Life? Pitch blackness. A labyrinth, spark-less,
Lungs expand & contract, breathing in and out darkness;
All men beleaguered, bruised reeds, battered race,
Enmeshed in sin, culpable, Oh, grave dwelling place.
Meaning? We look for it, examining our past,
Sands of time, waters of hope, slip from our grasp.
Rusty toys, tools, and philosophies pacify;
We purpose-less ones tread on, we dissatisfied.
Stability? We forge veneers for our bodies of death;
Offering up cheers, hollow, vague, half-breathed,
Self-acclaimed masters of fate, yet so mastered;
By time which keeps marching, marching every day faster.
Truth? It’s a stranger to us, though presumption,
Compels us to claim and voice it, with gumption;
But our truth is spineless, with no heart, no splendor,
It’s relative, combustible, consumed as mere tinder.
Beauty? For us, it’s a thing double-blurry,
Our objects are fading, our sight plagued by hurry;
We squint to behold it in all the world’s wonders,
Which do briefly thrill, but still leave hearts asunder.
All we like sheep have gone so far astray,
All we like fools have not numbered our days;
All we like the Serpent have coveted a throne,
All we like ruptured cisterns, unknown fractured stones.
All we like insecure kings craving honor,
All we like orphans, disoriented we wander;
All we like convicts, trampling Heaven’s Law,
All we like narcissists, with no God-ward awe.
All we like cowards, saving face, loving self,
All we appearing honest, but liars in stealth;
All we like tight-fisted consumers have grappled,
To preserve our great fable, our gold-plated shackles.
What then could mend this great tear in our souls?
What could make clean, make full, make whole?
What defines life, grants meaning, makes stable,
In real truth and beauty, capsizing the fable?
There in the garden One Man was betrayed,
He shouldered our malaise, and with bleeding pores prayed,
From loud cries and tears He emerged resolutely,
Knowing, feeling the cost of Redemption acutely.
Then kissed by a fable-lover, one not unlike us,
Who treasured not Christ, but preferred money-lust;
The Servant-King was bound by the chains we procured,
His back whipped to ribbons, thorn-crowned, He endured.
He ascended the Hill, the Place of a Skull,
Where spiked to the Tree He would taste wine & gall;
It was bitter, though not nearly as harsh or sour,
As the wrath He would meet with in that holy hour.
The Messiah of Israel mocked by His kinsmen,
He was clothed with the blood of Atonement, red crimson;
While Rome’s soldiers watched over Him blind-hearted,
Incapable of seeing sin’s sea being parted.
Only this God-Man could raise this cup well,
Only this Lamb could confront powers of hell;
Only this Mediator could bear sin and death,
He drank down the cup, and surrendered last breath.
“It is finished!”, He had cried, Oh, ineffable finish,
The fable we’d lived in and loved, now diminished;
The fountain now opened, decisively, surely,
The sweet tide of mercy, surged powerfully and purely.
Love vast as oceans and skies and all heavens,
Our sins, pulverized, even seventy times seven;
Fears, ills, and wants now eclipsed by His face,
Our orphan-state? Erased. Our offense? Not a trace.
As saving blood dried on Golgotha’s dark slope,
As Pharisees gasped at the veil rent by hope,
Bewildered disciples hid in their inner-rooms,
Their warm-hearted Master now cold, still, entombed.
And then, at the Father’s command angels stirred,
The seal broke apart, the stone rolled at His Word;
Indestructible life then warmed the frame,
Of God’s precious Son, the Lamb who was slain.
He rose once-for-all from the throes of the grave,
To make friends from foes, to make sons from slaves;
Once delivered to death for the sin of all nations,
Once raised in power for our justification.
He crushed death to purchase dead men from all tribes,
Silenced the accuser’s feverish diatribe;
For this Man of sorrows had joy set before Him,
To ransom the many, to cleanse and restore them.
He lives! He speaks! Let proud hearts be baffled,
The mystery’s plain-written, the fable’s unraveled;
Let those who believe Him, with joyful hearts burning,
Make haste to proclaim Him, until His returning. ——-
He came. He spoke. He died. He Rose. He ascended. He is coming. He is worthy.
Amen and amen.
-by B.A. Purtle