Continuing my Lent poems with the first Sunday of the season, I am beginning a series of poems based on parallels between Jesus’ ministry and the Psalms. Today’s poem takes its title and some of its ideas from Psalm 91, which is called “Qui Habitat” in Latin, from the opening line, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High…” It is a beautiful promise of protection for those who trust in God and obey Him, captured perfectly in Jesus’ time of testing in the wilderness.
Qui Habitat (First Sunday of Lent)
Because he is bound to me in love,
therefore will I deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my Name.
Son of Man:
You are weak in your hunger
And the elements conspire against you with rock.
You could change it all with a knee
Bent in worship towards dust.
Son of Man, stand:
You shall not live by bread alone
And these words from the Father’s mouth will feed you,
Weary and weak.
Son of Man, stand firm.
Son of God:
You have left behind Your home;
All the Universe was Your kingdom, the heavens Your throne.
All scepters could be Yours now if you bowed
Down to the dust and the serpent that slides.
New Adam, stand firm.
Your Father declares, Because he is mine,
Because he is bound in love to me, I
Will deliver him. Stand:
Son of God, Stand firm.
Son of Man:
The desert encloses with all its sand
And the day after day of resistance erodes you.
These rocks tempt you to hurl yourself from the cliff;
Son of God: stand.
He will not let you strike your foot
And He will command His angels towards you.
Yet you must wait;
The desert holds you a moment longer.
Son of God, Son of Man,
Stand firm; you are held
In arms far bigger than the desert’s worst demons.