The 25th of January is the day the Church keeps the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. However often told or re-told, it is still an astonishing story. That Saul, the implacable enemy of Christianity, who came against the faith ‘breathing threats and slaughter’, should be chosen by God to be Christianity’s greatest proponant and apostle is just the first of a series of dazzling and life-changing paradoxes that flow from Paul’s writing. At the heart of these is the revelation of God’s sheer grace; finding the lost, loving the violent into light, and working everything through the very weakness of those who love him. Here’s a sonnet celebrating just a little of what I glimpse in the great Apostle.
This and my other sonets for the Christian year are published together by Canterbury Press as Sounding the Seasons; seventy sonnets for the Christian Year.’ You can get this book in the UK by ordering it from your local bookshop, or via Amazon.
As always you can hear the poem by clicking n the ‘play’ button if it appears, or on the title of the poem.
An enemy whom God has made a friend,
A righteous man discounting righteousness,
Last to believe and first for God to send,
He found the fountain in the wilderness.
Thrown to the ground and raised at the same moment,
A prisoner who set his captors free,
A naked man with love his only garment,
A blinded man who helped the world to see,
A Jew who had been perfect in the law,
Blesses the flesh of every other race
And helps them see what the apostles saw;
The glory of the lord in Jesus’ face.
Strong in his weakness, joyful in his pains,
And bound by love, he freed us from our chains.
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5 responses to “Apostle! -a sonnet for St. Paul”
Great intro, wonderful tumble of paradoxes, love it. I won’t try to pronounce the name of the museum the image is from though!
Excellent, sir!! 🙂 I can’t always read your poems (I am legally blind – which just means I can’t see well enough to do much damage) but I can always listen to you read them!!! God bless your today!! just a fan
Thanks Elizabeth I’m glad the recordings are proving so helpful and that you are enjoying the poems
it’s great that someone can enjoy by just listening – I always like listening to the audio too 🙂