Witness to His Life – Our Response

The story of the birth of Christ
took place two-thousand years ago
and there are some who’d tell us that
it’s fiction, fantasy, or myth

And there are some who will admit
that yes, there really was a man
named Jesus, but he was no more
than that: a man who did good things

But who is this Jesus, really?
who do we believe that he is…
a good man, a teacher, a myth
or do we believe something more?

Are we willing, like the shepherds
and magi of so long ago
to seek the truth about this man
to know that he is our Saviour?

Will we join with the apostles
to be disciples of God’s son
obey Him, regardless of cost
and reflect His Light in darkness?

Oh Lord, let these words be true that:
“We are a community of
disciples who passionately
seek, obey, and reflect Jesus”

~~

The last 3 lines of my poem is the vision statement of the church I attend. I thought that these were fitting words for a Christian’s response to the story of Christmas.

Poem is written in blank verse (although it contains metrical structure, it has rhyme scheme)

Witness to His Salvation – 4th Sunday of Advent (Simeon’s Song)

This child I hold upon my knee
I’ve waited all my life to see.
God’s spirit, many years ago
told me I’d see His Christ, and so…
I’ve waited. Waited. Patiently

He’s come to set God’s people free
but how He does this may not be
what you expect, and you must know
for you: pain will accompany
this child I hold.

The Light to this dark world he’ll be
Ah Lord! Thank you for letting me
meet Jesus! Now Lord, let me go
unto my rest, for now you’ve shown
me who will save humanity:
This child I hold

Witnesses to His Coming – 3rd Sunday of Advent (The Shepherds)

You should have seen the stars that night
against a sky so vast and deep
we’d never seen them shine so bright
upon us and our flock of sheep

But then came something so profound
we all forgot the stars were there
in fear we fell down to the ground
all of us in great despair

An angel of the Lord Most High
stood mighty, tall, and far too near
we all believed that we would die
until he told us “Do not fear”

And then he told us wondrous news:
the One that we’ve been waiting for
the promised Saviour of the Jews
is here! We have to wait no more!

Then suddenly the sky was filled
with angels singing praise to God
no human choir is so skilled
it left us breathless, thrilled, and awed

Then just as quick they went away
but we recalled what we’d been told:
we’d find Him in a trough for hay
and not a palace filled with gold

So off to Bethlehem we went
to find The One who’d bring great joy
The One whom God Himself had sent
the Saviour King…an infant boy

When we had found that manger bed
and met the Holy Promised One
ev’n memories of angels fled
for we had met God’s only Son!

Witnesses to His Glory – 2nd Sunday of Advent (The Angelic Host)

When Eve and Adam ate the fruit
that grew on the forbidden tree
all Heaven knew an evil root
had surely doomed humanity

The angels must have wept that day
to see perfection wrecked by sin
Did they think God would turn away
believing Hell had scored a win?

Could even angels comprehend
our Heavenly Father’s wondrous plan
to bring Hell’s power to an end;
of how He’d deal with sinful man?

Perhaps they thought that they’d be sent
upon the earth with flaming sword
where they would all be Heaven bent
on righteous vengeance for the Lord

Did any angel up above
anticipate the Mighty One
would counter sin and death with love
by sending to the earth His Son?

But I know that they rejoiced to bring
to shepherds news of God’s great grace
proclaiming birth of Christ the King
with songs of loud exuberant praise!

Witnesses to His Promise – 1st Sunday of Advent (Zechariah and Mary)

I have been asked to write a series of poems for our church’s Advent season. I thought I would share them here with my readers as well.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, and the topic of our church service today is “Witnesses to His Promise”, and the two Bible characters being looked at are Zechariah (father of John the Baptist), and Mary (mother of Jesus).  I have written 2 sonnets…one from the perspective of each of the above mentioned people.

~~

I’m Zechariah of the Levite tribe
and I am proud to be a priest of God
While serving in the Holy Place – I can’t describe…
what happened there still leaves me over-awed

My wife Elizabeth and I are old
our child-bearing years were long since done
and yet an angel came to me – and told
that soon I’d be a father to a son!

There’s nothing beyond God’s ability,
but that my faith is weak there’s no dispute
in my great doubt I asked, “How can this be?”
and for my disbelief I was struck mute

Until the birth of John: my precious son
who came to lead us to God’s Holy One!

~~

God’s messenger Gabriel visited
He called me favoured!…Said I’d bear God’s son!
I don’t know why I was so privileged
that God made me his special chosen one

Though of Judah’s tribe and King David’s line
I, Mary, am a peasant.  Nobody!
and yet…I was chosen by the Divine?
to be the mother of Divinity?

I am betrothed, but still a virgin…so…
the angel’s words confused me.  In wonder
I asked “How will this be?” Although
I somehow knew, YES!  I’d be a mother!

