Each week we carefully curate a collection of poems that resonate with the lectionary readings for that week (Narrative Lectionary and Revised Common Lectionary).
*** Revised Common Lectionary ***
Lectionary Reading: Mark 1:9-15
A Spiritual Song,
Concerning Our Holy Baptism
To Jordan when our Lord had gone,
His Father’s pleasure willing,
He took his baptism of St. John,
His work and charge fulfilling;
Therein he did appoint a bath
To wash us from defilement,
And there to drown that cruel Death
In his blood of assoilment:
’Twas no less than a new life.
Let all then hear and right receive
The baptism of the Father;
And learn what Christians must believe,
Shunning where heretics gather.
Water indeed, not water mere
Therein can work his pleasure:
His holy Word is also there
With Spirit rich, unmeasured:
He is the one baptizer.
This clearly showed He by his word
Of open recognition;
The Father’s voice men plainly heard
At Jordan claim his mission.
God said, This is my own dear Son
In whom I am well contented;
To you I send him, every one–
That all may hear I have sent him,
And follow what he teaches.
Also God’s Son himself here stands
In human presentation;
On him the Holy Ghost descends
In dove-like shape and fashion,
That not a doubt should ever rise
That, when we are baptized,
All the three Persons do baptize;
And they be recognized
Themselves come to dwell with us.
Christ to his scholars says: Go forth,
Give to all men acquaintance
That lost in sin lies the whole earth,
And must turn to repentance.
Believe, and be baptized, and then
Each man is blest for ever;
From that hour he’s a new-born man,
And thenceforth, dying never,
The kingdom shall inherit.
But who in this grace puts no faith
Abides in sin, life misses;
He is condemned to endless death
Deep down in hell’s abysses.
Nothing avails his righteousness,
And lost are all his merits;
Sin original holds its place–
The sin which he inherits;
And help himself he cannot.
The eye but water doth behold
As from man’s hand it floweth;
But inward faith the power untold
Of Jesus Christ’s blood knoweth:
Faith sees therein a red flood roll,
With Christ’s blood dyed and blended,
Which hurt of every kind makes whole,
Whether from Adam heired
Or by ourselves committed.
*** This poem is in the public domain,
and may be read in a live-streamed worship service.
Stones Into Bread
The Fountain thirsts, the Bread is hungry here
The Light is dark, the Word without a voice.
When darkness speaks it seems so light and clear.
Now He must dare, with us, to make a choice.
In a distended belly’s cruel curve
He feels the famine of the ones who lose
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com
Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith
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