February 7, 2012

Bitter Herbs

Posted in Eastertide, Hope, Lent, Maundy Thursday, Sanctification, Suffering Servant, The Eucharist at 10:03 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

Thou, God’s Lamb, our Passover art,
And from Thy side deliverance flows;
Yea, Thy dread wounds did death impart
New life, for in Thee we arose.
Now from Thy side a river pours
To cleanse Thine own from every stain,
From every evil God abhors:
It was for this the Lamb was slain.
Now Thou dost give us bread and wine,
And perfect rest that naught disturbs,
For Thou has made us wholly Thine
And banned for aye the bitter herbs.

Copyright © 2012 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

There has to be a reason that the meal sacrament of the New Covenant does not include either the meat of a lamb or the bitter herbs that were required for the original Passover, the meal sacrament of the old covenant. The death of the Lamb was always intended to end the bloody sacrifices of the temple economy, and with the death of death, the bitterness of our lives is rolled back with the stone at Jesus tomb.

That does not mean that we will not suffer in this life, and sometimes suffer acutely. No, what it means is that our suffering has a purpose and a goal, and it will not last forever: it has an end and an end. Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we know for a fact that the dead are brought to life. Through the ascension of Jesus Christ, we know for a fact that there is somewhere other than here, somewhere that the bitterness and brokenness of this sad earth cannot reach. That is the truth in which we live, if we will lift up our eyes and look at the hills of God.

For our light affliction, which is for the moment, worketh for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.  (II Corinthians 4:17-20)

I find the date recorded for this poem as January 20, 2008. Ten short days later, my son James would rise above this land of bitter herbs. His light afflictions are over, and he rests in the eternal arms. I praise the God who made him, who saved him, and whose mercies took him out of his sufferings, which were many, and whose love took him out of a land where joys were few.


  1. […] Bitter Herbs, by Teresa Roberts Johnson […]


  2. […] Copyright © 2012 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved) […]


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