Bible and other references for this poem: Matthew 26:36–46, Mark 14:32–42. Luke 22:39–46.
Also: Genesis 22:15–19, John 1:1–3, John 11:42, John 17:1–5, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien.
I’ve written these poems starting from a blank slate, meaning the end result often surprises me. This one… this one really surprised me. In short, I started out wanting to write about Maundy Thursday, but ended up writing something peaceful set on Holy Saturday. I also cried a lot while I was writing it (but in a good way, I think?)
I wanted to reflect on Jesus’s agency and will, when he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, the night before his crucifixion. He was so overwhelmed with sorrow, knowing what was about to happen, that he asked God (the Father) if it was possible for him not to suffer. But, having prayed this, also prayed that the Father’s will be done, not his own.
The account is in Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42 and Luke 22:39-46.
Continue reading The Longest Sabbath (a poem reflecting on Jesus’s prayer: “Not my will but yours”)
Let’s talk about priesthood.
You may have noticed that the ‘Faith in Grey Places’ logo is a staff with leaves and flowers. It’s a reference to the staff of the first Israelite priest, Aaron, who was Moses’s brother. The story goes that when Aaron’s position was challenged, God made Aaron’s staff bud and produce almonds.
The role of the priest resonated with me when I first fully read the Old Testament. I was filled with a sense of awe for God and an aspiration for right living. And I couldn’t get over it.
My reaction was unusual. Many Christians are discomforted by the animal sacrifices and laws about ritual purity. The whole system seems built on exclusion, rather than inclusion. Plus, a number of priests in the Old Testament were thoroughly corrupt.
Don’t get me wrong, these concerns are valid. But, for whatever reason, they aren’t what I took from the text. Instead, I saw a God who deeply desired intimacy with his people, and mapped out paths to make that possible.
Continue reading Christmas 2020: Week 3, Day 1: Priesthood
I never used to address God as ‘Father’.
Instead I would just say ‘Lord’ or ‘God.’ It didn’t matter whether I was addressing Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, or…
OK – Christians have this belief that God exists in three persons. They’re separate, but they’re one. And therefore not separate. It gets confusing very quickly.
But we believe “the Trinity” is the best way we have of describing a being who is beyond comprehension.
And it explains things that we see in the Bible.
For example: Mary was told she would become pregnant with Jesus, who would be called the son of God. When she asked how, she was told the Holy Spirit would come upon her. And the power of the Most High would overshadow her.
Three persons, one God.
Continue reading Christmas 2020: Week 2, Day 7: Mystery