Monday, 31 December 2012

KEPT

...Soon, in the Father’s
House, but now I am kept
In the Father’s hand.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

THE SYSTEM OF LOVE

From a heart rich with mercy, grace and love
The Father's purposes for us display
His grand desire to have before His face
A glorious, loved and loving company.

Thus through unbounded grace His own Son came
To save us, and, more preciously, to lead
Those justified - and powerful in His Name -
Up to the Father as a holy seed.

And in the Father's presence we can be
Not only known as sons but cause to feel
That since the Son has died to set us free
Our sonship is not nominal, but real.

For grace gives, crowning all that mercy starts,
The Spirit of adoption in our hearts.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

ONE MAN

As the heavens parted
The Father’s voice sounded
And the Spirit descended
God
Was distinguishing one Man.

As the cloud surrounded
And, from its shekinah,
The Father spoke
God was
Distinguishing one Man.

Even when the sun was darkened
And darkness covered the earth,
While the Father’s voice was absent,
God was distinguishing
One Man.

Then, when a cloud received Him,
When He was taken up
And sat at God’s right hand
God was distinguishing one
Man.

When they see the Son of Man sitting
At the right hand of power
And coming with the clouds of heaven
They shall acknowledge
God is distinguishing one Man.

Friday, 28 December 2012

MY FATHER

I

(c1978)

To most it simply is their livelihood
To change the live silver until it's dead
And filthy clanging silver and they could
Just as well pass their days in making bread
Or, if they had the brains, transcripts of Greek.
Day clashing after day of scratching knives
Strung into week following tedious week
Grind out their tepid, barely half- lived lives.

He's not like this. To him the lithe white flakes
Of muscle and the delicate web of bones
Constitute his material - when he hones
His knife and soothes the flesh and bones apart
It is his magnum opus which he makes
For every fillet is a work of art.

II

(25/12/90)

Perfection was the aim: even his writing
Was evidence of reaching for perfection,
Unlike my own crabbed hand. His mind delighting
In flawlessness could show a predilection
For no one of my kind; his approbation
Seemed to evade me - rightly I confess.
Yet graciousness that salved our situation
Was further evidence of saintliness.

Those who each day saw him about his trade
Found no more apt description of him than,
In all their market, "the last gentleman".
They could not fathom that in all these days
Another Man was more and more displayed:
The Perfect Man, through faith, engaged his gaze.

III
(26/12/90)

Gentleness, humour, generosity:
He never spanked me once - in case he hurt;
And I recall one over-boisterous day
When deeds more vigorous and words more curt
Would have more aptly answered my attack.
When he told jokes you'd lose the point till after
But not feel any sorrier for the lack:
He'd spoil the tale, yet cheer you, with his laughter.

As for his generosity, that theme
Is subject of abundant evidence;
He worked long hours for substance to dispense
And used his time for visits to deliver
His many gifts - because of the esteem
Of Him he knew as the transcendent Giver.

IV
(27/12/90)

Perfection was His aim: in every day
The work of God progressed towards its end.
Natural aptitudes had lessened sway
In Father's trade; instead he could perpend - 
And grow in - thoughts of Jesus. God had pleasure
Seeing a soul advancing towards His aim,
Until He added to perfect this treasure
The final thought of "Jesus Christ, the Same".

If Father loved to see a plump and fresh
Haddock or sole come cleanly from the bone
Through skill achieved by careful toil alone
So that no trace of worthlessness was left
His Saviour's stroke which soothed him from the flesh
Was infinitely swifter and more deft.

The Lord Jesus took my father to be with Himself 32 years ago today.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

ABRAHAM

What did it mean to him
When Abraham clave the wood
Of the burnt-offering?

What did it mean to him
When Abraham laid the wood
On his son Isaac?

What did it mean to him
When Abraham built the altar
And piled the wood?

What did it mean to him
When Abraham bound Isaac
And laid him on the wood?

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

HYMN

Blest Holy Spirit, sent from Christ in heaven
To those who own Him as their Lord and King,
We praise Thee for the power that we are given
To move us, to Thyself, to laud and sing:
Spirit of Jesus, sent from above,
To shed out freely, within our hearts, God's love.

How low the place that Thou, in grace, hast taken
In humble love to help us praise before
Him who, for us, was once alone, forsaken;
Through Thee we now would worship and adore:
Spirit of Jesus, sent from above,
To shed out freely, within our hearts, God's love.

Monday, 24 December 2012

CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

If she had stood
Like a blasted tree
By the shore of the shivering sea

How had she become
Like an apple tree
Whose bows are bent with summer fruit?

She had learnt
To swerve no more beneath the knife;

To welcome One Wiser as
He chose to lop
Branch after branch.

More fruit bodied
In its own ripe season.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

SHEPHERD

Through midday heat and midnight frost
He helped the weak and fed the sound.

He journeyed over barren ground
To find the wandering and lost.

He did not heed the awful cost
That through Him blessing might abound.

Praise shall eternally resound:  
Oh what a Shepherd, Lord, Thou wast!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Friday, 21 December 2012

PUNISHMENT

The rich were punished
With metal - brisk swords
Or their own daggers.

