Psalm: Chorale (The Cornucopia of Heaven)

Early on Saturday morning, the fire brigade was called to my church – a 150-year-old heritage-listed building on the corner of one of Melbourne’s most iconic streets, and the building which my fiancée and I recently booked to celebrate our marriage. That day, the Bible reading my church family was looking at in our devotional times was Luke 12:22-34, a passage which I, by pure coincidence, found myself writing about in my poem for that day. No-one could possibly have known how pertinent that passage would be to us. Our church still stands, but we will not be able to worship together there for a year at least. It is a time of mourning for all of us. Yet, when we gathered together yesterday as a whole church community in St Paul’s Cathedral and read Luke 12:22-34 again, we were reminded of the glorious truth of God’s promises to His people. This world’s treasures, even church buildings, will all be destroyed one day. But our Father has been pleased to give us the kingdom. Today I am posting two poems to reflect on this truth. Here is the first.

 

Psalm: Chorale

After J.S. Bach, “BWV 69: Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele”

 

This morning

I awoke to a harpsichord of birdthrum,

the air alight with strings, a wall

of horns against the trees

 

and phoenixes in

the distance praised in trumpet-hope.

Toices twirled and twined around

the fretful day, where fire

 

(and moth and rust)

destroy the treasures of our day.

Singing like the newly born, the birds

cared nothing for death.

 

Every day new,

they promised what no night will tarnish:

a day of every harmony resolved

and hope that fire cannot take.

 

Catechism 37

Detail from a painting by Antonio da Correggio Wikimedia Commons
Detail from a painting by Antonio da Correggio
Wikimedia Commons

Catechism 37

How does the Holy Spirit help us?

The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, comforts us, guides us, gives us spiritual gifts and the desire to obey God; and he enables us to pray and to understand God’s Word.

(New City Catechism)

Dove:

my best attempts are straw.

My righteousness is dust, my hope

of being more is void.

Dove:

Your peace like river flows;

your olive branch restores, implores

us into growing grace.

Dove:

rest on my spirit; open eyes

and ears and heart. Give gifts,

give life. Give comfort in this dross.

Dove:

only when Your flame descends,

and burns, convicts – O gentle peace –

only then, release.

Lent 32: Saturday of Fourth Week

Some will say: Had we been

alive then, we would not have killed

the prophets or despised their words.

Yet the Truth stands to rebuke.

 

In every heart, the secret depths

defy what shines with grace before us,

takes, destroys, the tender things

and carves a throne from bones.

 

Jerusalem, Jerusalem:

the fire comes; the mother longs

to cover you up with her wings.

Yet in your heart you run.