St Matthias, the thirteenth apostle, is remembered by the church on Feb 24th. I neglected to write his poem on the day, so here it is, better late than never. For those unfamiliar with his story, you can read about him in Acts 1:15-26, where the remaining eleven apostles (Judas having hanged himself) are given the task of choosing another apostle to replace Judas. They cast lots – a seemingly random act, yet governed by God – “and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles”. Here is his poem.
The Lot (For St Matthias, Apostle and Martyr)
Whenever our own personal gain depends on a neighbour’s loss, do we, at least in will, steadily and practically love him as ourself?
(Christina Rossetti, Time Flies: A Reading Diary)
Succeeding where another failed,
Chosen where one lies condemned,
The lot including him and yet
Excluding, barring others.
Seemingly chosen by chance –
The lots possessing in themselves
No wisdom or discretion, yet
The tools of sovereign will.
And this is how it seems to go
Within His vast economy:
The way one rises as one falls
And lowly ones are crowned.
And humbly, we presume, he takes
The lot that is declared now his,
The sign that nothing is annulled
And grace will go on giving,
For even fields of blood lie in
The boundaries of His will
And some are snatched as though from flames
While others sadly fall.