The poor were punished
By wood - stocks, rods or
Slow crucifixions:

Christ took part with these.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

HIS HANDS WERE NAILED TO THE CROSS

His hands were nailed to the cross
Though He only used them to bless
Those in sickness, need and distress
Whom the Pharisees reckoned as dross.

While they played at pitch and toss
To gamble over His dress
His hands were nailed to the cross
Though He only used them to bless.

He bore the deepest loss
As He hung for me, I confess;
For He suffered there to express
Greatest love where sin was most gross:
His hands were nailed to the cross.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

CHRIST

The One by whom the worlds began
Who furnished Earth by what He said
Was found in figure as a Man
Without a place to lay His Head.

By Him on good and worthless ground
The seed, the word of God, was sown
And now for His delight abound
Fruits from good ground for Him alone.

From this world's raging seas He brought
Disciples, sinners born again:
He patiently and gently taught
Till they were also "catching men".

Unending gentleness and care
For those whom men despised as least,
With constant toil for men in prayer,
Displayed perfection of a priest.

And as the perfect Victim too
He met death in the darkest hour,
Emerging as the Victor who
Quelled death and him who had its power.

Ascended high to God's right hand
He sits upon the throne of grace
Acclaimed by all who understand
He has secured their heavenly place.

And as the Chief Musician now
He moves God's service, phrase by phrase,
Touching each harp-string to endow
Eternal, orchestrated praise.


Monday, 17 December 2012

ONE ROCK

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

That cannot alter in the storm.
While thrusting power makes them strange
This 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.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

VINES

A vine was before me,
Said the saint.
It budded and it blossomed,
Its clusters ripened into grapes
And the fulness of the vintage
Was all for God.

I went down into the garden,
Said the Bridegroom,
To see if the vine budded,
If there was something
Fresh, in response to Myself.

Should I leave my new wine,
Said the saint,
Which cheers God and man,
The product of His sunshine,
His husbandry and pruning?

I will go out and savour,
Said the Bridegroom,
Of the clusters of the vine
And the best of the wine...

That floweth straight,
Said the bride,
To my Beloved.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

WE BOW BEFORE THE TRINITY

Though once afar off enemies
And strangers to sanguinity,
As brought to God and taught to praise
We bow before the Trinity.

According to God's glorious ways
At home in Thy vicinity
To worship to the length of days
We bow before the Trinity.

With every heart and conscience clear
Before God's great divinity,
In reverence and godly fear
We bow before the Trinity.

Men, disparate, may now adhere
In heavenly consanguinity;
As in affection we appear
We bow before the Trinity.

Because of all that God has done
In love a new affinity
Of God and man has now begun;
We bow before the Trinity.

Acknowledging God   Father, Son
And Spirit (in infinity
Three Persons, yet forever One)  
We bow before the Trinity.

Friday, 14 December 2012

MEMORIES

I remember the relish
With which, when preaching, my father
Would name
The blessed God”.

I often heard John Welch
Speak to his God and Father,
But one distinct word I remember:
At-homedness”.

Twice I have heard Burton Jensen
Enunciate distinctly,
Giving each vowel its value,
Beneficiary”.

If I could leave behind
One distinctive word
Of relationship with God -
That would content me.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

PRAYER FOR MY SON

Lord, as I watch this little lamb
I ask you first to shepherd me
Since as Thy wayward sheep I am
As prone to wandering as he'll be.

Help us to feed among Thy sheep
Where both of us will know Thy care;
Protect us, water us, and keep
Our footsteps from the lion's lair.

But he himself will need to learn
The way his Shepherd had to go
And in his heart himself discern
The reason for his Shepherd's woe.

Help him to learn the Shepherd's voice
And follow in the Shepherd's way
Till he will constantly rejoice
In what his Shepherd has to say.

And bring him safely home at last
Secure eternally from harm
Where no wolves roam and no winds blast
Within the shelter of Thine arm.



The little lamb is now taller than me.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

SECOND FAMILY

Jemima
The product of God’s workmanship,
Without shadow of the night
“Beautiful as the day”.

Keziah
Suitable to imbue,
To anoint, a king’s garments,
“Cassia”.

Keren-happuch
Another class of beauty,
Brightness out of sorrow,
“Horn of paint”.

Job 42: 14
 

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

BEHOLD HE SMOTE THE ROCK

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.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Sunday, 9 December 2012

THEIR GLORIOUS LORD

He came among them
Risen and living
Their glorious Lord
"And when they seen Him
They done Him homage"
With one accord.

He was their Saviour,
Their Friend and Teacher
Their glorious Lord  
He had encountered
In all its horror
God's judgment sword.

They stood beholding
As He ascended
Their glorious Lord;
God has enthroned Him
Giving Him honour  
His just reward.

And now we see by
Faith and the Spirit
Our glorious Lord;
And when we see Him
We do Him homage
With one accord.

Written after the death of the beloved brother quoted, whose fervency was better than his English. 

