January 21, 2013

Peace Offering

Posted in Bridegroom, Epiphany, Marriage, Sanctification, Thankfulness, The Church, The Eucharist, Water of Life at 12:12 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

Long days ago when sacrifice made conflict cease,
The people brought a perfect offering to kill
And then consumed the sacred flesh and grain in peace.
Communing with both God and man, they ate their fill.

God to His holy people grace and mercy showed.
His goodness showered bounty unconfined
Where in the temple blood and water freely flowed
To purify them soul and body, heart and mind.

Long days ago stone water jars in Cana stood
In silent witness that the people must be purified.
The guests regaled themselves with wine and food,
Quite unaware the groom would soon be mortified.

The news was grim: the wedding wine was failing fast,
And powerless, he sought in vain to find a remedy.
The old wine spent, the celebration could not last.
How could his bride forgive such insufficiency?

But then the Great I AM said “Let there be” again:
From stony jars, now purified themselves, flowed better wine.
The feast thus rescued, grateful bride and groom attain
Your better feast in latter days on which to dine.

For from the site of Your sufficient sacrifice
Water and wine now flow to cleanse our hearts of stone.
Our peace is made in You, whose death has paid the price.
The Better Groom directs His feast from Heaven’s throne.

Copyright © 2013 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


The Gospel for The Third Sunday after Epiphany (or the Second after, depending on the lectionary that your parish follows) is the beautiful story from John 2 about the wedding in Cana. So much, so very much, is demonstrated in this miracle, but this time the concept that captivated me was that of better wine. I think we miss the point if we just see the surface truth that this wine was tastier than what had been served during the earlier part of the feast. It seems also to be a narrative demonstration of the concepts found in Hebrews 1, where we read that our Lord was better than the prophets and better than the angels. Purifying water flows in baptism, to replace the blood of circumcision, and the Eucharist of bread and wine supersede the Passover Lamb.

I also took some liberties by parallelling the wedding feast with the feast that would follow the Peace Offering. They are not the same thing, I know, but I think in both we see a beautiful picture of the Eucharist, where our peace with God and man is celebrated. Technically, the purpose of the Peace Offering was to invoke God’s blessing, but that could not happen unless Atonement had been made so that conflict would cease. In Christ, the Perfect Lamb, all the sacrifices are fulfilled and all their purposes achieved.


Started on The Second Sunday after The Epiphany, 2013, and completed the next day, 21 January 2013.

January 11, 2013

All for the Bride

Posted in Atonement, Bridegroom, Eastertide, Epiphany, Hope, Redeemer, Sheep, Shepherd, The Church, Water of Life tagged , , at 9:29 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

He lay down with a stone under his head
And in his sleep to heaven’s gate was led.
Then Jacob traveled east to Laban’s land.
Arriving there, he met the shepherd band.
He saw sweet Rachel leading thirsty sheep;
Her gentle beauty caused his heart to leap.

The shepherds would have waited for the rest,
But Jacob saw the purpose of his quest.
So by himself he rolled away the stone,
Securing her whom he would call his own.
He freed life-giving water for the herd
And won a bride by honoring his word.

Another stone was rolled away that day
When Jesus proved He was not Satan’s prey.
Now on Christ’s Bride all blessings He bestows,
And for the Shepherd’s flock pure water flows.
His tomb appeared deserted, but it served
To swallow up the death that we deserved.

Copyright © 2013 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


The resource for the first two stanzas is Genesis 29, with parallels drawn to the Gospel accounts of the the Lord and His Resurrection. The significance for the First Sunday after the Epiphany is the willingness of Rachel to be about the business of her family, and the parallels between Jacob and Jesus as the bride’s champion.


Started on 1 January 2013 with this idea: “His tomb was empty only for a while, for it has swallowed up our death.” As I began to research the idea of rolling away a stone, I was both amazed and pleased to find another story of a stone being rolled away.


January 1, 2013

The Traveler

Posted in Bridegroom, Hope, The Church at 11:48 am by Teresa Roberts Johnson

I tried to forge ahead along the rocky road,
But my spirits fell with every feeble stride.
The more I raised my pace, the more my progress slowed.
And growing tired, I searched for somewhere safe to hide.

As I abandoned hope, another traveler appeared.
Her joy and confidence soon took me by surprise.
Why were her steps so sure along a road uncleared?
How could she view this path with such courageous eyes?

She greeted me with kindness I had never known
And though not weary sat down to commune with me.
“Why do you struggle so? Why is your strength o’erthrown?
Oh, wait, I see the problem and will set you free.”

