Monday, April 17, 2017

The Last Passover

We were so blind that night,
Our eyes tight closed against truths too big to bear.
We saw, and we did not see,
We knew and remained ignorant
We were like men who stared at the letters
But could not read the words.

Now, with our world reborn,
Now that we finally truly begin to understand
(A beginning that will continue into all eternity,
For who can compass the infinite?),
Now, when the pattern is complete and its glory is revealed,
Now we know it could be no other way.
It had to be the Passover.

It had to be the Passover.
He was the new Moses, the better-than-Moses,
Who would lead his people to freedom through darkness and terror,
Who would take us out of slavery into the fullness of the promises,
Who would show us the way to our true home.
And He was the paschal lamb
The one whose blood was spilled so that,
Though we should feel the bitter cold that flows from the wings of the Angel of Death,
Yet it would not touch us
And we need no longer be afraid.
And He was the unleavened bread in whom no hint of corruption lived,
And the bitter herbs became his crown of thorns.

It had to be the Passover.
Yet we were so blind.
We did not see how his every word, every gesture,
Was loaded with layers of meaning.
We did not see the sorrow and agony that lay beneath his gravity.
Nothing made sense to us then.

He took the bread and broke it.
“This is my body,” He said.
These were words that could tear the universe apart
And we simply took and ate.
We did not know that his body would be broken
So that we could be made one;
One with each other,
One with God Himself,
One with his purpose and his power.
(But, Oh, the horror of that breaking!)

And then He took the cup,
That solemn cup
Of ordinary wine,
“This is my blood of the New Covenant,
Poured out for many
For forgiveness of sins.”
We had no idea.
We were too afraid to ask.
But now we rejoice as the forgiven.

Every year we had spoken the words
Eaten the food
Remembered and remembered,
Drunk the wine
And never seen
It all was pointing forwards and not back:
Not to Moses but to Christ.

He made the blind to see.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Equipoise (Easter Saturday)

There is deep silence at the heart of things:
The still point at the swinging of the tide,
Pause between heartbeats, space between our breaths,
The first star that comes blinking to our view,
The hanging moment of the pendulum
Before it courses back, the equipoise,
The turning point when everything hangs still.

And thus with time: this day, the silent day,
The day between the days, when death and life
Hung equipoised in some eternal place,
The victory surely known, but not to us.
Your people waited, hushed, as audience,
Who did not know there was another act
Yet still gazed at the curtain in despair –
For surely, surely, this was not the end?

Therefore we wait in every turning point,
Between the breathing out and breathing in,
Between the understanding and the thought,
Between the darkness and the coming light,
The space that waits between our tears and prayers,
Knowing that you, yourself have been here too,
And sanctified our turmoil with your peace

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday Thoughts 2017

 This time last year I walked an English Spring
And all the promised wonders that ensue.fresh,
Where all was daffodil-shiny new,
And drank the metaphor of life reborn

This time, this year, my world to Autumn slopes
 The dying season hovers, close at hand,
Birds fly away and flowers turn to dust
The season’s adumbration cloaks the land.

So here I stand, as the year’s circle turns
And brings me back to Calvary once more
Where dark was darkest and death cruelled the earth
With hopelessness more bitter than before.

And here I visit but I shall not stay
I know the story and its gloried end;
I know my Winter has a future Spring
I know that He who died now calls me “friend”.

I know that He is life and shall not die
Again. I know His victory is complete,
His suffering is the anteroom to joy,
And it was death who suffered full defeat.

I know that seasons turn and roll and flow,
But He is faithful in His constancy.
He died, He rose, He lives forever more,
And on that day His love was sealed to me.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I Thirst

I – skitter-minded, child of little thirsts,
Longing life’s mud puddles,
Quickly quenched,
Always, always,
Too easily satisfied,
Only acknowledging
Teaspoon deserts,
Which a little glitter hides.

You draw me to the silent places,
And open my aridity
Till my whole self yearns your streams,
Your living water.
Salt of the earth, you tease my tongue,
The puddles all evaporate
And this thirst feels like death,
My heart spun drier than the dust between the stars.

Except a grain of wheat …
Watered, I sprout.

But you – what did you thirst,
Hell raw on every nerve,
The torment of the utterly alone,
Strung from the precipice,
Falling into flame?
Angels held back, aghast,
At the unravelling of Life,
The coming down
To this.

Was it my thirst you bore,
Or something more:
Reaching out through everything
For me?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Let the Rain fall

Let the rain fall, bleak and hard
On the shadowed desolation
The wound at the heart of the world.

Let the torrents try
To cleanse the stain, the spot incarnadine,
Bleeding death, and fear and rottenness.

Let us gather all our great technologies –
Surely something will succeed?
Surely we can make our peace?

But failure sticks, chokingly, in our mouths
Till our mumblings make no sense
In the misery of rain.

There was only one way, only, ever one,
He took it, lashed with thorns, vicious with nails,
Into the desolation, the forsaken place…

Let the rain fall, gentle with blessing,
Let the skies sing triumph!
Let the angels' alleluias mend our faith again!

Whole in His brokenness, blood washed out by blood,
We begin again, acknowledging His victory:
The price we could not pay.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

And the Passover moon looks down

And the Passover moon shines down
And the man kneels in the garden
And the bent, gnarled trees kneel too,
While creation holds its breath.

Men sleep, this agony too much for them.
(In dreams we can forget).
But the trees know,
And the Spring breeze pauses its dance,
And the distant sheep are still.
Only the stars, steadfast in their constancy,
Have no fear that he’ll say “No!”
And unravel all redemption.

Those same angels
Who once ministered
When he endured the wilderness
Hold back now,
Covering their faces
Before such holiness.

“Nevertheless ..”
His will, already crucifed,
Accepts the cup,
Shrinking from its vileness.
And the trees lift up their branches,
Looking strangely like a cross.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Tibouchinas in Holy Week

Tibouchinas in the rain
Purple flowers, sky of grey
Whisper of the king who came
Draped in our dark robe of pain.

Flowering when the autumn chill
Turns some other leaves to brown;
Here a promise to fulfil
When our world is turned around.

Promise, not of golden days,
Or of blossoms yet-to-be,
But the mercy in his gaze,
Love in our infirmity.

Promise to walk by our side
Through whatever grief we face.
Nailed to us, he will abide,
Lifting, leading into grace.

Promise of the mourning king,
Man of sorrows, Lord and God,
Promise that through everything
He is sealed to us by blood.

Tibouchinas in the rain,
Purple flowers for my king,
As my heart walks through again
The path of his suffering.