Some of you probably saw this one coming–you know I love John Donne.
Some of you probably saw this one coming–you know I love John Donne.
This is only the first part of a litany by John Donne (my English major moment) that deals with the trinity.
FATHER of Heaven, and Him, by whom
It, and us for it, and all else for us,
Thou madest, and govern’st ever, come
And re-create me, now grown ruinous:
My heart is by dejection, clay,
And by self-murder, red.
From this red earth, O Father, purge away
All vicious tinctures, that new-fashioned
I may rise up from death, before I’m dead.
O Son of God, who, seeing two things,
Sin and Death, crept in, which were never made,
By bearing one, tried’st with what stings
The other could Thine heritage invade ;
O be Thou nail’d unto my heart,
And crucified again ;
Part not from it, though it from Thee would part,
But let it be by applying so Thy pain,
Drown’d in Thy blood, and in Thy passion slain.
THE HOLY GHOST.
O Holy Ghost, whose temple I
Am, but of mud walls , and condensèd dust,
And being sacrilegiously
Half wasted with youth’s fires of pride and lust,
Must with new storms be weather-beat,
Double in my heart Thy flame,
Which let devout sad tears intend, and let—
Though this glass lanthorn, flesh, do suffer maim—
Fire, sacrifice, priest, altar be the same.
O blessed glorious Trinity,
Bones to philosophy, but milk to faith,
Which, as wise serpents, diversely
Most slipperiness, yet most entanglings hath,
As you distinguish’d, undistinct,
By power, love, knowledge be,
Give me a such self different instinct,
Of these let all me elemented be,
Of power, to love, to know you unnumbered three.
This is a poem I wrote years ago to my husband. It’s my attempt to describe how two very different people become one in their shared journey through life. It reminds me of this verse from Genesis: “Then the Lord God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
Every love is a poem
in a foreign language
with two possible translations.
Every love is a story
with two different authors
narrating the same plot.
Every love is a work of art
molded and perfected
by two visions of beauty.
Every love is a song
written in two keys
sung with one voice.
Every love is a journey
through two countries
Every love begins and ends
Who made us for one another.
This poem was written for me by a dear friend on a very special weekend: it was the Via De Cristo Women’s retreat that was held just a few days after 9/11. I think it’s appropriate to our theme of change and also the Easter season. Changes can be frightening and unsettling. They don’t always seem to be good or even understandable; but God is in control and He has the last word. Many thanks to Martha Moore, the writer, who has also agreed to become one of the Lutheran lady bloggers. I hope we’ll be hearing more from her.
In ancient times, at a horn’s blast
The walls of the city of Jericho
Shattered into shards,
And God’s people rejoiced.
In more recent times, in the hands of a jubilant mob
The wall dividing Berlin
Crumbled into rubble,
And God’s people rejoiced.
Today we are haunted by the vision
Of the disintegration of walls
Raining chaos on an incredulous earth,
And God’s people are weeping.
But we believe in the one who said,
“Destroy this temple and I will raise it up”—
The one who died to prove it,
Out of the dust we shall arise–
Out of the dust of our disasters, national and personal,
Out of the dust of our lost desires,
Out of the dust from which we were formed—-
Resurrection comes. Amen.
I came across a poem I would like to share by Keri K. Wehlander
We are the locked door,
the stone not rolled away.
You invite us to cross through waters, walk dry roads
look toward transformation in every wilderness.
You believe we can.
We want other gods, other commodities—
depth without the daily searching.
You offer us a simple table
and the words, follow me.
You believe we will.
We choose a meager vision,
hold tight to the catch of our nets,
You tell a story that asks,
Which one was the neighbor?
You believe we understand.
We are perplexed
when you appear in our untended gardens.
You say, peace,
to all our uncertainty.
You show that new life
comes with time, with practice,
and the sowing, however small,
of stubborn hope.
You believe we will grow.
Not only in the words you say,
Not only in your deeds confessed.
But in the most unconscious way
Is Christ expressed.
Is it a beatific smile?
A holy light upon your brow?
Oh no, I felt His presence when
You laughed just now.
To me ‘twas not the truth you taught,
To you so clear to me so dim.
But when you came to me
You brought a sense of Him.
And from His light He beckons me,
And from your lips His love is shed.
Till I lose sight of you and see
The Christ instead.
by Beatrice Clelland
Your life is a witness to Christ? Do others see Him in you?
This is a poem I wrote years ago to describe how my busy, overactive brain works. Maybe some of you will identify!
In front of my house is a busy street
Cars race by
Sometimes the drivers roll the windows down and loud music spills out.
They are all in a hurry to be somewhere else.
I fall asleep to the cacophonous lullaby of traffic
The world never stops.
Behind my house are cool, green trees
I wake early when dark and dawn touch lips in a lingering kiss
Behind my house is the sweet aroma of roses and lilacs
The sun is warm and there is time to rest.
