Big Brother (Rannaigheact Mhor)

Big Brother (Rannaigheact Mhor)

Grace does not destroy nature, but perfects it

(Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Ia. q. 1, a. 8, ad2)

Winston’s frog-marched affections:
forced infection to weaken
resistance to subjection,
to life and reason cheapened.

But grace woos, pleads, and perfects:
it needs no mean coercion;
delight and love it effects,
expects to bear the burden.


What is a rannaigheact mhor?

April 2020 Poem-a-Day Challenge #24

153 (Quintilla)

A breakfast of grilled fish and bread
Already prepared, even though
You’re invited to add your own
To the meal I myself have spread.
But one more thing I have to show.

One hundred fifty-three is more
Than seven men could ever eat––
And that’s just food! I have in store
Greater kindness than any door
Could hope to contain: you will see.

Like the death-knell tolling three times
You hear me, and tears fill your eyes,
But I am here to heal, not damn.
I am sending you, and you can
Know My love will always abide.


What is a Quintilla?

Muscles and Nerves (Skeltonic Verse)

When muscles move
and flex to fight,
eyes widen
at the sight.
But what drives,
the muscles to move?
What are the nerves?
What brain do they serve?
Is it hate?
Is it spite?
A hunger to sate?
A love to bite
And claw and scratch?
Is it love?
Is it the shining face
looking, lighting
with divine grace
instead of spiting?
Defending the defenseless
despite unworthiness?
Does ḥesed hail
or echo emptily
in the hall?


What is a Skeltonic Verse?

Wasteful Wardrobe (Arnold)


“Consider how the wildflowers grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will He do for you–you of little faith?” (Luke 12:27-28 HCSB).

Consider wildflowers
Who cannot spin their thread:
Idle, without power,
Yet are they now clothèd
Beyond King Solomon in glorious splendor.
The lilies thusly robed;
Will fuel the morrow’s fire;
Gracious wastefulness is showed:
Greater faith in us inspired—
Fear not, Small-Faith—to Greater-Solomon render.


Clean Faces

The sorrows of those who take another god
for themselves will multiply;
I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
and I will not speak their names with my lips (Psalm 16:4 HCSB).

I will remove the blood from their mouths
and the detestable things from between their teeth.
Then they too will become a remnant for our God;
they will become like a clan in Judah,
and Ekron like the Jebusites (Zechariah 9:7 HCSB).

For David in Psalm 16, one aspect of his devotion to Yahweh was his abstinence from pagan offerings and from calling to them in prayer. David is satisfied with the LORD’s allotment of his inheritance (“the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places”), which for him was part of the tribal portion of Judah.

The Zechariah text is an interesting parallel to Psalm 16. “Their” refers to the Philistines, upon whom God is pronouncing judgment. The cities of verses 5-6 are Philistine cities, and verse 6 ends by explicitly stating the judgment against that race:

Ashkelon will see it [the judgment of Tyre] and be afraid;
Gaza, too, and will writhe in great pain,
as will Ekron, for her hope will fail.
There will cease to be a king in Gaza,
and Ashkelon will see it and be afraid.
A mongrel people will live in Ashdod,
and I will destroy the pride of the Philistines (Zechariah 9:5-6 HCSB).

The miracle of grace is that verse 7 follows these verses. The blood that is removed from the mouths of the Philistines is the blood David refused to offer in his devotion. The Philistines are already defiled, and yet God removes their defilement from them. He takes away the unclean meat in their teeth. He undoes all that they have done to defile themselves, and grants them even greater grace on top of that: He makes them “like a clan in Judah.”

Defiled Philistines become part of God’s people by the sheer grace of forgiving, transforming grace.

Jesus Christ still saves sinners by forgiving, transforming grace and makes us part of His people. Hallelujah!

Return to Me

Return to Me
Zechariah 1:1-6

When we walked in our own ways
Your anger burned against our sin
We ignored Your holy word
And closed our hearts time and again

“Return to Me,” You would say;
“Return to Me, I’ll make you new;
Return to Me,” You would say,
“And I will return to you.”

Now in You we’re born again
And through Your Son we can draw near
But we still stumble and fall
And our weak hearts rejoice to hear

“Return to Me,” You still say;
“Return to Me, I’ve made you new;
Return to Me,” You would say,
“My Spirit lives in you.”

Continue reading “Return to Me”