Monday, December 24, 2012

Nunc Dimittus




Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
You may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
Which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
A light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:25-32 TNIV)

This prayer is known as the Nunc Dimittis, a prayer of completion and supplication for release sung at the end of a service of worship in many traditions. 

The traditional words from older liturgies run this way:

Lord, now lettest Thou Thy Servant depart in peace according to Thy word, for my eyes have seen Thy salvation: which Thou has prepared before the face of all people, a Light to lighten the Gentiles and the Glory of Thy people Israel. Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

I remember this sung at the end of my childhood church service, and it always brought me to a full stop; a moment where I felt a sense of sorrow and confusion. Had I really seen Salvation? 

Think of Simeon, his prayer answered, but possibly in a way un-looked for: a tiny baby is the Messiah?

By his words in the second chapter of Luke, he has seen the completion of years of longing, praying, and pleading to God for the Messiah, the Anointed one: could he then see a glimpse of God’s plan?

Simeon may have been shown more than just deliverance of captive Israel longing for ransom from the Roman Empire. He saw a plan of salvation for all nations, even the Gentiles. No longer would salvation be for the Jews only; but God's Messiah would bring, at last, a deliverance for the whole world.

But how long would that take?

Remember that Jesus’ ministry did not begin until he was at least 30 years old. Remember the shepherds in the fields rejoicing over the birth told to them by a vision of angels?  Were they even still alive when Jesus began healing the sick and restoring sight to the blind.

How hard is it to wait for God’s timing?

Must we go through years and years of struggle and waiting, to have only a moment of bliss on this earth?

Perhaps.

But look at what was accomplished by God coming to earth as a baby. Look at the movement started by a few followers: men and women who took the message of the Risen Lord to the ends of the earth.

This Christmas, let us resolve to help others here on this earth to open their eyes to the world to come, to build God’s kingdom here on earth, like it is in heaven. To share his precious love to the hurt, lost, broken humanity which is all around us. We, as followers of Jesus Christ have already forfeited out lives, so we should strive to live out the call he has placed  before us, and to discern in what way each of us can be “a little Christ” to allow God to fill us with his light and to let it shine. 


Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world which He has created, according to His will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire house of Israel, speedily and soon, and say Amen. May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity. Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded by the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world and say, Amen. May there be abundant peace from heaven and life for us and for all Israel and say, Amen. He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may create peace for us and for all Israel, and say Amen. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rest


First Sunday of Advent, 2012


"Rest" 11" x 14' oil-pastel (c) Lisa Guinther 2012










Rest.

Soft as rain,

The peace from above

            has smoothed my soul,

            cooled my mind.


An unlooked for calm

            Has blended the sharp
            orangyellowred edges,


which now flowinto

soft   green,

                        violet

                                    and deep blue.


At last,

those still waters of

Rest.

"Obedience to God" an essay from "The Greatest Gift: Christmas Devotions from Denver Seminary"


Last year I posted a couple of essays from Denver Seminary’s annual Christmas Devotions that I receive in the mail. This year I am again posting select essays from this devotions book. The first essay that caught my attention was the following written by Dr. Heather Davediuk Gingrich, Associate Professor of Counseling.


December 2
“So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt.” (Matt. 2:14)

“Obedience to God”

Joseph as a remarkable man, but is often relegated to the background in our depictions of the Christmas story. He is always there in the manger scene, but the baby Jesus, his mother Mary, the angels, the shepherds, and the wise men, all seem to be more prominent figures. Yet Joseph is integral to God’s plan for the salvation of humankind.

What kind of person was Joseph? Scripture give some indication of his character and relationship to God. For example, he must have been devastated to find out that his fiancée was pregnant, knowing that he was not the father of the child. His male ego had to have suffered a huge blow. But rather than becoming enraged and retaliating against Mary as other men may have done, “he had in mind to divorce her quietly” because “ he did not want to expose her to public disgrace” (Matt. 1:19)

Although the idea of divorcing Mary was born of compassion, Joseph did not follow through after an angel informed him in a dream that the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was the Messiah, and that he should take Mary home as his wife (Matt. 1:20). Wow! How hard would that message have been to believe? Mary knew that she had not slept with anyone, and had the growing fetus within her body to confirm the angel’s message. But Joseph had to blindly accept that the angle was real and not merely a figment of his imagination, and that the message really was from God. Additionally he had to be willing to face accusations that he had let his lust get the better of  him as well as raise a child who was not his own.

