leap and praise God.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

ROCK IV

With silver, precious stones and gold
I built a delicate, costly tower;
Chryselephantine work extolled
My Master, to its utmost power ‑
But storms arose ‑ it would not stand
For it was founded upon sand.

Again ‑ but now on rock ‑ I built
An edifice designed to swell
The praise of Him who bore my guilt;
I thought my work had progressed well
But fire demolished all I saw
‑ Since it was wood and grass and straw.

Lord, let me build on Thee alone
According to Thy heavenly plan
And let me be a living stone
Solely for Thee, and not for Man;
And if the glory all is Thine
The happiness and peace are mine.

Monday, 14 September 2009

ROCK III

With a deep richness
Recalling blood, the ruby
Glows, warmly as love;

While the emerald
Like ocean over white sand
Shows its pure shining;

Justice, transparent,
Refracting light, adamant,
Embrues the diamond;

Celestial blue,
Nobility beyond earth
The sapphire displays;

No mere stone, the pearl,
Bright as truth out of suffering,
Gleams in uncut white.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

ROCK II

Here were no unconformities:
Each part was ideal in its kind
And in its place. Constant texture
With no fault, fineness of grain ‑
Altogether what He said He was ‑
And without eccentricities:
No erratics, nor conglomerates;
The Same, yesterday and today
And to the ages to come. Rock
On which I can depend.

Yet the attrition of time,
Pressures, ice and fire
More than any other
That Man has undergone;
Not passed through stoically
As a mere rock suggests.
Here the image fails
As every image must fail:
Lamb, Heifer or Dove;
He suffered all He endured.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

ROCK I

Rocks, geologists aver,
Are subject to change. Folding,
Heat, eruption and the slow
Attrition of weather, glaciers'
Long fisting, pressures
Result in unconformities,
Faults, erratics. Not only
Forms and textures alter
But the substance ‑ metamorphic rocks,
Schist, gneiss transformed
By temperature, chemicals, forces.
Each hour what seems most solid
Is reforging on time's anvil.


There is one rock that does not change,
Perfect and constant in its form.
While other splinter and derange
There is one Rock

That cannot alter in the storm.
While thrusting power makes them strange
It does not vary from its norm.

Rocks, overheated, rearrange,
Boil, overflow, cool and reform:
Beyond earth's fiercest fury's range
There is One Rock.

Friday, 11 September 2009

HE LOVED ME

When God in Christ came near to man
According to His glorious plan
He loved me.

When Jesus suffered on the tree
To bear my sins and set me free
He loved me.

When Jesus lay within the tomb
Enduring its oppressive gloom
He loved me.

When He had risen from the grave
Having acquired the right to save
He loved me.

When from the place of power and love
He gave his Spirit from above
He loved me.

And through eternity I'll still
Remember with a deathless thrill
He loved me!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Monday, 7 September 2009

27/09/04

As he visited,
Consoled, gave... my father showed
Traits of the Father.


(with Christ 27 December 1980)

Friday, 4 September 2009

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

24/09/04

How often do I
Leave till last what should be first,
Prayer, a prime blessing?