Poetry

Lectionary Poetry – Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost (Year C)

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:
Luke 14:25-33

 
 

CLASSIC POEM:

The Cross
George Herbert

What is this strange and uncouth thing?
To make me sigh, and seek, and faint, and die,
Until I had some place, where I might sing,
And serve thee; and not only I,
But all my wealth, and family might combine
To set thy honour up, as our design.
And then when after much delay,
Much wrestling, many a combate, this dear end,
So much desired, is giv’n, to take away
My power to serve thee; to unbend
All my abilities, my designs confound,
And lay my threat’nings bleeding on the ground.
One ague dwelleth in my bones,
Another in my soul (the memory
What I would do for thee, if once my groans
Could be allowed for harmoniy):
I am in all a weak disabled thing,
Save in the sight thereof, where strength doth sting.
Besides, things sort not to my will,
Ev’n when my will doth study thy renown:
Thou turnest th’ edge of all things on me still,
Taking me up to throw me down:
So that, ev’n when my hopes seem to be sped,
I am to grief alive, to them as dead.
To have my aim, and yet to be
Farther from it than when I bent my bow;
To make my hopes my torture, and the fee
Of all my woes another woe,
Is in the midst of delicates to need,
And ev’n in Paradise to be a weed.
Ah my dear Father, ease my smart!
These contrarieties crush me: these cross actions
Do wind a rope about, and cut my heart:
And yet since these thy contradictions
Are properly a cross felt by thy Son,
With but four words, my words, Thy will be done.

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

 
 

CONTEMPORARY POEM:

Simon the Cyrenian Speaks
Countee Cullen

SNIPPET:

He never spoke a word to me,
And yet He called my name;

[ 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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