Sanctify the compost heap
where I trudge in dark with the day's dank scraps.
Sanctify the living stench,
soil's second chance,
barren fig-tree's friend.
Sanctify the dishes piled
on piles around the cluttered sink.
Sanctify the time it takes
to scrub and dry,
to sort and stack.
Sanctify numb fingers, ice
on windscreen that delays the day,
brittle tests when patience is small.
Sanctify unholy pain;
sanctify this senselessness
that drives me to the end of me
and sends me to Your feet.
I for one enjoy it:
the slow, steady bursting from soil,
those optimistic points of green poking sunward,
the outward spread of tiny tufts,
the promise of patience rewarded.
And so daily I take my little son outside
to see the garden, to “check on the grass”.
All moments are wonders to him, yet I
share the wonder of brown transformed to slow-filling lawn,
the chance that next summer he’ll have carpet for play here,
and I marvel that all our endurance pays off.
I am less inclined to love how stone turns to flesh,
fighting – as it must – against the moss and ivy surrounding it;
less inclined to delight in the decades that it takes
for internal soil to be tilled,
for pruning, manure, for all that needs patience
and costs me myself.
While I daily visit these microscopic green thoughts,
my own garden I have neglected.
Turn over the clumps of dirt; wait another year;
my stubborn tree must one day show fruit.
Hope deferred finds patience no virtue.
At first darkness you saw it,
Light looming large on the horizon,
transfiguring and sanctifying all that it struck.
Yet you were drawn, contrariwise,
to a glistening object that,
no light of its own, could only reflect
or, at worst, refract.
Distracted by prismatic brilliance,
you answered the wrong call,
saw charisma and grabbed at it.
Only, Light denied you. Fistful of air,
you returned to your bedroom and sat
where only Light equipped to pierce darkness could reach.
Okay, speak, you said reluctantly in the direction of the Light.
And so the Light began.
And so your life began.
Newness declares itself in broken hearts:
old ruts are vast and carry dust
yet penitence cleans fathoms deep
and always makes anew.
What yesterday made shame your song
today is fading into silence.
Listen: polyphonic hope arises,
gentle, soft, yet sure.
The old has passed, yet still can yell;
The new has come, and comes each day.
In humble ways and hopeful praise,
sing to the Lord new songs.
Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through Christ alone, must we still do good works and obey God’s Word?
Yes, because Christ, having redeemed us by his blood, also renews us by his Spirit; so that our lives may show love and gratitude to God; so that we may be assured of our faith by the fruits; and so that by our godly behavior others may be won to Christ.
(New City Catechism)
Infinite grace demands change:
new life must be shown in the living.
Where the Spirit breathes out, the fruit must be seen;
infinite grace demands change.
New life must call others to live:
when the dead come alive, the living are changed.
Faith rearranges the atoms of souls;
new life must call others to live.
And Christ shall be seen in the changing:
slow, imperceptible, sometimes a strain,
yet certain as sunrise, steady as day.
Christ shall be seen in the changing.