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©B D Prewer 2006

These prayers may be freely used without the express permission of the author

when they areĖĖ

either read aloud by a leader of worship

or included in a once-off printed ĎOrder of Worship.í

They may not be printed, neither singly nor in bulk, in any other publication

without permission.í

 

CONTENTS

 

MY FACE.. 2

BURIED TREASURE.. 3

BY THE CORNER OF MY EYE.. 3

DEATH.. 4

SALTLESS.. 5

THE TREE OF MY LIFE.. 5

BUSH BALLARD JESUS.. 6

A PASTOR LOOKS BACK.. 7

LAUGHTER OF THE HOLY ONE.. 7

MY APOCALYPSE.. 9

I KNOW YOU.. 11

THE BLIND SEE.. 12

GLORY. 12

SPRINGTIME.. 13

THE RIGHT. 13

TO GOD THE LIGHT. 14

JUDGEMENT. 14

INEVITABLE.. 14

FAITH.. 15

GOD IS.. 15

SEVEN A.M. 15

CONGREGATIONS.. 16

WARRUMBUNGLE.. 17

MACHOR TOR.. 17

BUNYA IMMANUEL. 18

CARETAKER.. 18

YOU CONFOUND ME.. 19

BIRDS.. 19

LIFE OF MY LIVING.. 21

THANKS FOR THINGS FINITE.. 21

CONSIDER THE BIRDS OF THE AIR.. 22

UNFINSHED SERMONS.. 23

TO THE HOLY SPIRIT. 24

TO THE UNTAMABLE GOD.. 25

BY THE WELL. 27

THOSE WHO WALK WITH CHRIST. 27

PRAYING WITH PAINT. 28

THE NEEDLEíS EYE.. 29

MORE: CREED OF DAMNATION.. 30

THREE SCORE YEARS AND TEN. 30

THE COLLAR: A PASTORíS REBELLION.. 31

THE COLLAR.. 32

MANY ROADS?. 33

AFTER A BURIAL. 34

THOSE GREY DAYS.. 34

ABANDONED POEMS.. 36

HE SET HIS FACE.. 36

ALL THINGS TO ME.. 37

LEGION.. 38

AT OUR CHURCH.. 39

PARABLE BREAD.. 39

MIRACLES?. 40

THE GREY MIST. 40

WHY THIS PERSON?. 42

SONG: FOR ORDINARY SAINTS.. 42

SING A NEW SONG: Psalm 96. 43

LORDS PRAYER.. 44

EASTER HYMN.. 44

SPIRITUAL OLYMPICS.. 45

CHRISTMAS: INCARNATE.. 46

WHAT DO YOU FIND AT CHRISTMAS?. 46

CHRISTMAS: NEAR SEVENTY SIX. 47

BEARING GIFTS.. 47

ONE DROVERíS CHRISTMAS.. 48

BORN WHERE?. 49

HOLY WEEK.. 50

JESUS REMEMBER ME.. 50

GARDENER?. 51

I HAVE MY DOUBTSÖ.BUT. 52

ON THE BEACH.. 52

EASTER: IN HIS STEPS.. 53

PENTECOST: POURED OUT. 54

PENTECOST: DOWNWIND.. 54

CHRIST THE KING: UNPRINCELY PRINCE.. 55

GOD OF ALL BEAUTY. 56

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

MY FACE

 

I saw this fellow

with my face

who wore it with

amazing grace.

 

I asked him who

he thought he was,

what was his game

and what his cause?

 

He looked at me

with searching eye

and gave me this

succinct reply:

 

ďI am the one

you yet can be,

if you will come

and follow me.Ē

 

BURIED TREASURE

 

The kingdom is heaven is like treasure lying buried in a field. Matthew 3:14

 

This world is not a futile field,

though doubts abound,

our days are meant for light and love

so rarely found,

mere infants know that every place

is holy ground.

 

Men worry much and toil too hard

for tawdry fame,

in business or in pop careers

they make their name,

yet meek folk know that pride canít buy

the sacred flame.

 

The gifts of God like sun and rain

are always free,

and faith and love are not rewards

for industry,

the pure of heart look on that Face

eyes cannot see.

 

The clowns of God do not resign

to fear and doom,

they make us chuckle at ourselves

dispelling gloom,

for in their mirth theyíve buried death

in Jesusí tomb.

 

 

BY THE CORNER OF MY EYE

 

By the edge of my eye

a fleeting glimpse

of Light fools cannot see

nor I convince;

exceeding dawn and dusk

and moonlit plains,

more lovely than rainbows

in spring rains.

 

At the far range of ears

a tune sublime,

a music thatís been there

before all time;

beyond Bach and Mozart

at their choice best,

a harmony in which

sore souls find rest.

 

Near the rhythm of my heart

a larger beat,

the pulse of the Unseen

we long to greet;

itís surely from the grace

I have long known,

such sturdy love belongs

to One alone.

 

DEATH

 

There you are again,

old fool,

lurking in the shadows

like some cheap soap opera

private eye,

 

or rattling old bones

in the night

as you have often done

from our childhood fears

to old age.

 

Just when we relax,

thinking 

you might have outgrown

your silly stunts

and games,

 

or maybe been buried

under

the slag heap of our busy toil

or become wearied

by our faith,

 

you turn up again

squeezing

through the cracks in creeds

with that silly smirk

on your face,

 

pleased as punch to see us

startled;

like some cantankerous relative

who delights in turning up

inopportune.

 

I donít know, old spook

who is

the bigger fool,

you, or we with our knee-jerk

jitters?

 

Death, donít put on airs;

loser!

You are just another con artist

as empty as a garden tomb

at dawn.

 

 

SALTLESS

Matthew 5:13-16

 

The absurdity

  of saltless salt

  and hidden lanterns

is outranked

and outshamed

by the obscenity

  of faithless faith

  and Christless Christians.

 

 

THE TREE OF MY LIFE

 

The tree of my life

I give to you,

Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Not just my limbs

but my trunk and root

leaf, flower and fruit,

I give to you.

 

In sunshine or cloud,

through hail storm or frost,

I give to you.

With springtime lush growth

and winterís hard pruning,

I give to you.

 

With all that I am,

in all that I do,

the tree of my life,

Lord Jesus Christ

I give to you.

                

BUSH BALLARD JESUS

 

He was just a country bloke

and you knew it when he spoke,

but he came with light-full words unlike any heard before,

He taught those who would listen

and his kindly eyes would glisten

as he laid his hand on lepers and gave good news to the poor.

 

The mobs soon gathered thickly,

with their lonely and their prickly

for he always had the time for those of lesser breed.

There were many folk who saw him

and a few good souls were for him,

yet many only came for a laugh and a free feed.

 

But when he spoke of losses

and of carrying their crosses,

enthusiasm wilted and they turned for home again.

It was not unexpected

that he soon would be rejected

for the selfish are not keen to share anotherís pain.

 

He turned to his disciples

afraid they had few scruples,

and he put it to them sadly, "Will you also go away?Ē

Though some hangers-on absconded

it was Rocky who responded,

ďYou have a life thatís boundless, and we are here to stay.Ē

.

He smiled then, almost shyly,

knowing Peter was not wily

and seeing love crush fears that flicked across each eye.

