Here is another sonnet from the series on passages from 1John. The sonnet itself is based on 1John 3:11-24 but the title comes from 1John 3:19-20.
You can listen to sonnet being read via Soundcloud below.
19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; 20 for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.
In this world’s repeating ruin, the eye
Of evil (envy’s hateful gaze) falls
Upon our brother whose blessings we spy
As resentment rises like prison walls.
And thus imprisoned we ask, “Where’s the love
We had when we just didn’t talk the talk,
But forbore, forgave, joyfully lived out of
Each morning’s new mercy, walking the walk?”
What shall we do with our weak flailing affection
When our own hearts condemn, ruthlessly mock
Can assurance be ours, from death, resurrection?
Can truth become pleasure, salvation unlock?
Yea, greater than our hearts Beloved, is he
Who answers faith with love, abides, sets us free.
© Randy Edwards
artwork: Gustav Dore
This villanelle is based on 1John 3:1. In it I connect the adoption which John revels in and employ the parable of the Prodigal Son to reflect upon the significance of that adoption.
1John 3:1 reads,
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
See what kind of love the Father has shown
Though orphaned in the world and left to die,
To be adopted as your child, by your name, known.
And finding me lifeless nearly dead as a stone,
You gathered me close, having heard my cry;
See what kind of love the Father has shown.
Raised as your child, nevermore alone,
I walk the wide world neath my Father’s blue sky
As your adopted child, by your name, known.
In desperate delusion, I set off to roam
To seek a better blessing, to taste and to try
To see what kind of love the Father has shown.
In cunning deceit, in rebellion I’d flown
Defamed the family name, lived hiding in a lie
Though your adopted child, by your name, known.
Now broken and shoeless, I return home,
Offering my life, my redemption to buy.
I see what kind of love the Father has shown,
Am your adopted child by your name, known.
© Randy Edwards
artwork: Gustave Dore
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
Based on Luke 24:21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.
When death closes the door and hope is shut
Behind a stone — sealed from every light,
When the tears of loss tear the heart and cut,
The wound is darkness, and happiness, trite.
We had hoped that he was the one to save,
And redeem Israel from bondage and pain,
But three days ago we laid hope in a grave,
And now every plan and purpose is vain.
“We had hoped,” we told the one who joined our
Weary walk, and his question broke the wound
Open again. Our sad hearts, drained of power
When hope died and was buried in the ground.
But hope sparked anew with each word he said;
Blindness became seeing when he broke bread.
(c) Randy Edwards
artwork: Jesus and the two disciples On the Road to Emmaus, by Duccio, 1308-1311, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena.