The Donkey

The Donkey

When fishes flew and forests walked
   And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
   Then surely I was born.
 *
With monstrous head and sickening cry
   And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
   On all four-footed things.
 *
The tattered outlaw of the earth,
   Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
   I keep my secret still.
 *
Fools! For I also had my hour;
   One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
   And palms before my feet.
By the genius that is G. K. Chesterton, from The Collected Poems of G. K. Chesterton, 1927

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Our Warring Madness – a poem for Good Friday

Our Warring Madness – a poem for Good Friday

God of grace and God of glory,
on your people pour your power;
crown your ancient church’s story,
bring its bud to glorious flower.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
for the facing of this hour,
for the facing of this hour.

Lo! the hosts of evil round us
scorn the Christ, assail his ways!
From the fears that long have bound us
free our hearts to faith and praise.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
for the living of these days,
for the living of these days.

Cure your children’s warring madness;
bend our pride to your control;
shame our wanton, selfish gladness,
rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
lest we miss your kingdom’s goal,
lest we miss your kingdom’s goal.

Save us from weak resignation
to the evils we deplore;
let the gift of your salvation
be our glory evermore.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
serving you whom we adore,
serving you whom we adore.

Written by Harry Fosdick in 1930 (italics mine)

I bought his book The Meaning of Prayer when I read that Eugene Peterson had been deeply influenced by him and his devotional/prayer life.

I’m posting this because we all need help!

The Preface states our perennial human problem:

“This little book is written in the hope that it may help to clarify a subject which is puzzling many minds.  Prayer is the soul of religion, and failure there is not a superficial lack for the supply of which the spiritual life leisurely can wait.  Failure in prayer is the loss of religion itself in its inward and dynamic aspect of fellowship with the Eternal.  Only a theoretical deity is left to any [person] who has ceased to commune with God, and a theoretical deity saves no [person] from sin and disheartenment and fills no life with a sense of divine commission.  Such vital consequences require a living God who actually deals with people.”

The Crib and the Cry

The Crib and the Cry;

The animals in wonder.

*

The Cross and the Why;

The people in blunder.

*

Was this Jesus the Son of God?

As a baby surely not!

As a man, upon a cross, surely, no.

What would it look like if God came to earth;

*

In disguise, as one of us?

Would we see it?

Would we know?

Of course we wouldn’t, so off we go.

*

Doing our thing, without a thought;

Of the One who made us,

And saved us, our salvation bought.

*

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O Little Town of Bethlehem, How Still! We See Thee Die

O Little Town of Bethlehem, How Still! We See Thee Die

 

O little town of Bethlehem, how still!  We see thee die,

Above the violent nightmare sleep, the silenced world goes by.

But where in the dark streets shine, the everlasting Light?

The hopes are dashed, the fears increased, we need your promised Might.

*

For Christ is born in world of pain, as someone shoots the dove,

While Christians sleep, the angels keep their bewildered watch of love.

Morning stars might once have sung, and praised the holy birth,

But now hate reigns; walls are built and bullets kill, and proves the curse of earth.

*

How silently, and insanely, the wondrous land is stolen,

So God imparts to occupied hearts, a courage ever bolden!

No mouth may speak against this crime, but in this world of sin,

The slightest voice raised for Justice, is accused of anti-Semitism.

*

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A Moment of Grace

A Moment of Grace

20160307_154633OuchOuchOuch!
How can loving you hurt so much?
You came; we saw; you conquered – us.
But we have to give you away.
Ouch.

It hurts boy.
But you have been a joy.
A treasure, heaven sent;
But we knew the time was short,
For you, to us, were lent.

A bundle, given for a season;
Given to us, for no known reason.
Your mother and father loved you, you must know that;
But their pain told in life’s twists and turns.

In fact boy, you’ve been loved by so many,
Our home, the church, our wider family;
And true agape-love always hurts; better to have loved and lost, and all that agony!
There is no anaesthetic for open heart surgery.

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Clown Europe

Sea

Call them what you want,

Asylum seeker, migrant, refugee;

But see, a face that looks like me.

*

Watch them flee from land and sea,

Shining out from our latest HD TV.

Packed in boats and rafts;

Longing for half a chance.

*

Despising even the rank air they breathe.

No room to move or sit,

No food to eat no drink to drink;

While Europe waits and chats and thinks.

*

They want to live and work and play,

To see a new day, as the sun goes higher;

Just trying to live that’s all, beyond the dire,

But is this necessary, brand-new razor-sharp wire?

*

And they’re the lucky one’s,

For too many drown,

In the not too funny sea,

While Europe looks on, like a clown.

*

We all know this world is unequal,

Too few have had too much for too long.

“Fortresses of wealth in many seas of mass misery,”

No act of God, but acts of man,

A kind of perverse and sinful symmetry.

*

It is time to wake up, look up and see,

These are not asylum seekers, migrants or refugees;

But a stunning and worthy humanity. . . . seeking dignity.

Look closely:  they are all just like you, and just like me.