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: Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
I have it now:
But where to act, that none shall know,
Where I shall have no cause to fear
An eye or ear,
What man will show?
If nights, and shades, and secret rooms,
Silent as tombs,
Will nor conceal nor assent to
My dark designs, what shall I do?
Man I can bribe, and woman will
Consent to any gainful ill,
But these dumb creatures are so true,
No gold nor gifts can them subdue.
Hedges have ears , said the old sooth ,
And ev’ry bush is somethings booth;
This cautious fools mistake, and fear
Nothing but man, when ambush’d there.
But I (Alas!)
Was shown one day in a strange glass
That busie commerce kept between
God and his Creatures, though unseen.
They hear, see, speak,
And into loud discoveries break,
As loud as blood. Not that God needs
Intelligence, whose spirit feeds
All things with life, before whose eyes,
Hell and all hearts stark naked lyes.
But he that judgeth as he hears,
He that accuseth none, so steers
His righteous course, that though he knows
All that man doth, conceals or shows,
Yet will not he by his own light
(Though both all-seeing and all right,)
Condemn men; but will try them by
A process, which ev’n mans own eye
Must needs acknowledge to be just.
Hence sand and dust
Are shak’d for witnesses, and stones
Which some think dead, shall all at once
With one attesting voice detect
Those secret sins we least suspect
For know, wilde men, that when you erre
Each thing turns Scribe and Register,
And in obedience to his Lord,
Doth your most private sins record.
The Law delivered to the Jews ,
Who promis’d much, but did refuse
Performance, will for that same deed
Against them by a stone proceed;
Whose substance, though ’tis hard enough,
Will prove their hearts more stiff and tuff.
But now, since God on himself took
What all mankinde could never brook,
If any (for he all invites)
His easie yoke rejects or slights,
The Gospel then (for ’tis his word
And not himself shall judge the world)
Will by loose Dust that man arraign,
As one then dust more vile and vain.
*** This poem is in the public domain,
and may be read in a live-streamed worship service.
The Watchman of Ephraim
For my cosmos is contracted.
My first world slips from my hands.
Tell the people, my prophet Hosea,
that I loved her more than love,
and she gave not love in return.
Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith
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