Common Prayer: A Sonnet for Thomas Cranmer

Even as a picture graven or painted is but a dead representation of the thing itself, and is without life, or any manner of moving; so be the works of all unfaithful persons before God. They do appear to be lively works, and indeed they be but dead, not availing to the eternal life.

(Thomas Cranmer, Homily of Good Works Annexed Unto Faith)
 
Our hearts, contrite, turn upwards in faint faith.
    Though fallen far from grace, we now return,
    As ash to ash and dust into the urn;
We lift our prayers in hope of turning wrath
And walk again this old, well-trodden path.
    Your men and women, strong through every turn –
    Of faith that purifies still as it burns –
Remind us of Your long-forgotten truth:
 
That in our hearts we cannot reach Your heights
    Nor hope to find You through sheer dint of will
     Can only fabricate our own despair;
And yet You call the humble and contrite,
    To seek Your mercy while it lingers still,
    And offer up our broken, common prayer.

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