Joseph’s obedience to God continued. When the infant Jesus was in danger of being murdered by Herod, and angel again appeared to Joseph, telling him to escape to Egypt with Jesus and Mary. Without hesitation he got up, gathered his family, and left in the middle of the night (Matt. 2:14). This was a huge move! They left their country, friend, family, and source of income, staying away until Herod died. Later, God spoke to Joseph through angelic messengers in two more dreams, eventually leading them back to Nazareth (Matt. 2:23).

Some of us draw more public attention through our “angelic” singing in choirs and worship teams, or through intelligence or wealth that are reminiscent of the “wise men.” Others are like the shepherds, humble, but managing to be there when something exciting is happening. But may we all strive to be more like Joseph, content to not take center stage, but striving to live in continuing, faithful, obedience to God.

Monday, November 26, 2012

20/20 Hind-sight?




20/20 Hind-sight:

The sin of wallowing in your past life, as if you could re-do it—Rather than rejoicing in the life God has given you Right-Now.




Did God Forgive your past?  Then why not ask him how you should live Right-Now.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Song: "Don't save it all for Christmas"




Just in case you might need a reminder...



Thursday, November 22, 2012

What I am Thankful for

Sunset over the Front Range



Things that I am thankful for:

v Salvation
v Books!!!
v Philosophy
v Being an artist!
v Being a student at CU Boulder.
v Having professors in my life that care about my education.
v Any time I am able to have table fellowship: to share a meal with other people.
v The beauty of the world around me: both the natural world and the beauty I see in the faces around me.

Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable [noble or beautiful], whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think  about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Stained Glass, Deacon Ned, and the "Least of these"


I was fortunate to attend the Evangelical Theological and Philosophical Society's national convention this year in Milwaukee Wisconsin.  The lectures were amazing and enlightening. I felt privileged, listening to some of the world’s foremost Theologians, Biblical scholars and Christian philosophers. It was great to re-connect with friends and see “newer” friends face-to-face.  But that’s not what I’m going to feature in this post.
(c) Lisa Guinther 2012

Across from the Milwaukee Public Library is a beautiful old church.  St James Episcopal church is a late 1800’s era church which once was attended by the worthies of Milwaukee; but now, although apart of the historic register, this church is a fading jewel. But as I came to discover, this is a church with many vital and important ministries. 

I love to explore old churches: for their history, their art, and the amazing people who carry on ministries for the Kingdom of God.
"Blessed are the Pure of Heart"
 Photo (c) Lisa Guinther 2012

The old sanctuary was a revelation.  Contained within the worship area are what appear to me as two sets of Tiffany windows, along with stained glass from studios in Philadelphia, and a couple of windows signed by a studio artist from Boston.  I do suspect the clearstory windows and the alter triptych are from studios in either Great Britain or Germany.

But on the side of the main sanctuary is a plain red door where the homeless of the city come for a hot breakfast Monday through Friday; in fact when I stopped in the first time Friday morning, the men in charge asked me if I wanted a breakfast.  On the other side of the building is another red door that twice a month they give away clothing to the needy. 
Deacon Ned
(c) Lisa Guinther

I walked up the steps to the clothing room and found Deacon Ned who let me into the sanctuary this particular Saturday morning.  I thanked him for letting me in to photograph the windows, told him I turned off the lights and made sure the doors were locked behind me, and then I asked him about the ministries at St. James. 

