Saturday, January 13, 2007

Ecce Homo! 

You stand there, Lord, looking small, forlorn
Before the haughty Roman judge,
Beneath the twisted crown of thorn
Bloody and beaten, Your face a smudge

Ecce Homo!

Looking at the gathered crowd
As You lift your bloodied head
You see them crying, hungry, loud
longing to see You dead.

Ecce Homo!

No self-pity touches you there,
Standing beaten, carrier of sin,
But love and grief at what you bear,
To save their souls within.

Ecce Homo!

What depth of care under bloody crown
Shows softly in your eyes,
Not cry or blow or anger's frown
Can hide the love that within you lies.

Ecce Homo!

Lord, I am not worthy to meet your eyes,
The love that lingers there for me
Have I not, like Peter, told my lies,
Then longed to hide where you could not see?

Ecce Homo!

Or like Judas, have I not betrayed you?
Reached out my hand for some fool's gold
In the dark of my heart, by what I chose to do,
With love grown empty, life grown cold.

Ecce Homo!

And yet here you stand with loving heart
pouring yourself out like a drink offering,
letting the cup be drained, your death the start
of an undeserved rebirth, a unexpected spring.

Ecce Homo!

Help me to know the truth you show,
The ways of love deeper than the sea,
God's gift of life that I might grow
Into the child you want me to be.

Ecce Homo!

Susan E. Stone, 2007

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Let Me Stand Beneath Your Cross 

Between the midnight of those who reach out in hate
Shedding blood on the streets in God's holy name,
And those who see religion as the source of pain and disgrace
And see life on this Earth as just a meaningless game,
Let me stand here beneath Your cross, Lord,
And know that Your ways and theirs just are not the same.

Between the easy answer of it's all about me,
And the anger that lets frightened souls die
As offerings to hate that say "I'm stronger than you,"
As others choose nothingness as an end to the cry,
Let me stand here beneath Your cross, Lord,
And see in Your light the blackness of Satan's dark lie.

Let me stand here beneath Your cross, Lord,
that place touched in such an unusual way,
God walking as man beneath the Sun He made,
Where You stand to welcome us, to heal our hearts of clay,
Let me stand here beneath Your cross, Lord,
When all else is darkness, You are my day.

Susan E. Stone, 2007

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Your Children 

Weeping and wailing over the world
Cries of loss that pierce the night,
Despair and grief piling high upon anger
Oil of death waiting to ignite --
Let us see it as You, O we Your children, Lord --
Rip the veils from our sight.

In a world that shows so clearly
The heart of darkness that painfully beats
There right beneath the surface,
In our homes and in our streets
Show us how to walk as Your children, Lord,
Bearers of Your light.

Only Your light can shatter the midnight,
Only Your touch can soften the hate,
Without Your voice to soothe the anger,
There is no escape from the evil fate
That awaits your erring children, Lord.
Keep us in your sight!

In this hard world that sin has wrought
A hard world growing ever darker,
May we who call You Master see
That what You taught us is the marker
And help us be Your children, Lord
Your hands in the night.

Susan E. Stone, 2007

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Sermon in a Loaf of Bread 

Flour white as winter snow,
White as purity, you know,
Take six cups measured well,
And keep some more at hand to go.

Yeast that makes soft bread to grow,
Mix with water warm, you know,
Two cups will do to start the brew,
And next, two spoons of sugar go.

Take some salt, a spoon or so,
Salt gives savour, I'm sure you know,
Preserves the good like holy life,
Into the flour it must go.

Oil, two spoons, will so
Add richness to the bread, you know,
Richness to remind us of God's loving touch,
Into the yeast water it must go.

Half the flour, watch it flow
Into the mixing bowl you know,
Remember how God rewards the giving,
As you watch it whitely go.

Now comes the yeast to make it grow,
Yeast lets the air in, you know,
Like God's grace to a sin-sick world,
Into half the flour it must go.

With spoon and then with hand also
Stir flour and yeast. You know
How hard hearts are made soft through strife
So push the dough where it must go.

Add more flour to make it grow,
Like children growing up you know,
Soon all the flour gets added in,
To your kneeding board the dough must go.

Now you get to beat the dough,
Kneed it long, for you must know
That bread, like hearts, needs lots of work.
To the rising bowl it must go.

Now the hard part - watch that dough
double in size with time, you know.
Taking it early will make it heavy.
Like the prodigal's Father, let it go.

Double it twice, then shape that dough,
Like God letting us live our lives, you know,
He gives us freedom to suffer and joy,
Then pushes us where he wants us to go.

In your pans let your bread loaves grow,
As God wants us shaped his way, you know.
As they rise one last time, heat the oven hot,
Then into bake they do go.

Lovely the smell of bread from dough
Like growth in holiness, you know.
You know they will be done when they thump true,
Then to their proper end they'll go!

Susan E. Stone, 2007

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