Her unassuming way
Was no indicator of the
Strength within; a heart
As tender as a dove and
Strong as steel.
It didn’t matter how unclean
You were, how insecure,
How needy or how far you’d
With a simple, unconscious gesture,
She would extend her wings,
Exposing the softest down,
And shelter you in warm comfort
Beneath her protective pinions.
Her open heart was
Her mother’s touch, and
No matter whose child you
Were, she could, and would
Be your mother too.
As the hull leaned,
Under windward strain –
Perilously exposing its deck,
Like an open mouth
Ready to gulp the ocean –
She climbed the mainmast
(Although how, she did not know),
And once atop leaned out
Leeward, facing the storm
With all its blustering rage.
As she hung there, cruciform,
The hull righted and all souls
Aboard were rescued from the
As she maintained her position,
Painfully exposed, she heard
On the wind a silent whisper,
“Hold fast to righteousness
And do not be afraid,
For this storm turns the tide,
And clears away the dead wood
And all that is not held fast;
This lifeboat will not succumb,
For you are its righting, and in
The morning’s calm you will
Lead my people ashore to
Rebuild a new land, patterned
On my kingdom.”
Be formed in me,
Thou genesis word,
Thou Logos which wert
And art, forevermore;
Thou Word spoken
In the beginning,
And now being heard
For such a time as this.
Form me around thee
Living Word made flesh;
Once, then, as Immanuel
And again, now, in thy
Expand my spirit
Through thine own;
A new wineskin transformed
From the old, lain down.
Then pour thyself forth
Into me that I might overflow
With thee, and with creation
All, proclaim thy glories —
Thy cross and resurrection —
As an emissary shaped, living,
By thy genesis word.
To be awake,
To be alert,
To be alive,
Blessed are those whose kingdom is heaven,
For they are poor in spirit.
Blessed are those who have been comforted,
For they have mourned.
Blessed are those who have inherited the earth,
For they are meek.
Blessed are those who are satisfied,
For they have been hungry and thirsty for righteousness.
Blessed are those who have received mercy,
For they are merciful.
Blessed are those who have seen God,
For they are pure in heart.
Blessed are those who are called sons of God,
For they are peacemakers.
Blessed are those whose kingdom is heaven,
For they are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
Rejoice and be glad, all those whose reward in heaven is great,
For you have been persecuted and evilly and falsely spoken against,
For so it is with all prophets.
My life is full.
I have witnessed the birth of my child,
And held the hand of my dying mother.
I have had good health and vitality,
And suffered from injury and disease.
I have known comfort and success,
And endured sleepless nights of worry.
I have achieved outstanding results,
And failed at often simple tests.
I have loved and been loved,
And been betrayed and hurt others.
I have given and received wisdom,
And practised and dispensed folly.
I have been overwhelmed by joy,
And flooded with despair.
My life is full,
And there is more to come,
And although I don’t know what
Today or tomorrow may bring,
The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy,
But I choose to live life in all its fullness.
Do you see me?
Do you know the depths
Of my suffering?
Do you feel my pain,
Or simply see it from afar?
Am I really yours?
Do I belong to you?
Are you really mine?
Is this suffering a cup
From which you too have drunk?
Show me how to be fully surrendered
To your will, that I may be fully your son.
I thought I’d lost you.
Why did I not recognise you,
Even though you said you would be here?
Why can I not cling to you?
As you call me by my name
It is enough, and yet I know the wounds
Are still there, and the fear of the loss
Of you overwhelmed me.
Why do I doubt your love,
Your undivided attention towards me,
When you look me in the eye and say my name
Like no one else can?
Help me find my wounds in your wounds,
That by your wounds I may be healed.
You have taken upon yourself all my iniquities;
All the ways I have acted out of my wounds.
If you forgive me, then I know I am forgiven.
If you forgive me, I know I can forgive those
Who wounded me, and by my wounds
(bound with your wounds)
Release healing, renewal and resurrection power.
Today, in my suffering, you declare I will be with you
In paradise; help me find that place of peace.
And help me to be that place for others.
As the Cowboy strode into town
That cool March night,
Did he know his destination would be,
In fact, a rendezvous with destiny?
Did he imagine that a fancy-dress frolic
In Manchester’s Fab Café would end
The night as a fateful flirtation?
As the Lady boarded her Magic bus,
Persuaded by her friends to soirée,
Did she anticipate her fate as she made
A last minute decision to stay out late?
Was she prepared for her heart to skip a beat
As, with signature ‘pistol’ dance moves,
The cowboy wooed her in his booted feet?
As they make their vows today, committing
Their futures to each other, would they say,
With hindsight, that it was love at first sight?
Surely they would answer, “yes” and “oh yeah!”
Because the love they feel now was also
Felt then, even as a spark, or a seed.
The spark fanned into a passioned flame,
And the seed has grown in their hearts
Into a tree of life, with hope that one day
There might be a nest amongst its branches.
Maybe it was destiny; maybe it was fate
That their destination would be a
Wedding day at this little old train station.
They may never know the reason why
They arrived at their good fortune, but
Today that cowboy’s hitched to his bride,
And Amanda’s got a man to hug and kiss.
And as they tie the knot, forsaking all others,
Our Daniel completes the tale for us of
“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”.
For Dan and Amanda
on their Wedding Day, 19th May 2017
The prayers have been offered;
The sermons delivered;
The books written;
The hymns (and ditties) sung.
– oh the fabulous, fathomless poetry –
Has been mastered and subdued;
Bent and wrought to express
A beauty inexpressible.
Few preachers can dive the depths to uncover such a fresh pearl;
Fewer poets can trap time and compress space into such a vivid homily.
Yet words cannot contain the landscapes of eternity,
Or the unspoken language of soul and Spirit.
For even this poem stands, forlorn, at the edge
Of a greater expanse of sublime orchestration.
Where symphony and melody,
Intimacy and ecstasy
In perfect harmony,
Arraying themselves in a garment
Of pure, shimmering praise.
And in that Heavenly throng
Of praise unending,
(of the Lamb who too was slain),
He has no time or space for words:
He composes for Angels now.
From your beloved friend (and student). March 2017
If it is your will
That I drink this
Cup of suffering
Then let it not pass by.
I trust you Abba knowing
That what you offer me
Is not the suffering itself
But the life of joy it delivers.
Therefore with this joy
Set out before me, may I
Endure in this labour
Knowing that your love
(A prayer for Allyn, my dear friend and brother)