Gethsemane

There will be times you are at your lowest points

When anguish engulfs you and there is nowhere left to run

And the words of our loved ones fall flat, hallow

 

No one can meet you in this darkness

And the support will seem lack lustre

Will seem disingenuous

Will be flawed

And you retreat within, in solitude

Praying away this poison chalice

This cup of suffering

In a manic display

Until your legs give way and succumb

To the gravity of surrender

 

And then

Beyond the unrest

Beyond the disquiet of your anxiety

The starring of the still small voice

Overtakes you to reveal

 

“Beyond this pain

Beyond this bitter suffering

And far beyond what your mind can perceive

Lays a promise, a hope,

A purpose for all that be

Rooted in my immeasurable love

 

And, oh, how I love you,

Cherished one

One day you will see

The glory and the splendour

Of an eternity with me.”

 

And as these words leave me

Some things do stay

Like the peace that passeth understanding

To guide me on my way.

Commentary: Gethsemane

I was in my room reading Matthew 26:36-46 and I was struck by the sheer humanness of Jesus. The lines –

38 “and he said to them, ‘The sorrow in my heart is so great that it almost crushes me. Stay here and keep watch with me.’

– hit me first and birthed the opening lines of my poem Gethsemane. We have all experienced extremely low and painful moments in our lives, what this passage reveals to us is that Jesus has been there too. In my weakest and most heartbroken, when the sorrow in my heart was so great it almost crushed me – God has felt this too. I am floored that this is a Love and this is a God who intimately knows my suffering and that through suffering I can grow deeper in my relationship with Christ.

The lines –

40 “Then he returned to the three disciples and found them asleep; and he said to Peter, ‘How is it that you three were not able to keep watch with me for even one hour?'”

– hit me next and I felt the disappointment Jesus must have felt in that moment when he found his disciples asleep. The experience of being disappointed by your friends and loved ones is profoundly universal and I wanted to capture that my poem as much as I could. People let us down and the weight of that disappointment can be enormously heavy but I have found in my experiences of disappointment God can meet you there and help you carry that weight (and even take it away).

For If My Body Was A Temple

For if my body was a temple

It would be a shelter for the homeless

A second chance for sinners

A gateway to God

Through the love that radiates in us all

 

There would be no pretence here

No “holier than thou”

No role playing

No mask wearing

Just a group of God-fearing sinners

Trying to make their way Home.

 

There would be no saints,

For I am not one

For the good that I desire

I do not do,

But the evil that I do not want

This I practise

 

And it is in this temple

That only this kind of biblical vulnerability will reside.

Where there is no shame

For the reality of our human experience.

For all the ways we sin and fall short

Of God’s glory

Time and time again.

 

My temple would be

An abundance of loving arms

Mirroring that of the father of the prodigal son

Welcoming all home

Like estranged family

Ready to start anew

 

Oh, how eagerly God welcomes us home

Oh, how he yearns for us

How he pines and bleeds for us

 

But alas, my body is not a temple

This temporal cage does not deserve such recognition

My body is more like a prison of flesh

That my soul battles in

Constantly battling against my own human nature

Drifting me further and further away from the divine

 

May the Lord help marry my nature to my nurture

Help to bring peace to these two duelling entities

My innate sinful inclination

Versus

My holy burning aspiration

Only in you, Lord, will I find

Harmony and wholeness in this fatal human condition

 

For this I know:

Your Grace is sufficient,

Your Love is enough.

No Greater Love

When seeking solace, I sit in solitude

Sufficed alone by the timeless, the biblical, the true

Surrendered, wholly , I follow the call of a heart pursued;

 

For this Love, it leaps through the lines,

Your presence, it penetrates my pain,

Your call, it brought me to these rhymes;

 

And, overwhelmed, undeserving, of this Love so true.

By your Grace alone do I live through;

With these tears, baptismal, I awe at this great gift of You.