That night he spent awake

wrestling until daybreak,

for he was just a young man who did not want to die.

 

A PASTOR LOOKS BACK

     

Some fields where once we sowed good seed

have turned to stone

the reapers who once laughed and sang

are now all gone

the barns where we then danced with joy

stand now forlorn.

 

On hills where sheep found ample feed

the wild goats own

where shepherds once knew each by name

the wolves now roam

the folds that sheltered from the storm

have tumbled down.

 

The plots where now the workers toil

have marginal soil

yet though the land is hard to work

they give their all

and thereís great joy when there is gleaned

one precious soul.

 

 

LAUGHTER OF THE HOLY ONE

 

We hear your laughter,

full of wonder and hope,

      before the beginning

      of the beginning,

your laughter

      overflowing the voidless void,

full of wonder and hope

 

We hear your laughter

full of wonder and hope

      in the first nano-instant

      when all things began,

your laughter

      when from nothing all came to be

full of wonder and hope

 

We hear your laughter

full of wonder and hope

      when flaming worlds

      wheeled into galaxies

your laughter

      when the morning stars sang together

full of wonder and hope.

 

We hear your laughter

full of wonder and hope

      as one planet found its place

      and its seas and shores

your laughter

      as prolific life spread around the earth

full of wonder and hope.

 

We hear your laughter

full of wonder and hope

      when woman and man

      looked into each otherís eyes with love

your laughter

      through diverse races, tribes and cities

full of wonder and hope.

 

We hear your laughter

full of wonder and hope

      when Abram and Sarai

      set out in elementary faith

your laughter

      when David sang and Isaiah had dreams

full of wonder and hope.

 

We hear hour laughter

full of wonder and hope

      when Mary and Joseph

      came to Bethlehem

your laughter

      defiant over foul Herodís slaughter

full of wonder and hope.

 

We hear your laughter

full of wonder and hope

      when a Galilean preacher

      made friends of sinners

your laughter

      in parables of abundant grace

full of wonder and hope

 

We hear your laughter

full of wonder and hope

      when despised and rejected

      he stumbled to a cross

your laughter

      mixed with tears yet defiant over pain and evil

full of wonder and hope.

 

Your laughter

full of wonder and hope

      when death lost its sting

      and the grave its victory

your laughter

      echoing through the Easter dawn

full of wonder and hope.

 

Your laughter

full of wonder and hope

      when Peter found his courage

      and Thomas his larger faith

your laughter

      with millions of your common saints

full of wonder and hope.

 

Your laughter

full of wonder and hope

      when all things draw together

      in universal reconciliation

your laughter

      resounding in a new heaven and new earth

full of wonder and hope.

 

                                                         

MY APOCALYPSE

 

Dread,

the darkest dread

absorbs me

as I recede, recede,

into the void.

 

Rushing sound,

a syphoning wind,

sucking me down

deeper, deeper,

into darkness.

 

Utterly alone,

the hand of my beloved

clutches for me

but cannot touch

my receding.

 

Stripped,

of all worldly esteem,

no more husband,

father, pastor,

wordsmith.

 

The void

is all thatís left

and the rushing

wind of receding

and dread.

 

Dread;

this is it then;

the old enemy

has won;

End.

 

Yet.

 

A strange

knowing comes

and warms

all that is left

of me.

 

Somehow

in this darkestness

I am free, free,

absolutely

free!

 

Set free

of foolishness,

scrappy wisdom,

and those questions

that plague.

 

Stripped

of planning for tomorrow

and regretting things

of yesterday;

free.

 

Released

from ambiguities,

an immoral world,

and the weight

of integrity.

.

Somehow

this dreaded,

rushing emptying

is utter

kindness.

 

And now

in this void

NOTHING comes

and smiles

at me:

 

ďMy child,

I have waited

a long time

for you to come

homeĒ

 

 

I KNOW YOU

 

You, whom people call God

Yahweh, Allah, Krishna,

or the great Uncaused Cause,

I am knowing you

 

I am knowing you

because you choose

to be knowing me.

 

You are

the thirst that impels me

the enigma that puzzles me

the joy that surprises me

the lamp that guides me

the stream that washes me

the bread that nourishes me

the calm that stills me

the optimism that fills me

the warmth that enfolds me

the cross that carries me

the injuries that heal me

and the death that liberates me.

 

You, whom people call God,

Yahweh, Allah, Krishna,

or the great Uncaused Cause,

I am knowing you:

 

You are that Awe-love

that filled the lovely Jew, Jesus;

and through him you are

my only absolute Friend.

 

THE BLIND SEE

Mark 8:24

 

They brought a village man

who had been long since blind

to Jesus that healing prophet

who got inside oneís mind.

 

Jesus used his own saliva,

L    ike a motherís soothing kiss,

to anoint the clouded eyes

where something was amiss.

 

The man exclaimed with wonder,

he saw a walking tree,

Jesus touched those eyes again,

and the blind did truly see.

 

He went back to his village,

the gossips all a-chatter,

Bethsaida was now famous,

the Healer did not matter.

 

 

GLORY

John 12:23-27

 

This matchless Jew

really knew

the difference between fame

and glory.

Where we see cruel loss

and dark shame,

he saw Godís hand

even on a cross.

Where we fear and slide

he took his stand.

From mistrial and abuse

he did not hide

but went on to end his story

without excuse.

Knowing that his hour had come

he shared Godís glory.

 

 

SPRINGTIME

 

Lover of cherry blossom

      and buzzing bees,

of blue hyacinths

      and nesting swallows:

we praise you for changing seasons.

 

Lover of fresh-green paddocks

      and playful lambs,

of wild lilacs in bushland

      and of cooing doves:

we praise you for springtime.

 

Lover of golden wattles

      and boxing kangaroos,

of audacious magpies

      and flowing gum trees:

we Parsee you for unleashed energy.

 

Lover of slate-smooth lakes

      and fluffy cygnets,

of sudden thunder storms

      and wild daisies:

we praise you for the renewal of life.

 

Lover of tiny bobbing ducklings

      and of delighted infants,

of sun showers and rainbows

      and rosette clouds at dawn:

we praise you for dying and rising.

 

For everything there is an opportune time,

      and a season for all things,

O bless the Lover, O my adoring soul,

      and with all that is within me

bless and praise Godís Holy Name!

 

 

THE RIGHT

John1:12-14

 

To those who receive

this living Word

is given the right.

 

The children of God

dance into the light

where the glory grows

and the loving shows

in every deed!

 

           

TO GOD THE LIGHT

 

To God the light of all that shines

from moonlit lake to galaxy

loversí eyes and a saintís smile:

all praise and wonder be.

 

To God the life of all that breathes

from city street to scrub mallee

emus, lizards, farmers, Christ:

all praise and wonder be.

 

To God the joy of all that sings

from kindergarten to deep sea

whales and children, flutes and choirs:

all praise and wonder be.

 

To God the hope of all who love

from Kings Cross to Gethsemane

forgiving mums and laughing saints:

all praise and wonder be.

 

JUDGEMENT

John 1:24-26

 

In this very day

we corrupt or heal,

the choices we make

are heaven or hell.

For the time has come,

says the Child of God,

when the voice of truth

shall wake the dead.

