This is the third in a series of sonnets based on John’s first letter to the churches. This one is based on 1John 2:7-14 though it is particularly based on verses 7-8 to read:
7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.
The darkness is passing away;
The True Light already shines.
The night flees, gives way to day;
The Word His wolde and ware refines.
But deceit darkens when we hate;
Confusion dulls our heart’s clarity.
We throw down hands refusing the weight–
Of life’s unyielding responsibility.
Yet the rebel, the Word has forgiven;
He explains to us the Timeless One;
Names a new family, reconciles the riven,
Inhabits our hearts, makes us strong.
“Beloved little children, what is old becomes new
When you love one another as I have loved you.”
(c) Randy Edwards
artwork: Gustave Doré, The Last Supper (1865), engraving, from La Sainte Bible.
This is a sonnet based on 1John 1:5-10 which reads
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
There is no darkness in God—only light
Who shines truth in every place, does not deceive,
Is veiled in glory, in burning brilliant white —
This is the Word we received, hear and believe.
But in fear our hearts neither rightly move or stand;
Deceit blinds our eyes we pose and pretend
That we ourselves in act and success have spanned
The gulf of our guilt and make reality bend.
Locked in shame, anger turns on me to bite
With wounding resentments, embittered, locked in lies,
Cut off from your creatures, myself, and the Light
In the drowning dark of bitterness this sinner finally dies.
But in confession’s light, I am lifted from the flood,
Am cleansed, restored, forgiven by the Son’s most precious blood.
(c) Randy Edwards
artwork: The Vision of the Lamb in the Midst of the Four Living Creatures and the Twenty-Four Elders; London, England; c1255-1260. From The J Paul Getty Museum
Based on: 1 John 1:1-4 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
Our own ears heard the First Voice of The One
Through whom in tri-toned harmony spoke, “Light!” —
The voice which decreed dominion for the sun
And separated the day from the night.
Our own eyes saw his hands break and bless bread,
Watched him tie a whip, watched him unwind strife.
Our hands held his hand who raised the dead.
We saw love’s face, and touched the Word of Life.
Yet you have not, could not have seen:
The blood stained brow, the tomb where he lay,
And so I share words on which your hearts may lean
That you may have Life, share eternal day.
A table is set, wine to drink, bread to eat
Come, sit, be welcomed and filled, make our joy complete.
(c) Randy Edwards
artwork: Gustave Dore, St John at Patmos