Come to the Table

This sonnet is the fourth in a series on Jesus’ Parable of The Narrow Door. The other three are: The Narrow Door,  A New Door, and Levi’s Table.
The passage upon which they are based is Luke 13:22-30 which reads,

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.”

You may listen to me read it while reading if you like here.

“Come to the table my son, my laughter,
Take wood and knife and let us walk away
Up into His provision.” When Isaac calls after,
“Without a lamb? Do we only go to pray?”
“Come to the table stand packed and waiting
Holding your staff, eating pilgrim’s bread
List’ning to the stories of God’s emancipating
Which leaves the darkened kingdom’s firstborn dead.”
“Come to the table; long have I waited
To celebrate this Passover with you;
Which I give and pour in love consecrated:
The meal of my body, my body to renew.”
“I am the narrow door, the ram provided, the lamb, slain;
Come you humble, to my table, be filled, rejoice, and reign.”

© Randy Edwards 2016
Artwork: Gustave Dore
Image: Felix Just, S.J., at http://catholic-resources.org/Art/Dore.htm

Casting Fire

This sonnet is based on Luke 12:49-53 which reads,

“I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

You may listen here:

Returned from our folly where we roamed and fled
Going great lengths to be ready and stand
To refine our heart’s dross be loosed of its lead.
In the heat of this fire cast by your hand
“Blessed are the pure,” you say. “Welcome the trial
Which cuts to the quick, divides house and home;
Blessing comes to those who receive without guile
The scalpeled word which divides marrow from bone.”

Whence comes the strength to bear this affliction?
To stand patiently not give way to the blast–
Of curses and condemnings, every malediction,
Not demand entitlement, not be first, but last?
Cast upon the Blessed’s head the fire of judgment fell,
That he might cast his love on ours, to empower, send and tell.

© Randy Edwards 2016
artwork: Gustav Dore

Light

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

Unwound

Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the LORD said, “Do you do well to be angry?” – Jonah 4:3,4

Wound in God’s mercy
I sat beneath the shade
Of His surprising blessing
At peace with all He made.
But worm and wind unwound
In sickness unto death
Stripping self to the ground
Begging for my last breath.
God queries my quarrel
With compassionate questions—
Rhetorically leading me to the moral
Defeated in Grace’s suggestions.
And now on a hill, hung up in alienation
I see how God’s mercy makes for reconciliation.

(c) Randy Edwards
artwork: from The Story of the Bible by Charles Foster (Illustrations by F.B. Schell and others)