Saturday, 8 December 2012

MARRIAGE

What were the guests wearing?
Each one a wedding garment,
Each one that Best Robe
Which the Father provided.

What did the Bride wear?
Fine linen, righteousnesses
Of the saints
Particular in delicate tracery.

What did the Bridegroom wear?
Ah, the Bridegroom!
“Myrrh and aloes, cassia
Are all Thy garments.”

Myrrh?
Yes, for we will not forget
The suffering way by which
The Bride was won.

Aloes?
From those His people,
Aloe trees
Which Jehovah hath planted.

Cassia?
Kezia, product of the
Second
Which He alone established.

Friday, 7 December 2012

IN CHRIST


In Christ God found
An outlet for His heart
Through which in love He might impart
Grace which will through eternity abound.

In Christ God found an inlet to my heart
To funnel love which every day
And through eternity
He will impart.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

SAVIOUR

Dead in trespasses and sins
I lay - till quickened
By the Son of God.

Sin acting,
I was a leper
Until He touched me.

Sin darkening,
I was blind
Until He enlightened me.

Maimed by sin
I staggered
Until He made me straight.

In sins bonds
I languished
But He has loosed me.

He touched my ears
And tongue - that now
I may speak right.

I lived in poverty -  
He came to share it
And to enrich me.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

ALLELUIA

Alleluia to the Saviour!
Bless the glorious Name of Jesus;
Come before His throne with gladness,
Do Him homage for His greatness.
Everlasting praise will echo
For the Firstborn of creation,
God's anointed priest and prophet,
Heaven's Centre of affection,
Israel's monarch and Messiah,
Judah's Prince and Sprout of Glory,
King of kings and Prince of princes,
Lord of lords and Head of all things!
Men of every tribe and nation,
Nurtured in that splendid kingdom
Open wide their mouths in anthems
Praising Jesus their Redeemer.
Queen-like His beloved assembly
Raptured by her Bridegroom’s beauty
Sits upon His throne beside Him.
Thousands upon thousands bring Him
Universal acclamation;
Victory is accorded to Him,
Worshippers are bowed before Him,
Xenia presented to Him:
Young and old in happy chorus
Zealously sing - Alleluia!

Monday, 3 December 2012

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.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

"HE SHALL BE GREAT"

"He shall be great":
Great Shepherd of the sheep,
Whom God brought from among the dead,
By whom His sheep are borne and fed  
"He shall be great".

"He shall be great":
Great Priest within God's house
Who in His manhood supersedes,
Yet gives us help in all our needs  
"He shall be great".

"He shall be great":
Great King and Lord of all  
The lowly Babe of Bethlehem
Shall reign in God's Jerusalem  
"He shall be great".

Saturday, 1 December 2012

RUNES

(Eve)
This beauty, replete, rare,
Is Woman.

(Rebecca)
Both in the willing and the working,
Captivating.

(Leah)
If not the first
This was the fecund love.

(Acsah)
Full of zest and thirst,
She springs with agility.

(Abigail)
Her soul bound with mine in
The bundle of the living.

(Shulamite)
Gracefulness and dignity,
Embrue each footstep.

(Woman of Worth)
More valuable than rubies
This woman I have found!

Friday, 30 November 2012

PEOPLE OF GOD

Their meeting has no steeple;
Their preacher has no cope;
This world's great names
Assert no claims
They have a better hope:
Wonderful, wonderful people
Wonderful people of God.

With heavenly behaviour
They praise with one accord
Their hearts unite
With great delight
For Jesus is their Lord:
Wonderful, wonderful Saviour
Wonderful Saviour from God.

The heart has One to stir it
To answer to Christ's love
Their anthem swells
For in them dwells
The Spirit from above:
Wonderful, wonderful Spirit,
Wonderful Spirit of God.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

THE MAN

Into the night
- Men blundering in darkness - came
The Light.

Among absurd
Bubbles of futile noise came
The Word.

Where men, astray,
Wandered in pathless deserts came
The Way.

As men's uncouth
Hubbub of lies resounded came
The Truth.

While sturt and strife
Gave death fearful dominion came
The Life.

Amid the shock,
Breakers disrupting flotsam, came
The Rock.

Just where I am
Needing His loving-kindness came
The Lamb.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

GRAVESTONE

Found the tombstone builder and couldn't resist this.
(Courtesy of Albie the Good)

But remember - "The sky, not the grave, is out goal".

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

THERE IS A MAN UPON THE FATHER'S THRONE

There is a Man upon the Father's throne
Sufficient for the glory of that place
Dispensing power and blessing to His own.

He who could dwell in unseen light alone
Outwith the scope of human mind or space,
There, is a Man   upon the Father's throne.

That God and all His mercy might be known
He was on earth among the weak and base
Dispensing power and blessing to His own.

Since on the cross He suffered to atone
And opened wide the floodgates of God's grace
There is a Man upon the Father's throne.

The might of sin and death is overthrown
And Christ is Leader of a heavenly race
Dispensing power and blessing to His own.

Soon all His grace and glory will be shown
And we shall see the beauty of His face.
There is a Man upon the Father's throne
Dispensing power and blessing to His own.