Poem

And He Was There

Image: Courtesy, Wikipedia

Image: Courtesy, Wikipedia

What does God see when He sees us worshipping?

And He Was There

  1. Worshipping when I was younger – mid last century

There was a custom and tradition

that, years ago, meant

meeting twice

on the Sunday.

Morning AND evening –

starting the day and closing the day

with God.

Best suits,

hats and dresses:

“No corduroy son!

Would you meet the queen in that!”

My father barked.

 

The worship,

like the pews, was stern and formal.

Faces serious and

attention strict, as eyes

focussed forward.

Fidgeting children were pinched,

prodded and glared into conformity.

 

And God was there

in the droning, reverie inducing words,

everlasting musty organ hymns,

peppermints,

and Eau de Cologned hankies.

 

And He was there

when the bread was broken

and the wine sipped

during the quarterly

communion:

when I was left behind

for a moment’s freedom.

 

And He was there

As I counted the

Organ pipes,

Bannister rails

And made mind pictures

With the patterns of the wooden ceiling.

And later,

He was still there

when I stumblingly

declared my youthful faith.

And despite my fear induced amnesia,

He was there

when I declared my love for my bride.

And He was there when our children

received His promises

in baptism.

 

Yes,

He was there.

Categories: christian, Church, Poem, poetry | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Reprise: Advent Poem

Today’s poem is not a poem by a famous poet but one of mine from last year.

And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.’

Gen 3:15

sunrise new

 

The first morning glimmer
of light
tells us the sun is coming:
A new day
A new hope
And eternal possibilities.

The dawn light
is a daily
covenant promise
that the son is coming:
who with a bruised heel
would crush
the enemy’s head
forever.

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Advent Poems

That Holy Thing

mary crop

From the walls of the Keldby Church, Mons, Denmark

George MacDonald (1824-1905)

They all were looking for a king
To slay their foes, and lift them high:
Thou cam’st a little baby thing
That made a woman cry.O son of man, to right my lot
Nought but thy presence can avail;
Yet on the road thy wheels are not,
Nor on the sea thy sail!

My fancied ways why shouldst thou heed?
Thou com’st down thine own secret stair:
Com’st down to answer all my need,
Yea, every bygone prayer!

Categories: Advent, Faith, Poem, poetry | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Advent Poems

In this Advent poem the Australian poet, Henry Lawson, connects the first and second Advents and links it with the need for social justice.   You may not necessarily agree with his theology.

In the StreetMary

Where the needle-woman toils
Through the night with hand and brain,
Till the sickly daylight shudders like a spectre at the pain –
Till her eyes seem to crawl,
And her brain seems to creep –

And her limbs are all a-tremble for the want of rest and sleep!
It is there the fire-brand blazes in my blood; and it is there
That I see the crimson banner of the Children of Despair!
That I feel the soul and music in a rebel’s battle song,
And the greatest love for justice and the hottest hate for wrong!

When the foremost in his greed
Presses heavy on the last –
In the brutal spirit rising from the grave-yard of the past –
Where the poor are trodden down
And the rich are deaf and blind!

It is there I feel the greatest love and pity for mankind:
There – where heart to heart is saying, though the tongue and lip be still:
We’ve been through it all and know it! brother, we’ve been through the mill!
There the spirits of my brothers rise the higher for defeat,
And the drums of revolution roll for ever in the street!

Christ is coming once again,
And his day is drawing near;
He is leading on the thousands of the army of the rear!
We shall know the second advent
By the lower skies aflame

With the signals of his coming, for he comes not as he came –
Not humble, meek, and lowly, as he came in days of old,
But with hatred, retribution for the worshippers of gold!
And the roll of battle music and the steady tramp of feet
Sound for ever in the thunder and the rattle of the street!

Henry Lawson 1894
(Source: http://www.ironbarkresources.com/henrylawson/InTheStreet.html
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Advent Poems

Here is poem by Sir John Betjeman from about half a century ago.  Its message is still relevant today on a variety of levels.

We still need to ask the question, “How, in fact, do we prepare …?”

