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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
to dazzle shame.
Hold tight. Hold me tight:
what coverings I have sought,
cannot disguise my nakedness.
My shame burns garments – yet
You clothe in righteousness.
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,
O hold me tight.
J.S. Bach / Ich habe genug, BWV 8 (Herreweghe): https://youtu.be/XopQG0Gjgmo
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.
Go and do likewise; what you have seen, now do, and do with joy, and what you have heard once whispered 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 pounding heart, stone replaced with flesh and life instead of death. What deeds consumed your life in days before: now toss them into the winds of yesterday; follow the man from Galilee whose steps now lead towards love’s Cross. Watch king throw off His crown, and take thorns upon His brow; now see all vast eternity’s wisdom contained in Him; see His scars and learn; now go and do likewise.
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.