 

 

INEVITABLE

Matthew 19:21-24

 

The famous and rich

  with greed and lust

inherit a world

  of moth and rust.

Should the Joy of life

  knock at the door,

corroded hinges

  open no more.

 

 

FAITH

 

I said to the man

 from Galilee,

ďHow many fig-trees

 grow in the sea?Ē

He answered me with

 a grin on his face:

ďAs many as the fools

 who live by grace.Ē

 

 

 

GOD IS

 

God is.

 

God is love;

  unlikely as lifeís gestation,

  unexpected as incarnation.

 

God is love;

  simple as salt and yeast,

  humble as the last and least,

  grace-full as the lame walking,

  joy-full as the dumb talking.

 

God is love;

  fearsome as crucifixion,

  awesome as resurrection.

 

God is.

 

SEVEN A.M.

 

A light frost

  dusts the shaded slope,

the rising sun

  fondles the valley,

a flock of wood ducks

  spatter the smooth lake,

a flight of swallows

  trawls the air for insects,

 

and my soul

  trawls the morning

for some glimpses

  of that first glory

which precedes

  the birth of suns

yet empties itself

  among us,

full of saving grace

  and loving truth.

 

 

 

 

CONGREGATIONS

 

They live by faith;

congregations of common people

enlivened by an uncommon gospel,

sowing and nurturing mustard seeds.

 

They live by hope;

congregations growing or dwindling,

determined on Christís optimism

.in the midst of the cynical crowd.

 

They live by love;

congregations with a spirited outlook,

looking to serve the world

and love as they have been loved.

 

They live by grace

defying all the secular odds

in Broome, Fitzroy and Kings Cross;

congregations convened God.

 

 

 

 

WARRUMBUNGLE

 

Yesterday

I rose early

to see emu and roo

  feeding among grasses

  deep-iced with frost,

 

their familiar forms

framed against bushland

folding and steep-sloping

  to the Breadknife

  and Belougery Spire.

 

Already

the memory is fixed

and has become an icon

  which I may visit

  in those plodding times

when I become stale

among limited goals

and trivial prayers.

 

 

MACHOR TOR

 

Why is it

that we like to climb high,

grunting and sweating

to reach a tor

and savour the scene

with elation?

 

It is a conquest,

not of a mountain

but of oneself.

 

As old age takes over,

the chosen tors are lower

but the conquest stays sweet.

 

We are much older now

than when we first came this way.

Without regret

we let the young folk

tackle the Breadknife

and Bluff Mountain.

 

Macha Tor

is most satisfying.

now.

 

 

BUNYA IMMANUEL

 

With eagles God soars above the pines,

with pademelons he nibbles young grass,

with brush turkeys he hunts for berries,

  among these mountains.

 

In vine thickets he shelters pigeons,

in little creeks he composes songs,

in misty rain he nurtures mosses,

  among these mountains.

 

Children skip through his green cathedrals,

old folks glimpse him at their picnics,

each gorge and peak declare his glory,

  among these mountains.

 

 

CARETAKER

 

The caravan park

  is watched over nurturingly

by a caretaker

with grey hair and green fingers.

She is a single woman,

  a one-time companion

to wealthy widows,

  but now old and discarded.

 

Home is now a caravan

  which she has surrounded

with the gentleness

  of ferns and exotic plants.

The caravan sites

  are being transformed

with a variety of trees

  and small beds of flowers.

In her loneliness

  she has changed a plain acre

into a small sanctuary

  of burgeoning beauty.

.

It is a gift to be simple,

  it is a gift to be free.

 

YOU CONFOUND ME

 

Messiah Jesus,

Joy of loving hearts,

you confound me.

I comprehend you less

than I thought I knew

sixty years ago

when my faith was young.

 

No surprise in that;

You have been confounding

human minds

for two millenniaó

 

Son of man,

Son of God,

touched with our hands,

the eternal Word become flesh,

effulgence of Godís glory,

begotten not made,

light of light,

humble son of a carpenter,

seated at Godís right hand,

crucified failure,

Christus Victor,

truly our brother,

truly our Lord,

 

Confounded?

Comprehensively confounded!

 

And so I should be;

if I were not so

I would be either

damnably arrogant

or already dead;

maybe both?

 

 

 

 

BIRDS

 

I commence each day

watching the birds

which bountifully

visit and enrich

my neighbourhood.

 

Minors, magpies, mudlarks,

rosellas and red-rumped parrots,

wood and black ducks,

galahs, corellas, cockatoos,

wattlebirds and ravens,

little honey eaters and swallows,

ibis, herons, spoonbills,

and on special mornings

pelicans and swans.

 

They go about their business

as if we land-bound, cumbersome

humans did not exist.

Singing and nesting,

chasing each other,

in Spring enthusiasm

circling the lake

like athletes doing laps,

feeding on worms and insects,

teaching their young to fly.

 

In my old age

I still have wonderful dreams

in which I join the birds

in riding the wind.

I do not do it very well,

there is much puffing,

I cannot as yet soar high,

but I can do it.

By God

I can do it!

 

In my dreams

I cannot understand

why so many other people

will not

even attempt it!

 

Oh you birds,

keep enticing me!

Oh Eagle of Heaven,

mistress of the winds,

guide me up

towards the sun!

 

 

 

LIFE OF MY LIVING

 

Holy Friend,

  You are the life of my living

  the joy of my laughing,

  the faith of my believing,

  and the death of my dying.

Help me so to love you that

 my trust may ever be grounded in you,

  my service be ever shaped by you,

  and my dying be forever content in you.

 

 

THANKS FOR THINGS FINITE

 

That our hands, feet and muscles,

blood cells, brain cells,

our genetic codes and DNA

   are finite:

   Blessed be God!

   Blessed be God forever!

 

That our money and possessions,

status, fame or titles,

houses, mansions and palaces,

   are finite:

Blessed be God!

   Blessed be God forever!  

 

That skyscrapers and monuments,

sacred sites and cathedrals,

maths, science and technology

   are finite:

Blessed be God!

   Blessed be God forever!  

 

That the world and its creatures,

sun, moon and milky way,

the awesome span of time and space

   are finite:

Blessed be God!

   Blessed be God forever!  

 

That Jesus and his parables,

faith, hope and love,

and the commonwealth of God

   are infinite:

Blessed be God!

   Blessed be God forever!  

 

That by the grace that gives faith,

by the cross and empty tomb,

by the tireless thrust of the Spirit,

   we can share infinity:

Blessed be God!

   Blessed be God forever!  

 

Praise God in whom we live and move,

Praise God with whom we love and serve,

Praise God for songs that never end,

Praise God our Saviour and our Friend.

 

 

CONSIDER THE BIRDS OF THE AIR

 

Holy Friend

of gregarious galah and flitting crimson finch,

of regal back swan and dainty blue wren,

      help us to be aware of you.

 

Holy Friend

of raucous wattlebird and gossipping wagtail,

of dancing brolga and flocking budgerigar,

      help us to approach you.

 

Holy Friend

of salty seagull and the singing thrush,

of wandering albatross and cocky apostle bird,

      help us to believe you.

