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.

Monday, 26 November 2012

CHRIST'S

"My body"  
The body in which He did God's will,
Through love's immensity, He gave.

"My blood"  
The blood of God's Own,
Displaying God's love, He shed.

"My sheep"  
For whom He laid down His life
Know His voice and follow Him.

"My brethren"  
Those He greeted on new ground
Instantly on His resurrection.

"My Father"  
He joyfully declared
Was also "your Father".

"My God"  
He could introduce
As "your God" too.

"My assembly"  
For which He gave Himself
He cherishes and supports.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

SHEPHERD

Lord Jesus, Thou art the Good Shepherd
Who laid down His life for the sheep;
That joy might be known
By all of Thine own
Thy sorrow was bitter and deep.

Lord Jesus, Thou art the Great Shepherd
Whom God brought again from the dead;
Since Thou art alive
Thy flock now may thrive
As skilfully nourished and led.

Lord Jesus, Thou art the Chief Shepherd 
The first place in all things is Thine;
When Thou dost appear
And we are drawn near
Thy love will unfadingly shine.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

HANDS

I

Not words only   He used His hand
For laying earth's foundations, spreading
The heavens. In its hollow He measured
The oceans; He balanced the mountains,
Grasped the world's dust. His span
Meted out the constellations, fixing
For each its own trajectory. Man
Issues from His hand, potter's clay,
Supple, with no right to demand,
"What makest Thou?"
And towards Man
All the day He has stretched out both
His hands; to a rebellious people.

Not words only: come, He used His hands
To convey compassion and power. Lepers
He handled   though no leper could emerge from
His touch. Jairus's daughter awoke to feel
Her cold hand in a warm strong one. Mud
He fingered, and the dull eyes soon to begin
To see. The softness of the children's hair
His palms sensed as He blessed them; for how often
Were those hands God prepared lifted blessing?
Yet the hands that healed even His captor
Were restrained by His enemies bonds.

II

Since Adam lifted his sinless hand to steal
All men have used their hands as tools of ill:
Adam began to use his for deceit,
Sewing a flimsy cover because of sin.
And Cain continued to plunge to greater evil,
Staining his hands with Abel's righteous blood:
Building a city to house the unbelieving,
Making the origin of our warped world.
Jubal was father of those who use the harp,
Whose hands are skilled to charm our thoughts from God;
Tubal  Cain first forged tools of iron and brass  
Technology for lawlessness and war.
Against the love of God and His commands,
From then till now Man lifts his words and hands.

Until one Man, at the fulcrum of history,
Lifted His words in obedience to God  
Not words only: His hands operated
Diligently in healing   as commanded to heal;
Blessing   as commanded by God to bless;
Breaking the bread   at His Father's word.
And His hands will never let slip
The entrusted sheep; while the Father's hand
Clasps them too. Even the disciples' feet
Were washed by these dutiful hands
And dried with the linen towel   for refreshment
And for comfort. Such was the Father's delight
He gave all things to be in those hands.
 
III

Fisting their swords, ravaged
Herod's murderous soldiers.

The Nazarenes could not grasp
His time had not yet come.

Nor could the Pharisees handle
Stones to hurl while He stayed.

A more potent weapon
Judas clung to, the bag.

What use were the swords and torches
They gripped as they came to take Him?

Yet they wounded with buffets His face,
More marred than any man's.

As they plaited His crown of thorns
They would watch lest they pierced
Their own hands.


But the women cared:
His mother
Wrapped round Him the swaddling bands prepared
Because of her affection
For Him, more than other,
Lying in infant perfection.

Martha also served
Preparing
All the good things that she had conserved
For Him alone   though her care
Distracted her from repairing
To the rest that He wished she would share.

Her sister, Mary,
Adoring
The One whose love will never vary,
Raised her eager hand to break
Her flask of nard   quickly pouring
An outflow of love for His sake.

IV

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

Did they play at pitch and toss
To gamble over His dress?
His hands were nailed to the cross
Though He used them only 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.

V

Last words are often famous  
The ruling trait being prominent
At the time of death. "Father,
Forgive them" epitomises
The spirit of the Lord Jesus:
"It is finished" obedience
Of all that His hands had done.
But I cannot consider last words
Without remembering my father's:
"Jesus Christ is the Same, yesterday
And today, and to the ages to come."

Not words only; for his Master's spirit imbued
Him, a man in the twentieth century since Christ
With the same Spirit; his hands consecrated, filled.
As a member of Christ's body it seemed
He was a hand: a giver, a helper, a blesser.

Not words only: last gestures,
Last images fix in the mind.
A Man, in flesh and bone, risen
Out of Death's harsh manacles,
Stood, surrounded by admirers;
Expressing a dispensation
His final action, even ascending,
He blessed, He lifted His hands.

