July 15, 2017

Moneychanger

Posted in Judas, Liturgical Calendar, Maundy Thursday at 11:06 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

Oh, stood you there as moneychangers fled,
And did your pious glare increase their dread?
As they sought refuge from His holy wrath,
Pray, did you salvage coins in the aftermath?
Sly keeper of the funds, how carefully
You counted silver and spent frugally!
Was yours the voice objecting to the price
Of bread to change the wilderness to paradise?
You cringed when fragrant oil was freely poured
To anoint the blessed feet of Christ the Lord.
You feigned concern for souls who live in dearth,
While reckoning upon the spikenard’s worth.
Then in your final pact to fill your purse,
You sold the Maker of the Universe.

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


Scriptural context:

Mark 11:14-16

Mark 6:35-38

Matthew 26:6-16

 

 

March 31, 2015

You, Judas

Posted in Holy Week, Judas, Maundy Thursday, The Eucharist tagged , , , at 8:17 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

You saw Him turn the water into wine,
Saw crowds who followed Him sit down to dine
On loaves and fishes freely blessed and given,
Requiring that no money from your purse be riven.
A fish produced a shekel for His tax.
Each of His followers for nothing lacks.
Though at His call you left your livelihood,
From His hand you were given every good.
But, keeper of the money bag, your eyes
Could not from wealth of this world ever rise.
Blessings mistaken for the realm itself
Decay and tarnish, cease to be real wealth.
His Kingdom—so much more than coins and bread—
Escaped your grasp, and doom fell on your head.

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


John 2:1-11

John 6

Matthew 17:26-27

John 12:4-6

John 13

Genesis 3:15

May 28, 2013

Peace Meal

Posted in Darkness, David, Incarnation, Maundy Thursday, Moses, Redeemer, Resurrection, Son of God, Son of Man, Word tagged , , , , , at 11:23 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

Piecemeal the plan unfolded from creation to the Cross:
Through Abraham and Moses sacrifices showed the cost.
Then David served as king, anticipating Jesus’ reign,
But kings who followed spoiled the sacred, making it profane.
And time and time again the prophets preached the truth of God
To those who spoke of justice but whose hearts were hiding fraud.
Then the worst, the years of silence with no prophet, priest or king;
No word from God to kindle hope, though darkness loomed foreboding.
Until an angel broke the silence to proclaim Immanuel
In whom all offices were gathered in one Man to dwell:
The Word of God and Prophet bold, who was the Truth and Way,
To pierce the darkness, He was Light and brought us endless day.
As God with man, the Son of Man, both Sacrifice and Priest,
King David’s greater Son whose righteousness will never cease.
He lived and died and lives again, His people’s wounds to heal.
And now enthroned, He is the Host who serves the great Peace Meal.

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


This is another sweeping summary of the story of redemption. The underlying concept is that only in Christ is found all three offices: Prophet, Priest, and King. Only in Him are all the pieces and threads brought together in a perfect whole.


A couple of weeks ago I was giving a devotional about the Eucharist at choir practice, and I called it the Peace Meal. In the back of my head, the homonym “piecemeal” started rattling around, and this poem is the result.

March 22, 2013

Something for the Feast

Posted in Holy Week, Lamb of God, Liturgical Calendar, Maundy Thursday, Redeemer, Spiritual Warfare, Suffering Servant, Tempter tagged , , at 6:44 am by Teresa Roberts Johnson

With them you walked and closely held the purse,
The cunning one so trusted, yet so cursed.
Grave countenance to cover evil plans,
Imagining the coins in your hands,
You ate the bread, then lifted up your heel
To crush the One who offered you the meal.
Yes, quickly go into the dark of night
To make your deal; betray the One True Light.
For if you change your mind, the world is lost.
No other sacrifice can pay the cost.
Go, sell the perfect Lamb to the chief priest,
Obtaining what is needed for the Feast.
As your companions thought, your deeds secured
Provision for the poor, who had endured
The terrors of the one whose path you chose.
His plans the God of Heaven to oppose
Came to fruition on the bloody cross,
While deeper plans unraveled all his power.
He won and lost it all in that same hour.
There in the presence of our greatest foe
The feast was set and blessings overflow.

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


As I get ready to enter Holy Week this year, I am more aware than ever of the spiritual warfare that is captured so poignantly in St. John’s account of our Lord’s final hours. I keep going back to John 13 because one sentence captivates me. It is when our Lord says “Now is the Son of Man glorified.” Before the cross? Before the empty tomb? Before His victorious ascension and re-enthronement? It is astounding to think that the spiritual warfare had already been won in the giving of the Feast. His heart was so set on obedience that He could declare victory before it had happened in time because it had already happened in eternity. He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

But Judas’ part in all this is where this poem dwells. It was not easy to write, for there is a sense of dread that I could so easily fall into the same trap that ensnared Judas. May God protect and defend His people from our own dark hearts.

Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. (John 13:27-30)

February 7, 2012

Bitter Herbs

Posted in Eastertide, Hope, Lent, Maundy Thursday, Sanctification, Suffering Servant, The Eucharist at 10:03 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

Thou, God’s Lamb, our Passover art,
And from Thy side deliverance flows;
Yea, Thy dread wounds did death impart
New life, for in Thee we arose.
Now from Thy side a river pours
To cleanse Thine own from every stain,
From every evil God abhors:
It was for this the Lamb was slain.
Now Thou dost give us bread and wine,
And perfect rest that naught disturbs,
For Thou has made us wholly Thine
And banned for aye the bitter herbs.

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


There has to be a reason that the meal sacrament of the New Covenant does not include either the meat of a lamb or the bitter herbs that were required for the original Passover, the meal sacrament of the old covenant. The death of the Lamb was always intended to end the bloody sacrifices of the temple economy, and with the death of death, the bitterness of our lives is rolled back with the stone at Jesus tomb.

That does not mean that we will not suffer in this life, and sometimes suffer acutely. No, what it means is that our suffering has a purpose and a goal, and it will not last forever: it has an end and an end. Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we know for a fact that the dead are brought to life. Through the ascension of Jesus Christ, we know for a fact that there is somewhere other than here, somewhere that the bitterness and brokenness of this sad earth cannot reach. That is the truth in which we live, if we will lift up our eyes and look at the hills of God.

For our light affliction, which is for the moment, worketh for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.  (II Corinthians 4:17-20)


I find the date recorded for this poem as January 20, 2008. Ten short days later, my son James would rise above this land of bitter herbs. His light afflictions are over, and he rests in the eternal arms. I praise the God who made him, who saved him, and whose mercies took him out of his sufferings, which were many, and whose love took him out of a land where joys were few.


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