Faith Meets World

Reflections on faith in a messed-up but beautiful world

Category: Poetry (Page 1 of 2)

Broken

old-ship-164981I have been to many places
Climbed many mountains
Stood on many stages
Taken many bows and soaked up the plaudits
Worked hard and done my best
Tried to make everyone happy
Keep the whole train rolling

But as I stand here in this place
Surveying all this landscape
All this accumulated experience and supposed learning
Here’s the One Big Thing I’ve learned: I’m broken

I’m a broken man living in a broken world
Speaking broken words to people with broken ears
Trying my best to limit the damage
But so often just making matters worse

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Melancholy

Ruined pierThere are days and seasons when the sun is never far away,
at least in thought and expectation;
when steps are quickened by wonder and the energy of hope
and even the most mundane of occupations crackles with latent possibility.
Days of lightness and joy, when nothing can impede the onward rush
of this outrageous, uproarious adventure called life.

But then there are other days and other times
when, having set, the sun seems determined not to rise again;
when all is shrouded in a veil of gloom and fog,
hope is but a distant cipher,
and a cold blanket of despair lies heavy on the heart.
Every task an effort, every day an eternity,
and every glimmer of hope snuffed out by bitter regret.

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Repost: The Night Before Christmas Revisited

5287582073_7bd9ce9203_bIt’s Christmas Eve.

Maybe all your presents are wrapped and you’re all set for the big day… or maybe you’re running around like a headless turkey and wondering how you’re going to get everything done in time.

Either way, I invite you take a moment in the midst of the hustle and bustle and, through the medium of poetry, remember the real reason for the season.

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‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the land
The people were stooped under Rome’s mighty hand;
They clung to the hope their oppression would end
As they looked for a king they believed God would send.

They read in their books what the prophets foretold:
A Messiah would save them, as promised of old;
This coming Redeemer would save them from sin
And a glorious new kingdom of God usher in.

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Where will you look for Him?

HomelessThis all-powerful, all-knowing maker and sustainer of the universe,
Immortal, invisible, God only wise:
Where will you look for Him?

Will you look for Him in boardrooms and plush offices?
Any king worth the name must surely be found in palaces and mansions…?
Or perhaps in high-powered business meetings?

And in whose company will this God be found?
Surely you’ll find Him among executives, presidents, prime ministers and princes?
Or look among the leaders of megachurches and global ministries,
Or, at the very least, in leafy suburbs, among houses with two cars in the drive and two point four middle class children…
You’re sure to find Him there, aren’t you?

What? Don’t tell me you’ve drawn a blank! Then let me make a suggestion.

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The night before Christmas revisited

NativityThe poem The Night Before Christmas has long been a favourite in many households. With its combination of mystery and mischief, it seems to uniquely capture something of the magic of Christmas. But what if it could be rewritten to somehow reflect the reality of the very first Christmas?

(I wrote this poem over a year ago and first published it on Christmas Eve 2013. I’m greatly honoured to say that this Christmas Eve, it’s also appearing as a guest post at Internet Monk. A warm welcome to all IM readers!)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the land
The people were stooped under Rome’s mighty hand;
They clung to the hope their oppression would end
As they looked for a king they believed God would send.

They read in their books what the prophets foretold:
A Messiah would save them, as promised of old;
This coming Redeemer would save them from sin
And a glorious new kingdom of God usher in.

But how could it be they had waited so long
For a Saviour to come who would right every wrong?
Where were the signs of his glorious reign
When their day-to-day lot was all suffering and pain?

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Repost: What kind of Messiah?

With Holy Week now underway and Easter almost upon us, I thought it was a good time to dig out this post from last October.

Cross manAn ancient world of pain
A people bowed under the weight of cruel injustice and oppression
Living like strangers in their own land
Good people struggling to hope for a brighter future
Trying to make sense of how God could have let this all happen
When they have always done their best to be faithful to Him
Somehow believing, against all odds, that their faith will not be in vain
Waiting, hoping, watching for Messiah to come

And who is this baby lying in a smelly barn
The secret of his birth known only to his parents
Forced to flee in the night as the tyrant’s sword brings death to many like him
Growing in obscurity, just another country boy learning his father’s trade
As the world goes on and the suffering continues?
Doesn’t look like any Messiah I ever heard of

And who is this man, baptised as one of many
Wending his way through deserts and fields
No place of his own to call home
Creating a stir with his stories and feats
Bringing his message of hope before moving on
And leaving so many things unchanged?
Doesn’t look like any Messiah I ever heard of

And who is this would-be king, riding on a donkey’s colt
No sword in his hand, no crown on his head
Weeping as the crowds cheer him on
No tight-knit support group to organise his campaign
Only a ragtag bunch of dreamers, rogues and misfits?
Doesn’t look like any Messiah I ever heard of

And who is this despised one, hanging on a cross
A crown of thorns upon his bloodied head
Abandoned and denied by his followers
Publicly shamed and humiliated
Spat on and beaten half to death
Hope snuffed out, just like so many times before?
Doesn’t look like any Messiah I ever heard of

And who is this risen one, Light of the world
Living in the hearts of his children
Still bringing hope in the midst of pain
And joy where only sorrow has any right to be
Still refusing to play the world at its own game
Showing instead that there is a more excellent way?

Strange kind of Messiah
You could almost miss him if you didn’t know him

[ Image: Jes ]

Those who see

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only those who see take off their shoes,
The rest sit around and pluck blackberries.

— Elizabeth Barrett Browning (with thanks to Brian Zahnd for the quote)

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