Count the cost before you follow me.
I require more than you now foresee.
Will you seize this joyful slavery,
Or do you prefer captivity?
The story of Jesus healing the paralyzed man in Mark 2 has long confused me.
The proem to the poem of humanity
Was set against the backdrop of captivity,
Was cast with souls encumbered by profanity,
Was opened not with pomp but with nativity.
The word, the light, the lion-lamb, the majesty
Of heaven, holiness in his humility,
Appeared in righteousness to end the amnesty
And fix final salvation from futility.
The method of his advent seemed absurdity
To those who thought they knew the king’s priority,
Yet as the virgin held mortal eternity,
The world beheld the hope of our infirmity.
And all the damned ones shuddered as the surety
Of justice came in love to face depravity,
To bear the curse of sin and give security
That God will satisfy creation’s cavity.
So hope. His coming heralds a community
Where sin will not be suffered – there immunity
From falling from his presence. Perfect unity
Of love will lead to worship of triunity.
How do you feel when you see others receiving blessings you feel have been denied you? What do you do when your faithfulness to the Lord is met not with granted requests but with frustrated plans and deferred hopes? Do you patiently wait upon the Lord and trust his love for you, or do you grow bitter? Do you rejoice with those who are rejoicing, or do you resent those who possess what you desire?
If faith is an assurance, a conviction,
Then what is faith: an object or an action?
And what makes faith, according to depiction,
The only hope for holy satisfaction?
In days of old, our fathers knew your glory
And, knowing you, knew better their own measure.
Believing you would write the better story,
They walked by faith, and they received your pleasure.
Perhaps, then, faith is more than merely hoping;
Tis certainty of forthcoming salvation.
E’en in our darkest days, we are not groping
But standing, grounded in a sure foundation.
Faith knows its master, loves and fears his being.
This God, invisible, faith’s eyes are seeing.
The dissonance resounds
As all attempt to sing
A song of their own making.
Disorder now abounds
For all forget the king
(A fatal undertaking).
We sing our dirge till death
Yet sing with all our might,
Our very voices breaking.
With ev’ry selfish breath,
We shrink away from light
To try to stop the aching.
But light shines in the dark,
And dark cannot resist.
The kingdom is advancing.
There is a holy ark.
With joy, we may subsist.
Salvation comes with dancing.
Amidst the rebel choir,
A melody is heard
That rings throughout creation.
The true composer’s ire
Fell full upon the word:
The ransomed sing his song
Now knowing it involves
The rescue of the dying.
Though so much now seems wrong,
The song at last resolves:
The Lord’s unfailing faithfulness to men,
Steadfast in spite of their consistent sin,
Goes far beyond the guilt and shame within.
Grace reaches past the point of no return.
Hope speaks from lips we thought were taciturn.
We hear the Word, and souls begin to burn.
We know what we deserve; we feel our death.
We sense our separation from his life.
Yet though we fail with ev’ry fallen breath,
In Christ, we find salvation from the strife.
Take heart: this world of fear and death will fade.
Rest in the cross’ sanctifying shade.
How should the people of the light respond to threats from the great darkness in this world?
What comes to your mind when you think of the Psalms?