Advent 1955
By John Betjeman

The Advent wind begins to stirWise man
With sea-like sounds in our Scotch fir,
It’s dark at breakfast, dark at tea,
And in between we only see
Clouds hurrying across the sky
And rain-wet roads the wind blows dry
And branches bending to the gale
Against great skies all silver pale
The world seems travelling into space,
And travelling at a faster pace
Than in the leisured summer weather
When we and it sit out together,
For now we feel the world spin round
On some momentous journey bound –
Journey to what? to whom? to where?
The Advent bells call out ‘Prepare,
Your world is journeying to the birth
Of God made Man for us on earth.’
And how, in fact, do we prepare
The great day that waits us there –
For the twenty-fifth day of December,
The birth of Christ? For some it means
An interchange of hunting scenes
On coloured cards, And I remember
Last year I sent out twenty yards,
Laid end to end, of Christmas cards
To people that I scarcely know –
They’d sent a card to me, and so
I had to send one back. Oh dear!
Is this a form of Christmas cheer?
Or is it, which is less surprising,
My pride gone in for advertising?
The only cards that really count
Are that extremely small amount
From real friends who keep in touch
And are not rich but love us much
Some ways indeed are very odd
By which we hail the birth of God.
We raise the price of things in shops,
We give plain boxes fancy tops
And lines which traders cannot sell
Thus parcell’d go extremely well
We dole out bribes we call a present
To those to whom we must be pleasant
For business reasons. Our defence is
These bribes are charged against expenses
And bring relief in Income Tax
Enough of these unworthy cracks!
‘The time draws near the birth of Christ’.
A present that cannot be priced
Given two thousand years ago
Yet if God had not given so
He still would be a distant stranger
And not the Baby in the manger.

Source: Collected Poems by John Betjeman.
London: John Murray; New Edition, 2003.
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Life’s Paradox

Paper thin,

weakest link,

hair’s breadth.

Unexpected.15307337839_d8ec5dd5f7_z

Always present.

The certain

uncertainty of

our time

and timing.

The

“are we there yet?”

of life.

 

In the midst of

this ambiguity

there is

a hand that

upholds and rules

so that every

tear and worry,

fret and angst,

burden and hassle

disappears.

Categories: christian, Life, Poem, poetry, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Good Books

Good booksDSC_0006
open worlds
reveal unexplored vistas
introduce wonder
delight
and … questions

 

Good books
unsettle
dig deep
and make us think
of others
the world
and possibilities

 

Good booksDSC_0811
grow us …
our minds and hearts
hopes and passions
and sense of now and eternity

 

Good books
are never the same
when you turn to
the same page
or chapter
but always morphing
and growing
as we
morph and grow

 

Good books IMG_1071
are friends
faithful companions
who are always
with us
even when the shelf
is empty

 

 

Categories: Poem, poetry, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

… I’m 18

My wife responded with her own poem after reading my effort yesterday. It connects our children and events in our lives with places we have lived in.

 

het 001

Hip dude with chick and groovy chain circa 1972/3

When I see my husband, I’m 18
And his hands touch young flesh.
Collendina

When I look at Neti, our creative firstborn, I’m 20
And we’re playing “zoom, zoom” in the park.
When I think of our Kiki, I’m 22
And I am watching her sturdy little legs carry her along the track.
Kingston Beach

When I see Jac’s smile, I’m 27
And her friends are at the school gate, screaming:
“Hi, Jacqui’s Mum!”
Goodna

When I gaze at Alex’s face, so serene, I’m 29
And she is anything but peaceful, shouting the words of her reader at me.
When I see Caroline, I feel Caroline. I’m 29
And I’m holding my breath until I feel her move, the touch of her feet dancing.
Mt. Gravatt

When I look at Rosey, I’m 33
And we’re having a race to complete jigsaw puzzles.
Leongatha

There’s kindness in Paul’s eyes, I’m older now.
And we’re laughing in church at a Lego joke.
Geelong

There are hundreds of photos, 
A thousand memories,
Countless stories.
They add up to forty years.

Yet when I see my Pieter
I’m 18……

Categories: Family, Poem, poetry | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

40 Years

ph9Where have they gone,
those forty years?
Yesterday we were so young
and naïve.

I can hardly remember
the blur that was
our  wedding day when
nerves froze my memory
that afternoon
all those speedy years ago.

The multi coloured autumn vines
behind the church
are the backdrop to my
photo black and white memories.

My hair was darker then
and yours longer and curlier.
But because the years have gone so fast
we can’t be as old as the years
crossed off the calendar.

Let us continue in our
mature youth
and live each day with fresh visions
so next year again we can ask,
“Where have they gone,
those forty one years?”

Categories: Family, Poem, poetry, Reflections, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Another Christmas Poem From The Past – The Shepherds

The Shepherds – a narrative

It was like any other night in winter.
We were alert.
The predators are always hungry in these months.
Lamb is always on their menu.
The cold, froze our words.
We were shivering
and then
we were still shivering
but now in fear.
Out of nowhere, 
well, the sky really,
this amazing light shone.
Day, in the middle of the night!
Shivering, trembling, cowering.
Paralysed.
Nothing to hide behind –
except sheep.
Even Big Jacob was jelly!
 
The bright being declared,
“Don’t be afraid,
I’ve come to give you news
of the Christ – the Messiah.”
 
It’s a baby!
In Bethlehem! 
 
So we bolted for Bethlehem,
The sheep could look after themselves,
for a while.
This news was too good to miss!
 
We found a mum, dad and baby,
by a feed trough,
and somehow,
as the mum, Mary
showed the baby to us,
we just knew, what the angel said was true.
She held God in her hands!
And our lives, and the world,
Would never be the same
again.
Categories: Advent, christian, Christianity, Poem, poetry | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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