A Hope Carol

A night was near, a day was near,
Between a day and night
I heard sweet voices calling clear,
Calling me:
I heard a whirr of wing on wing,
But could not see the sight;
I long to see my birds that sing,
I long to see.
Below the stars, beyond the moon,
Between the night and day
I heard a rising falling tune
Calling me:
I long to see the pipes and strings
Whereon such minstrels play;
I long to see each face that sings,
I long to see.
Today or may be not today,
Tonight or not tonight,
All voices that command or pray
Calling me,
Shall kindle in my soul such fire
And in my eyes such light
That I shall see that heart’s desire
I long to see.

Christina Georgina Rossetti

Only four words

From my old friend, Amy Carmichael:

Mt 14.30-31  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.  And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him.

“And beginning to sink.”  Only four words, but they bring us the certainty that we will never sink, for Peter never sank.  It is like that word in Psalm 94.18, When I said, My foot slippeth–yes, in that very moment–Thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.

Sometimes a single word may make all the difference to us, lifting us up, strengthening and refreshing us.  Let us be careful not to miss these words of life, which come so suddenly, perhaps in the midst of the day’s work.

Samuel Rutherford wrote: “In your temptations, run to the promises: they may be our Lord’s branches hanging over the water, that our Lord’s silly, half-drowned children may take a grip of them.”  And those boughs never break.

Steadfast taper

A poem by Luci Shaw:

       Steadfast Taper
Job 28:3

His candle shines upon my head.
He trims the wick and guards the falme
and though darkness creeps in close
the steadfast taper shines the same.

The flower of flame sways in the air.
Wind fingers snatch and try to snuff
the stalk his careful hands protect.
The light shines through.  It is enough.

His candle shines on me in love,
(protective circle in the gloom)
and through the dreadful night I know
that he is with me in the room.

Throughout the weary waiting time
the liquid flame shines thin and pure.
When tiredness dims my faith, I look
and see his light, and I am sure.

        ~Luci Shaw (Moving into Light, p. 106)

Yet the star of hope has risen

2009-10-03-the-morning-star-paradox“Christ descended into ‘Hell’ and is therefore close to those cast into it, transforming their darkness into light.  Suffering and torment is still terrible and well-nigh unbearable.  Yet the star of hope has risen–the anchor of the heart reaches the very throne of God.  Instead of evil becoming unleashed within man, the light shines victorious: suffering–without   ceasing to be suffering–becomes, despite everything, a hymn of praise.”  (Benedict XI, Spes Salvi)

And this is our hope

Agony

In the hour of darkness the moon had hid her face,
And all the world was sleeping, save one who wept.
He left the meager comfort of well-meaning friends,
Charging them, Watch; and into the garden crept,

And heard the lie of the world;
That the darkness here is a fell and final thing:
And flesh will crumble for aye in the valley of bones,
And tongues that are parched will never find voice to sing.

And this is our hope: that he whose sweat was blood,
As the heavy droplets fell and his spirits sank,
Lifted his eyes and murmured Thy will be done;
Lifted cracked lips to the Father’s cup; and drank.

~Joseph Prever

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