Crucifixion

The first time I saw Him covered in blood
it was my own, and I could silence his cries
in the warmth of my arms.
The pain then was mine alone to bear,
easily forgotten in the presence of new life,
in His presence.
.
Now all of the miracles and wonders have
come to this dark place,
this dark day,
this day of blood,
and a pain that cannot be eased
with hope of something better,
because this day will end in death.
.
My beloved!
Shamed, disfigured, disgraced–
.
There is nothing left of light but memory.
……………………………………………………………………………………….
This poem is part of a series that began with the poem “Nativity,” written a few years ago.

The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus: Meditation on Romans 5:8

This verse has been running through my head the past few days:

Romans 5:8 (NIV, ©2011)
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Can you imagine a love this big? God didn’t say, “Get yourself cleaned up and obey my rules, and then, I’ll die for you.” He didn’t say, “Get yourself right with me, and then I’ll die for you.” He didn’t even say, “Love me, and I’ll die for you.” He loves us so much that He died for us when we were in sin, separated from Him, when we rejected and denied Him, when we deliberately disobeyed Him. He loves us so much that He has provided a way back to Him–no matter how far away from Him we go.

This kind of love takes my breath away. I feel so unworthy in the face of it, because I know that I do not come close to loving in this way. I like to think that I am a loving, caring person, but in the face of a love like this, my love pales in comparison. How could I ever love Him as much as He loves me? And while I could see myself dying for my children or other members of my immediate family, I would probably never lay down my life for those that have hurt me, rejected me, deceived me, or betrayed me. Yet this is exactly what Jesus did. He did it for all of us; He did it for me.

My first response in trying to understand this profound love is, “Who am I that You, sweet Jesus, would love me this much?” The only answer is that He loves me this much because of who He is. He is love. I am inspired to attempt to live a life that is somehow worthy of His love. I pray that He will help me love Him more and better and deeper.

This old hymn by Samuel Francis is a beautiful response to the realization of His love:

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!


Rebuilding the Ruins

You sit among the ruins
of a past you wish would die,
a past you tried to bury
under sky-scraping idols
you thought were made of steel.
But they all toppled,
they all fell down,
until everything you knew
was reduced to rubble.
.
You wail against this devastation
of your deepest dreams,
as the ancient serpent slithers around you
and tempts you to believe
that it is God
who has abandoned you
to this wasteland,
that He was the one
who condemned you
to this darkness,
this lifeless living.
.
But He has never forgotten you.
He calls you by name…
.
And in your tortured soul
stirs a Hope, a longing to be free
from this wreckage
where the serpent reigns,
where you are bound
to your broken past.
.
You cry out
to the One
who has always loved you,
your Redeemer, Yeshua,
who died so that you might live.
He calls you into His light,
and with His steadfast love
breaks your chains,
and rebuilds your ruins
with the precious stones
of His kingdom.
 

Breaking Free, a painting by Judy Gilbert

 

A Christmas Prayer

My Redeemer,
Everlasting God, You have
Set me free!
So I will rejoice
In your coming
And praise Your
Holy Name forever. Amen.

Nativity

One dark night,
my life opened,
and Love came–
not in a chariot
drawn by fine, white horses,
but after agonizing pain,
He slipped,
screaming,
into my arms
and changed this world forever.
.
There were no princely robes
nor stately palace
with a soft, warm bed
to welcome this King of Kings–
just swaddling clothes,
a wooden manger,
and I–
no queen
to bear such a Prince,
nor saint,
to live such a calling.
.
But I gave
all I had:
a full breast,
embracing arms,
a kiss,
my heart.
.
For in that divine moment,
on that dark night,
my life opened
and Love came–
and I was saved.

Shattered

My soul lay there
like slivers of glass
shattered by a malignant hammer
and scattered to the edges of the kingdom
by a determined and disgusted boot.

I gather the shards,
lay them on the altar of Your love,
and pray
that what looks like total destruction
is, for You, a sacrifice to be transformed
into abundant life.