The Weeping Prophet

Rembrandt van Rijn, “Jeremiah weeps over the destruction of Jerusalem”, c.1630
To be a pariah takes only hate
and the unshaken conviction that you,
above all others,
are right.

To be an outcast you only need yell
when a listening ear
might salvage a soul.

To be Jeremiah, you need more than that:
not only conviction, not only the truth
but the burden of weeping,
the burden of love,

the knowledge that kingdoms are built of people,
that people and kingdoms are bound to fall,
and yet to love them all.

20 Contemplations #16: Consolation

Michelangelo, “Hiermias” (Sistine Chapel: Seven Prophets)

With weeping they shall come,
and with consolation I will lead them back…
(Jeremiah 31:9a, NRSV)

Noise. The ages seem to verge upon chaos.
Yet crescendo is not crisis. What men
of old saw has not failed. Four hundred years
of silence did not climax now, to then
leave us empty. He always spoke gently
to the broken; to the proud, with warning.
Those with ears to hear: with kind intent, he
whispers. To the deaf, the patient dawning
will soon not be patient. There is abundant
grace for the longing wounded, or the pilgrim;
if you never sought Him, why now vent
your spleen upon the One you will pierce? Grim
the truth, endless the consolation
for the weeping on whom the new day shone.

Lent: Emmaus 1

” And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?'”
(Luke 24:25-26)

Slow to understand, the day turns to night.
Light dwindles, the length of days shortens;
have we time to hear His words?

Walk. The road is long, but your companion
stays as sun retreats and understanding hides.
Slow to understand, we turn:

we slow our hearts to hear.

J. S. Bach – Cantata “Bleib bei uns, denn es will Abend werden”

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.