 

Holy Friend

of colourful king parrot and cute fairy penguin,

of wary cassowary and calling currawong,

      help us to trust you.

 

Holy Friend

of warbling magpie and strutting mudlark,

of stalking heron and belligerent honeyeater

      help us to be judged by you.

 

Holy Friend

of laughing kookaburra and chirping cockatiel,

of skimming pelican and circling kite,

      help us to be healed you.

 

Holy Friend

of mimicking bowerbird and tinkling bellbird,

of cautious jabiru and cheerful Jacky winter,

      help us to trust you.

 

Holy Friend

of waddling wood duck and bold drongo,

of sweeping spoonbill and diving grebe,

      help us to be empowered by you.

 

Holy Friend

of chattering lorikeet and mimicking lyrebird,

of plumed egret and diving sea eagle,

      help us to be enamoured by you.

 

Holy Friend

of discreet reed warbler and noisy whip bird,

of nesting magpie goose and jaunty spinifex pigeon,

      help us to adore you.

 

 

UNFINSHED SERMONS

 

Great Friend, how can it be

that One of whom I am so sure

confounds my sentences

like kites in  turbulent air?

 

A thousand themes or more

that start out full of verve and hope

to tell it as it is

go bankrupt and fall in a heap.

 

I know Iím not the first

and I shouldnít take it personally;

far bigger minds than mine

have floundered most dismally.

 

Our wise creeds and dogmas

that seemed so fixed and safe,

can become just the ravelled sleave

of over-familiar belief.

 

Even our cherished hymns

become feathers on the wind;

too frail to bear the Weight

that raptures heart and soul and mind

 

Letís face it, awesome Friend,

I must fall short, missing the best;

my sermons left abandoned homes

whose builders have gone bust.

L

 

 

 

TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

You, elusive Truth,

we cannot name you

for you defy our analytical minds

and smile at our philosophical assumptions.

 

Yet we know you dearly,

like we know beauty and love:

the warm womb of birth and rebirth,

the nurturer of faith and hope,

the enabler of all that is good in us,

the fire warding off the soul-frost,

the sea breeze checking hot anger,

the dawn air filling our sleepy lungs,

and the peace that bottoms out beneath sorrows.

 

Yet we know you partially,

like completed fragments of a jig-saw:

the zest that drives playful puppies,

the mothering that broods over land and sea,

the fire in the gut of prophets,

the creative energy that sends eagles soaring,

the geometry behind creative chaos

and the thrust of self-transcendence.

the soul of quark and electron,

the light that lightens the Milky Way,

 

We know you most clearly,

in the smile and pain of Josephís son:

the source of his motherís conceiving,

the key to his surviving against the odds,

the light of his believing,

the good humour of his teaching

the dynamic of his healing,

the foolishness of his dying,

the confounding of his rising,

and the assurance of his Presence

with us to the end of the world.

 

You elusive Spirit Truth,

we cannot name you or tame you,

but with hearts that burn within us

we do love and adore you.

 

kiss of life

 

power of atoms and the quirkiness of quarks

 

 

 

TO THE UNTAMABLE GOD

 

* For 2 voices or Leader and People

 

Holy One, source and sustenance,

            breath of mercy, fire of faith,

we say the name ďGodĒ

            as we love and worship you.

Yet these are only the fringes

            of your countless ways

and we donít really know

            who you really are.

 

The more we raise our voices,

            or pour concrete creeds,

the more it is embarrassingly obvious

            how little we really know of you,

and even how much less

            we have learnt from you.

Yet by grace we celebrate

            the little we have grasped and loved.

 

Yours is the grin on a childís face

            as they trump us with a riddle,

the milk and honey hopes

            of pilgrims for a promised land,

the percentage of empty space

            within an atom

the cup of wine always full

            and running over.

 

Yours is the springtime bushland

            and the diminutive violets,

the sea breeze on a summerís day

            and the eye of a wintry storm,

the old man swimming laps

            and the youth racing past him,

the heat of a billion suns

            and a moon-lit farmland.

 

Yours is the majesty

            of a billion galaxies,

the peculiar behaviour

            of sub-atomic particles,

the haunting song

            of a blackbird at dusk,

the love in the hug

            of a wrinkled grandmother.

 

Yours is the resilient adhesive

            which creates community,

the fearsome whirlpool

            of cosmic black holes,

the smile of an infant when it sees

            its mother come through the door,

the timeless eternity

            which cradles time and space.

 

Yours is the thirsty soul

            looking for living water,

the enigmatic young Man

            sitting by the well,

the anguish of a mother

            watching her crucified Child,

the chorus of joy

            at Easter dawn.

 

Holy One, source and sustenance,

            breath of mercy, fire of faith,

these are only the fringes of you ways,

            we cannot know who you really are.

Yet we know you are lovingly present

            in all times and all places,

and you are, without fail,

            really there for each of us.

 

We thank you, we praise you,

            we adore you,

and gladly attempt to serve you

            in temple or on street.

Holy, Holy, Holy Friend,

            the earth is full of your glory.

Blessed are all who glimpse you

            thrice-blessed those who trust you.

 

Hallelujah!

 

 

 

BY THE WELL

 

 

The thirsty Jew sat by the well,

where once old Jacob used to dwell,

but today he was on his own.

He had no bucket and no rope

and yet he sat there full of hope

because he never was alone.

 

The day was hot the well was deep

but still the vigil did he keep

waiting to share his drink

A lonely woman found him there

she had a rope yet did not dare

to speak to a Jewish shrink.

 

Although he had enough and more,

he begged a drink from this deep bore,

but she looked askance at him.

ďDo you a Jew ask this of me,

a Samaritan as all can see,

unclean and much a doubter?

 

He smiled as one who knew this game,

but yet he was not into blame,

instead he offered her some water.

She pouted then and thought him queer

but this man dealt with grace not fear

and he saw her as Godís daughter.

 

He told her things he should not know,

she knew the truth, no bluff and show, 

and found

 

 

THOSE WHO WALK WITH CHRIST

 

Those who walk with Christ

shanít live like lords or kings,

but they shall know the hidden joy

which pulses through all things.

 

Those who embrace his truth

need never fear dismay,

though earth and sky dissolve

he will not go away.

 

Those who dine with him

will never be mislead,

the wisdom of all worlds

hides in each crumb of bread.

 

Those who die with him

need never die in fear;

he says when evening comes,

ďNow you be of good cheer.Ē

.

 

 

PRAYING WITH PAINT

 

An artist is a strange child

who prays with paint?

though seldom are they called

a blessed saint.

Through paint and brush they glimpse

unpainted Joy,

a vision that art criticís spleen

cannot destroy.

 

A potter is a strange child

who prays with clay,

yet fingers cannot ever shape

the Form they pray.

Yet they take mud undaunted,

believing still,

that one day it might yield

to hand and will.

 

A poet is a strange child

who prays with pen,

and though the Rhyme eludes

theyíll try again.

They will not bluster, or to

trite words succumb;

they seem to know the best

may yet still come.

 

A ímusoĒ is a strange child

who prays with sound,

and in this worldís discord

hears themes Profound.       

Some nights theyíre woken by

such perfect pitch

as leaves them tingling with

la divine itch.

 

A preacher is a strange child

who prays with tongue,

and wrestles with a Word

thatís ever young.

