Daily Archives: December 3, 2020

In God’s Word I Will Rejoice: A Response to Psalm 56

Psalm 56 is another psalm in which the psalmist frankly confesses his distress and yet, in spite of it all is able to discern and take comfort in God’s presence through his Word:

In God’s word I will rejoice: in the Lord’s word will I comfort me.Yea, in God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.

This moment of renewed trust in the midst of distress was very much a the heart of my personal response in my poem, but I was also deeply moved by verse 8 in the psalm, which discerns how God himself knows and understands what we are going through: “Thou tellest my flittings; put my tears into thy bottle: are not these things noted in thy book?”

If the psalmist felt these things about God’s abiding Word and his compassion, even before the coming of Christ, how much deeper is our assurance, who know that the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us!

These poems will all be gathered together and published on January 30th under the title David’s Crown. I am just working on the proofs now and there is already an amazon page for the book if you wish to pre-order it Here

As always you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button.

LVI Miserere mei, Deus
 
Assured once more that goodness will prevail,
I praise you for your Word, and trust in you,
Take up my part in the unfinished tale
 
Of Jesus’ risen life, once more renew
My little role within the coming kingdom.
And though I am afraid Lord, keep me true,
 
Keep me from giving in, and from the thraldom
Of all this present darkness, from its slave
Mentality and weariness. Your wisdom
 
Glimmers in me still, sustain and save
Me in your love. You know too well my fears,
My fretful flittings back and forth. Oh lave
 
And bathe me in your cleansing love, that tears
Themselves might be a balm, until the day
Of our salvation dawns, and Christ appears.

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Annunciation by John Donne

Annunciation by Linda Richardson

Annunciation by Linda Richardson

The poem I have chosen for December 3rd in my Advent Anthology from Canterbury Press Waiting on the Word, is The Annunciation by John Donne, and once again it is accompanied by a beautiful illustration from the book of responses to these poems by Linda Richardson. She writes:

The imagery of The Annunciation is richly grounded in our Western consciousness. It is always a challenge for an artist to invent something new but I kept within the tradition, painting the girl and the angel. Mary is sitting on the floor clutching her shawl around her in an entirely human reaction to an incomprehensible encounter. The angel’s hand reaches from its heavenly page on the right into Mary’s world, the page on the left. I made the journal in a book about interior design and there was a small reptile printed on the page. I kept this in the painting and you will see it just below Mary. I included it as a nod to the traditional imagery of Mary with her foot on the serpent’s head alluding to the prophecy of the coming of the Messiah, the ‘seed of the woman’, who will crush the ancient serpent. (Genesis 3)The quality of the paper is very poor and later I painted the image again, this time on canvas. In this painting neither the angel or the girl are seen. I wonder if this image speaks more powerfully to the spirit as it hints at emptiness, emptiness of the womb and the emptiness of our spirits as we wait to receive the gift of God.

Lao Tze says that it is a pot’s emptiness that makes the vessel useful, a room’s emptiness that allows us to inhabit it. And I wonder if it reminds you of Jesus Beatitude, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit...’ It is not our fullness, our cleverness or our horde of knowledge that gain us the kingdom, but our poverty.

Linda's second painting

Linda’s second painting

You can hear me read this poem by clicking on the title or the play button and find a short reflective essay on this poem in Waiting on the Word, which is now also available on Kindle

Annunciation

Salvation to all that will is nigh;

That All, which always is all everywhere,

Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,

Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,

Lo! faithful Virgin, yields Himself to lie

In prison, in thy womb; and though He there

Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He’ll wear,

Taken from thence, flesh, which death’s force may try.

Ere by the spheres time was created thou

Wast in His mind, who is thy Son, and Brother;

Whom thou conceivest, conceived; yea, thou art now

Thy Maker’s maker, and thy Father’s mother,

Thou hast light in dark, and shutt’st in little room

Immensity, cloister’d in thy dear womb.

If you would like to encourage and support this blog, you might like, on occasion, (not every time of course!) to pop in and buy me a cup of coffee. Clicking on this banner will take you to a page where you can do so, if you wish. But please do not feel any obligation!

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Filed under christianity, imagination