Yes, it takes our freedoms
because sometimes love does that:
for neighbour, for stranger,
for one who walks the same streets,
walks by your desk,
shops where you shop,
shares the same air.

Sometimes love lays down
rights - freedom of movement,
freedom of assembly,
freedom to smile and have others see -
because sometimes love judges
the more needful thing,
the truer way to be free.

Christmas 8: The Name

Not an unusual name,
though a powerful one.
Many Joshuas down the street no doubt
hoped for some of their hero’s kudos:
if not the power to bring down Jericho, then at least
the nod of approval as if they could if they tried.
Yet this one would be different. No
family lineage dictating the name,
but beating wings and the memory
of a thumping heart at the dining table
as the angel had brought her his news.
He saves. A grand claim
for the eight-day-old lying
half-asleep, half-stirring
while Joseph held the pair of pigeons,
their measly offering, a gift that could
not ever suffice, would have to suffice,
though the rules were soon to change,
as the dozing Saviour surely knew.

Catechism 51

Of what advantage to us is Christ’s ascension?
Christ physically ascended on our behalf, just as he came down to earth physically on our account, and he is now advocating for us in the presence of his Father, preparing a place for us, and also sends us his Spirit.
(New City Catechism)

Not waiting in vain,
men and women thirsting at a cloudless sky,
nor farmers ploughing a desert.
Not children
hiding behind a veil of hands
or the clenched-fisted ones in the corner.
No metaphor sates us:
only a body will do. Only
face-to-face, Father to Son,
full sight in place of dim mirrors.
And so a body grows,
and for a body, a home with walls
solid to the touch, but never closed,
a welcome that has arms,
a priest who bears scars,
a love decked with nails,
risen, no fall.

Lent: Enough 3

Weary eyes:
your sight grows faint, yet Heaven’s gate
still opens up for you to walk through.
This is enough; O grace enough.
Let weary eyes now rest.

Like Simeon, though waiting lags,
this promise stands in baby’s rags and gives you rest.
Your rags have failed; His are your glory.
Eyes: this is enough. Now rest.
O weary eyes, now rest.

Enough. The shaking of your lids must rest.
No dream, nor fear: this is enough.
Eden restored; His sacrifice
gives clothes
to dazzle shame.

Lent: Enough 1

Hold tight. Hold me tight:
what coverings I have sought,
     what fig-leaves,
cannot disguise my nakedness.
My shame burns garments – yet
You clothe in righteousness.
            Hold tight.
Hold me tight; You are enough,
yet I am afraid, and turn
to fig-leaves when rightly I should
   bathe myself in You.
O Lamb, my joy, my garment of blood,
               hold tight.
         O hold me tight.

J.S. Bach / Ich habe genug, BWV 8 (Herreweghe):

Lent 38: Friday of Fifth Week


see the woman with her oil and hair;
see His feet (they’re not yet scarred);
see the gasp upon your face;
see His searching eyes.

He spoke to you of the Son of Man;
He spoke of death and burial;
He spoke of Passover, exodus;
He spoke; you did not hear.

He stands to tell you all the truth;
He stands beside the lavish act;
He stands against what we expect;
He stands soon in our place.

Theology Part 3: Pursuance

Go and do likewise;
what you have seen,
now do, and do with joy,
            and what
you have heard once
            in your ear,
proclaim it from the rooftops;
                          now shout

the truth that rings
in your ears; proclaim
in word and deed and
            in the beat
of your changed, now
            heart, stone
replaced with flesh and life

of death. What deeds
consumed your life
in days before: now toss them
the winds of yesterday;
            the man
from Galilee whose steps now lead

love’s Cross. Watch king
throw off His crown, and take
thorns upon His brow;
            now see
all vast eternity’s wisdom
            in Him;
see His scars and learn; now go and do

You shall love

not to win the dash and charm the crowd
           nor gain a victor’s kiss,
not that you may save yourself
            from lonely night on lonely night:
                      not for all of this.

Nor that passers-by may give you love
            or those for whom you’ve pined,
not that you may earn a wreath
            and win praises far and wide
                        for your sacrifice.

Nor in finding love shall you ask why
            or put it to the test
as though you could not give your love
            without the promise of return;
                        no, love without this.

“More beloving than beloved”, you shall
            love with all eternity’s great breadth
and breath. Love by Love suspired,
            give love without the thought of love
                        and let Love sustain.

“Only when love is a duty, then
            is love secure”; then
is love an act of freedom, un-
            shackled from our expectations,
                        doubts and fears. So love:

and in loving, learn the depth, the height –
            see scars that were His crown;
love given without fear of love
            or thought of throne, such love
                        lives eternally.