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

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)

The Good Shepherd III

The Good Shepherd III

This sonnet continues in the series, So That You May Believe, from the Gospel of John and is a meditation on John 10:11.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

If it is helpful, you may listen to me read via the player below.

Thieves and robbers climb over, go around,
Wreak havoc, rob joy, deal destruction;
They burden the lambs, with rules weigh them down,
Shamelessly steal through guile and seduction

The hireling runs doesn’t stay with the sheep
When danger comes or a wolf steals in;
The hand does not defend but grasps to keep,
Pilfer, and pocket — just a wolf in sheep’s skin.

The Good Shepherd lives the same as his own
Walks the same way, leads in humility;
He enters with them, faces danger alone
Stands fast between threat and hostility.
So that all may rest, be kept safe, be found,
The Shepherd calls his sheep then lays his life down.

© 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: Thomas Cole [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The One Sheep

The One Sheep

This sonnet is based on John 10:11 and Luke 15:3-7.

If it is helpful you may listen to me read the sonnet via the player below.

By mid-morning, my circumstance it seems
Has closed the door to joy, friendship, and rest
And locked out of love, my loneliness leaves
Me as a sheep lost, alone, dispossessed.

Without a shepherd or a sheepfold I
Am left the afternoon to wander this waste
Make due only with life under the sky
Live for myself, give no mercy, dis-graced.

Though evening comes, you leave all and seek
The one sheep who that morn wandered away;
Would you for me leave ninety-nine to keep
And carry me home before the end of the day?

Leading through the door, lying down in the breach,
Giving your life, I rest, breathe heavy, and sleep.

© Randall Edwards 2018.
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 [No restrictions or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Pulverulentis Siccus

Pulverulentis Siccus

The title is a name which C.S. Lewis employs as an author of a children’s grammar in his book, Prince Caspian. The name means, “full of dry dust” which is just what Lewis thought of a good bit of what was being written from young minds.

The poem itself is a reflection on John 7:38 which reads, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” “Water of life” sure sounds a lot better than the “full of dry dust” which I sometimes experience.

If it is helpful, you may listen to me read the poem via the player below.

A desert, full of death — the driest dust —
Is my life, imagination, heart, and soul;
Bleached white as bone, the golden bowl turned rust
And bitter, where my heart was, now a hole.

A fissure forms in my self-protection,
A sober moment of vulnerability,
I expect judgment, sure without question
But am given impossibility.

For the rod of judgment on the rock fell,
Smiting my second who stood in for me,
Flooding with grace from an eternal well
Washing me clean in His love and mercy.

This angry fool who sought other’s applause
Still wallows in cisterns of demanding;
I’m now humbled, contrite for what I was,
And I see clearer, drink understanding.

For from his pierced side water pours with blood
My stone heart breaks open with tears of love.

© 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: Francois Perrier (1590 – 1650) Moses draws water from the Rock. Capitoline Museums [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Learn to Behold

Learn to Behold

This sonnet is next in the series That You May Believe. It is based on John 3:22-36 when John’s disciples come to John with the complaint that Jesus is baptizing and all are going over to him. John corrects his disciples and shows them how they have become disconnected from the gospel and King to whom they are to bear witness and in whom, rejoice.

If it’s helpful you may listen to me read the sonnet via the player below.

Blinded by jealousy — a joyless hour
Is his coming. Instead, resentment fills
And boils bubbling over bilious and sour;
Though giv’n all things, I’m empty, unfulfilled.
Don’t you know who I am, know what I do?
How hard I’ve worked and faithfully served
In the heat of the day? It’s me who’s due
The honor and respect of being heard.

What thou needest is to learn, receive grace,
Give up, lay down, get low, humility;
Learn to behold with joy the bridegroom’s face,
Die to demands, trust his ability.
In welcome and rejoicing thou shalt see
That thou art his bride, that he comes for thee.

© Randy Edwards 2018.
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: Yelkrokoyade [Public domain or CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons