John Donne on Repentance

I haven’t had an English major moment for a while, so I thought I’d share John Donne’s Holy Sonnet #7.  It’s a good reminder that we need to repent today:  at some point, it will be too late.

At the round earth’s imagin’d corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scatter’d bodies go;
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o’erthrow,
All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance hath slain, and you whose eyes
Shall behold God and never taste death’s woe.
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space,
For if above all these my sins abound,
‘Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace
When we are there; here on this lowly ground
Teach me how to repent; for that’s as good
As if thou’hadst seal’d my pardon with thy blood.
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In a Direction We Do Not Understand

This poem was written by Kathy Galloway, an ordained Church of Scotland minister, who is also a poet and hymn writer.

Our brother Jesus, you set our feet upon the way and sometimes where you lead we do not like or understand.

Bless us with courage where the way is fraught with dread or danger;

Bless us with graceful meetings where the way is lonely;

Bless us with good companions where the way demands a common cause;

Bless us with night vision where we travel in the dark, keen hearing where we have not sight, to hear the reassuring sounds of fellow travellers;

Bless us with humor– we cannot travel lightly weighted down with gravity;

Bless us with humility to learn from those around us;

Bless us with decisiveness where we must move with speed;

Bless us with lazy moments, to stretch and rest and savour;

Bless us with love, given and received;

And bless us with your presence, even when we know it in your absence.

Lead us into exile, until we find that on the road is where you are, and where you are going is home.

Bless us, lead us, love us, bring us home bearing the gospel of life.

 

A Poem by John Donne: Nativity

Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb,
Now leaves His well-belov’d imprisonment,
There He hath made Himself to His intent
Weak enough, now into the world to come;
But O, for thee, for Him, hath the inn no room?
Yet lay Him in this stall, and from the Orient,
Stars and wise men will travel to prevent
The effect of Herod’s jealous general doom.
Seest thou, my soul, with thy faith’s eyes, how He
Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie?
Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee?
Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go,
With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe.

Stewardship of Time

As many readers know, I was once an English major, and I still love poetry.   This poem by Mary Oliver, a contemporary poet,  expresses, for me, how we should be good stewards of our time.  It’s from the book, “Devotions.”

The Gift

Be still, my soul, and steadfast.

Earth and heaven both are still watching

though time is draining from the clock,

and your walk, that was confident and quick

has become slow.

 

So, be slow, if you must, but let

the heart still play its true part.

Love still as once you loved, deeply

and without patience.  Let God and the world

know you are grateful

That the gift has been given.