A hapless cause though this

may seem to be,

heís the first sinner this Word

sets loose and free.

 

THE NEEDLEíS EYE

 

It may seem a spacious world

on this side of the eye,

but it really is confined

to things that rot and die.

 

You have to become slim,

and leave the madding race,

to slip through the small grill

and find the boundless space.

 

Tourist baggage canít come

dragged on its noisy wheels,

nor leather brief case fit

packed with cash, shares or deals.

 

Backpackers find it hard,

shop trolleys rarely fitĖ

nor brand-name gym bags

carried by sportís elite.

 

Titles and rank stick out,

theyíre much too dignified,

and academic hubris

snags like religious pride.

 

One needs be meek and poor,

and naked as a baby,

counted as losing life,

ranked as a mere nobody.

 

Only the clowns of God,

escape this dying denó

in fact itís rather painful

like being born again?

 

MORE: CREED OF DAMNATION

 

More bargain sales, more cluttered lives, 

more credit cards, more folk on the skids,

more teen models, more bulimic girls,

more pub pokies and more hungry kids,

 

More sexual tricks, more broken vows,

more porno sites, more sadistic force,

more trial partners, more empty lives,

more mega weddings and more quick divorce,

 

More proud mansions, more security guards,

more deregulation, more laissez faire,

more take overs, more blatant greed,

more global warming and more despair.

 

More high-place scandals, more dťjŗ vu,

more glitzy casinos, more dazzled fools,

more law and order, more corrupt police,

more high flyers and more drug mules.

 

More speeding cars, more paraplegics,

more bank profits, more repossessed farms,

more exploitation, more desperation,

more gold and jewels and more burglar alarms.

 

More on the run, more junk food meals,

more grog to drink, more grief to taste,

more sporting stars, more performance drugs,

more time to play and more years to waste.

 

More empty churches, more firework displays,

more self-made men, more exploited friends,

more shopping malls, more crippling debts,

more quick decisions and more loose ends,

 

More injustice, more suicide bombs,

more unrepentance, more shifting goals,

more spin doctors, more cynical voters,

more pop cults and more lost souls.

 

 

THREE SCORE YEARS AND TEN.

 

From threescore years and ten

a few straws have been gleaned,

theyíre not those easy creeds

from which slowly weaned.

 

God is not any thing,

for things age and decay;

yet thereís this absent One

who will not go away.

 

The bound are truly free,

the small stand very tall;

the weak are truly strong,

empty folk have it all.

 

Fools say thereís nothing new

under the wearying sun,

yet when weĎve seen it all

the new has just begun.

 

The invisible is true stuff,

but solids are a myth;

there is no greater birth,

than those pangs we call death.

 

Through three score years and ten,

Iíve learned to be content;

the landlord of this scheme

does not charge any rent.

 

 

THE COLLAR: A PASTORíS REBELLION

      * Note: This is an adaptation of a poem by George Herbert, 1593-1633..

                 His very beautiful original follows this one.

 

I struck my desk, and cried, No more!

Iíll go abroad.

Why should I ever sigh and pine?

 

Itís my turn to be free; free as the road,

loose as the wind, free to explore.

Must I still wear this suit?

Have I no harvest but a thorn

to bleed me dry, and not restore

what I have lost with happier fruit?

 

Sure there was wine,

before my sighs did dry it;

 there was corn

before my tears did drown it.

Is the year only lost to me?

Have I no joys to crown it?

No flowers, no garlands gay,

all withered, all wasted?

 

Not so, my heart: but there is fruit,

and you have hands.

Recover all your sigh-blown age

on double pleasures.

Leave your cold doctrine of what is fit,

and forsake your cage,

your place of sands

which petty thoughts have made,

yes, made of me,

to enforce and tightly draw;

such heavy law,

while I was blinkered

and would not see.

 

Away! Take no heed;

I will abroad!

Call in some favours there,

tie up my fears.

He that forbears complaint 

and serves all need,

deserves his load.

 

But as I raved and grew

more fierce and wild

at every word,

I thought I heard One calling,

ďMy Child?

And I replied,

       ďMy Lord!Ē

 

THE COLLAR

* George Herbert

 

I struck the board, and cried, No more!
     I will abroad.
What?   Shall I ever sigh and pine?
My lines and life are free; free as the road,
     loose as the wind, as large as store.
Shall I be still in suit?
   

Have I no harvest but a thorn
     To let me blood, and not restore
What I have lost with cordial fruit?
      Sure there was wine,
Before my sighs did dry it: there was corn
      Before my tears did drown it.
Is the year only lost to me?
      Have I no joys to crown it?
No flowers, no garlands gay?  all blasted?
       All wasted?
   

Not so, my heart: but there is fruit,
       And thou hast hands.
Recover all thy sigh-blown age
     On double pleasures:  

Leave thy cold dispute of what is fit,

     and not forsake thy cage,
      thy rope of sands,
Which petty thoughts have made, and made to thee
     good cable, to enforce and draw,
     and be thy law,
While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.
     

 Away!  take heed;
     I will abroad!
Call in thy favours there; tie up thy fears.
     He that forbears
     to suit and serve his need
     deserves his load.

 

But as I ravíd and grew more fierce and wilde,
         at every word,
I thought I heard one calling,

        Child? :
 And I replied,

       My Lord!

 

MANY ROADS?

 

Those who appear

shy of arriving

tell us there are many roads

to take and explore

if we would find at last

the many faces

of the one Great Sea.

 

Arenít they weary

of the roads

that promise to lead

to spectacular promontories

or golden beaches

yet which peter out

among rocks or sand hills

far short of the Ocean?

 

One friend

advised

that its is much better

to travel hopefully

than to arrive

at the end.

Not where I am,

old friend!

 

The Ocean

where I now bathe

and sometimes dare

out of my depth offshore

makes anticipation

and even special campsites

on the way

seem like a bore!

 

 

AFTER A BURIAL

 

When we leave a burial

there seems nowhere to go;

no firm step to take,

to wise word to speak;

 

so we usually disperse

awkwardly to begin,

silently or with a whisper,

singly or in a cluster,

 

as if expecting something,

some last sign to happen;

we are relieved that it doesnít,

yet uneasy that it hasnít.

 

 

THOSE GREY DAYS

 

Just when the day

seems brightest

and the weather charts

of my soul

tell me of more

good days to come,

 

the grey mist arrives

over my horizon

and closes in

irresistibly;

clammy, dull,

chill and penetrating

to the marrow

of my soul;

 

of course I resist;

mock it defiantly,

say favourite prayers

whistle hymns new and old,

whisper my bottom-line creeds,

strike at it

with my Bible

and finally

scream at it in anger;

 

but it comes on

insinuating itself

into every crevice

of my being,

shutting out the sun,

cutting off the warmth

and making even

my dearest ones

like trees walking;

 

then it is

I feel utterly bereft,

unloved and unlovely;

 

in this grey dominion

only once voice

reaches me,

one alone,

sending faint flecks

of comfort

into my shadowland;

 

one voice,

one hope,

one grim foreword

to resurrection;

the God who cries out to God

that he is

forsaken;

 

Lord Jesus,

remember me

as you come

Into your kingdom.

