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!

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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 5

I love form poetry. I love the discipline of restricting my words to a set meter and rhyme, and so I rarely write free verse.  I was hoping to write a rondeau for Psalm 5, but everything seemed too forced.  I started writing in other forms too,  but nothing seemed to come together (hence why I didn’t post anything last Sunday).  The fact that nothing would come together caused me to believe that God wanted me to meditate more on this particular Psalm.  So I ended up going in the free verse direction so you can see some of what came to me in my reading and rereading of these words of David’s.

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Was David speaking of himself
when he spoke of his enemies?
Was he, himself, the wicked one
that God must surely hate?
Were arrogance,deceit and malice
vices that he struggled with?

I wonder, Lord, for when he asks
to be led down straight paths
he says to you that it’s because
of enemies he faces

And I, oh Lord, like David know
that you detest all forms of sin
and sin abounds within me Lord, and yet…

Because, oh Lord, of your great love
I can come bow before your throne
and though my sin is as a grave,
yet still Lord, I can come to you
and sing for joy…
…for you give me new life

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!

The painter’s praise

“Sing songs of praise!” The pastor said,
“extolling God above
for is there any better way
besides of course to stop and pray
to show to Him our love?”

And as he looked out at the crowd
they all rose up to sing
except one man, still sitting down
looked up and stated, with a frown,
“I have no song to bring”

Upset by this, the pastor asked,
“Why don’t you wish to praise?”
“I do not have a singing voice
so I don’t sing. That is my choice
yet glories still I raise!”

I paint, you see, and canvas is
where I see God most clear
with ev’ry brush stroke that I place
I breath His name and feel His grace
and know that He is near

At this the pastor paused and said,
“I see that you are right,
that praise in song is just one way
to tell God of our love each day
and walk within His light”

So maybe singing is your gift
Perhaps though it is not
My friend if praising is your aim,
we don’t all have to praise the same
Just praise with what you’ve got!

Philipians 2:6-11

In the church that I attend, or pastor taught us that many scholars believe that Philipians 2:6-11 was actually an early church hymn. I wanted to try my hand at turning the text into a poem/song. I haven’t set this to music yet, but here are the lyrics:

You were in very essence God
and could have worn a crown
but that’s not why you came to earth
and so you set that glory down

Becoming nothing for our sake
the flesh of man you wore
you chose to fill a servant’s role
though you were worthy of much more

Chorus:
In heights above and depths below
and here upon the earth
let each knee bend down at the name
and ev’ry tongue and voice proclaim
let praises and Hosannas flow
extolling Jesus’ worth

To please your Father was your aim
with each and ev’ry breath
you humbly sought to do his will
obeying even in your death

Willingly you faced the cross
and willingly you died
so God exalted you on high
to where you sit on His right side

Chorus:
In heights above and depths below
and here upon the earth
let each knee bend down at the name
and ev’ry tongue and voice proclaim
let praises and Hosannas flow
extolling Jesus’ worth

Shepherds: Part 5 – Bethlehem (Christmas Day)

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. -Lk 2:16-18, NIV

All at the same time they began to talk
“Let us go and do as the angel said!”
They quickly found a safe place for their flock
that they might go and find the manger bed

In Bethlehem the shepherds found the boy
exactly as the angel had foretold
and when they saw him, they were filled with joy:
this was their Saviour promised from of old!

that night before the Lamb those shepherds bowed
those keepers of the sheep a Shepherd sought
and then they could not help but speak aloud
about that infant in his straw filled cot

The shepherds’ whole world changed that Holy Night
and so they shared the News with great delight!

Shepherds: Part 4 – And Then! (Fourth Week of Advent)

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” -Lk 2:13-45, NIV

The firmament exploded then in song
as Heaven’s choir filled the nighttime sky
What praise burst forth from that angelic throng!
an adoration song to the Most High!

The angels sang of peace for those on earth
for whom God’s gracious favour had been laid
when they’d proclaimed the Saviour’s wondrous birth
the impact of their message did not fade

So once again the shepherds bowed down low
but now in worship rather than in fear
their own praise song began to quickly grow
as they thought how God’s Promised One was near

and then those shepherds all with one accord
agreed to go and meet the Infant Lord

 

Seven Words from the Cross – Part II

Christ’s second “word” (or saying) from the cross is found in Luke 23:43 (the story leading up to the saying starts in verse 39). The following poem is based on that story.

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Beside his own, two other crosses stood
one convict on his left, one on his right
one mocked the Savior from his beams of wood:
“If you’re God’s son, then save us with your might!”

But he who hung on Jesus’ other side
acknowledged he deserved this painful fate
and then: “Lord, please remember me”, he cried,
“when you have entered through your kingdom’s gate”

Christ answered him “I speak the truth today
in Paradise the two of us shall meet”
and though the sky was swiftly turning grey
that man had ne’er before heard words so sweet

Like him, we have no hope to earn God’s grace
but we’ll see Mercy if we seek his face

Seven Words from the Cross – Part I

For Lent this year, I want to attempt to write one sonnet for each of the “Seven Words” (or seven sayings) of Jesus that he spoke from the cross.  Here is part one.  This first “word”  can be found in the Gospel of Luke 23:34

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Upon a Roman cross of rough-hewn wood
the one they called The Christ was hung to die
while down below this man, a great crowd stood
to see what sorts of curses he might cry

No crime of his had placed him on that tree
betrayed by one in whom he’d placed his trust
no one had right to anger more than he
this crucifixion truly was unjust

But, “Father, please forgive” is what they heard
and those who watched him saw he was sincere
“they don’t know what they do” was his first word
these weren’t the words the crowd thought they would hear

did any of the crowd who looked above
see in that moment God’s abounding love?

An honest worship song

I cannot sing the hymns of old
with true and honest heart
the words I sing and how I feel
are paths that oft’ depart
I like to sing of rivers faced
that all’s well with my soul
“but is it well?” I have to ask
“not always” truth be told
and as for anchors holding strong
upon life’s troubled sea
it’s hard, sometimes, to trust in things
that can’t be seen by me
I must confess that I am one
whose faith is far too small
for when I’m told by God to trust
I still fear that I’ll fall
I cannot say “Lord I believe”
when doubts are still so strong
So Lord, please take my disbelief
and turn it into song:
A song of slowly growing faith
of walking with my King
Lord turn my doubting into praise
and give me faith to sing!
Yes turn my doubting into praise
and give me faith to sing!