Falling Fire

Falling Fire

This is a reposted and reworked sonnet for Pentecost which is this Sunday.

Suddenly, like a mighty, rushing wind,
Love fell upon us as fire and flame,
Winding and binding, empowering to send
Us to the nations proclaiming his Name.
The exalted Name, above all others,
The only Name by which one may be saved
Whose salvation unites, makes enemies brothers
Whose dying gives life, frees the enslaved.
Light and Life a crystal river flowing
Effulgence, increase, pours, spilling over
Enwraps, enfolding as a breeze blowing
Wells up in love as beloved and lover.
Falling fire in tongues, Babel’s blather breaks
With word of the Word whose voice Kadesh shakes.

© Randy Edwards 2017.
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
Artwork: Jean Restout le jeune (1692–1768) Oil on canvas 1732.

I Go

I Go

Based on John 14:1-14

Why all this talk of leaving, betrayal?
Where are you going? How could Peter deny?
We’ll go where you go. We’ll remain loyal.
Tell us true, no matter, even to die.

Way? But we don’t know the place you’re going;
We’d follow you, but you always rush in.
Can’t you see that their hatred is growing?
You’ll be alone, bear the brunt of their sin.

Let not your hearts be troubled, trust, believe;
My Father’s house has space enough and room.
I go, prepare for you a place with me
Where you’ll come live as a bride with her groom.
Though I go, you’ll have me, all in my name,
Glory and presence as pillar of flame.

© Randy Edwards 2018
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
Artwork: Duccio di Buoninsegna  (1255–2018), Christ Taking Leave of the Apostles, between 1308 and 1311
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Hidden, He Hides Us

Hidden, He Hides Us

This sonnet is for Ascension Thursday and Ascension Sunday.

The sonnet is based on Acts 1:11: “and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Why leave us below after rising, rise?
Why fly away with so much undone?
Speechless with sadness, we stare at the sky
Answers blurred by our tears as clouds, the sun.

Ascending up into heaven he takes,
Our embodied resurrection into
Unlocking the door to the Ancient of Days,
The Treasure to whom all treasure is due.

Though our Lord is now by clouds hidden
He hides us in him that nothing separate
Neither rust, nor thief, even death unbidden
May remove him from us, alienate.
And more, if he goes he will at last send
The Counselor, Fire, the Living Wind.

© Randy Edwards 2017.
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
artwork: James Tissot  (1836–1902), The Ascension; between 1886 and 1894; opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper

Do You Want to Be Healed?

Do You Want to Be Healed?

This sonnet is based on John 5:1-17.

For thirty-eight years I have been bound, lame
In this body which failed, gave way, betrayed
My dreams to nightmares, my illness a shame;
My heart’s hope of wholeness, each year delayed.
I lie on my mat ‘side Bethesda’s pool
Where I wait for the waters to bubble
And by chance, might prove wrong the rule
That this man reaped what he deserved, double.

“Do you want to be healed?” the stranger said.
“Really? Are you mocking me? Can’t you see?
I’ve slaved, waited, to angels begged and pled
That bathing here might bring Sabbath to me.”

But this Sabbath, mercy like a shower broke
in blessing on my head, when the stranger spoke.

© Randall Edwards 2018.
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
Artwork: Carl Bloch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Water Who Thirsted

The Water Who Thirsted

based on John 4:1-26 and Psalm 1

Thirsty, the Water spoke to the woman
Who had come to the well in the day’s heat,
“Give me a drink,” though she, a Samaritan,
Not caring whether he seemed indiscreet.

“But you have nothing by which I may draw
Water for you, though it’s clean, still it’s deep,”
And he wound me with questions, as if to draw
Me up out of darkness, rouse me from sleep.

Thirsty, this woman to whom Water spoke;
My dammed story poured, my life leaking out
I could feel joy well till suspicion broke
Through into knowing, flood, ending my drought.

Blessed, I’m become the unwithered tree
Because of the water who thirsted for me.

© Randall Edwards 2018.
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.

Artwork: James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Woman of Samaria at the Well (La Samaritaine à la fontaine), 1886-1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 10 5/16 x 14 13/16 in. (26.2 x 37.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.69 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.69_PS2.jpg)

With His Life’s Wage

With His Life’s Wage

The passages of John 6:1-14 and 21:1-14 mirror each other. In both instances a crowd is gathered, full of expectancy but hungry and weary. In one a meager meal of some fish and five barley loaves is more than enough in Jesus’ hands, and in the other, Jesus’ presence with a small amount gives the disciples as much as they can handle. In one you have Philip’s comment that a years wage wouldn’t be enough to give all even a little. In the second, one man’s wage is more than enough to fill all.

‘Look at this crowd, where’s food enough to feed?’
The Rabbi questioned Philip as a test,
Who says, “A years wage wouldn’t meet the need
Feed some a little, leave nothing for the rest.”
A boy shares what he has (bread and some fish);
Andrew brings to Jesus, filing through the ranks,
And Jesus blesses more than one could wish
Feeding famished thousands, filling them with thanks.

By that sea after the Son in full measure
Had poured out his wealth for our wage of woe
And having turned His weakness into treasure
He breaks their night’s fast shares himself to show
That with his life’s wage he buys fish and bread
Gives life, fills full, unto rising from the dead.

© Randall Edwards 2018.
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.

artwork: James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes (La multiplicité des pains), 1886-1896. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Brooklyn Museum. No known copyright restrictions.

Unless I See

Unless I See

This sonnet is based on John 20:25 which reads, “So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.'”

‘Unless I see the marks the nails left,
The scars of his hands, place my fingers in
Those iron wounds, place my hand in the cleft
Of his side where the spear went in?
I’ll not believe. I’ll not be taken in.

I was ready to lose my life in off’ring,
Gladly die with him, give everything.’

‘Thomas, I know you would’ve gladly given
Your life with me if you could. Nor do I
Doubt that you would’ve resisted, striven,
Remained true, not run away, nor in fear fly,
You’d have stayed by my side, lent a hand, died.

Embrace my death, but more, my life receive
Take my hands, touch my side, see, live, believe.

© Randall Edwards 2018.
This poem is for Christ’s church. If it is helpful, please feel free to copy or reprint in church bulletins, read aloud, or repost. I only ask that an attribution be cited to myself (Randall Edwards) and this blog (backwardmutters.com). Thanks.
Artwork: Béla Iványi-Grünwald [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. (PD-1923).