 

 

ABANDONED POEMS

 

Youíre far, yet close,

so large, so small,

You leave my words and sentences

no where to go at all.

 

Youíre thirst, yet joy,

the loss thatís gain,

You watch me flush, unfinished

poems down the drain.

 

Beyond, within,

the wall, the door,

You scatter all my matchstick words

upon the library floor.

 

Youíre pen, and Word,

the known Unknown,

Your holy ways are not my ways

yet I never write alone.

 

The king whoís pawn,

judge in the dock.

You upend thoughts and hint at codes

mere brains cannot unlock.

 

The One, the Three,

timeless, timely,

the paradox Ö.. ÖÖÖÖÖÖÖÖ.

ÖÖÖÖÖÖ..   on me.

 

 

HE SET HIS FACE

Luke 9: 51

 

Through haze and dust

there goes the Christ

with on thing on his mind,

his face is set

hard as cold flint

going to meet his end.

 

The anxious twelve

have found no salve

to soothe their rampant fear,

when oneís doubts scoff

the climb is rough

and nightfall is not far.

 

On Zionís heights

the city waits

to take in Nazarethís son.

Barabbas snarls

Caiaphas smiles

with guile as old as sin.

 

 

ALL THINGS TO ME

 

You have a prodigalís welcome for meó

Your house of love, my empty space,

my coming home, your warm embrace.

 

You make the world new for meó

Your party time, my cleansing bath.

my new robes, your joyful laugh,

 

You are now all things to meó

Your light and truth, my redeemed days,

my destination, your freeways.                      

 

You choose what is best for meó

Your call to serve, my work and toil,

my evening prayers, your midnight oil.

 

You choose what will nourish meó

Your Spirit truth, my empty shrine,

my hungry soul, your bread and wine.

 

You put no new tax on meó

Your easy yoke, my burden light,

my gratis strength, your star by night.

 

You give your own treasure to meó

Your precious pearl, my mustard seed,

my new vision, your priceless creed.

 

Your turn defeat into conquest for meó

Your wounded hands, my dispelled doubts,

Your Easter greeting, my Easter shouts

 

You have larger things in store for meó

Your open door, my glimpse of heaven,

my new school, your Newhaven.

 

 

LEGION

 

He was the caring sort of man

who felt the pain of others,

but when this burden got too much

scant help came from his brothers.

 

They never tried to hear him out,

but jumped to quick conclusions,

they gave lectures he did not need

and multiplied confusions.

 

They tied him down and took some blood,

and ignored his opinions,

they treated him like some cheap meat

for Satan and his minions.

 

The many voices drove him mad,

their hearts now turned to stone,

strong with grief he broke their bonds

and went to live alone.

 

The cemetery became his home,

stone slabs became his nest,

the nice folk stayed away at last,

and thought it for the best.

 

He made his bed among the tombs,

and now slept very well,

he did not fear the quiet dead,

the living were his hell,

 

A stranger came across the sea

who did not play their game,

he simply sat beside this child

and asked, ďWhat is your name?Ē

 

 

AT OUR CHURCH

 

When seekers come

into our church

how much is gain

how much is pain?

 

Are we a den

of pious thieves

eager to lift

each personís gift

of skill and time

to suit ourselves

      without respect

      to their project?

 

Pray let it be

that we become

servants of all

lords of none.

 

Let their likeness

to Godís true son

      be advanced

      much enhanced

in whatever way

is best for them

      and then weíll dare

      be a house of prayer?

           

 

 

PARABLE BREAD

 

Winnowing is divisive

thereís nothing in between,

The chaff must be expelled,

before the grain is clean.

 

Grinding corn takes effort

skill and power combine,

the mills of love work slowly

but they grind very fine.

 

Baking breadís not easy

not some flimsy desire,

the bread that on your table

has first endured the fire.

 

The bread we share is sacred

a paradox divine,

until the bread is broken

we cannot taste the wine.

 

 

 

MIRACLES?

 

What others claim

  I donít decry,

but miracles

  have passed me by.

Thereís been no cloud,

  no burning bush,

no Naamanís ass

  to give a push.

 

There has been one

  defining Thing,

an In-fluence

  that makes me sing.

It comes as free

  as sun and rain,

to bring me joy

  and growing pain.

 

I canít be bought

  it canít be sold,

it found me young

  and finds me old.

This Thing once wore

  a human face,

it is my one

  redeeming Grace.

 

 

 

THE GREY MIST

 

Just when the days

seem bright

with laughing

eyes

and the weather charts

of my soul

tell me of more

shining times to come

 

the grey mist comes

over my horizon

and sweeps in

irresistibly;

clammy and smogfoul

chill and penetrating

to the marrow of being.

 

Of course

I resist

mock it defiantly

say prayers

whistle hymns

strike at it with my Bible

and at the last

mute-scream.

 

But it is merciless,

insinuating itself

into each plane and crevice

of mind and soul,

shutting out the sunlight

and making loved ones

into mere shapes

in dank gloom.

 

Then it is I feel

bereft

icily bereft

of human warmth

unlovely and unloved

and utterly alone

as if fatally severed

from you, God.

 

My reason

protests

rebukes me sternly

lecturing

that Iím never alone

that YOU must still be

in the grey

around me.

 

But my spirit

does not savour YOU

and my feelings

ache with nothingness.

I just hang on

to faithís memory

and to my Lordís

forsakeness.

 

 

 

WHY THIS PERSON?

 

Sure there were seers before him

      as there are stars to guide seafarers,

and there were saints after him,

      as there is moonlight for pilgrims.

 

But this one disruptive Person,

       why does he enthral me?

And why do I want to write Ďpersoní

      with a capital P?

It is not just that he is all

      that humans were meant to be;

rather something larger than life,

      a fecund kind of Singularity

informs his every word and deed

      and makes him more contemporary.

than any seers that ever were

      or saints that are to be.

 

Sure, there were lights before him

      as starlight precedes the dawn,

and there are lights after him

      as the moon reflects the sun.

 

 

SONG: FOR ORDINARY SAINTS

      ( Tune ďWhen the saints come marching in)

 

O give us faith, give us more trust,

and our spirits will improve.

Without your help we are too timid

but with you the mountains move.

 

O give us hope, much brighter dreams,

and the new age will draw near.

Without your help our dreams get clouded,

but with you the visionís clear.

 

O give us love, best gift of all,

and our conflicts will be stilled.

Without your help we get frustrated

but with you we are full-filled.

 

O give us faith, Christís hope and love,

and weíll treasure each childís birth.

With your help love conquers all things

and the meek inherit the earth,

 

      or, after HC

 

Thanks for the bread, broken and shared,

the simple meal we treasure most,

thanks for the wine, Your precious grace-sign,

served  with love by Christ our Host.

 

Itís time to part, itís time to serve,

it's time to go our way in peace.

Hope, faith and love are free as sunshine

and forever will increase.

 

Troubles may come, sorrows assail,

as we travel on the road,

though we may tire, Christís love is tireless,

and our Lord shares every load

 

Itís time to hope, itís time to laugh,

to celebrate our liberty,

love is the way, truth and the good life,

and Christís grace our guarantee.

