August 26, 2019

One Body

Posted in Christmastide, Incarnation, Word at 1:10 am by Teresa Roberts Johnson

In the beginning God created man,
Who tried to uncreate himself again.
Communion severed and the image cracked,
But grace would pave the pathway back.
For every springtime brought the quickening rain
To resurrect life-giving grape and grain.
In fields and vineyards waked from wintery dread
Man’s sweat produced rich wine and bread
Until the Son of God became the Son of Man,
The pinnacle of God’s redemptive plan.
The supper offered by God’s perfect Son
Restores our kinship with the Holy One.
His blood poured out, his body offered thus,
That we may dwell in him and he in us.

Copyright © 2019 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


From the Prayer of Oblation:

And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee; humbly beseeching thee, that we, and all partakers of the Holy Communion, may be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and be made one body with him, that he may dwell in us and we in him.

December 31, 2018

Emmanuel

Posted in Christmastide, Incarnation, Word at 4:50 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

The subtle serpent’s silver tongue
Spoke captivating words to make
The hearts of Eve and Adam long
To be as gods, God’s heart to break.
He who supplied them all things good
Came walking in the cool of day
To find them hiding in the wood,
In guilty fear and deep dismay.
Now exiles from the face of God
They toiled and waited for release
Till angels spread the word abroad:
Emmanuel restores God’s peace!
The Word made flesh, and once again
Man walks with God and God with man.

Copyright © 2018 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


My final poem of this calendar year is a product of last Sunday’s Lessons and Carols service. I was struck by the problem/solution aspect of the following verses that were part of the readings:

And they heard the voice of the Lord God, walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel” (which being interpreted is, “God with us”). (Matthew 1:23)

December 20, 2018

Creation Story

Posted in Advent, Atonement, Christmastide, Creation, Creator, Incarnation, Light of the World, Liturgical Calendar, Redeemer, Son of God, Son of Man, The Trinity, Water of Life, Word at 10:24 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

On formless earth consumed by emptiness
Obscured by darkness like a funeral cloak,
The hovering Spirit moved to form and bless,
The quickening Word rang forth and morning broke.

Then day by day, disorder was subdued.
Water and land erupted in activity.
Each new glory was avowed as good
By God the Father in divine decree.

On maiden filled with hope for David’s Son
The Spirit hovered to engender Light,
The promised Seed, and God with man made one.
Creator stooped to heal creation’s blight.

His presence in the Jordan did the waters bless,
And as he rose, the Dove descended there
From heavens open as when angels did confess
Glory to God and peace beyond compare.

Yea, peace to all with whom he is well pleased,
Which at the Jordan was revealed to be
His well-beloved Son who has appeased
The wrath that we deserved and set us free.

Once dead in sin, we live to glorify
The Son who has created us afresh.
Now washed with water by the Spirit nigh,
We please the Father through the Word made flesh.

Copyright © 2018 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


Written in gratitude for the Word who was made flesh and dwelt among us. A blessed Christmas to all.

Genesis 1, Isaiah 11, Isaiah 40, and John 1.

January 13, 2018

A Kingly Gift

Posted in Bread of Life, Epiphany, Herod, Incarnation, King of Kings, Light of the World tagged , , at 7:47 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

Miles and months they trudged across forlorn terrain,
Making their way through desert winds and drenching rain.
Spurred on by prophecy and guided by a light,
They gathered regal gifts and launched into the night.
Like Him, they left their stately home to seek a prize.
They longed to see the King with their own eyes,
To give Him frankincense and worship at His feet,
To lavish gold upon the one true Mercy Seat,
And myrrh, ah yes, the bitter scent of holy worth:
His life and death portrayed in presents for His birth.
They sought the promised King in Herod’s palace grand,
But there they found only a scheming, murderous hand.
He sent them on to Bethlehem, the house of bread,
Where lay the Bread of Life, just as the prophet said.
Returning home without the riches they had brought,
They carried in their hearts the Treasure they had sought.

Copyright © 2018 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


References:

Philippians 2:4-8

Matthew 2:1-12

Isaiah 60

Micah 5:2

November 20, 2017

The Advent of the Law

Posted in Advent, Atonement, Bread of Life, Holy Spirit, Incarnation, Lamb of God, Moses, Redeemer, Sanctification, Son of God, Suffering Servant, The Eucharist tagged , , at 11:12 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

On Sinai, Moses held the perfect heart of God
Inscribed on two smooth stones to testify abroad
God’s Law, carved by His very finger on the stone,
Front and back, to fill them with His Word alone.
But stony human hearts can never perfect be,
And Adam’s ruined children yearned to be set free.
Who can deliver us from Death’s unyielding bands?
The Perfect Lamb with nail scars in His feet and hands,
Whose heart of flesh, pierced through by soldier’s cruel blade,
Poured forth sweet mercy even though He was betrayed.
His holy blood transforms our stony hearts to flesh,
His bread, His holy body, will our souls refresh.
The Advent of the Son of God new life imparts,
And His Spirit writes His law upon our hearts.

