Lent: New Song 1

Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord all the earth!…Tell of his salvation from day to day.
(Psalm 96:1, 2b)

Old songs rot in dead ears;
Old ruts of thought declare:
That was not me       I will try harder
         I had no choice
                That’s just the person that I am…

To fudge is human; to change is divine.
The former things are dying;
Listen to this newest song,
The freshest song to sound in years:
All your dead deeds will crumble, fade,
yet there’s a God who gladly saves
and in the stars’ ancient dust He calls forth light…

Turn; sing to Him from your dust heap
      and praise
your morning Son,
your great Ancient of Days…

J.S. Bach: Motet BWV 225 ‘Singet dem Herrn’ – Vocalconsort Berlin

My Jonah Heart

image

Recite this catalogue of wrongs:
I loved this tree   –   if you loved me
I always knew    –   I told you so…
And all the while in Ninevah
the people weep in ash.

Uphold your cause; God may forget
the hurts you hold, the wounds you bear.
The tree’s shade is your natural right.
Shake fists; see God reply…

The merciful, the good, the just:
perhaps He lost, amidst the dust
of Ninevah your noble case.
You must bemoan your tree.

Or turn your eyes to kings in ash
and rags. See hearts turn round.
You know His name; you know the truth.
Turn, Jonah, and arise.

Remember our dust…

Mt Macedon after Ash Wednesday bushfires
Mt Macedon after Ash Wednesday bushfires

Well, as Easter week draws to a close so does my series of Lenten and Easter reflections. But Easter season continues for some weeks now, and my prayer is that we can all use this season to remind ourselves of what is a daily truth: that God’s people are a resurrection people.

Here, to bring the project to a close, is the whole sequence of poems, collated as “Remember our dust: Poems for Lent and Easter Week”, with the final poem – today’s poem – included at the end. I hope and pray that it can be a blessing to all of you as you read it.

Remember our dust – Poems for Lent and Easter Week

Easter Tuesday

800px-STP-ELP19

It shatters; it transfigures:

from dust, His kingdom

lifts up dust, exalts our frame,

remembers, changes, in His name,

breathes new life into dry bones,

reanimates the dead.

 

Eleven dusty men, arise:

the mountain-top reveals your king.

All authority given Him,

He gives to you. Lift feeble feet;

He gives His message now to you.

The kingdom – shout it! – now is here.

 

Amidst the dust of here and now,

be its hands and feet.

Lent 43: Wednesday of Holy Week

Caravaggio - The Denial of Saint Peter
Caravaggio – The Denial of Saint Peter

 

But listen as they question Him;

listen as they plot and lie.

Listen: by the fireside,

Peter lies and cries.

 

Watch as, dust, we crumble down;

watch the Son of Man, betrayed,

tell the truth, secure His death

and die for dust He made.

 

Has anything like this been seen?

The eternal enters time,

ascending thrones, accepting death,

fracturing rhyme.

Lent 42: Tuesday of Holy Week

Detail from Giovanni di Paolo, "Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane", Wikimedia Commons
Detail from Giovanni di Paolo, “Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane”, Wikimedia Commons

 

Yet dust we are we cannot stay

awake and pray (the flesh is weak)

and dust we are we walk away

and hide ourselves in dull deceit.

 

And dust He is yet more than dust

transfigured with the Father’s grief;

our dust He takes up to the Cross

and dies beside a thief.

Lent 7: Tuesday of First Week

Our Father –
we are made of clay –
Our Father
in heaven – in hearts – in
Heaven to hearts, our
Father who art
in heaven –

Hallowed be
Your name –
we pray, Your name we pray,
your kingdom come,
your will be done –
we pray your name, your will.
O come…

Your kingdom come
to bowls of dust,
to men of clay –
give us this day
the bread we need,
the bread You knead –
your kingdom come to us!

O Father, bring
your kingdom down –
to hollow hearts –
hallowed You are –
reshape our clay –
give us each day –
Our Father, here, in heaven.

Lent 4: Saturday After Ash Wednesday

Elemental, yet
controlling element –
He who shapes dust also
sweeps the seas, surveys their tides,

searches land and sea,
eyes attuned to every wave,
scanning hearts and scouring minds,
seeking men like fish.

And then His hook goes out:
Follow me. Can men defy
the voice which once made light to be
and knows the heart’s abyss?

Elemental yet reshaping elements:
changing stone hearts to flesh,
remaking dull bones,
teaching dull feet to follow.

20140308-114822.jpg
(Image: “Jesus Calling Disciples” by John Mosiman
http://sacredartpilgrim.com)

Lent 3: Friday After Ash Wednesday

Grain’s sown in soil to make us bread;

     Man shall not live by bread alone.

The kingdoms of the earth are dust;

     The Son of Heaven left His throne.

 

Our bones are brittle and will break;

     All of your bones will stay in place.

The earth has cliffs to claim our lives.

     My heart says of You, Seek His face!

 

The desert eats for forty days;

     Yet He will guard You with His wings.

O God, remember: we are dust;

     Beneath Your wings, we sing.