The Quadrilateral (For John and Charles Wesley)

“That being rooted and grounded – That is, deeply fixed and firmly established, in love. Ye may comprehend – So far as an human mind is capable. What is the breadth of the love of Christ – Embracing all mankind. And length – From everlasting to everlasting. And depth – Not to be fathomed by any creature. And height – Not to be reached by any enemy.”
(John Wesley, from Wesley’s notes on the letter to the Ephesians)
I.
As it is, I quake inside
When Perfection stands before me.
It has a face I do not know,
So far removed from me, although
Bearing features – one or two –
Which resemble parts of me.
Despite these faint comparisons,
I cannot find the place which you
Declared I should soon dwell within.
Although I beat and beat and ex-
Communicate myself from Self,
The distance is a mocking gap.
It fails to assure.
II.
And yet, before the throne of God,
I, child-like, unquestioning, stand,
More like the beggar picking crumbs
Than a confident, assured son.
I know my plea; it bears the mark
Of that perfection which I still
Can only look at, cannot hold.
It holds me; it declares my name,
Written on His heart. It stands
In my defence, a name which neither
Tongue nor hell can take from me,
Nor bid me thence depart from Him.
I rest in the depth of this.
III.
And should we look into our minds
For knowledge which can save us, we
Will find there just the debris of
A war which waged where Eden stood.
And should we cling to reason to
Mark our way to saving grace,
Our thoughts – if they, like mine, behave
In patterns the deceiver taught us –
Will conspire to throw us off
The scent and hurl us, spitefully,
At a false perfection which
Can only hope to make us cry.
Aside from Him, I cannot know.
IV.
And yet we have this love’s High Priest
Who shows us what we cannot know.
When in my shame my every look
Is downward cast and inward blaming,
Upwards I look and see Him there,
Perfection’s face which kills my shame.
So I approach that lofty throne,
All splattered with the filth of me,
And in Perfection’s face I see
The God of grace revealed to me,
And see in all dimensions love
Which pulls me upwards and beyond:
In four directions, mercy.

 

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