Copyright © 2017 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


So many scriptures are distilled in this poem; here are a few of the references:

Exodus 31:18

Exodus 32:15

1 Samuel 17:40

Ezekiel 36:25-27

Jeremiah 31:33

Hebrews 8:10

Hebrews 10:16

 

December 10, 2016

Even So

Posted in Advent, Faith, Hope, Incarnation, Light of the World, Redeemer, Son of God, Spiritual Warfare, Suffering, Suffering Servant tagged at 9:20 am by Teresa Roberts Johnson

Our path meanders through a barren land
Where lowering clouds press in on every side,
With gales so swift that we can hardly stand,
Rain so pervasive that we cannot hide.
Then storms give way to scorching desert heat.
Now parched, we long for mists to calm our thirst
And seek a haven for our weary feet.
Yet though we journey through a land accursed
Despair is not our answer to this plight
For sure and certain hope steadies our gait.
Relentless gloom can never quench the Light.
Unyielding joy belies our sad estate
Because the Son of God who shared our pain
Will come again to heal our every bane.

Copyright © 2016 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


For Advent

November 28, 2015

Drink Offering

Posted in Advent, Atonement, Bread of Life, Incarnation, Lamb of God, Suffering Servant, The Eucharist tagged , , , , at 12:30 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

From the fiery altar in the temple door
Twice daily sacrifice was made from which arose
Sweet savour that was pleasing to the Lord
Who meets His people where His mercy flows.
Tried by fire, the altar sanctified the dead,
And through the death of lambs God’s hand was stayed.
But His thankless children mocked their sovereign Head;
Rebellious, in the wilderness they strayed.
Yet in the fullness of God’s time He sent
Another Sacrifice whose death would end
All types and shadows, for in His first advent
He stooped to tabernacle among sinful men.
The perfect Lamb poured out His sinless blood,
As a drink offering flowing from His riven side
To sanctify the earth with its life-giving flood,
And in His body is the bread of life supplied.

Copyright © 2015 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


Scriptural context:

Exodus 29

John 6:35


I have had the idea of Christ’s blood as the drink offering on my mind for a while, but as Advent has approached, I felt compelled to complete the thought. The poem needs little explanation, but I do want to call one thing to your attention. I have heard many times that because Jesus is the perfect Son of God, He cannot be defiled by touching sickness or death. To the contrary, anyone who touched Him (like the bleeding woman who touched His garment) or whom He touched (like the son of the widow of Nain) became clean and was restored to abundance of life. Similarly, the earth on which His blood was shed was not defiled as it had been by the blood of Abel but sanctified instead.

But as many times as I had read the book of Exodus, I had never noticed this verse, which is a harbinger of His gracious reversal of the curse of sin:

Seven days thou shalt make an atonement for the altar, and sanctify it; and it shall be an altar most holy: whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy. (Exodus 29:37)

I had never considered why the presence of dead animals did not defile the altar. It was because the altar itself made them holy. Praise God for His eternal Son, who sanctifies the whole earth with His glory!

April 4, 2015

To His Mother on Holy Saturday

Posted in Atonement, Darkness, Faith, Holy Saturday, Holy Week, Hope, Incarnation, Resurrection, Suffering, Word tagged , , , , , at 8:12 am by Teresa Roberts Johnson

The Holy One once hidden in your womb
Lies silent in the unforgiving earth.
Your sword-pierced heart is shrouded now in gloom,
As was foretold at His miraculous birth.
As chaos tries to overtake your soul
You dare to hope that all His words were true,
That God’s own Son holds all in His control,
And by His power will the world renew.
Dearest mother of the dearest Son,
Weep now, but not for His demise.
Weep for the sin which has this world undone,
For souls ensnared by the deceiver’s lies.
But your Son by His death has set the captives free,
And at His Word, darkness and death will flee.

Copyright © 2015 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

March 29, 2015

Mercy Seat

Posted in Atonement, Eastertide, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Holy Week, Incarnation, Light of the World, Redeemer, Resurrection, Son of God, Son of Man tagged , , , at 10:46 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

Through centuries, their vigil they maintained,
Their wings o’ershadowing the mercy seat.
Guarding the Tree of Life from desecrating feet
Of interlopers who must be restrained.

When He who dwelt between the cherubim
Shone forth into the weary, war-torn world
They hovered over earth with wings unfurled,
Holy of Holies joined with flesh in Him.

That flesh pierced through, He set His Spirit free,
Cried “It is finished!” with His final breath,
And dying, dealt the fatal blow to Death.
The temple veil was torn at His decree,

And from seclusion glory poured abroad.
The Mercy Seat in silence briefly lay
Until the angel came to roll the stone away.
Releasing from the tomb the Son of God.

Copyright © 2015 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


Exodus 25:17-22

Genesis 3:24

Psalm 80:1

Matthew 27:51

Matthew 28:2

February 28, 2015

A Sonnet of Tearful Hope

Posted in Faith, Family, Grief, Hope, Incarnation, Kingdom, Love, Resurrection, Suffering, Thankfulness, The Eucharist tagged at 4:50 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

When we must leave, we grieve to say goodbye,
Or when we part with others who must go,
If tears flow not, we heave a weighty sigh
To think the miles between us now must grow.
But time and space and every vale or hill
That separates sincere companion souls
Cannot erode the love that binds them still
Nor take the hope that constantly consoles.
Yet hope would be in vain, except for trust
In Him whose tender love surrounds us all.
His life ennobles feeble forms of dust
And reunites them in his banquet hall
In Heaven, where there is an end to grieving;
For it is the place from whence there is no leaving.

Copyright © 2015 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


This poem is dedicated to Bill and Kathy, and to all who have suffered great loss and yet cling to an even greater hope.

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