Holy Thursday: God’s Full Love

Over the next four days I’ll be posting poems for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. Today’s poem is a villanelle based on the following passage, but especially the clause in verse 1, “he loved them to the end” or as the NIV renders it, “the full extent of his love”. The poem’s text is below, and an audio file of me reading the text via soundcloud is available too.

John 13:1-5 reads, “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

I know it now; I know love’s way,
Even as I break the bread and pour your wine
God’s full love I show this day.
Wrapped as a scullion that I may
Wash your feet in tear stained brine,
I know it now; I know love’s way.
Bought for thirty pieces of silver to betray,
Though we share the table at which we dine
God’s full love I show this day.
To Gethsemane we go to watch and pray
For all those tempted, who’ve crossed that line,
I know it now; I know love’s way.
Crying out, “Father, take this cup away!”
But even so, “Your will, not mine.”
God’s full love I show this day.
Catching Peter’s eye at dawn’s first ray,
In horror he weeps for the realized sign;
I know it now; I know love’s way,
God’s full love I show this day.

(c) Randy Edwards

artwork: A an etching by Jan Luyken from the Phillip Medhurst Collection of Bible illustrations housed at Belgrave Hall, Leicester, England (The Kevin Victor Freestone Bequest). Photo by Philip De Vere.

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