Wednesday, 30 April 2014

THOUGHTS ON JOHN (II)

I think that there are few mountains
In John's gospel; after the feeding
Jesus departed again to the mountain
Himself alone; and after contending
For the truth He went to the Mount of Olives.
Yet John was present on the mountain of blessing,
The mountain of transfiguration, of education,
And of assurance. But for him one Man
Alone deserved elevation. The words
From the mountain weave through his teaching.
"I write a new commandment to you";
"We have contemplated his glory"; "every one
That has this hope in him purifies himself";
"We will come to him and make our abode
With him." And when God's work is perfected
At last John portrays himself, in the Spirit,
Set on a great high mountain, admiring,
The substantiality of the product of God's doings.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

THOUGHTS ON JOHN (I)

I

The sea breaks its acolytes
To two kinds; those hardened
To cynicism, and those
Softened to piety.

John drew from it
Resources; until the call
Drew him to Another,
A source of infinite supply.

With others he saw
One supreme over the sea -
On it, walking or sleeping
Or commanding.

John rushed as a partner
To help when the haul broke the net;
He saw
Great fish in a whole net.

And saw too that crowd
On a sea of glass -
He knew the calm
Of love's unfathomable depths.

And he saw a domain
Without sea
Beyond cynicism's corrosion;
Beyond division.

Monday, 28 April 2014

PRIVILEGES

Chosen in Christ before the world began,
Redeemed through the munificence of grace,
Associated with the heavenly Man.

Given the Earnest of a settled place,
Clothed in the worth of One raised from the dead,
Enregistered in an undying race,

United by the Spirit to the Head,
Forming a part of the illustrious bride,
In this dry wilderness refreshed and fed,

Rejoicing in the food which will abide,
Waiting to share Christ’s glory by His side.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Saturday, 26 April 2014

TREUER WACHTER ISRAEL

Treuer Wächter Israel’

Treuer Wächter Israel’,
des sich freuet meine Seel,
der du weißt um alles Leid
deiner armen Christenheit,
o du Wächter, der du nicht schläfst
noch schlummerst, zu uns richt
dein hilfreiches Angesicht.

Schau, wie große Not und Qual
trifft dein
Volk jetzt überall;
täglich wird der Trübsal mehr.
Hilf, ach hilf, schütz deine Lehr.
Wir verderben, wir vergehn,
nichts wir sonst vor
Augen sehn,
wo du nicht bei uns wirst stehn.

Jesu, der du
Jesus heißt,
als ein Jesus Hilfe leist!
Hilf mit deiner starken Hand,
Menschenhilf hat sich gewandt.
Eine Mauer um uns bau,
dass dem
Feinde davor grau,
er mit Zittern sie anschau.

Deines Vaters starker Arm,
komm und unser dich erbarm.
Lass jetzt sehen deine Macht,
darauf wir hoffen
Tag und Nacht;
aller Feinde Rotten trenn,
dass dich alle
Welt erkenn,
aller
Herren Herren nenn.

Andre traun auf ihre Kraft,
auf ihr
Glück und Ritterschaft,
deine Christen traun auf dich,
auf dich traun sie festiglich.
Lass sie werden nicht zuschand’,
bleib ihr
Helfer und Beistand,
sind sie dir doch all bekannt.

Du bist ja der Held und Mann,
der den
Krieg steuern kann,
der da Spieß und
Schwert zerbricht,
der die Bogen macht zunicht,
der die Wagen gar verbrennt
und der Menschen Herzen wend’t,
dass der Krieg gewinn ein End.

Jesu, wahrer Friedefürst,
der du Frieden bringen wirst,
weil du hast durch deinen Tod
wiederbracht den Fried bei Gott:
Gib uns Frieden gnädiglich!
So wird dein Volk freuen sich,
dafür ewig preisen dich.

Johann Heermann



Faithful Guard of Israel
 
Faithful Guard of Israel
From my soul great joy doth well:
Thou dost know the grief that rolls
On our feeble Christian souls;
Oh, our Guard without repose,
Without slumber, smile on those
On whose souls thy help arose.

See how anguish and distress
As surrounding us oppress:
Daily is the path more fraught:
Help preserve what Thou has taught;
Death will be victorious
- And our sight see nothing thus -
If Thou dost not stand with us.
 
Jesus, Thou with Jesus' name,
Helping us as Jesus came,
Help us now with Thy strong hand,
Deftly aid a helpless band:
Build around us thy great wall,
That our enemy may pall
And before Thy face may fall.

May Thy Father's powerful arm
Shelter us from every harm;
Manifest to us Thy might
Which we hope for day and night;
Scatter evil by Thy sword
Till all men with one accord
Recognise Thee as their Lord

Others trust in their own might,
To have luck, to be a knight.
All Thy Christians trust in Thee
Who their Help wilt ever be.
Let us not be drawn away,
Help and Counsellor each day,
Watching us in every way.
 