Go here to the church web-site http://www.stjamesmilwaukee.org/outreach.html

He told me about the breakfast offered, and that the Saturday dinner was the only hot meal in the city.  The clothing giveaway was twice a month, and I watched him take names of the people coming to pick out clothing and hand them their slips, then he began to tell me of the most amazing ministry, one very close to his heart; Indigent burials.

St James Episcopal cares for the last service on this earth for those who have no one; no family, no friends, no one to stand by the grave site at the potter’s field; the burial site for those who cannot afford funeral services.  Deacon Ned told me that before this ministry, people with no next of kin would be collected from the county and placed in “…a cardboard coffin and dumped in a hole.”  He told me of the difficulty of getting this ministry started, but related to me how vital he felt this was to the kingdom of God. St. James began to offer this ministry in 2009 for individuals who are indigent, who die unclaimed by anyone, and whose death would otherwise go unnoticed.

This ministry isn’t always to the poor and homeless, but once the church was notified when a still-born baby was left in a box at the local hospital.  Deacon Ned said “I named the child Michael Gabriel, and we buried him with a teddy bear.”
 
          We need to remember these inner city churches that offer vital but sometimes overlooked ministries to people in need…even in death.  Although our Lord Jesus Christ related in the parable of the Sheep and the Goats what we all know so well “ …Whatever you did for one of the least of these…you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40) but to serve the dead is also serving the Lord.  Remember the ministering women at the tomb.

These once vital congregations have dwindled in the inner city.  These churches were once attended by the influential of the municipalities, but as in many cities the wealthy moved to the suburbs and left their home congregations behind.  Regardless of your thoughts of the state of the so-called liberal “main-line” denominations; there are those who remain faithful to the call of God to a particular church and its moving tide of needy humanity. These men and women stay to continue offering help and solace to those who fall through the ever widening crack (or chasm) of depersonalized governmental aid.

Here is a video of the “Gathering of Southeast Wisconsin” the separate 501c3 that feed the poor in the 4th poorest city in the nation.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

It Is Well With My Soul



Today at church we sang the song “It is Well With My Soul” and I’ve been thinking today of what that means.

The longing for love was what drove me to seek God in the first place.  It’s hard to understand what real love is when you’ve never known it.  I knew that people always let me down, and trying to find love from worthless relationships only ended in pain and abuse. But how can I sing the song “It is Well With My Soul” and mean it?

            Although I went to church as a child, when I started going to church again as a young adult, it was all about the acceptance in a faith community.  The emotional “high” in singing worship songs in “one voice” with a congregation, or in a choir was fun, but my understanding was pretty shallow. I spent time reading my Bible; for that was what one was supposed to do as a Christian.  Then there was all the time spent at Bible studies, hearing what other believed about passages of Scripture, and the importance of learning Bible verses, memorizing them to recite when things went wrong in your day, to be a sort of portable encouragement.

            For years, I claimed to be a Christian, but there really wasn’t any change in me.  I was working so hard trying to please everyone I didn’t have time to change.  Church was ok as long as it didn’t annoy my husband…after all, the churches I went to told me I had to submit to my husband, so pleasing him came first.  But when things got worse for me, and there was no one that seemed to care, I stopped going to church. I figured it was all God’s fault for the troubles in my life.

            But many years later, after much abuse, grief and emptiness, sitting on my sofa alone, I apologized to God.  In other words, I repented.

            At that point I felt nothing, but there must have been some outward change for the next day a co-worker asked me what was different about me, and when I confessed my belief in Jesus to her, my life really began to change. (Love you Tamara!)

            I had been a reader all my life, and of the Bible as well; but it seemed like it all just “made sense” now. All the history, poetry and art came together. I started seeing things with different eyes.  No longer was I looking for love from others, but I was now able to give love, or that I was learning how to let God love others through me.  I was able to explain to others that this book, the Bible, is an integral part of history, and that there really was a Jesus of Nazareth, and historical markers point to an empty tomb, and over 500 eye-witnesses that saw him alive after his horrid crucifixion at the orders of an actual Roman Procurator named Pontius Pilate.