Though all the earth’s too small to grant him room
The One who made me moves inside my womb!

Psalm Sunday – Psalm 8

Psalm 8 is probably my favourite of all of the Psalms. I love the night sky (especially on those rare occasions when I can get far enough away from light pollution to truly see it! This psalm always brings to mind the countless stars, and other astronomical wonders such as the Northern Lights.

However, as I meditated on this psalm in preparation to write this poem, verse 2 really caught my attention. The NIV (1985 edition) reads this way,

From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger

This verse caused me to think about the wonder that children have in the world. Things that I take for granted, a child sees with wonder. I think it is probably easier for a child to praise God, because they can so clearly see the beauty in all that God as made!

The following poem is a Rondeau, and it is my thoughts on how children see the world

~~

A child’s eyes are eyes that see
the world in all it’s majesty
a puddle’s worthy of the news
and life’s a mystr’y filled with clues
those eyes are awed so easily!

most adults, though, aren’t half so free
to see things as they’re meant to be
what is it, then, that makes us lose
a child’s eyes?

Lord, I confess, I’ve lost that glee
It faded from me by degree
from children, let me take my cues
so that my sight I’ll truly use!
Lord, once again, please grant to me
a child’s eyes




Psalm Sunday – Psalm 7

I love writing sonnets, but typically use the Elizabethan (Shakespearean ) style. Today I decided to write a Petrarchan (Italian) sonnet instead.  This is my poetic response to Psalm 7, but it is not the Psalm itself.   I would encourage you to read Psalm 7 in the translation of your choice.

I’ve also included a musical version of the Psalm by the group Poor Bishop Hooper for your enjoyment.

~~

Most stealthily the lion stalks her prey
She cares not that her quarry would be free
An unsuspecting meal’s all she can see
And she’s determined it not get away

Her teeth and claws designed to tear and slay
The thought of fresh meat fills her heart with glee
And now: her quarry sees her; tries to flee
But can it run to live another day?

LORD save me from the wicked who pursue
Though i am innocent they claim my guilt
And like the lion they care for me not
Therfore in my distress I turn to you
Look through the flimsy case that they have built
And then turn back on them their evil plot

~~

Psalm Sunday – Psalm 6

Here is my poetic response to Psalm 6. Following the poem, I have added a YouTube link to a musical rendition of this Psalm by the group Sons of Korah.  My wife introduced me to this band’s music, and I think that the tone they set for their cover of Psalm 6 is absolutely wonderful.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

~~

Oh LORD, you know that I am weak
temptation often masters me
and even when it’s good I seek
sin in my life is what I see

How can I face your holiness
when willfully I’ve left your path
I know LORD that my life’s a mess
and I deserve your righteous wrath

But can I praise you when I’m dead
if you destroy this sinful man?
LORD hear me groaning from my bed
and please forgive me if you can…

You can and have! Oh LORD my God!
I know my prayer is heard by you
You love me even though I’m flawed
you make me whole as though brand new!

Psalm Sunday – Psalm 4

When my children were younger, my wife and I taught them to recite Psalm 4:8 as part of their bedtime routine. “I go to bed and sleep in peace, because, LORD, only you keep me safe.” (New Century Version). This is a promise that I still often repeat…especially if I am facing stress or worries.

In this psalm, The Psalmist speaks of enemies and their lies, but also speaks of how he is able to sleep in peace because of the confidence he has in God. I wanted to reflect that in today’s poem. The last 2 lines of my poem repeat (as closely as I could stay to the NCV rendering as I could within my chosen meter) and expand upon Psalm 4:8. The form of the poem is called a “Fourteener” as there are 14 syllables per line.

~~

To sleep in peace, Lord, Ah! That is a treasure worth much more
than all the gold and riches that the evil have in store
They scheme and plot to try to steal the things another built,
but in the end they only gain an ever deep’ning guilt!
Lord, what I have may be no more than I need to get through,
yet I have joy, for I have found contentment’s found in you!
“I go to bed and sleep in peace”, I need not fear the night
“For only you, Lord, keep me safe” until the morning light

Psalm Sunday – Psalm 3

As I read through and meditated on Psalm 3, I kept being drawn back to verses 4-6,

“I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.” (NIVUK)

My poetic response, therefore, is based on these 3 verses. I tried to write a poem that has the feel of a children’s poem.

A little child in his bed
Had scary dreams go through his head
That had him wake up in a fright
How horrifying seemed that night!

But Daddy soon was by his side
“My son I heard you when you cried,
So tell me now what visions keep
You from enjoying restful sleep?”

A warm hug made fear’s tremors cease
And soon the child was at peace
He knew his Daddy’s love was sure
And so he fell asleep secure

The child could be you or me
The nightmare: trials that we see
Daddy is our God above
Let’s rest – secure in His love.