Comfort sits, unexpected,
in our waiting with weakness.
No giant leaps needed, only
the baby steps of the heart
slowly learning contrition.
Begin with incapacity,
then the slow-dawning knowledge
that you are nothing but dust.
Dust transfigures at His breath.
Exhale in the sigh of your Lenten frailty.
Then inhale, inspire.
O brother in our humanity,
Elijah in the desert,
weeping Psalmist of the cross,
You comfort with the fast that says,
Take off your face. Take on mine.
Consolation begins where our pretence dies.
Bow at His feet.
You did not come here by yourself:
your knees are weak and buckle under pride,
and joints stiffen when left to self.
The road is narrow.
You must bend and bow to walk its curves;
it will not bend itself for you
and, puffed with knowledge, you will only make it burst.
Consider Him who bore
such shame, who fell such distance,
plumbed such trenches with His perfect grace,
and all the while knew joy.
Not greater than your master,
the mountain-side is no more yours than His.
If He descends, then so must you;
low, be lower still.
Too fast you walk down the mountainside;
momentum gathers, yet of a false and fleeting kind.
A fig tree full of leaves, but fruit sorely lacking,
you see the glory but faint at the sight of blood.
Slow down. It is a long road and your companion lingers;
His death puts brakes on our downward slide.
Listen: past, present, future all gathered in Him,
the words of life may echo
if you heed the words of death.
These are the words of the One who burns
with all the fire of the morning star,
who shines much whiter than the day
in tabernacle flame.
These are the words of the risen Son
who was, who is, will ever be,
the One who sees, who knows, who calls,
the first, the last, the king.
These are the words of the One who shone
bright, radiant, on the mountain top,
the one who climbed another hill,
and was crowned upon a tree.
These are the words to the bride who yearns,
who strays, who cries, who prays, who strives.
Hear the words that search through hearts:
hear, stand, and overcome.