“You have one foot lodged in the quicksand of the past,
And burdened thus you’ll never get to higher ground.
Throw off regrets; accept the Savior’s yoke at last.
Allow your path with grace and mercy to be crowned.”

She pulled me up and bade me join her happy ranks.
That’s when I realized that she was not alone.
A multitude of rescued travelers offered thanks
For one more soul the Bride of Christ could call His own.

Copyright © 2013 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


Again, not a deep poem needing intense explanation. This is my love song to the Church, which has been my lifeline more than once. One point that should be obvious is that the Church should be out seeking weary travelers, not just sitting in an ivory tower. That is the significance of the title.


On 29 September 2012 I jotted down the phrase “Living with one foot in the quicksand of the past” and identified this as the definition of regret. I’m happy to say this is my first poem of the new year. May God grant His Church the joy and courage to bind up many brokenhearted in 2013 and beyond.

November 4, 2012

Bride’s Room

Posted in Advent, Bridegroom, Holy Spirit, Lent, Sanctification, Spiritual Warfare, The Trinity tagged , , at 2:38 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

Comb out her matted hair and wipe her face.
Then wash her hands and cleanse her filthy feet.
Becalm her restless soul; fill her with grace.
Give her fine wine to drink and bread to eat.
Take every spot and wrinkle from her dress,
And beautify her feet with shoes of peace.
Strengthen her heart; increase her righteousness.
Shield her with faith, and every fear release.
Spirit of God, take this unworthy Bride,
Transform her thoughts and thus renew her mind.
Be thou her comfort; never leave her side.
Teach her all truth, or else she will be blind.
Prepare her for the coming of the Groom,
Who in His Father’s house prepares her room.

Copyright © 2012 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


This morning we celebrated the Feast of All Saints at the parish I attend. The sermon was about heaven, and one of the passages that the priest expounded was John 14:2, where Christ assures His disciples that although He has to leave them, their separation will not be forever, and that He will not only be waiting for them but will also have a special place prepared for them. I started thinking about how wonderful it is to have a Lord who will prepare a place for His Bride in heaven and who has sent His Spirit to prepare us in the meantime.

At that point, the image of a Bride’s Room came to mind, that lovely spot in any church or wedding chapel where brides are curled and swirled and pearled, to make them beautiful for their special day. The Holy Spirit does for us in a spiritual sense exactly the kinds of things that take place in a Bride’s Room because being sanctified is the process of being made ready for our Groom. Those are the ideas that unfold in the first 10 lines of the poem using various images from Scripture, but especially two from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

  1. Ephesians 6:14-16, where St. Paul lays out the spiritual armor that prepares us for the battles we will endure until that day when all tears are wiped from our eyes.
  2. Ephesians 5:25-28, where St. Paul delineates the connection between marriage and the relationship that Christ has with His Church.

There are also references to Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 16:13; and any verses that talk about the Eucharist, for can there be sanctification if we neglect the Body and Blood?


On the Feast of All Saints, I always think about my loved ones who are in heaven, but today in particular my father was on my mind. He went to heaven 33 years ago today, and I still miss him. But I take comfort in knowing that our Lord had a place prepared for Daddy and that I will someday see them both. And even now we are knit together in that holy fellowship which includes everyone whom Christ’s blood has redeemed. I prefer to think of 4 November 1979 as the day my father stopped dying. We are all born dying, and only when we reach Heaven’s shores are we safe forever more from the ravages of decay. No moth, no rust, and nothing that can cause corruption. In heaven, there is only life and light. By God’s grace, I can bear anything here because I know that is what awaits me there.

May 23, 2012

Holy Fire

Posted in Bridegroom, Holy Spirit, Moses, Obedience, Pentecost, Sanctification tagged , , at 11:01 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

In fire the LORD came down, and awe
Engulfed the people, flesh and blood and bone.
And then His prophet waited for the Law
To be inscribed upon the brittle stone.
And they, though called His kingdom and His priests,
Could not ascend to Sinai’s lofty peak.
And so they stayed and danced among the feasts,
Forsaking covenant, a new god they did seek.
But Moses interceded for their crimes,
And they were spared from death in ancient times.

In latter days in one accord they prayed,
Christ’s faithful servants, gathered at His will.
So waiting for His promised gift, they stayed.
By now they knew His Word He would fulfill.
Though He was gone, His bride was not alone,
He sent God’s mighty breath for comfort kind,
Gave hearts of flesh in place of brittle stone,
Inscribed the Law upon their heart and mind.
With fire the Spirit of the LORD made them
A living sacrifice, and holy unto Him.

Copyright © 2012 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


Finished on the Wednesday of Ascensiontide, May 23, 2012

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