Thou art now a Man of war,
Champion we are waiting for,
Shattering the sword and spear,
Making bow's might disappear,
Setting chariots on the pyre,
Setting human hearts afire
Till Thy triumph is entire.
 
Thou as the true Prince of Peace
From distress will bring release;
Through Thy dying to atone
Peace with God again is known.
Give us peace mercifully!
We will answer joyfully,
Praising Thee eternally.

This is my attempt at a translation - with the help of Google and my family.  Any improvements suggested are welcome!         Updated 26 May 2014.

Friday, 25 April 2014

WALL

(Schleswig 5 January 2014)

Drums beat closer;
The rumble of gun-carriages rolls
Closer; the tramp of the marchers sounds
Closer.

In their hut listen
The widow, her daughter
And her grandson.  They feel
Their heartbeats.

But the boy reads
The hymn's desire:
For God to put around us
A wall.

If men built a wooden wall
Men could burn it.

They hear in the town
The yowls and bravado
Of war.

If men built a stone wall
Men could sap it.

They hear from the town
Musket, cannon
And scream.

If men built a steel wall
Men could slight it.

Silence.  In their huddled
Hut they hear only
The wind.

If God builds a wall
What can men do?

They venture out. No 
Sound but the wind; they see
God's wall.

For only He could hide
From the marauders' eyes
By that lofty drift of snow.


You'll get the story here: Story of our Hymns
And the Clemens von Brentano poem here:Die Gottesmauer
- in German, I'm afraid!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

PATIENCE

Because I lock
The door He has to knock;
He has to wait
Because I bar the gate;
Because I wall
Him out He has to call.

Although I mock,
In patience, He will knock;
And He will wait
If my reply is late;
His love will call
When my response is small.

Lord, I unlock
My heart, break down the wall,
Unhinge my gate;
Thou shalt no longer wait
Or knock, or call:
Lord, lead me to Thy flock.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

WOMEN OF LUKE'S GOSPEL

Elizabeth

From that old tree at last
Comes one fruit; sweet to the eye,
Tart to the taste.

Mary

From its first flourishing that tree
Bears the most exquisite
Fruit.

Anna

Who would have thought
That antique tree would burst
In one last tumult of blossom?

Luke 7

Even in its wilderness
Light has touched that tree;
Myrrh weeps from its wounds.

Luke 8

From their substance
These trees produce varied fruits -
What an orchard!

Luke 13

That old bent shrub
- A miracle -
Stand now tall and straight.

Luke 23

What untimely autumn
Afflicts the leaves of these trees
To gold and bronze?

Luke 24

Out of winter
Does that almond blossom
Drink the new-risen Sun?

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

PRAYER

Perhaps each morning and each night you thank God for His gifts
And bundle worries up to Him like people put on lifts;
And God is pleased to hear your prayer - but wouldn’t it be greater
To flow them up all day like people on an escalator?

Monday, 21 April 2014

ALPHA AND OMEGA

*A Man after God's heart,
Who'll do all His will, has been found;
*But man preferred Barrabas,
A thief and a murderer.
*Could there be anything worse
Than to reject God's Chosen?
*Doing everything well
He walked here amid mankind
*Extending all God's blessing
To those willing to receive it,
*Forgiving repenting souls
And showing men God's way.
*Giving their sight to the blind,
And healing those who were ill
*He displayed the heart of God
And Christ, the Son of His love,
*In every step showing
His righteousness, yet His grace.
*Jesus, rejected by men,
Took up the charge against us,
*Kept our souls from God's judgment,
And bore the sins of many.
*Love was displayed at the cross
Which exceeds understanding -
*May every one rejoice
To know so great a Saviour!
*No one will be excluded
Who has faith in this Saviour;
*Prince of peace is His title
And He leaves His peace with us,
*Quietening our spirits
Since He has endured the storm.
*Redemption being needed
He has shed His precious blood.
*Sinners planned a sinner's grave
But God secured a new tomb
*Till the exciting morning
When He arose from the dead,
*Undefiled by death's traumas
And ready to guide His own.
*Victorious He has gone
Above all of the heavens:
*Exalted over all things
He gave, from there, His Spirit;
*Zealously let us give Him
The honour that befits Him!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

NOBLE

A noble love came to our world of dust
To ransom us, whatever it might cost:
For true love what it can is what it must.


The world exults in Baal and Astaroth
But a far nobler joy belongs to you:
True joy will not be found in this world's froth.


Man's compromise ignobly grants release
To sin; through grace a nobler peace is known:
True peace is only peace that will not cease


With noble kindness David sought to find
And show God's kindness to one who had feared,
Because God knows the burdens of mankind.


The Spirit lit the lamp to quell our night:
His noble workings are apparent when
True goodness has been seen - "fruit of the light".


Feeling the buffets of adversity
What noble faithfulness Stephen displayed
When seeing Jesus in His dignity.


