See the majestic king proudly survey All the vast expanse of his great empire, Free to roam and govern, to feast and play. Small and large alike genuflect before him. His sons and daughters run the lengths and depths, Heights and widths of his dominion again, This to become theirs in due course of time. Nights are spent sleeping near the royal harem. Should one contest his strength or claim his land, He will not hesitate to rise in might. Could you imagine one so foolhardy? Be so glad to be in his good graces. Robed and crowned in his victorious gold, Known and feared, loved and avoided, he reigns.
Grain ground into meal, mixed with oil, and baked Over glowing stones, yeast rising within Exhales and gives room to breathe in the cakes Made to be broken when strength wanes thin. The labor of making dough from the grain Must be repeated, for the loaves do not last. The heavenly aroma of bread-rain Awakens hunger for a deeper repast. Put off your apron, dust off your hands: Cede the oven to a better Baker, Himself ground to meal with oil, as bread He stands Before you as the Father-sent Savior. What can you do to do the works of God? Take, eat the Bread broken on the rood.
The better: laughter, smiles, shared happiness; The soft and sure touch of a lover’s hand. The worse: bitter anger yet unconfessed; Hurtful, stabbing words and proud stands. The sickness of selfishness untreated Festers and fevers the gangrenous wound. Health usurps the selfish throne––unseated–– And finds the other’s joys its highest boon. Richer treasure hoards kindness as its gold; Gems of patience and forgiveness in chests. If poorer days should find us in the cold, We trust the Crown to feed us, give us rest. Thus to each other, tenderhearted, kind, May we with royal love and mercy bind.
Lord, I thank You that You are not like me, For I am full of greed and lust and hate; But You, a fountain flowing with mercy, A wealth of love for sinners in dire straits. Every penitent You will welcome, Even the publican beating his breast; You need no tithes of spices and income, On a thousand hills your cattle find rest. You prefer mercy over vanity; You find delight in helpless, humble faith. I am not worthy to even be seen, And yet to me––me!––You lift up Your face. I take no comfort but in Your esteem, In You I find love for eternity.
Tis not the thing, but after, gives me pause, A shudder running through me, down my spine, What will incorporeal eyes, be-awed, Behold when, at last, I pass beyond time? It forces upon my shoulders a freight, A momentary fear: is it all real? For then there is no room for such debate, But now finality to face and feel. For others have gone, beholden that land, And seen and felt finality’s caress, By Love they, loved, now wait and hold that hand That led them, fearing, all the way to Rest. Be-steel my spine, be-flesh my heart, so I May neither blink nor cringe but joy to rise.
Hands blistered, calloused, cut from pulling thorns Holding on for dear life, gripping the earth–– Grip slipping, readjusting, by sweat shorn From traction; brow furrowed deeper than dirt. Tools breaking, crops failing, fruit unyielding: The harvest of frustration that we reap. We begin again, repaired tools wielding, New crops planting, collapsing in a heap As each work day ends, exhausting, taxing, Harvest unimaginably distant; Body spent and mind still unrelaxing, Longing for some hope, for just an instant, That all this digging and sweating may be Worth it somehow that we may live to see.