Friday, 23 November 2012

GRACE AND MERCY

From currents where I used to rove
The bands of grace and mercy hove
My battered barque to Christ's safe cove.

As in God's ways it may behove
My steps to go harsh ways I prove
Christ's grace and mercy as I move.

Thus grace and mercy from above
Cocoon me closely as a glove
While in my heart I know Christ's love.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

TRANSFORMATIONS

The Light appeared in darkness. Mercilessly
It exposed sin   mercifully
Exposed the sinner.

If, at the wedding, natural joys
Faltered, with Him there
Real joys superseded.

If, by the well, she was
Dissatisfied, He could provide
Living water.

If, amidst Bethany's friendship,
Death intervened, into it
He obtruded resurrection.

Till even the power of death
Invaded by Him
Was transformed.

Heaven has received Him
And His presence there created
A prepared place.

And now my heart can be
Transfigured
By His presence.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

"WE WORSHIP WHAT WE KNOW"

As Thou dost come amongst Thine own
To draw together every heart
Which Thou through love hast set aglow,
Lord, recognizing who Thou art
"We worship what we know".

Since Thou, the Comforter, hast come
To link us with the realms above
While we are pilgrims here below
Responding to Thy well proved love
"We worship what we know".

Father, as Thou hast been declared
And Thou Thyself hast been revealed
In Him who comes to us to show
Thy love to those the Spirit sealed
"We worship what we know".

Although Thou art beyond our thought
Dwelling in uncreated light
To Thee, O God, our praise flow:
Brought near to be for Thy delight
"We worship what we know".

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

VOICE

We hear the Bridegroom's voice
In love towards His own;
Delighting in His tender tone
Our hearts rejoice.

We've heard the Son of God
Which woke us from the dead
Since then the path where Christ has led
By faith we've trod.

The Son of Man will call
The dead in Christ to rise  
The Lord will have the saints, His prize:
Fruit from the fall.

But now our better choice
Is sitting at His feet
And finding for ourselves how sweet
The Bridegroom's voice.

Monday, 19 November 2012

ARISTARCHUS

Paul’s fellow-traveller, he would have seen
Paul’s teaching, conduct, purpose, faith and light;
Among the fresh assemblies would have been
A sharer of Paul’s fatherly delight,
While as his fellow-worker he would share
His love, endurance and long-suffering:
Striving to conquer moments of despair
And finding Christ his help in everything.
But as Paul’s fellow-captive he endured
What Paul endured - the bondage and the storm -
Till by the grace of God he was secured
In safety - where Paul’s service made him warm.
Lord Jesus, help me till I hear Thy call
To move, and work - and be in bonds - with Paul.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

APOSTLES

John brings God down
To us; while Paul brings us up
- Accepted in Christ.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

TO THE STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE IN NEW ENGLAND


While an intrinsic ardor prompts to write,
The muses promise to assist my pen;
‘Twas not long since I left my native shore
The land of errors, and Egyptian gloom.
Father of mercy, ‘twas Thy gracious hand
Brought me in safety from those dark abodes.
Students, to you ‘tis given to scan the heights
Above, to traverse the ethereal space,
And mark the systems of revolving worlds.
Still more, ye sons of science ye receive
The blissful news by messengers from heav’n,
How Jesus blood for your redemption flows.
See Him with hands outstretched upon the cross;
Immense compassion in His bosom glows;
He hears revilers, nor resents their scorn:
What matchless mercy in the Son of God!
When the whole human race by sin had fall’n,
He deigned to die that they might rise again,
And share with in the sublimest skies,
Life without death, and glory without end.
Improve your privileges while they stay,
Ye pupils, and each hour redeem, that bears
Or good or bad report of you to heav’n.
Let sin, that baneful evil to the soul,
By you be shunned, nor once remit your guard;
Suppress the deadly serpent in its egg.
Ye blooming plants of human race divine,
An Ethiop tells you ‘tis your greatest foe;
Its transient sweetness turns to endless pain,
And immense perdition sinks the soul.

This poem is by Phillis Wheatley, the first African American poet: c 1753-1784 who arrived in America as a slave - I just discovered her this week.  Here's her Biography 

Friday, 16 November 2012

WOMAN

Lines for Rosie

Firstly, a sister - one who acknowledges
The same Lord.

Secondly, a saintliness, with evidence of
The hidden man of the heart.

Thirdly, the sense that would balance
When I lacked it.

Fourthly, the sincerity that trusted to God,
Not to paint, for beauty.

Fifthly, subjection of a meek
And quiet spirit.

Sixthly, sensitivity to the hearts
And guts of others.

Lastly, such sensuousness as makes,
"The desire of thine eyes".

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

HIS PLACE

He took me from the mountains
Where I was wont to roam
And laid me on His shoulders
To bear me kindly home:
I had been lost and straying
And He had heard my plea;
He tenderly assured me
"This is My place for thee."