In noble meekness see the Shepherd seek
Lost sheep in a poor world where life is grim:
True meekness, seen in Jesus, was unique.


With noble self-control amid men's ills
Stephen's demeanour can well demonstrate
True self-control is when the Spirit fills.


Whence was the work, far nobler than man's art
Displayed in the longsufferings of Paul?
The God of grace in whom true blessings start.






Does this work?  It's the "noble" verses of the villanelle series.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Friday, 18 April 2014

HE LOVED

He loved, though I was sinful;
He loved, when I was lost;
He loved, when I was needy;
He loved, to His great cost;
He loved when left out, knocking,
He loved, when brought within;
He loved me by the wayside,
He loved me at the inn.

He loved me though I wandered;
He loved, as I returned;
He loved, when my love faded;
He loved, when my heart burned;
He loved, despite my weakness;
He loved, despite my will;
He loved, through joy and sorrow;
He loved - He loves me still!

He loves, though we are faithless;
He loves, although we fail;
He loves when times are easy;
He loves, when storms assail;
He loves us in the battle;
He loves us in God’s house;
He loves us as His brethren;
He loves us as His spouse.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

GARDEN

He walked in the garden
To find company –and sin
Had nipped every bud.

He walked in the garden
With His own, but men
Bound Him and led Him.

He walked in the garden
And Mary was there
Like a half-opened flower.

He walks in the garden,
His enclosed garden, to enjoy
Buds, blossoms, and fruit –
Life according to Him.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Old Christian Day Song

John Irons
    With gladness we hail the blessed day
    Now out of the sea ascending,
    Illuming the earth upon its way
    And cheer to all mortals lending.
    God grant that His children everywhere
    May prove that the night is ending.

    How blest was that wondrous midnight hour
    When Jesus was born of Mary!
    Then dawned in the East with mighty power
    The day that anew shall carry
    The light of God's grace to every soul
    That still with the Lord would tarry.

    Should every creature in song rejoice,
    And were every leaflet singing,
    They could not His grace and glory voice,
    Though earth with their praise were ringing,
    For henceforth now shines the Light of Life,
    Great joy to all mortals bringing.

    Like gold is the blush of morning bright,
    When day has from death arisen.
    Blest comfort too holds the peaceful night
    When skies in the sunset glisten.
    So sparkle the eyes of those whose hearts
    In peace for God's summons listen.

    Then journey we to our fatherland,
    Where summer reigns bright and vernal.
    Where ready for us God's mansions stand
    With thrones in their halls supernal.
    So happily there with friends of light
    We joy in the peace eternal.
 
Anonymous - ? 14th century Danish. 

Translated from Danish: 
Taken from here.
 
John Irons blog has got me interested in Danish hymns.
 
 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

ONE MAN

God’s heart desires that all should know
He is distinguishing one Man,
According to His glorious plan
Which finds an answer here below.

Before Christ’s service here began
The heavens opened up to show
God’s heart desires that all should know
He is distinguishing one Man.

God will have no one other than
His Christ, to whom now praises flow
Because He plumbed the depths of woe:
Delighted with the course Christ ran
He is distinguishing one Man.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Sunday, 13 April 2014

GLORIFYING

How Jesus dignified
The manger that He graced!

How Jesus magnified
The cross that He endured!

How Jesus glorifies
The hearts He dwells in!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

HOW GREAT

How great is His mercy! - when we were still lawless,
He came to redeem us from hell;
He came as the Lamb who was perfect and flawless -
The Lord has done everything well!

How great is His goodness! - He heals all who need Him
In grace more than humans can tell;
He comes now as manna for all those who heed Him -
The Lord has done everything well!

How great is His beauty - His charms and His graces
Delight all the hearts they impel
To be near Himself to enjoy His embraces -
The Lord has done everything well!

Friday, 11 April 2014

TRUE

For true love what it can is what it must
And since it can it must redeem the lost:
Thus true love overcomes the lie of lust.


True joy will not be found in this world's froth
But as the ascended Man is in your view
You have a joy untouched by rust or moth.


True peace is only peace that will not cease
And Christ won such an ambience for His own
Where the peace dividends always increase.


The God of grace in whom true blessings start,
Desiring the salvation of us all,
Showed through longsuffering His loving heart.


Because God knows the burdens of mankind
True kindness and true love to man appeared:
Christ came to heal lame, leprous, dumb or blind.


True goodness has been seen - "fruit of the light" -
"Goodness and righteousness and truth" in men,
In persons Christ secured for God's delight.


When seeing Jesus in His dignity
Where His true faithfulness has been displayed
"Are not thine eyes upon fidelity"?


True meekness, seen in Jesus, was unique
Yet by the Spirit saints conform to Him:
God's heart is cheered by persons who are meek.


True self-control is when the Spirit fills
The soul and shows us Christ, to captivate
The heart – and not by human works or wills.







Does this work as a composition in its own right?  It's the them of Galatians 5 and Philippians 4 run in the other direction.