In the front of my mind ideas explode like fireworks, dazzling, sparkling, too high and hot to touch
tumbling over one another, antlike, impossible to catch and contain.
But in the back of my mind is a still, silent place
How many fruits of the spirit can you find in this poem by Martin Luther?
‘Tis not too arduous an essay,
To tread resolved the gospel-way;
The sensual instinct to control,
And warm with purer fire the soul.
Nature may raise her fleshly strife,
Reluctant to the heavenly life;
Loath in a Saviour’s death to share,
Her daily cross compell’d to bear:
But grace omnipotent, at length,
Shall arm the saint with saving strength;
Through the sharp war with aids attend,
And his long conflict sweetly end.
Act but the infant’s gentle part;
Give up to love thy willing heart:
No fondest parent’s melting breast
Yearns, like thy God’s, to make thee blest:
Taught its dear mother soon to know,
The tenderest babe his love can show;
Bid thy base servile fear retire,
This task no labour will require.
The Sovereign Father, good, and kind,
Wants but to have his child resigned:
Wants but thy yielded heart (no more!)
With his large gifts of grace to store.
He to thy soul no anguish brings,
From thine own stubborn will it springs:
That foe but crucify, (thy bane!)
Nought shalt thou know of frowns or pain.
Shake from thy soul, o’erwhelmed, deprest,
The encumbering load that galls her rest;
That wastes her strength in bondage vain:—
With courage break the enslaving chain.
Let prayer exert its conquering power:
Cry in thy tempted trembling hour,
“My God, my Father! save thy son!”—
‘Tis heard, — and all thy fears are done.
Yet if (more earnest plaints to raise)
Thy God a while his aid delays,
Though you don’t now his kind hand feel,
Thy grief let lenient patience heal.
Or if corruption’s strength prevail,
And oft thy pilgrim footsteps fail;
Pray for his grace with louder cries,
So shalt thou cleansed and stronger rise.
If hapy still thy mental shade,
Dark as the midnight gloom be made,
On the sure faithful arm divine
Firm let thy fastening trust recline.
The gentlest sire, the best of friends,
To thee nor loss nor harm intends:
Though tost on a tempestuous main,
No wreck thy vessel shall sustain.
Should there remain of rescuing grace
No glimpses, no footsteps left to trace;
Hear thy Lord’s voice: — ‘Tis Jesus’ will,
“Believe, thou poor dark pilgrim, still.”
Then thy sad night of terrors past,
(Though the dread season long may last,)
Sweet light shall, from the tranquil skies,
Like a fair dawn, before thee rise;
Then shall thy faith’s bright grounds appear,
Thine eyes shall view salvation clear.
Be hence encouraged more, when tried,
On the best Father to confide:
Ah! from thy mind extirpate quite
The sickly films that cloud her sight.
See! of how rich a lot, how blest,
The true believer stands possest!
Come, backward soul! to God resign;
Peace, his best blessing, shall be thine:
Boldly recumbent on his care,
Cast thy felt burdens only there
Here among long-discarded cassocks, Damp stools, and half-split open hassocks, Here where the vicar never looks I nibble through old service books. Lean and alone I spend my days Behind this Church of England baize. I share my dark forgotten room With two oil-lamps and half a broom. The cleaner never bothers me, So here I eat my frugal tea. My bread is sawdust mixed with straw; My jam is polish for the floor. Christmas and Easter may be feasts For congregations and for priests, And so may Whitsun. All the same, They do not fill my meagre frame. For me the only feast at all Is Autumn's Harvest Festival, When I can satisfy my want With ears of corn around the font. I climb the eagle's brazen head To burrow through a loaf of bread. I scramble up the pulpit stair And gnaw the marrows hanging there. It is enjoyable to taste These items ere they go to waste, But how annoying when one finds That other mice with pagan minds Come into church my food to share Who have no proper business there. Two field mice who have no desire To be baptized, invade the choir. A large and most unfriendly rat Comes in to see what we are at. He says he thinks there is no God And yet he comes . . . it's rather odd. This year he stole a sheaf of wheat (It screened our special preacher's seat), And prosperous mice from fields away Come in to hear our organ play, And under cover of its notes Ate through the altar's sheaf of oats. A Low Church mouse, who thinks that I Am too papistical, and High, Yet somehow doesn't think it wrong To munch through Harvest Evensong, While I, who starve the whole year through, Must share my food with rodents who Except at this time of the year Not once inside the church appear. Within the human world I know Such goings-on could not be so, For human beings only do What their religion tells them to. They read the Bible every day And always, night and morning, pray, And just like me, the good church mouse, Worship each week in God's own house, But all the same it's strange to me How very full the church can be With people I don't see at all Except at Harvest Festival.