            Church was no longer just a fun hangout on a Sunday morning. It was about worshiping God in thankfulness for the gift of love, salvation, healing and peace. I began to study to understand what the writers of the Bible meant, to understand the history of Christianity, concepts of theology which deepened my faith, and changed how I thought. If all truth is God’s truth, then I needed to do more study and thinking about what I was reading.  So with all of my study and thinking, this led me to study philosophy. Somehow, the “Mustard seed” faith I was given in that gift of grace has begun to grow into a huge tree of learning and knowledge.

            This walk is not an easy one.  I’ve had to sacrifice a lot, but the abundant life I have now is amazing.  I am honored to have remarkable friends, both Christian and non-Christian alike.  And to deepen my understanding of philosophy, I am now surrounded by some truly great professional philosophers who are interested in me learning and growing. It is a true gift from God to be invited to a philosopher’s home, to sit at the dinner table enjoying amazing discussions ranging from world travels,  philosophy of religion, and even symbolic logic, and I am not only allowed to comment, but I feel like my comments are welcomed.

            There has been a lot of darkness and pain in my life, and I feel as if I am finally walking into the light. I don’t know if what I have written here has answered the question; but yes, it is well with my soul.

Why not listen to the story of how the hymn It Is Well With My Soul came to be written.




Sunday, November 4, 2012

Two Poems by Emily Dickinson










#1021


Far from Love the Heavenly Father
Leads the Chosen Child,
Oftener through Realm of Briar
Than the Meadow mild.

Oftener by the Claw of Dragon
Than the Hand of Friend
Guides the Little One predestined
To the Native Land.
c. 1865


#1129

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant-
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lighting to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually 
or every man be blind-
c.1868

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Dogma is the Drama: Dorothy Sayers


I've been a bit busy with classes, but I took the time tonight to share a bit of Dorothy Sayers wit.

Dorothy Sayers essay: “The Dogma is the Drama” from the book the Whimsical Christian (1979, Boston, G.K. Hall & Co.)



“Any Stigma,” said a witty tongue, “will do to beat a dogma”; and the flails of ridicule have been brandished with such energy of late on the threshing floor of controversy that the true seed of the Word has become well-nigh lost amid the whirling of chaff. Christ, in His divine innocence, said to the woman of Samaria, “Ye worship ye know not what” –being apparently under the impression that it might be desirable, on the whole, to know what one was worshiping.  He thus showed himself sadly out of touch with the twentieth-century mind, for the cry today is: “Away with the tedious complexities of dogma—let us have the simple spirit of worship: just worship, no matter of what!”The only drawback to this demand for a generalized and undirected worship is the practical difficulty of arousing any sort of enthusiasm for the worship of nothing in particular.

          It would not perhaps be altogether surprising if, in this nominally Christian country[1], where the Creeds are daily recited, there were a number of people who know all about Christian doctrine and disliked it. It is more startling to discover how many people there are who heartily dislike and despise Christianity without having the faintest notion what it is. If you tell them, they cannot believe you. I do not mean that they cannot believe the doctrine; that would be understandable enough since it takes some believing. I mean that they simply cannot believe that anything so interesting, so exciting, and so dramatic can be the orthodox creed of the Church.

          That this is really the case was made plain to me by the questions asked me, mostly by young men, about my Canterbury play, The Zeal of Thy House. The action of the play involves a dramatic presentation of a few fundamental Christian dogmas – in particular, the application to human affairs of the doctrine of the Incarnation.  That the Church believed Christ to be in any real sense God, or that the eternal word was supposed to be associated in any way with the word of creation; that Christ was held to be at the same time man in any real sense of the word; that the doctrine of the Trinity could be considered to have any relation to fact or any bearing on psychological truth; that the Church considered pride to be sinful, or indeed took notice of any sin beyond the more disreputable sins of the flesh: —all these things were looked upon as astonishing and revolutionary novelties, imported into the faith by the feverish imagination of a playwright.  I protested in vain against this flattering tribute to my powers of invention, referring my inquirers to the creeds, to the gospels, and to the offices of the Church; in insisted that if my play were dramatic it was so, not in spite of the dogma, but because of it—that, in short, the dogma was the drama. The explanation was however, not well received; it was felt that if there were anything attractive in Christian philosophy I must have put it there myself.