 

 

SING A NEW SONG: Psalm 96

     Tune: Cambridge, or any 66.86 metre

 

Mint brand new songs to God

each day sing of free grace,

display his light among all lands,

neglect not place nor race.

 

God is the greatest theme,

no song or tune enough;

the things that lost souls crave are junk

but Christís love will hang tough.

 

Light surrounds his coming.

strength, love and beauty blend;

number your blessings, church of God,

and your joy shall not end.

 

Extol Christís loving name,

bring gifts into his house.

Link hands together as we sing

till earth rocks with his praise.

 

Let Christians show the world

that grace has come to stay,

Christís new age shall redeem all lands

and never go away.

 

Let the stars dance and cheer,

and earth pick up the beat;

let seas roar and farmlands shout

and bushland join the treat.

                              

We welcome Godís advent

who comes to sort this world,

his judgements will heal broken lives

and truth will all enfold.

 

LORDS PRAYER

       Tune: St Michael 6686

 

Father of heavenly love,

all joy surrounds your name,

your kingdom come

your will be done

till earth your grace acclaim.

 

Give us today our bread

to share with those in need.

Forgive our sins

as we forgive

with word and by our deed.

 

Deliver us from fear

when trials test our days.

Your kingdom, power

and glory are

our true delight and praise.

 

 

EASTER HYMN Tune Vulpius TIS 367

 

The night has gone, the dawn is clear,

now is the end of fret and fear,

our Jesus lives, take up the cheer.

 

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

The seal of God rests on this day,

now faith and love have the last say,

peacemakers laugh, Godís children play,

 

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

The merciful obtain free grace,

the poor delight in heavenís space,

the meek and pure look on Godís face

 

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

The world is new, reborn and young,

things never done have now begun,

let joy and praise fill every tongue

 

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 

Now in our midst lives Godís true Son,

let gloom and doom today be gone,

let leaven and earth now party on:

 

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

     

 

SPIRITUAL OLYMPICS

 

Tune: ďBattle HymnĒ.

 

For boxers

 

My life is reeling from the punch that Loveís pure fist has thrown,

itís left me seeing lots of lights maybe the saints have known

this knock-out is more blessed than the crown of champion,

Iíve come into my own.

 

For runners.

 

Iíve stopped dreaming of winning on the elite sprintersí track,

Iíve joined that triersí Coach who has run to hell and back, 

He takes me on a steeple-chase with many a slip and stack,

but Iíll soon get the knack.

 

For fencers

.

I thought I was a chance in the main fencing event,

Iíd bluffed my way through duels before with cunning and intent,

but when I fought the Master I took wounds that left me spent,

yet now I find content.

 

For gymnasts.

 

Iíve done a triple back flip like Iíve never done before,

I flipped so high I landed and shot through a heavenly door,

applause is all around me from the redeemed hosts galore,

Iím not scared any more.

 

 

GOD OF ALL BEAUTY

 

Tune: maybe ďSlaneĒ or any suitable 10 10 10 11 metre,

 

God of all beauty and Source of true light,

redeem our ugliness, restore our sight,

soften our hardness and capture our will,

and pour out your Spirit, our emptiness fill.

 

God of all lowliness, Friend of each soul,

lead us to holiness, make our lives whole,

repair our brokenness, reclaim our dust,

and bring us to faithfulness, rebuild our trust.

 

God of all happiness, Spring of deep joys,

pity our foolishness, remove our toys,

destroy our vanity, scatter our pride,

and bring us to sanity and in you reside.

 

God of all loveliness of you we sing,

to you our best songs your family bring,

let all creation now sing the same tune,

give praise merry sun, and give praise stars and moon.

 

CHRISTMAS: INCARNATE

John 1:10-11

 

The Source of galaxies

now wears a human face.

The Word that oversees

deep mysteries unknown

now comes unto its very own;

yet they, who are a stubborn  race,

close fetid minds against his grace.

 

 

WHAT DO YOU FIND AT CHRISTMAS?

 

What do you find at Christmas

when the frantic fuss is gone,

the shopping is all over

and the pre-parties all done?

 

What do you find at Christmas

when the cards are all exchanged,

rushed emails written and sent,

the menu fully arranged?

 

What do you find at Christmas

when gifts are all unwrapped,

eating and drinking ended

and your energy zapped?

 

When you step into the stable

and look into the stall?

Something truly Awesome

or nothing there at all?

 

CHRISTMAS: NEAR SEVENTY SIX

 

Near seventy six there are no new tricks

as Christmas comes yet again,

I still remember days of December

when childhood was my domain;

after a short night I woke at first light

to leap on the gifts by my bed,

eating and drinking (my stomach not shrinking!)

the rest of the day quickly sped.

 

But now I am old Iím no longer sold

on pleasures that come and go;

from joy and the tears of the turning years

thereís one sure thing I do know:

In comfort or tatters nothing else matters

but one Event in the straw,

as I kneel before that I know where Iím at

and shall not want any more.

 

 

BEARING GIFTS

 

Three wise men,

bearing their precious possessions

travelled from afar.

One from Sydney,

others from Oxford and Harvard,

following their own star.

 

It mattered not

that their trumpeted arrival would be

after the main season.

For each of them

everything on earth was amenable

to scientific reason.

 

Flown in ahead of them

were mobile laboratory, cameras

and infra red eye.

No room for chance,

they came with all the technology

that money could buy.

 

They arrived late,

to let the superstitious pilgrims

get out of the way.

With utter care

they set things up, while minders

kept the press at bay.

 

Proud self belief

moved them around the stable

and to the fabled stall.

Each man entered

sure of what they would discoveró

nothing, nothing at all.

 

After three days

of thorough forensic examination

at that manger scene,

three of earthís wisest

declared there was no Wonder there,

nor had there ever been.

 

 

ONE DROVERíS CHRISTMAS

 

The drovers were on a stock route

watching their herds by night,

out of the east came some min min *

that spooked the men with light.

They seemed to sing in the darkness

a music both sour and sweet,

it entered the soul with catharsis,

the droverís boy danced to the beat.

 

One min min beckoned the boss man,

so he left the herd with the rest,

the min min danced on before him

like a lost soul re-possessed.

They came at last to Menindee

near a stable behind the pub,

the drover slowly dismounted

and tied his horse to a shrub.

 

He stood and waited for guidance,

though his throat cried out for a beer,

the min min stopped at a door

and the drover swallowed his fear.

The door was half off its hinges,

but he dragged it open wide,

he saw a weary young woman

with a new born baby that cried.

 

It was nothing like he had expected,

he did something he hadnít for years,

he fell down on his knees in that stable

and shed unaccustomed tears.

Were they tears of joy or sorrow?

He never did know for sure,

but he did dare take a new stock route

no drover had travelled before.

         Min min: strange lights in the Outback.

         Indigenous people saw them as spirits.

 

 

BORN WHERE?

 

They say he was born in Bethlehem

a town in Judean hills,

I think he is born in Sunbury

a town with very few frills.

 

They say there were heavenly angels

that sang the night he was born,

Iíve heard some angelic music

from kids last Sunday morn.

 

They say he was born in a cow shed,

no room for him with a view,

I know he found a warm place

in the heart of a plumber I knew.

