August 3, 2015

Twelve Stones

Posted in Cleansing Fire, Elijah, Holy Spirit, Hope, Spiritual Warfare tagged , , , at 6:57 am by Teresa Roberts Johnson

In evil times a famine seared the land,
The feeble clouds hung mocking in the sky
And arid fields produced no wholesome food.
But worse, the Word of God was banned,
The king and queen His power did defy;
They sought the death of righteousness and good.

But by a brook the ravens fed God’s man.
And when the brook ran dry Elijah found
A faithful widow who would share her bread.
Then in God’s time Elijah took his stand
On Carmel where arose a dreadful sound
Of Baal’s dupes who cut themselves and bled.

The frantic prophets flailed about and cried
For their deaf god to hear and win the day.
But no voice answered them, no fire came.
Elijah mocked them as they prophesied
Till evening when he took twelve stones away,
Prepared the altar, and called down God’s flame.

We join our voices with the faithful there
Proclaiming that the Lord is truly God
And train our ears to hear the blessing of the rain.
We fear not flood nor famine for we share
The vision of the altar and are awed
At Him whose cleansing Fire shall ever reign.

Copyright © 2015 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

I was in a hurry when I made the original post, so I’m adding the scriptural context. Besides I Kings 17-18, which covers the main account of Elijah, I would refer you to the following additional references for the title:

Exodus 28:21; 39:14

Joshua 4

We live in evil times, much like those of Elijah. God’s Word is mocked, and many lose hope. But the account of the events that culminated in the showdown on Mount Carmel should bring us infinite hope in the Spirit of God, who sustains His people and restrains the wicked.

June 18, 2015

To Martyrs Near and Far

Posted in Liturgical Calendar at 11:05 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

The world is weary-worn
Of all this blood and death,
Fueled by hate that spreads
Like dry leaves in the wind,
Wafted among thick clouds
Rising from fires of hell.
Each day calamity uncoils,
A noxious rattlesnake
Seeking its prey to kill.
But though the wily serpent
Strikes the blameless heel,
The head he raises
Feels a crushing blow.
And God’s own spotless Lamb
Who bore our grief and woe
Will reach with nail-scarred hands
To welcome all His children home.

Copyright © 2015 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

June 7, 2015

The Beggar

Posted in Trinity at 6:36 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

Certain man, so certain of your place among elite;
Dressed fine, your larder brimmed with choicest fare.
Too often in your rounds you paused to glare
At Lazarus, the beggar lying helpless at your feet.
Disgusting man, his dirty sores oozed poverty.
Why should your crumbs be shared with one so base?
And what cared you that hunger marred his face?
He had no right to any of your hard-earned money.
But sumptuous fare was waiting for him in another land.
His God rewarded him with heaven’s best.
In Abraham’s bosom Lazarus found rest,
Yet you entreated comfort from his now-healed hand.
Demanding favors from your well-earned place among the damned,
You still believed that you deserve the good,
Yet never once showed mercy while you could,
Thus you are nothing like the gracious God of Abraham.

Copyright © 2015 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

From the Gospel lesson for the First Sunday after Trinity – Luke 16:19-31

This morning I heard an excellent sermon on this passage. The priest was careful to point out that the story of the rich man and Lazarus cannot be interpreted as a diatribe against riches. Lazarus did not go to heaven because he was poor, and the rich man was not doomed by his riches. Salvation comes only through God’s grace, and those whom God redeems by grace are made like Him. In his life, the rich man was perfectly situated to show forth the love of God by sharing his worldly goods. That he refused to do so is proof that he was not a child of God, who is loving and merciful.

I haven’t commented recently on poetic form, but with this one, the form is part of the full effect. The story of the rich man and Lazarus is that of a reversal of fortune, and the rhyme scheme of a-b-b-a, with the “a” lines having seven feet and the “b” lines having five feet, is intended to convey that concept.

