We want but are not satisfied in gain,
And so we gain new wants to add to old.
This futile journey is an old refrain
Of wants too weak to trust the Story told.
“Our hearts are restless till they rest in thee,”
The saint once wrote, and still his words resound.
They ring from Africa across the sea,
True both on foreign and familiar ground.
For we were wrought to reckon with our ends,
To know the purpose t’ward which passion points:
Temp’ral desires call for that which transcends;
What leads to life divides marrow and joints.
O LORD, align our wanting with your will,
And turn our hearts to you and so fulfill.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
The quoted line above refers to a line from Augustine’s Confessions.
Our words divide. They rend each other’s souls.
The Word rends our division, offers peace
To war-torn hearts that long for true release
From slavery, from talk’s eternal tolls.
Our words deceive. They prove our father well.
The Word destroys deception in his wake
And takes e’en death’s ability to take
That souls may surely hope to ‘scape from hell.
Our words decay. They cannot help but fade.
The Word will never not be, shall endure
Should sea and sky be shaken. He is sure,
Salvation for the burdened and afraid.
Lord, teach our tongues, if e’er we speak, to be
Tamed by the Truth, to ever echo thee.
Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash
We live in a culture of busy Christians. I read stories of the stresses of pastoral ministry driving pastors away from the church and into sinful lifestyles. I hear the struggles of my fellow seminarians as they attempt to juggle the demands of school and ministry and work, often walking the edge of burnout as they long for rest. I understand the weight of many responsibilities, often feeling both burdened by the load yet unable to slow down. We whose lives are marked by busyness would do well to remind ourselves of Jesus’s words on the subject of obedience.
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.
Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash
Someone recently asked me to consider the topic of truth. Is truth subjective, different for every individual? Is truth objective, unaffected by our agreement or disagreement with it? Does truth lie somewhere between the two points, possessing both subjective and objective qualities? As I considered my friend’s question, one thought took precedence in my mind: I think we often confuse opinion with truth.
Lettered by blood; word conceived, breathed,
Unread, Unknown (momentary
Matters appear more pressing). Sheathed
Stays the saving sword, soul’s defense
Lowered, life left unguarded. Lost
Direction. Subscribed to false sense
Of security, of the cost
Of trading truth and life and way
For pirate’s treasure: cursed, unclean,
Corrosive to these hearts of clay
So fragile. Unperceived, unseen
Light under a basket, hidden
City on a hill: no help, no
Sanctity, no sin forbidden.
Soon food for the father below.
Photo by Taylor Ann Wright on Unsplash
The fall was not the final word.
Isaiah has foretold,
A silent lamb shall take our place,
A saving act of wrath and grace
That sinners young and old
Might know the power of the Word:
He laid aside his majesty
To be for us the light
And tasted death in place of men
That man might know freedom from sin.
He overcame the night
And shines for all eternity.
Photo by Daniel Sandvik on Unsplash
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:
Photo by Isaac Ibbott on Unsplash
When I read that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9), I often focus on the “desperately sick” aspect, recognizing the darkness of the human heart. But I don’t always consider the rest of the verse. Jeremiah also writes that the heart is deceitful above all things, asking, “Who can understand it?” The heart defies understanding by men. We do not know ourselves like we think we do. Thankfully, as Jeremiah shows, God searches the hearts and tests the minds of men, knowing us better than we know ourselves (Jeremiah 17:10).
Your word: my great undoing, my delight.
I fear to look within, yet fear to stray,
For fear of you (sweet wisdom) shines a light
Upon my path and forces me to say
That I know not my heart or mind so well
As I assumed. This flesh doth e’er deceive.
No strength of will nor want could ever quell
Its tenor regnant. I cannot relieve
My soul from waywardness, for I am bound.
In ev’ry song I sing, I hear its sound.
Discern, speak truth, correct! Let me be found!
You see more clearly than I ever could
And cut more deeply than I wish you would.
I know that all of this is for my good.
Photo by Cathy Mü on Unsplash