          Judging by what my young friends tell me, and also by what is said on the subject in anti-Christian literature written by people who ought to have taken a little trouble to find out what they are attacking before attacking it, I have come to the conclusion that a short examination paper on the Christian religion might be very generally answered as follows:

Q: What does the Church think of God the Father?
A: He is omnipotent and holy. He created the world and imposed on man conditions impossible of fulfillment; he is very angry if these are not carried out. He sometime interferes by means of arbitrary judgments and miracles, distributed with a good deal of favoritism.  He likes to be truckled to and is always ready to pounce on anybody who trips up over a difficulty in the law or is having a bit of fun. He is rather like a dictator, only larger and more arbitrary.
Q: What does the Church think of God the Son?
A: He is in some way to be identified with Jesus of Nazareth.  It was not his fault that the world was made like this, and, unlike God the Father, he is friendly to man and did his best to reconcile man to God (see atonement). He has a good deal of influence with God, and if you want anything done, it is best to apply to him.
Q: What does the Church think of God the Holy Ghost?
A: I don’t know exactly. He was never seen or heard of till Whitsunday [Pentecost]. There is a sin against him that damns you forever, but nobody knows what it is.
Q: What is the doctrine of the trinity?
A: “The Father in incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the whole thing incomprehensible.” Something put in by theologians to make it more difficult—nothing to do with daily life or ethics.
Q: What was Jesus Christ like in real life?
A: he was a good man—so good as to be called the Son of God.  He is to be identified in some way with God the Son (q.v.). He was meek and mild and preached a simple religion of love and pacifism. He had no sense of humor. Anything in the Bible that suggests another side to his character must be an interpolation, or a paradox invented by G.K. Chesterton. If we try to live like him, God the Father will let us off being damned hereafter and only have us tortured in this life instead.
Q: What is meant by the atonement?
A: God wanted to damn everybody, but his vindictive sadism was sated by the crucifixion of his own Son, who was quite innocent, and therefore, a particularly attractive victim.  He now only damns people who don’t follow Christ or who never heard of him.
Q: What does the Church think of sex?
A: God made it necessary to the machinery of the world, and tolerates it, provided the parties (a) are married, and (b) get no pleasure out of it.
Q: What does the Church call sin?
A: Sex (otherwise than as excepted above); getting drunk; saying “damn”; murder; and cruelty to dumb animals; not going to church; most kinds of amusement. “Original sin” means that anything we enjoy doing is wrong.
Q: What is faith?
A: Resolutely shutting your eyes to scientific fact.
Q: What is the human intellect?
A: A barrier to faith.
Q: What are the seven Christian virtues?
A: Respectability; childishness; mental timidity; dullness; sentimentality; censoriousness; and depression of spirits.
Q: Wilt thou be baptized in this faith?
A: No fear!
I cannot help feeling that as statement of Christian orthodoxy, these replies are inadequate, if not misleading. But I also cannot help feeling that they do fairly accurately represent what many people take Christian orthodoxy to be.  Whenever an average Christian is represented in a novel or a play, he is pretty sure to be shown practicing one or all of the Seven Deadly Virtues just enumerated, and I am afraid that this is the impression made by the average Christian upon the world at large.  Perhaps we are not following Christ all the way or in quite the right spirit. We are likely, for example, to be a little sparing of the palms and hosannas.  We are chary of wielding the scourge of small cords, lest we should offend somebody or interfere with trade.  We do not furnish up our wits to disentangle knotty questions about Sunday observance and tribute money, nor hasten to sit at the feet of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions. We pass hastily over disquieting jest about making friends with the mammon of unrighteousness and alarming observations about bringing not peace but a sword; nor do we distinguish ourselves by the graciousness with which we sit at meat with publicans and sinners. Somehow or other, and with the best intentions, we  have shown the world the typical Christian in the likeness of a crashing and rather ill–natured bore—and this in the name of one who assuredly never bored a soul in those thirty–three years during which he passed through the world like a flame.

