Parables of Earth – Part IX

Those seeds that fall on fertile land will grow
much better than those which land upon weed
or rock covered ground. Would it be fair, though,
to assume this is the fault of the seed?
By no means! The seeds are all alike. They
all hold the same potential. That is why
The Farmer takes such great care in the way
He tends to His earth: He knows seeds rely
on their environment. Likewise, when we
meet those who seem to struggle in this life,
do not be quick to judge, but look and see:
can you find ways to help them through their strife?
The Farmer loves his land, and He’s aware:
Bounty will come from ground that’s worked with care

~~

If you would like to read this cycle in its entirety (up to this point), or if you would like to read my cycles on water and fire, you can find links to those in the menu above.

Easter Sunday

The Son of God was lying in the grave
and so the Serpent bragged, “I’ve struck His heel!
For how,” he reasoned, “can a dead God save
once all the power of Hell has been revealed?”
A large stone blocked the entrance of the tomb
and those who’d followed Him would face great strife
For now, the Serpent revelled in this doom
But Grave could not hold Him who’d authored Life!
An empty place marks where his body lay
for all Death’s victories had been undone
the mighty stone was simply cast away
and brighter than the sun-rise rose The Son
For Christ, in rising, crushed the Serpent’s head
Life conquered Death, and death itself is dead

Holy Week – Saturday

Earlier in the week, I commented that my prayer this week would be that I could “dwell in the middle” of the story of Holy Week. That I would be able to ponder and contemplate the week that lead up to Christ’s execution and burial without rushing ahead to Sunday, If anything, though, captures the “middle of the story”, I think it might be Saturday – the day that falls in between when Death crushed life, and when Life crushed death (the capitalization and lack thereof in death and life in my last sentence was deliberate)

We come now to the center of it all
the day when Christ’s death started sinking in
when those who followed knew they’d seen him fall
when thoughts of Christ were thoughts of broken skin
Christ was dead, and dead, too, was their hope
and they knew that their lives were at risk too
so now they hid, not knowing how they’d cope
false seemed the only One they’d thought was true
They thought the story now was at an end
Christ’s body now was rotting in a tomb
had all His talk been truly just pretend?
such wretched agony filled them all with gloom
But now was not the ending of the play
Another act will follow the next day!



Holy Week – Thursday

I wonder what all went through the disciples’ minds at that Last Supper when Jesus, the master, took on a servant’s role and washed his disciples’ feet. I have tried to capture what might have been the thoughts of Peter.

~~

The One who’s sandals I’m unfit to tie
has turned the tables, kneeling at my feet
with water-bowl and cloth to wash and dry
while I, who should serve Him, stay in my seat
His humble action humbles all my pride
His servitude makes me desire to serve
that Christ has let me travel at his side
is more than I, a sinner, could deserve
But when I say “Lord stop! It should be me”
with love so deep, he looks me in the eye
and says, “My child, do you still not see
I do this now to show that you are mine”
Lord let this foot-wash merely be the start
for I need You to cleanse my sinful heart

Holy Week – Wednesday

The feet of Christ were spoken of by John1
who claimed he was unworthy to unclasp
the sandals that the Holy One had on
and so when Mary2 took and broke a flask
of costly perfume over those same feet
and then went on to wipe them with her hair
some of those present didn’t waste a beat
condemning what she’d done – how could she dare?
But Christ saw value – not unworthiness
He saw her love and loved her in return
where others cursed her, Jesus deemed to bless
accepting her when others tried to spurn
Each act of love, like perfume being poured
becomes a fragrant off’ring to the Lord

~~

1 – John the Baptist
2 – Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus

~~

My poems and thoughts this week have been largely inspired by “The Pilgrim Year: Holy Week” devotional book by Steve Bell (can be purchased from https://pilgrimyear.com/), as well as the poetry of Malcolm Guite’s book “Sounding the Seasons”, which I believe is available on Amazon. Malcolm has also been posting his poems on his blog, where you can also listen to him reading them (malcolmguite.wordpress.com). If you are not familiar with this poet, he is well worth the read/listen. He has a depth to his poetry that often leaves me speechless.

Holy Week – Tuesday

When the people in Jerusalem had shouted out their “hosannahs” when Jesus rode into Jerusalem, they were hoping that they had found a king to vanquish the occupying Romans. Here was a man who would finally turn the tables! How right they were. How wrong they were! Jesus would indeed “turn the tables”, but not in the way that the people were expecting!

~~

They saw him come upon a donkey’s colt
and thought he’d come to claim an earthly crown
he’d lead them at long-last in a revolt
and kick the Roman army out of town

“He’ll turn the tables now” is what they thought
“and in that he will have our full support”
They thought that Rome would be his target…not
the money changers in the Temple court

But Christ had come to clear a path to God
and Rome was not the hindrance that he saw:
but those who’d turned religion into fraud
who’d cheat the poor in favour of “the law”

Come, Jesus! Turn the tables in my heart
that I might truly know how Great Thou Art!

~~

Yes, Jesus turned the tables…but against his own people where they made mockery of what relationship with God should be. I hope that I captured some of that in my sonnet. The final couplet of the sonnet is my prayer that God would reveal to me those areas of my life where I have put obstacles in the way of having a true relationship with him…and being human, I know that I will always have those obstacles (until I meet with him in glory!)…but I desire that God would overturn those tables, so that I will be able to draw ever closer to Him!

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 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

~~

Parables of Earth – Part VIII

Hard work is needed for a crop to thrive,
and this labour does not instantly yield
results. It would be wrong, though, to arrive
at the conclusion: “toiling in this field
has no value.” Ask The Farmer who’s gone
through this process year after year. He’ll say
to you, “wait a week, then look once more on
this piece of earth. It won’t stay like today,
and in a few months you’ll see golden grain
where now you can only see the soil.
Wait for the results of the sun and rain
then enjoy the results of your toil.”
Although sometimes it may seem oh so slow
Those seeds that fall on fertile land will grow!

Parables of Earth – Part VII

The Farmer won’t let things get it of hand
in any part of his business. Between
harvest and seeding, while snow hides the land,
it may seem that He’s nowhere to be seen,

but that is not the case. The Earth may sleep
beneath its wool blanket, but in His shop,
out of sight, the Farmer has tasks to keep
Him busy through the winter. He won’t stop

doing chores like mending harnesses or
resharpening ploughshares until the Spring’s
warm dawn pulls back the covers, and once more
He’ll work His land as He joyfully sings!

Even before the warmer months arrive
Hard work is needed for a crop to thrive