Luke 2: The Shepherds and the Temple

Rembrandt van Rijn - Adoration of the Shepherds
Rembrandt van Rijn – Adoration of the Shepherds

 

The child interrupts
           commerce,
                 the daily graze of life,
                            the expectations
                 of a quiet night in the fields.

The child demands
            leaving flocks,
                  abandoning norms,
                         following the angel’s call
                     in evening disquiet.

The child enters
            the daily,
                   the simple: cries, shivers,
                          needs food and warmth,
                      yet transforms it all.

The child fulfils
            centuries
                  of longing, of waiting:
                        consoles, answers, pierces;
                      a sword, a king, a child.

Catechism 18

Will God allow our disobedience and idolatry to go unpunished?

No, every sin is against the sovereignty, holiness, and goodness of God, and against his righteous law, and God is righteously angry with our sins and will punish them in his just judgment both in this life, and in the life to come.

(New City Catechism)

 

Goodness, then, is broken –
            innocence lost –
                        holiness offended.
Order, now disrupted, tends to judgment.

All creation groans;
            its creatures turn
                        against us now.
Righteous truth burns us when it shines.
 

We hide among the leaves
            yet storms will snap
                        and fire will reveal
what the life to come cannot contain.
 

Eden fractured, life stained:
            what did we expect
                        who had all good
at fingertips and crushed it with greed?

Lent 36: Wednesday of Fifth Week

 

And it will reveal

who has taken talents, hid

them in the frugal field,

who has sown what has been given

and let small things grow.

 

And it will reveal

the hearts of those who plant and reap,

the hearts of servants great

and small, the motives of the heart’s

dark countries. The light

 

will reveal, it will

shine into chasms, abscesses,

show forth the truth of what

we did while left unto our own

devices and desires. Let

 

the truth shine brightly in.

Lent 30: Thursday of Fourth Week

Look, the son comes;

the farmers steam at the sight.

The vineyard is theirs! He has no place.

Stone the son; kill the heir.

The vineyard is red with blood.

 

Look, the Son comes;

the farmers quake at the sight.

Rejected, now the cornerstone:

the vineyard’s his. He takes His place.

The blood-red Son ascends.

Lent 29: Wednesday of Fourth Week

Detail from Rembrandt van Rijn, "Christ Driving Money Changes from the Temple"
Detail from Rembrandt van Rijn, “Christ Driving Money Changes from the Temple”

The blind, the lame, are let inside;

the cursed now are blessed.

The king in triumph rides upon

a humble donkey’s colt.

 

The temple tables overturned,

the mind thrown into chaos,

prophecies are rendered true

in ways that chill our hearts.

 

The unexpected king burns bright

with anger at the sham.

He knows the depths of truest Law

and dies to see it kept.

Lent 28: Tuesday of Fourth Week

And what is this that we now hear?
The workers who arrived too late –
the lazy, the beggars, the weak, the lame –
have won the Master’s favour and
have earned equal pay.

What is this that he proclaims,
this carpenter with hands of dust?
The children step aside while dogs
who surely are not fit for crumbs
have places at the feast.

The first are last, the last are first;
grumbles sound in stony hearts.
But broken hearts which yawn and weep
abound in joy, and even stone
can soon be rolled away.