Poetry

Lectionary Poetry – 5th Sunday After Epiphany (Year B)

With the dawn of a new church year, we have launched a new feature on our website, a weekly post of poetry that resonates with the lectionary readings for that week (Revised Common Lectionary).

 
 

*** Revised Common Lectionary ***

Lectionary Reading: Mark 1:29-39

 
 

CLASSIC POEM:

The Recovery
Thomas Traherne

I
To see us but receive, is such a sight
As makes His treasures infinite!
Because His goodness doth possess
In us, His own, and our own Blessedness.
Yea more, His love doth take delight
To make our glory infinite;
Our blessedness to see
Is even to the Deity
A Beatific vision! He attains
His Ends while we enjoy. In us He reigns.

II
For God enjoy’d is all His End.
Himself He then doth comprehend
When He is blessed, magnified,
Extoll’d, exalted, prais’d, and glorified,
Honor’d, esteem’d, belov’d, enjoy’d,
Admired, sanctified, obeyed,
That is received. For He
Doth place His whole felicity
In that: who is despised and defied,
Undeified almost if once denied.

III
In all His works, in all His ways,
We must His glory see and praise;
And since our pleasure is the end,
We must His goodness, and His love attend.
If we despise His glorious works,
Such sin and mischief in it lurks
That they are all made vain;
And this is even endless pain
To Him that sees it: Whose diviner grief
Is hereupon (ah me!) without relief.

IV
We please His goodness that receive:
Refusers Him of all bereave.
As bridegrooms know full well that build
A palace for their bride. It will not yield
Any delight to him at all
If she for whom he made the hall
Refuse to dwell in it,
Or plainly scorn the benefit.
Her act that’s woo’d yields more delight and pleasure
If she receives, than all the pile of treasure.
V
But we have hands, and lips, and eyes,
And hearts and souls can sacrifice;
And souls themselves are made in vain
If we our evil stubbornness retain.
Affections, praises, are the things
For which He gave us all those springs;
They are the very fruits
Of all those trees and roots,
The fruits and ends of all His great endeavours,
Which He abolisheth whoever severs.

VI
‘Tis not alone a lively sense,
A clear and quick intelligence,
A free, profound, and full esteem;
Tho’ these elixirs all and ends do seem:
But gratitude, thanksgiving, praise,
A heart returned for all those joys,
These are the things admired,
These are the things by Him desired:
These are the nectar and the quintessence,
The cream and flower that most affect His sense.

VII
The voluntary act whereby
These are repaid is in His eye
More precious than the very sky.
All gold and silver is but empty dross,
Rubies and sapphires are but loss,
The very sun, and stars and seas
Far less His spirit please:
One voluntary act of love
Far more delightful to His soul doth prove,
And is above all these as far as love.

*** This poem is in the public domain, 
  and may be read in a live-streamed worship service.
 
 
CONTEMPORARY POEM:

Through the Gate
Malcolm Guite

SNIPPET:

Begin the song exactly where you are
For where you are contains where you have been
And holds the vision of your final sphere

And do not fear the memory of sin;
There is a light that heals, and, where it falls,
Transfigures and redeems the darkest stain

READ THE FULL POEM ]

 
 

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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


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