He led me to green pastures
Where I could safely feed:
He brought me by still waters
To answer all my need.
"My Lord, I am not worthy
Of all Thou givest me."
He tenderly assured me
"This is My place for thee."

He led me through dark valleys
Where all seemed dank and dim;
Where shadows pressed upon me
Although I was with Him;
Though fears arose within me
And made me long to flee
He tenderly assured me
"This is My place for thee."

So as my path goes onward
Through pleasure or through test
I trust my caring Shepherd
Because His way is best.
And when my way is ended
With Him I will be free;
He'll tenderly assure me
"This is My place for thee."

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Monday, 12 November 2012

FOOD

The Manna

On the same earth on which
Our feet stumble, He walked:
Sweetness is in those steps
To the discerning; oil,
The Spirit saturating
Is in their taste; fineness,
Singularity, sufficiency:
Man according to God.

The Barley Harvest

A risen Man presented
Himself to willing persons:
Choiceness in firstfruits
Manifested, handfuls on purpose,
For eager gleaners to enfold,
Here, with that stamp of God’s
Approval, with that fresh life:
Man according to God.

The Old Corn

Stored in its native land
The old corn of the land
Provides food for that land
In undiminished supply:
Fruit of the purpose of God,
Christ at God’s right hand
Is the soul’s richest food:
Man according to God.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

"THE ANGEL TOUCHED MY THIGH"

(Gen 32:31, Hos 12:4)

I had the vigour of my prime
On which I could rely
In all my ventures till the time
The angel touched my thigh.

All things I gathered to my will
Whether by truth or lie  
I cheated shamelessly until
The angel touched my thigh.

I hobble forward like a tramp
Despite the dawning sky
Since, as I felt his bitter cramp,
The angel touched my thigh.

But I can garner richly now
A bountiful supply
And gladly testify of how
The angel touched my thigh.

I hold the dignity of prince
For that is God's reply
To all this world's discomforts since
The angel touched my thigh.

My composition which God taught
Could in no part apply
Nor could I freely bless had not
The angel touched my thigh.

Though once this lameness made me sad
God helps me so that I
Worship before Him and am glad
The angel touched my thigh.

LED

If first the beloved Son
Was led by the Holy Spirit
Soon it was men of Nazareth
Who led Him; and in His time
He was led by the band,
By the Jews, by the soldiers:
Led as a lamb to slaughter.
What men did not see
Was that through all His Master
Was leading Him to the door-post,
The place of attested committal.

(Exodus 21: 5,6)


Friday, 9 November 2012

THE SPIRIT

Into obedient person
The Spirit is received;
Within obedient persons
The Spirit is ungrieved.

Thursday, 8 November 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.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

THOU ART FAIRER THAN THE SONS OF MEN

Lord, Thy praise exceedeth tongue or pen:
From our hearts an anthem swelleth
To the One whose grace excelleth  
Thou art fairer than the sons of men!

Thou art First and Last and the Amen:
Thou art throned in perfect fitness
Who wast here the faithful Witness  
Thou art fairer than the sons of men!

All Thou art transcendeth human ken
Thus Thy grace and glory raises
Worship, adoration, praises  
Thou art fairer than the sons of men!



Sing this to the tune of "God be with you till we meet again".

Monday, 5 November 2012

Sunday, 4 November 2012

SOUTHERNDOWN BEACH

I wrote a verse on sand
Now lost to tide and wind:
Why should I take that worse
Than all my other verse?
Soon loss will have occurred
To all words but the Word;
None stands the tidal shock
Apart from Christ, the Rock.


Which finishes, and comments on, my diversion into the subject of writing verse.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

A POEM

Sometimes the mind boils, bubbling,
Yet flavourless, as water.

Perhaps a conceit or concept
Will seethe for days - or moments.

Maybe the stock will be savoury:
Maybe insipid and thin.

Adding the garnish - rhythm and styles -
Should make poem; or verse,

But no ingredients disguise
A poor stock.

Here it is now - reader,
Is this to your taste?

Friday, 2 November 2012

THE POEMS

From - Books I will not write.

The poems -
They are copious as milt.

Some died undischarged;
Some failed to fertilise;
Some were distorted embryos
Eyeless or finless.

Fragmented bodies
Were swallowed by other fish,
Sometimes to be spat out.

Some simply degenerated
As time failed them.

So what you have
Is a survivor
Amid cataclysms.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

POEM

Should it be a tree, drawing
Moist life from a mind’s
Tilth of humus and sediment?

Or like a beast, vividly
Swerving and glancing, fleetingly
Glimpsed in the dappled forest?

Or crisp, and uniform,
Each facet aureate,
And polished to conform?

Choose for yourself. I
Will not complain. Yet you
Can tell what I root for.






So - what do you choose?