 

They say he arrived with the taxes

that Caesar placed on their land.

I know he comes with free graces

that most donít understand

 

They say he his birth was miracle

one-off in the distant past,

I reckon itís still taking place

among the least and the last.

 

They say he will come in great power

to finish what love could not do,

I say he comes with the stranger

waiting in the refugee queue

 

 

HOLY WEEK

Hebrews 2:14-16,  5:7-10

 

It was not angels

   but a human being

that he became

   in flesh and blood.

He offered up prayers

   with cries and tears

in this school of suffering,

   sorely tested like us.

 

Who can visit Gethsemane

   except homo sapiens ?

Who else can feel

   the crown of thorns

or shudder and groan

   at the hammer blows ?

In the long dark hours

   of Christís agony

we know the loud cry

   of forsakenness!

 

While angels praise

   his holy name

earthlings alone

   can share Godís pain.

 

 

JESUS REMEMBER ME

   Good Friday 2005

 

Jesus, man of sorrows,

Jesus joy of the new age,

      remember me

      as you come

      into your kingdom.

 

No lower pit

no higher peak:

      this man

      forsaken.

 

No greyer grief

no fuller faith:

      this man

      forsaken.

 

No dirtier deed

no costlier gift:

      this man

      forsaken.

 

No darker day

no brighter night:

      this man

      forsaken.

 

No deeper doubt

no surer truth:

      this man

      forsaken.

 

No sharper pain

no purer peace:

      this man

      forsaken.

 

No larger loss

no greater gain:

      This man

      forsaken.

 

No bloodier deed

no lovelier love:

      this man

      forsaken.

 

No lonelier soul

no closer God:

      this man

      forsaken.

 

Jesus, man of sorrows,

joy of the new age,

      remember me

      as you come

      into your kingdom.

 

 

 

 

GARDENER?

John 20: 15

 

If you are just the gardener,

then let me lay to rest

this whole Christian affair.

 

If you are just the gardener,

then let me weep alone

by this rock of despair.

 

If you are just the gardener,

then let me toll the passing

of a hope most sublime.

 

If you are just the gardener,

then let me go on weeping

until the end of time.

 

I HAVE MY DOUBTSÖ.BUT

John 20:19-29

 

I have not seen,

I have my doubts,

but you have transfused

my life with Life

and I receive.

 

I have not seen,

I have my doubts,

but you have enthused

my soul with Soul

and I believe.

 

I have not seen,

I have my doubts,

but you have infused

my love with Love

and I conceive.

 

 

 

ON THE BEACH

John 21:1-9

 

O Lord of all things made new,

how often at daybreak

have you stood on our beaches

but we have not recognised you?

 

You have called out to us

but we have not heard,

prepared a breakfast feast

but we have not shared?

 

So we go on toiling

with our old empty nets.

or land on barren beaches

to eat stale crusts.

 

 

 

 

EASTER: IN HIS STEPS

 

He always did tread this earth with gentle feet

and left tracks in which seeds germinated,

but now, freed from mortal weight,

his footsteps are gentler-deeper

and in their fertile hollows

new joys take root.

 

While on the dusty byroad to Emmaus Town,

where two disciples plodded languid,

he opened Scriptureís meaning

and left behind such prints

that even in the twilght

new plants did grow.

 

At dawn, by a lonely shore of Lake Galilee

he gathered driftwood for a breakfast fire;

his feet marked that meeting place

with each loving step he took,

and in each footmark grew

rare seedlings of love.

 

With an enemy beside Damascus Highway,

where hitherto only thorns had grown,

he etched the scene with footprints

which propagated fruitful vines

so strong that even Rome

grew jealous.

 

In latter days to one callow, shy, bank clerk

of a provincial city on the Tamar River

he came to call, and left a spoor

where grew unlikely fruits

such as only holy grace

can give account.

 

PENTECOST: POURED OUT

 

The Spirit,

the very being of God,

is now poured out

on the human race.

 

Poured.

 

Not allocated sparingly

as from an eye-dropper.

Not carefully measured

like tonic in a medicine glass.

Not even as generous

as a farmhouse cup of tea.

 

Poured.

Poured.

 

Poured prodigally,

tumbling and splashing,

quenching the thirsty,

cleansing the soiled,

refreshing the weary;

bountiful as the Milky Way.

 

Poured.

Poured.

Poured.

 

On all the human race,

now poured out;

the very being of God

poured out;

the Spirit

poured out.

 

PENTECOST: DOWNWIND

 

Downwind

in the Whitsundays

is a wonderful place to be.

 

The Warmth

caressing oneís face

and cheering the sluggish soul.

 

The scents

of prolific greening

and the fruits of paradise.

 

The joys

that belong to Godís children

borne on the flowing Wind.

 

Downwind

in this holy grail

is a glorious place to be.

           

    *  PS : For overseas readers: Here there is a play     on words;

Whit Sunday/ Pentecost and the Whitsundays,

 the latter being beautiful, tropical islands off the coast of Queensland.

 

CHRIST THE KING: UNPRINCELY PRINCE

 

Strangely conceived, born in a shed,

odour of donkeys, straw for your cot,

fleeing by night, price on your head,

refugee child, sharing our lot.

Unprincely prince, our humble lord!

 

Filling each day, trusting weak blokes,

homeless preacher, fishermenís friend,

sowing small seeds, telling good jokes

praying alone, at the dayís end.

Unprincely prince, our humble lord!

 

Stretching the mind, opening the ears,

telling the truth, offending old schools,

spurning cheap fame, conquering fears,

following your star, breaking the rules.

Unprincely prince, our humble lord!

 

Humbling the proud, lifting the meek,

praising the poor, pitying the rich,

fasting alone, strengthening the weak,

leading the blind, out of the ditch.

Unprincely prince, our humble lord!

 

Hope of sinners, loved by the crowd,

healing lepers, seeking the lost,

prizing the meek, humbling the proud,

taking loveís risks, paying the cost.

Unprincely prince, our humble lord!

 

Fool on a donkey, without back-up,

cleansing the shrine, sealing your fate,

breaking the bread, sharing the cup,

betrayed by night, shopped by a mate.

Unprincely prince, our humble lord!

 

Tried by a fool, crowned with cruel thorns,

hauling your cross, up the steep hill,

l     ifted up high, forsaken thing,

scorned and despised, forgiving still.

Unprincely prince, our humble lord!

 

Tended by women, resting in hell,

in a cold tomb, through blackest night,

delivering souls, from where they fell,

greeting the dawn, with Easter light!

Unprincely prince, our humble lord!

 

Always among us, sheep and the goats,

prisoner in chains, sick and the poor,

dearest soul-mate, loveliest lord,

our dearest joy, for ever more

Unprincely prince, our humble lord

     

 

ALWAYS THERE IS GRACE

 

In the beginning there is Grace

far preceding time and space,

 dreaming hopes of magnitude,

 ready with all plenitude.

 

In the shaping there is Grace,

tireless working in each place,

  holiness thatís so profound

  that we walk on sacred ground.

 

In the turmoil there is Grace

underwriting every race,

  caring when one soul gets lost

  saving at enormous cost.

 

At the ending there is Grace

superseding time and space,

  welcoming the last and least

  wearing still a human face.