Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Agape With Joy (or Faith's Sojourn)


I thought this was going to be a roughly 3-stanza poem, maybe 4.
 But each stanza seemed to pour out another
until the Hallelujah climax! 🎵🙏

Nature keeps eyes agape with wonder!
God keeps faith agape with Truth!
And lest we forget, it is God in nature too!

John 1:3
Through him all things were made; 
without him nothing was made that has been made.

Agape with wonder, faith reveres
God’s dominion, scorned by a foe
Fraught with opinion’s pomp and show
Distorting the order of fears
That dash the piers where mercies flow

How false the gods of carnal man
Perched on a fickle pedestal
That death assuredly will fell
What then, without the cross to span
The gap between Heaven and hell

How can we hear if none will preach
The power of the Living Word
Able to train, correct and teach
To bridge the intangible breach
Between the sinner and his Lord

Wonder is but faith’s shadow cast
Beneath the Gates of Paradise
What waits when death opens our eyes
And today’s Day of grace is past
Man’s noblest thought can but surmise

Timeless, the duty God demands
Of we prone to be puffed with pride
The Bridegroom still charges His Bride
‘To fear God and keep His commands’
To test grand boasts with Self denied

Pray, we remember in our youth
The Creator, before we say
We find no pleasure in God’s Way
And disregard life-saving truth
As to sin’s death-traps we fall prey

Since Jesus walked upon this earth
Centuries rise and fall like waves
Across a world stubbled with graves
Yet held in Hope’s Womb of rebirth
Because the name of Jesus saves

Agape with wonder, we profess
God’s faithfulness, steadfast and true
As we cling to His promises
‘I will not leave you comfortless
For I will come to you’

This is the day the Lord has made
The praise of mortal to employ
The foundation that has been laid
Is Jesus Christ. the debt He paid
Leaves faith's sojourn agape with joy

© Janet Martin

Inspired in part by the poem below...

The Over-Heart
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892)

“For of Him, and through Him
 and to Him are all things, 
to whom be glory forever.”

ABOVE, below, in sky and sod,
In leaf and spar, in star and man,
Well might the wise Athenian scan
The geometric signs of God,
The measured order of His plan. 

And India’s mystics sang aright
Of the One Life pervading all,—
One Being’s tidal rise and fall
In soul and form, in sound and sight,—
Eternal outflow and recall. 

God is: and man in guilt and fear
The central fact of Nature owns;
Kneels, trembling, by his altar-stones,
And darkly dreams the ghastly smear
Of blood appeases and atones. 

Guilt shapes the Terror: deep within
The human heart the secret lies
Of all the hideous deities;
And, painted on a ground of sin,
The fabled gods of torment rise! 

And what is He? The ripe grain nods,
The sweet dews fall, the sweet flowers blow;
But darker signs His presence show:
The earthquake and the storm are God’s,
And good and evil interflow. 

O hearts of love! O souls that turn
Like sunflowers to the pure and best!
To you the truth is manifest:
For they the mind of Christ discern
Who lean like John upon His breast! 

In him of whom the sibyl told,
For whom the prophet’s harp was toned,
Whose need the sage and magian owned,
The loving heart of God behold,
The hope for which the ages groaned! 

Fade, pomp of dreadful imagery
Wherewith mankind have deified
Their hate, and selfishness, and pride!
Let the scared dreamer wake to see
The Christ of Nazareth at his side! 

What doth that holy Guide require?
No rite of pain, nor gift of blood,
But man a kindly brotherhood,
Looking, where duty is desire,
To Him, the beautiful and good. 

Gone be the faithlessness of fear,
And let the pitying heaven’s sweet rain
Wash out the altar’s bloody stain;
The law of Hatred disappear,
The law of Love alone remain. 

How fall the idols false and grim!
And lo! their hideous wreck above
The emblems of the Lamb and Dove!
Man turns from God, not God from him;
And guilt, in suffering, whispers Love! 

The world sits at the feet of Christ,
Unknowing, blind, and unconsoled;
It yet shall touch His garment’s fold,
And feel the heavenly Alchemist
Transform its very dust to gold. 

The theme befitting angel tongues
Beyond a mortal’s scope has grown.
O heart of mine! with reverence own
The fulness which to it belongs,
And trust the unknown for the known.


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