Come Buy

This sonnet draws from the episode of the Feeding of the 5,000 from Mark 6:30-44. In service and ministry, Jesus repeatedly asks of his disciples things which they cannot provide or accomplish in themselves. Over and over again, it is not as if they are a cut above the masses to whom they minister, but they are among those masses.

It seems to me that the work of faith is the “buying without cost” which Isaiah mentions in Isaiah 55:1-3. How does one take possession of something that is freely given? One merely receives it. Now, just because a thing is free doesn’t mean it is of no value. The value of what is freely given is revealed in the manner in which one receives it and how much it is treasured afterward.

Worn thin by the work, amazed but weary,
We recount our deeds healing the possessed.
Seeing our hunger, he calls us dearly,
Come ‘way with me into quiet and rest.

By boat we seek a solitary shore,
But the crowd follows and meets us hungry;
We who have left all, who have nothing more
Have become one flock, bewildered, wand’ring.

You give them something to eat, you said
As if from the sky bread falls prodigious.
How with only two fish, five loaves of bread
Can there be enough for them, you, and us?

Come buy without cost food, rich, free, and fine
Feed on what fills, is good, my bread and wine.

© Randall Edwards 2019.
This sonnet 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, Image: 7 3/8 x 10 9/16 in. (18.7 x 26.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.134 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.134_PS1.jpg)

Legion

This sonnet is based on the following passages which tell of the healing of the Gerasene demoniac from Mark 5:1-20, Luke 8:26-39, and Matthew 8:28-34. Jesus, having delivered the disciples from the terror of the night storm, arrives on the other side of the Sea of Galilee and is confronted by a demoniac who roams naked among the tombs of his people. The story of the demoniac’s ruin, isolation, and degradation is particularly desperate and sad. His neighbors have given up on either helping or managing the demoniac in his ravings, and he himself is as good as dead, living naked among the tombs. A question provoked by this event is, can there be hope when there is no hope…when one has been given over to demons and death?

Long since, I left my people and my home
Who had long since quit, given up on me
To dwell in undwelling, midst death and bone
Among these tombs by the Galilee.
When he came, I rushed, was all in a rage;
As he called them out, rebuked the unclean,
His call I thought, was back into the cage;
Leave me alone! Don’t look! Leave me unseen!

What if we would step out, wait, let him speak;
Let him see our hearts, untie the twisted;
Be bold yet humble, use strength to be weak?
What if in peace, we could just sit and listen?
What if Power came in Peace with Affection
To bring news of coming resurrection?

© Randy Edwards 2019.
This sonnet 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 Swine Driven into the Sea (Les porcs précipités dans la mer), 1886-1896. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, Image: 10 3/16 x 6 11/16 in. (25.9 x 17 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.107 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.107_PS1.jpg)

Goodness Reached Out

This sonnet is from my chapbook collection of poems inspired by the Gospels and is entitled Walking with Jesus. This sonnet is based on Mark 3:1-6 and Luke 6:6-11 when Jesus enters the synagogue and heals the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath.

I sat there each Sabbath in that same place
Pitied and lonely with my withered arm;
Friends couldn’t even look me in the face
For them a reason of subtle alarm
That Providence’s purpose and pleasure
Is not easily read or understood:
Why not all judged with the same measure?
Why the wicked thrive though doing no good?

But goodness reached out on this Sabbath day,
Freed me from power’s weighty, with’ring yoke
His question left them with nothing to say
He worked with a word. He healed when he spoke.
To what length will this rabbi stretch out to take,
The broken in arm whom the powerful forsake?

© Randy Edwards 2017.
This sonnet 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.

Fullness

“Fullness” is a poem from my chapbook collection of poems inspired by the Gospels entitled, Walking with Jesus, and this poem is based on Mark 2:23-38 and Luke 6:1-5.

An easy Sabbath walk in the lengthened light
Of evening wading through a sea of wheat,
Which swelled with wind, waving, rolling in flight
Across the field where we gather to meet.
In the cool of the evening out of the heat,
With One who left us hungering for more
Our bellies talk, we pluck the grain and eat
Rub the kernels free on this threshing floor.
We feed on His words, whose grain fills, restores;
Gives life to the hungry, strengthens, and stays
Welcomes the outcast, throws open the door
But offends the proud, sends the full away.
But to us, Sit down, says, You are the blessed
Who’ve hungered and thirsted, sought out my rest.

© Randy Edwards 2017.
This sonnet 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.
artwork: James Tissot [Public domain]

In Their Presence

This sonnet is a based on Mark 2:13-17 and the account of the calling of Levi from his tax booth. It is a reworking of a previous sonnet entitled, Levi’s Table.

The faithless sorts of things we do, we do to manage the margins over which we have no control such as security and significance. More money, we think, will lead to more security which will lead to more peace which will give us rest — rest from fear, from toilsome work, from self-accusation, and recrimination. Money cannot do that.

The beauty in the account of the calling of Levi is that Levi moves from one table — the despised table of the tax collector’s booth where he works to ensure his own security to another table –a table in his home where Jesus has taken a seat and is despised himself because he eats with tax collectors and sinners. But here, at this table Levi finds the fullness of true wealth and peace. Levi begins to delight himself in the richest of fair and all without cost. Here, at the table where Jesus sits, is the promised table which the Lord himself prepares. This is the table of vindication which King David saw, and sitting at this table is perfect peace.

Walking past my table, he stopped and stared
At me and the toll I’d taxed and taken;
And discerned my fear: how poor and scared
That my kingdom would fall and I shaken.

He called, “Follow me.”  I rose, came after,
Left my booth and scales, cast them each aside,
Welcomed to my home light, love, and laughter;
Cancelled the debts in my ledger of pride.

I recline at my table of the least
While my enemies scoff from outside,
But he in their presence prepares a feast
Fills with the promise to always abide.
I now work to give, collect from east and west,
“Come, buy riches without price, be filled and rest.”

© Randall K. Edwards, 2019.
artwork: Jacob van Oost (I) (1603–1671), “The Calling of St Matthew’, 1648. Church of Our Lady, Bruges.