This is a sonnet based on Luke 14:26-30, 33 which reads,
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
“The cost you say? I thought it was free…
To take and make use of, to follow as I please.
But this word makes it sound as if the price were me
All my security, comfort, and ease.”
“Wait, you want me to hate my father and mother…
Forsake the privileged power of their name?
I thought the command was for their name to honor.
Hate them? To hate myself would be just the same.”
“But I’ll try you out. Let’s see where you go.
I’ll be by your side when you get what you’re due
I’ll look up in pride when your glory you show
And be envied as one of the great, lucky few.
And this rabbi, hating his own life, for love scorned the loss
Renounced what he was owed, and took up his cross.
© Randy Edwards 2016
artwork: John Luyken, The Call of Fisherman, apud: Phillip Medhurst; excudit: Harry Kossuth
A good friend shared this quote from Elisabeth Elliot’s devotional, A Lamp Unto My Feet.
“Someone who is suffering as a result of his own foolishness or failure may read these words. These griefs are hard indeed to bear, for we feel we might easily have avoided them. We have no one to blame but ourselves, and there isn’t much consolation there. Sometimes we imagine that we must bear this kind of trouble alone, but that is a mistake. The Lamb of God, slain for us, has borne all of our griefs and carried all of our sorrows, no matter what their origin. All grief and sorrow is the result of sin somewhere along the line, but Christ received them willingly. It is nothing but pride that keeps me from asking Him to help me to bear the troubles which are my own fault. ‘Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,’ take away mine.”
It has continued to be of encouragement to me and so as to work it in deeper, I’ve taken the quote and re-written it as a sonnet.
These griefs and sorrows are indeed hard to bear–
This bed of my trouble in which I must lie;
Had I simply avoided the obvious snare,
I’d be holding the pearls I’ve trampled in this sty.
The troubles I’ve made are mine and mine alone
To silently bear (suck it up) make no plea,
Any help of relief I must pay out on my own
I’ve no one to blame, pass the buck, just me.
Ev’ry grief and sorrow came somewhere from sin,
And Christ received them all and willingly bore
All our sins no matter what their origin
Only pride keeps you from going, to humbly implore,
“Lamb of God, who the sins of the world takes away
Take the troubles I’ve made; please, take my sins today.”
© Randy Edwards 2016
This is a re-working of a previous sonnet based on Mark 10:17-22 which reads,
And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
He looked at him and seeing, he loved him–
This man waiting for the answer to come,
This man who hoped in the law of his limbs.
Who held everything, left nothing undone.
But he was undone and with a word,
“One thing you still lack,” the poor rabbi said,
“Sell all you have–be delivered of your hoard
Make God your only treasure instead.”
In this miserly, moneyed moment of time
His dis-heartened heart chose to trust
Only the good which he could call “mine”.
And he gave himself to that which would rust.
Away in sorrow his heart’s wealth he bore
Empty of the Treasure, who for love, became poor.
© Randy Edwards 2016
artwork: Alexandre Bida, The rich young man
This the third in a series of sonnets reflecting on the Parable of the Narrow Door from Luke 13:22-30. In this sonnet, I am imagining the table at which the Master’s guests recline and the sorts of tables they’ve left behind to sit at that table. One such table is the table at which the disciple, Levi, collected taxes and from which Jesus called, “Follow me.” The account is in Luke 5:27-31 which reads,
After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
29 And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
He stopped at my table and stood and stared
At me and the extorted wealth I’d taken;
But he discerned beneath how poor and scared
That my collector’s kingdom would fin’lly be shaken.
He called, “Follow me.” I arose and followed after,
Left my booth and scales dropped them all aside,
And welcomed to my home light and love and laughter;
But left out all other’s debts, left no seat for pride.
And reclining with this rabbi, at my table of the least
While my betters stood despising, scoffing from outside,
My Master in the presence of mine enemies set a feast
Of lordly leisure and promise: to be always at his side.
My mission now is to carry news, calling from east and west,
“Come to the table of the King, be found and filled and rest.”
I have wedding on the brain as our eldest is getting married this weekend. In this poem, I imagine both the experience of my wife and my daughter who may one day be sitting in the seat of her mother and what that may be like for her.
One day you think I’ll have a wedding day;
I’ll love and be loved, have the wedding ring;
I’ll wear the dress and speak what lovers say;
All will be song as the lovers’ melody we’ll sing.
One day at last is your own wedding day—
The long longing has finally ended—
One more walk down the petaled aisle way
To stand for a life with your awaiting husband.
Someday (sooner than you thought possible): your daughter’s wedding day,
As a bride’s mother, you are the first to stand,
Holding close words and fears as a flowered bouquet
For this one who so readily gives away her hand.
And lying in wrinkles, you arrive at your Day;
Your worries and sins all washed away;
Your baptism made real (remade in glory not clay)
By the Groom who has waited longer for his own wedding day.
© Randy Edwards
artwork: “The Bride (the church/Ecclesia) and the bridegroom (Christ).” Artist: UNKNOWN; Illustrator of Petrus Comestor’s ‘Bible Historiale’, France, 1372. Technique: Miniature. Location: Museum Meermanno Westreenianum, The Hague.