          Let us, in heaven’s name, drag out the divine drama from under the dreadful accumulation of slipshod thinking and trashy sentiment heaped upon it, and set it on an open stage to startle the world into some sort of vigorous reaction. If the pious are the first to be shocked, so much worse for the pious—others will pass into the kingdom of heaven before them. If all men are offended because of Christ, let them be offended; but where is the sense of their being offended at something that is not Christ and is nothing like him? We do him singularly little honor by watering down his personality till it could not offend a fly. Surely it is not the business of the church to adapt Christ to men, but to adapt men to Christ.

          It is the dogma that is the drama—not beautiful phrases, nor comforting sentiments, nor vague aspirations to loving–kindness and uplift, nor the promise of something nice after death—but the terrifying assertion that the same God who made the world, lived in the world and passed through the grave and gate of death. Show that to the heathen, and they may not believe it; but at least they may realize that here is something that a man might be glad to believe.



         


[1] To clarify, Dorothy Sayers is speaking of England ca: 1947.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thomson


The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson (1859-1907)
Prints by Jeff Hill












Here is Richard Burton reading this poem: You can follow along with his reading.


 
I fled Him, down the nights
and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the
years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine
ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist
of tears
I his form Him, and under running
laughter.

Up visaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed
fears,
From those strong Feet that followed,
followed after.

But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—

“All things betray thee,
Who betrayest Me.”

I pleaded, outlaw-wise,
By many a hearted casement,
curtained red,
Trellised with interwinning
charities;
(For, though I know His love
Who followed,
Yet was I sore adread
Lest, having Him, I must have
naught beside)
But, if one little casement parted
wide,
The gust of His approach would
clash it to:
Fear wist not to evade, as Love wist
to pursue.
Across the margent of the world
I fled,
And troubled the gold gateways
of the stars,
Smiting for shelter of their
 clanged bars:
Fretted to dulcet jars
And silvern chatter the pale ports
o’ the moon.

I said to Dawn: Be sudden—
To Eve: Be soon;
With thy young skiey blossoms
heap me over
From this tremendous Lover—
Float thy vague veil about me,
Lest He see!
I tempted all His servitors, but to
find
My own betrayal in their constancy,
In faith to Him their fickleness to
me,
Their traitorous trueness, and their
 loyal deceit.
To all swift things for swiftness did
I sue;
Clung to the whistling mane of
Every wind.

But whether they swept, smoothly
fleet,
The long savannahs of the blue;
Or whether, Thunder-driven,
They clanged his chariot ‘thwart a
heaven,
Plashy with flying lightnings round
the spurn o’ their feet:—
Fear wist not to evade as Love wist
to pursue.
Still with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
 
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
Came on the following feet,
And a voice above their beat—

“Naught shelters thee,
Who wilt not shelter Me.”

I sought no more that after which
          I strayed
          In face of man or maid;
But still within the little children’s
          Eyes
          Seems something,
          Something that replies,
They at least are for me, surely for
          me!

I turned me to them very wistfully;
But just as their young eyes grew
          sudden fair
          With dawning answers there,
Their angel plucked them from me
          by the hair.

“Come then, ye other children,
          Nature’s –share
With me” (said I) “your delicate
          fellowship;
          Let me greet you lip to lip,
Let me twine with you caresses,
          Wantoning
With our Lady-Mother’s vagrant
          tresses,
          Banqueting
With her in her wind-walled palace,
Underneath her azured daȉs,
Quaffing, as your taintless way is,
          From a chalice
Lucent-weeping out of the
          Dayspring,”
          so it was done”
I in their delicate fellowship was
          one—
Drew the bold of Nature’s secrecies.
 
