Jonah

“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!

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The Call of Samuel

“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. We’re 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.

Sharing this with dVerse for Open Link Night

Epiphany

About two thousand years ago a star
Foretold the coming of a new-born King
And some who saw it traveled from afar
Trusting this star to guide their wandering

Although they knew not Him for whom they sought
They left behind the comforts of their home
Although with dangers they’d be surely fraught
They set out knowing not how long they’d roam

Today, though I can read of Him who came
I have no time to delve into His Word
I far too seldom pause to lift His Name
For in my haste those prayers are oft deferred.

Too busy as I am to stop and see
How will I find the time to start to seek?

~~

Today is Epiphany. Epiphany is a day to commemorate when the Magi (Wise Men) met Jesus. Based on the conversation between King Herod and the Magi, it is most likely that Jesus was no longer a new-born, but would have been no more than 2 years of age (hence Herod’s later order to slaughter all boys of 2 years and under).

The word “epiphany” refers to a revelation – or revealing. In this case, God revealing himself to the Gentiles.

I wrote the above poem because I fully believe that God desires to reveal himself to us, but he will not force revelation upon us if we are too busy with life to even bother looking for him. Far too often, I am too busy…not with anything important even…to spend time reading my Bible, praying, or otherwise spending time with my Saviour.

My desire for myself…and my desire for all of you as well…is that 2018 will be a year where we will all pause long enough to see what God would have us do…and then beyond that, that we would actively seek to know Christ better!

Parenthesis

Some say life is parenthesis between
Two states of non-existence. That before
Birth there is nothing — and after we’ve been
Buried, there’s infinitely nothing more

If time eternal were an endless book
The small bit we play would barely amount
To a word or two. Would it really look
Like anything we’ve done could really count?

But then the Infinite God himself came
Into this world as infant who was born,
Boy who grew, man who died…yet not for fame
But to conquer death and bring a new Morn.

And so parenthesis has become death
Between last — but then first Eternal Breath

~~

I originally posted this a week or so back, but decided to link it up to dVerse for Bjorn’s prompt on silence in poetry.  I tend to write poems that, while they often do have form, I prefer to read them out-loud without emphasizing the rhymes, but pausing only at the end of sentences or at other punctuation (commas, etc.)  (Sorry…I have yet to figure out adding audio tracks, so you’ll just have to do your best!)

In the above poem, if you read it out loud, you will see that there are 2 points in the poem where I have separated lines with a “–” within the middle of the line.  If reading this out loud, a good long pause (2 to 3 seconds) will help to emphasize the “nothingness” of the first usage, and then the pause of death between life and eternal life…in this case, resuming should be almost like gasping fresh breath after being submerged in water for a period of time.

Fractured

there is a fracture
where the bones won’t properly knit

bandaids and tourniquets have their place
crutches and canes have their uses
but for breaks, the bones must first be set
or they will join askew
and the pain will remain

the worst of it is
that each fragment of bone
blames another fragment for the break
and they refuse to be set
and they refuse to heal
and they refuse to be whole
for they think that the pain
of being set
would be worse
than the pain
of remaining fractured

there is a fracture
where the bones won’t properly knit
and the ache is intense

~~

a few rambling thoughts on racism and how it fractures a nation. My nation. Your nation too. It’s easy to heap blame or to say “suck it up…those hurts were in the past”, but without understanding…without compassion…without reconciliation, the pain will remain, the pain will worsen, and the pain will cripple.

Noah

no more to come by two and two
the ark was filled from stern to bow
God closed the door of this first zoo
with chicken, pig, and horse and cow

the waters came from spring and cloud
until the earth was one vast lake
the storm was fierce, the thunder loud
on lion, elephant and snake

Ten humans only still had breath:
old Noah and his tiny clan
while on the earth below was death
for every child, woman, man

and while a few in safety slept
God looked upon the world – and wept

Goliath

a giant on the battlefield
defies the army of the Lord
and one by one the soldiers yield
each one afraid to face that sword

a shepherd boy too young to fight
is sent to see how brothers fare
and when he sees the soldiers plight
he says, “Send me! For I will dare”

he takes no sword or shield in hand
but sling and rocks he holds instead
and armed with God, he takes his stand
and strikes the enemy down dead

not speed, nor might, but Who he knew
and thus his stone fly straight and true