the people could not bear to see his face
when Moses came away from God’s bright presence
and so he kept a covering in place
to shield them from God’s Holy Spirit’s essence
Elijah rode a chariot of flame
when he, undying, rose up to the sky
his radiance made Elisha exclaim,
“My Father!” when the brilliance caught his eye
with Peter, James, and John upon a hill
Christ’s glory as the Son of God was shown
Moses and Elijah came, but still
The greatest radiance was Christ’s alone
one day his children might outshine the sun
but brighter still will shine the Holy One
These prayers of mine: It sometimes seems
Are falling on deaf ears. They are
Not being answered in the way I would like.
The fact is, though, the miracles I want would pale beside the
Miracles that are actually happening if I only had the eyes to see.
You, O Lord, work in ways that I cannot comprehend, and you
Are doing so much more than I can imagine. Help me to start
Looking beyond what I think I want, and looking
For your far greater plan
Feb.2, according to the church calendar, is the day when we remember the Presentation of the Lord at the temple. On that day, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple, and while they were there, they met a man named Simeon
Very little is known about Simeon. What we do know is that he was informed by God’s Holy Spirit that he would not die until he saw the Messiah. I do not know what Simeon expected to see when he met the Messiah. Perhaps he knew that he would meet an infant, but perhaps he had a different idea and was surprised by the reality. The following poem is my speculation of what might have occurred on the day that Jesus was presented at the temple
Simeon’s Song of Praise – Aert de Gelder ( 1645-1727)
How dark, O Lord, this world without your light
in ritual we’ve vainly sought your grace
and yet your Spirit said You’d grant this sight:
before I die, I’d see my Savior’s face!
I thought that he’d arrive with show of power
to heal our land and set this people free
That when he came, within that very hour
O Lord, on Earth he’d place Your Monarchy
But now, against my chest I hold a Child
and from my eyes flow freely tears of joy
O Lord: your Son! So small, so meek, so mild
To think: the Savior is an infant boy!
for many years, I’ve lived in expecation
release me now: for I have held Salvation!
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:30, ESV)
can you imagine Eagle Wingèd flight?
flying high without ever tiring out
can you picture joy all day and all night?
except: No Night! for Heaven is without!
and better yet, think of this if you please:
can you fathom life without any pain?
not just severe wounds or pain of disease
but bumps and bruises won’t be felt again!
but as grand your imaginings are
as fantastic as your mind’s eye might see
it won’t match the reality by far
so much greater than that Heaven will be
The very best thing, though, about that place
is that we’ll see our Savior’s lovely face
you spoke the earth and sky in place
you spoke in place the creatures too
you spoke the fiery stars in space
you speak and you make all things new
you whisper and the mountains shake
just speak and ev’ry knee will bow
a shout from you: the earth would break
one word is all I’m asking now
at a word from you the lame can walk
at a word from you the sightless see
at a word from you the mute can talk
at a word from you the demons flee
oh Lord why don’t you hear my plea
oh Lord would you speak a word for me?
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Note: Logos is the Greek word for “Word”. In the New Testament book of John, the “Word of God” was made flesh in Jesus Christ, and thus Jesus is Logos personified.
“Your doom’s declared! You have just forty days!”
the prophet spits his words with wrathful glee
with vitriolic hate in ev’ry phrase
he calls down curses on the enemy
But then the King of Ninevah decrees:
“Come! All my people weep and fast and pray
for maybe if the God of Jonah sees
He’ll grant us grace and turn his wrath away.”
“Too Late!” the prophet shrieks, “your fate is sealed!”
but God in Heaven has a different plan:
While there is breath, it’s not too late to yield
So Jonah sulks that God’s withheld his hand
The love of God he helped that city find
how was it then, he was, himself, so blind?
almost everyone knows the story of Jonah in the belly of the fish…but that was not the end of the story. My sonnet speaks of what happened a little while later. (Based on Jonah Chapter 3 and the first part of Chapter 4)
Jonah 3:1-5 and 10 is one of the readings for this coming week in the Revised Common Lectionary…and at my church this past Sunday, we discussed the phrase “speak the truth in love”. These influences made me think about how Jonah might have spoken the truth…but love was the last thing on his mind. How much better for Jonah this story might have been different if he had spoken with compassion, grace, and love!
“Samuel!” He heard his name. Dead of night
Temple bed, near the flick’ring lantern light
To the priest (name of Eli: poor of sight)
“Did you call? Helping you is my delight!”
“Wasn’t me. Were you dreaming? Back to bed”
So he went. On his pillow placed his head
Twice again: his name was called. So he said,
“Eli, sir, you must have called!” But instead:
Eli said, “Perhaps the Lord calls to you
if again, heed my words here’s what to do:
to him say, ‘speak, for I’m your servant true’.”
thus God spoke: words to him that were brand new
Gift to God: God gifted you – prophets sight
for to him, you listened with all your might
yesterday I was reading from 1st Samuel chapter 3 and so thought I would try re-telling the call of Samuel in sonnet form.
and now the boring stuff (for poetic nerds like myself) – feel free to not read this part unless you really enjoy discussion of form:
I liked the rhythm of the first line…so thought I would try to keep that rhythm throughout the poem (not as successful as I had hoped, but I think I came close). The stereotypical sonnet is written in iambic pentameter (2 syllables per foot – or “beat”, and 5 feet per line, with second syllable of a foot getting the emphasis. I tried to go a bit different with mine…each line is supposed to start and end with a dactyl (a 3 syllable foot where the 1st syllable is stressed). In between the dactyls, either 2 iambs or 2 trochees (a trochee, like an iamb, is a 2 syllable foot, except that it’s the 1st syllable that is emphasized.
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