A Common-Place Jotting: “Lord, It Belongs Not To My Care”

Common-Place or “Locus Communis” — a place to remember

Richard Baxter was a 17th-century English theologian and Reformed pastor whose fruitfulness in ministry continues to inspire the church today. Most quoted is this advice to those in ministry which, given recent high-profile scandals, can use another dusting off:

Take heed to yourselves, lest you be void of that saving grace of God which you offer to others, and be strangers to the effectual working of that gospel which you preach . . . and lest you famish yourselves while you prepare food for them.

Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor

Also a poet, Baxter summarized the manner of his preaching this way: 

I preach’d, as never sure to preach again,
And as a dying man to dying men!
O how should preachers men’s repenting crave,
Who see how near the church is to the grave?

Ginkgo (2)

a ginkgo’s viewpoint
is so simple
twilight dances
nighttime sparkles
darkness flees
morning brightens
God our Maker
shining, shining
benediction
calling, calling
loving summons
joyful gathering
are you hearing?
oh stop and listen!


For Eugi’s Weekly Thursday Prompt “viewpoint”; and Cee’s FOTD Challenge; click on the links and join in!

Rebirth

For the listener, who listens in the snow, And, nothing himself, beholds nothing that is not there and the nothing that is. — Wallace Stevens, “The Snow Man”

There ought not to be anything but that my mind has ordered it so —

So I had been taught — for the mind is designer

Reality but the by-blow, bastard child that diminishes as I diminish

But that the Emperor of Ice-Cream has clay feet

Which stand on eternity’s threshold eyeing a feast.

There the bread and wine of Thy design

Grain and grape sweetly lies upon the tongue

To “taste and see the goodness of the LORD”

Yet nothing tasting if not sanctified by Thy Word

Blood spilled and body broken

Spoken gospel of love heard by a few

Who once nothing being are born in You

Till nothing become sons and daughters

Alive to You.


Laura at dVerse asks us to address paradox as a matter for today’s “Poetics” prompt, including using as a starting point and/or epigraph the above Wallace Stevens quotation. Click on Mr. Linky for more and join in!

Here is Love

Dyma gariad fel y moroedd (Here is love vast as the ocean)

Welsh hymn by William Rees; Translator, William Edwards

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our ransom,
shed for us his precious blood.
Who his love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing his praise?
He can never be forgotten,
throughout heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,
fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
poured incessant from above,
And heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
kissed a guilty world in love.

In a Dark Hour

ezekiels-vision-of-the-valley-of-dry-bones-what-does-it-mean_0

3 A.M.

Awakened to an eerie self-examination of the soul
on the steel-cold surface under surgically precise lights
unentombing cancers, contagion-carrying arteries, dismembered
corruption to the dispassionate gaze of an Enemy brooding,
brooding.

3:20 A.M.

Still sweating under the administered fumes seeping
through pores, guilt-driven language of parents driven
from home to carnage of children preying on children, warfare
of wretched depravity in the eyes of a man, a woman seething,
seething.

3:40 A.M.

Cannot speak, cannot hear, cannot see, cannot feel anything
but the weight of irreversible fate, the darts of the Enemy
injections of delirious oblivion only to awaken to endless night
where no refuge lies from grief and fear and the hate pursuing,
pursuing.

4:00 A.M.

Helpless, my tongue dry, the light dims, darkness closes in,
but a voice is heard, a minister to prophesy over the bitter
collocation of bones, unholy, “O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!”-
prophesy!- in the body and the blood a Life that is not mine breathes,
breathes.

DailyPostPrompt: eerie

Struggle’s End

The lamb has yet to lay down with the lion
There is no peace in any day and age
Look beyond your walls! Can you not see
Enemies at the gates, barbarians rising
To receive as their bounty your life,
Your fortune, your freedom denied?

So cries one, and still another rages,
Voices of confusion and calamity.
Where will you go, with whom will you struggle
To find the security you seek within your walls
Where disease and misfortune and betrayal
Lurk at corners beyond your control?

Life in all its disarray where even within your soul
The enemy lurks to cause you to despair when hope
Seems all but lost, meaning all but gone, love
All but illusion – Where then to find the truth
That sets free? Who the author and the champion?
Who the founder and the deliverer – but God?

images

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
DailyPostPrompt: Struggle

Rebuilding with You

rain

Things can fall apart so fast
Entropy is the law of the land
But when you come and pick me up
I know I can rebuild.

Bits of life flake away
As I go through each day
Little deaths along the way
But with you, I can rebuild.

Eternal God, you never leave
Though willfully I’ve torn apart
The life that you have given me
In Christ you help me to rebuild.

Now with thankful hope I pray
And think upon that glorious day
When in heaven I’ll rejoice and say
O God, you helped me to rebuild.


DailyPostPrompt: Rebuild

 

The Sacrifice

(A retelling of the story of Abraham and Isaac)

Abraham and Isaac, Rembrandt (1634)
Abraham and Isaac, Rembrandt (1634)

A weary journey, a wakeful night,
They left their camp before daylight
An old man carrying the weight of years
Wrinkled cheeks wet with tears
At hearing the young boy at his side
Prattle on with childish pride
That he alone had been chosen
To help his father on this mission.

Continue reading “The Sacrifice”