God’s Office

There is an anonymous saying that comes up in Twelve Step meetings that goes like this, “God’s office is at the end of your rope.” I like that a lot. Nothing like good, clear directions to find something.

Here’s a roundel based on that saying.

At the end of your rope — no where left to hide
Having lived your life like some imperious pope,
Having spent it all no more time left to bide
God’s office is at the end of your rope.

When your plans fail, and blindly forward you grope
Through the ruin of all the strategies you’ve tried,
Will you now punish others, in bitterness mope?

Let go of your will — your self-centered pride;
By faith, lay down, be taken up in hope.
Though it feels like death, it’s just your pride that’s died.
God’s office is at the end of your rope.

(c)Randy Edwards
artwork: From the 1894 A Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear. More public domain artwork can be found at zorger.com

The Old Becomes New

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.

The Narrow Door I

I will be working on a project to write a series of sonnets based on this passage from Luke 13:22-30. Our human sensibilities oftentimes find these passages which speak to the exclusion of the Kingdom of God highly unsavory. And in our age in which the individual is the “sovereign chooser” we seem to forget that in choosing some things, we by default exclude others. The issue is not whether there should be or even can be inclusive or exclusive, but rather do we know what we’re choosing and why.

22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’

26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”


Someone asked, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?”
And Jesus perceiving, told a parable of a door.
“Do all you can, strive to find your way through
Into the King’s presence and peace forevermore.”
“Be wary, the door shall not always stay open,
And many will come late expecting they’re in.
And even though they’ve listened, sup’ed, and broken
Bread at a table, yet they remain what they had been.”

Though the door is narrow its beauty now I see:
Through its humble casing, I cannot bear my pride;
Its head’s as tall as a man hung on a tree;
Its sill spans the breadth of his arms open wide.
Through this door all are welcome, are seated with a ring.
To find plenty of room and fullness at the table of our King.

(c) Randy Edwards
artwork: Engraving from a 1778 edition printed in England.

Joy Complete

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

We Had Hoped

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.