Also, the phrase “disgusting man” at the beginning of line 5 is deliberately unclear in its reference, the point being that the rich man would have thought Lazarus disgusting, while all the time, his own selfishness was the most disgusting thing of all. And you’ve already guessed that the title has a dual meaning as well.

May 24, 2015

Pentecost Lilies

Posted in Liturgical Calendar at 4:27 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

My garden has written its own sort of poetry today. Pictured below are three blooms from the Easter lily I planted last year. The buds had hung suspended between heaven and earth for days, waiting patiently to open on the morning of Pentecost Sunday 2015. I took the photo after a brief thunderstorm, so some of the droplets of the latter rains still cling to their petals.

Praise to thy eternal merit, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Easter Lilies Blooming on Pentecost

Easter Lilies Blooming on Pentecost Sunday 2015

May 14, 2015

Poems for Ascensiontide

Posted in Liturgical Calendar at 7:33 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

The Collect for Ascension Day

Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that since we do believe thine only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens; so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

April 12, 2015

My Lord and My God

Posted in Eastertide, Faith, Feast of St. Thomas, St. Thomas, Suffering Servant, Word tagged , , , , at 3:32 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

Apostle Thomas, faint of faith,
How did you come to know about His piercéd side?
Were you not one of those who ran away
When soldiers stormed the garden while He prayed?
You once had said that you would die with Him,
So were you there when He was crucified
To see the sword release the water and the blood?
When rich men took His body from the cross,
And wrapped it carefully in swaddling cloths
Infused with bitter scent of myrrh,
Did you assist them in the solemn task
Of carrying His lifeless form away
To place Him in the virgin tomb?
Or did you hear the rumor that He had appeared
Behind closed doors to others whom He loved
And showed to them His wounded hands and side?
You missed so many opportunities to see
But soon regarded faith as slave to sight
Until His voice broke through your wall of doubt
And drew from you confession that did not require
Plunging your hand into His riven side.
Thomas, I am your twin when faith would ebb,
So I rejoice with you that all our doubts
Are answered by the patient voice of Love.

Copyright © 2015 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

John 11:16

John 19

John 20

April 7, 2015

A Link to Poems for the Easter Season

Posted in Liturgical Calendar at 6:58 am by Teresa Roberts Johnson

April 5, 2015

He Is Risen!

Posted in Liturgical Calendar at 6:00 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson


April 4, 2015

To His Mother on Holy Saturday

Posted in Atonement, Darkness, Faith, Holy Saturday, Holy Week, Hope, Incarnation, Resurrection, Suffering, Word tagged , , , , , at 8:12 am by Teresa Roberts Johnson

The Holy One once hidden in your womb
Lies silent in the unforgiving earth.
Your sword-pierced heart is shrouded now in gloom,
As was foretold at His miraculous birth.
As chaos tries to overtake your soul
You dare to hope that all His words were true,
That the Son of God holds all in His control,
And by His power will the world renew.
Dearest mother of the dearest Son,
Weep now, but not for His demise.
Weep for the sin which has this world undone,
For souls ensnared by the deceiver’s lies.
But your Son by His death has set the captives free,
And at His Word, darkness and death will flee.

Copyright © 2015 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

March 31, 2015

You, Judas

Posted in Holy Week, Judas, Maundy Thursday, The Eucharist tagged , , , at 8:17 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

You saw Him turn the water into wine,
Saw crowds who followed Him sit down to dine
On loaves and fishes freely blessed and given,
Requiring that no money from your purse be riven.
A fish produced a shekel for His tax.
Each of His followers for nothing lacks.
Though at His call you left your livelihood,
From His hand you were given every good.
But, keeper of the money bag, your eyes
Could not from wealth of this world ever rise.
Blessings mistaken for the realm itself
Decay and tarnish, cease to be real wealth.
His Kingdom—so much more than coins and bread—
Escaped your grasp, and doom fell on your head.

Copyright © 2015 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

John 2:1-11

John 6

Matthew 17:26-27

John 12:4-6

John 13

Genesis 3:15

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