I knew all the swift importing
On the willful face of skies;
I knew how the clouds arise
Spumèd of the wild sea-snortings;
          All that’s born or dies
Rose and drooped with; made them
          shapers
Of mine own moods, or wailful or
          divine;
With them joyed and was bereaven.

I was heavy with the even,
When she lit her glimmering tapers
Round the day’s dead sanctities.

I laughed in the morning’s eyes.

I triumphed and I saddened with all
          weather,
Heaven and I wept together,
And its sweet tears were salt with mortal mine;
Against the red throb of its sunset-
          heart
I laid my own to beat,
And share commingling heat;
But not by that, by that, was eased
          my human smart.

In vain my tears were wet
          on Heaven’s grey cheek.

For ah! we know not what each
          other says,
          These things and I;
          In sound I speak—
Their sound is but their stir,
          They speak by silences.         

Nature, poor stepdame, cannot slake
          my drouth;
          Let her, if she would owe me,
Drop yon blue bosom-veil of sky,
          and show me
The breasts o’her tenderness:
Never did any mild of hers
          Once bless
My thirsting mouth.

Nigh and nigh
Draws the chase,
With unpeterbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy;
          And past those noised Feet
          A Voice comes yet more fleet—
“Lo! Naught contents thee,
          Who content’st not me.”      

Naked I wait Thy Love’s uplifted
stroke!

My harness piece by piece
          Thou hast hewn from me,
          And smittenme to my knee;
          I am defenceless utterly.

          I slept, methihks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me
          Stripped in sleep.
In the rash lustihead of my young
          Powers,
          I shook the pillaring hours
And pulled my life upon me;
          Grimed with smears,
I stand amid the dust o’the
mounded years—
My mangled youth lies dead
          Beneath the heap.

My days have crackled and gone up
          in smoke,
Have puffed and burst as sun-stars
          on a stream.
          Yea, faileth now even dream
The dreamer, and the lute the
          lutanist;
Even the linked fantasies,
          In whose blossomy twist
I swing the earth a trinket at my
          wrist,         
Are yielding; cords of all to weak
          Account
For earth with heavy griefs
          so overplussed.
          Ah! is Thy love indeed
A wee, albeit an amaranthine
          weed,
Suffering no flowers except its own
          to mount?
Ah! must—
Designer infinite!—
Ah! must Thou char the wood ere
          Thou canst limn with it?

My freshness spent ist wavering
          shower i’ the dust;
And now my heart is as a broken
          Fount,
Wherein tear-drippings stagnate,
          spilt down ever
From the dank thoughts that shiver
Upon the sighful branches of my
          mind.

          Such is; what is to be?
The pulp so bitter, how shall taste
          the rind?

I dimly guess what Time in mists
          confounds;
Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds
From the hid battlements
          of Eternity;
Those shaken mists a space unsettle,
          Then
Round the half-glimpsèd turrets
          Slowly wash again.
          But not ere him who
summoneth
          I first have seen, enwound
With glooming robes purpureal,
          cypress-crowned;
His name I know, and what his
          trumpet saith.

Whether man’s heart or life it be
          Which yields
          Thee harvest,
          Must Thy harvest-fields
          Be dunged with rotten death?

Now of that long pursuit
Comes on at hand the bruit;
That Voice is round me
          Like a bursting sea:
          “And is thy earth so marred,
          Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee,
          For thou fliest Me!
          Strange, piteous, futile thing!
Where fore should any set thee love
          apart?
Seeing none but I makes much
          of naught”
          (He said),
“And human love needs human
          Meriting:
          How hast thou merited—
Of all man’s clotted clay the dingiest
          clot?

          “Alack, thou knowest not
How little worthy of any love
          thou art!
Whom wilt thou find to love
          ignoble thee,
          Save Me, save only me?

All which I took from thee
          I did but take,
          Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in
          My arms,
          All with thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee
          at home:
Rise, clasp My hand,
          and come!”

Halts by me that footfall:
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched
          caressingly?

“Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
          I am He Whom thou sleekest!
Thou dravest love from thee,
          Who dravest Me.”