December 27, 2015

Angliverse on TNAA

Posted in Holy Spirit, Noah, The Church, The Trinity, Water of Life at 2:58 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

Merry Christmas! An Angliverse poem was featured on The North American Anglican today.

Edit: Since TNAA is having some technical difficulties as of October 8, 2016, I’ll repost the text of the poem here. I’ll leave the link for when the site has been restored Baptism

Baptism

The dove surveyed the vast expanse of sea,
Yet found no branch on which to rest her feet.
The world lay dead, covered in water thoroughly,
Until God’s solemn judgment was complete.
Then she, by bringing back one olive leaf,
Preached grace and mercy as the floods withdrew.
At God’s word, Noah stepped out in belief;
The task of earth-replenishing began anew.
Then in due time the Dove engulfed a virgin maid
To plant in her the holy Olive Tree
For whom the faithful ones had daily prayed.
In whom God’s grace and truth the world would see.
At Pentecost the Dove released a deluge on the Church.
The glory of God now flows throughout the earth.

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

 

December 24, 2013

Sonnet to Bethlehem

Posted in Christmastide, David, Incarnation, Shepherd, Son of God, The Eucharist, The Trinity, Word at 4:45 pm by Teresa Roberts Johnson

House of Bread, be chancel to the Bread of Life tonight,
Receive the blessed body of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Enfold the Word proceeding from the Father up on high,
And tune your soul to hear the sounds that fill the starry sky
As shepherds hear the angel tell of peace and God’s good will
Brought by the Shepherd who protects His sheep from every ill.
The second Adam, sent to bear the burden of our toils,
With bloody brow our bread will win and take the Victor’s spoils.
Man does not live by bread alone, but by the Word of God,
Yet here the Bread and Word converge, and every heart is awed.
Birthplace of David, bend the knee to David’s greater Son,
For in Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead three in one.
O Bethlehem, once lowly town, now rise to greet your King.
Naomi’s night of grief has passed, and now hosannas ring.

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


This morning I was dwelling on the idea of Christ as the Bread of Life, born in Bethlehem, which in Hebrew means “House of Bread.” I had written about eight lines of the poem before I had to leave for noon mass, but I was struggling to find a conclusion. So when the priest mentioned the Hebrew name of Bethlehem in his sermon, I came home with renewed zeal to finish the poem today.

The imagery of bread pervades the Scriptures, and so it also pervades the poem, even when it is not as obvious as it is in the first few lines. The reference to David should bring to mind the story of his taking the shewbread (“the bread of the presence”) for his starving soldiers, an act which Jesus links with His disciples’ gleaning on the Sabbath. The concept of gleaning should bring to mind Naomi and Ruth, who would have died from lack of bread had it not been for the generosity of Boaz, who was a type of Christ.

Just as physical life is sustained by food, for which bread is used as a synecdoche (sorry, non-literary folks), our spiritual life is sustained by Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life, in the Eucharist:

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. (John 6:32-35)

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.

December 3, 2011

Advent Anthem

Posted in Advent, Holy Spirit, Son of God, The Trinity at 11:18 am by Teresa Roberts Johnson

In contests of the gods before the Son appeared
How could men know that only One was to be feared?
In days of devastation large, when mountains shook
And rivers ran with blood, where could men look?
Was there a sovereign Lord who reigned on high?
Did Someone watch with love, and how could He draw nigh?
When kingdoms flourish for a while, then fall
To rise no more, how can we hear the constant call
Transcending earthly kings and all dominions strong?
Oh listen, pilgrim, to the Right, which shall undo all wrong.
The changeless presence of the great I AM.
The witness of the righteous, risen Lamb.
The Holy Dove by whom the Church is knit.
Hear now the Trinity: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Copyright © 2011 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)


One of my favorite Old Testament accounts is found in I Samuel 5, where we read that the Philistines have “captured” the Ark of the Covenant. Of course, they would not have had any success if God Himself had not allowed them to do so, but they thought their lifeless, bloodless god had won the victory. What I love most about the Advent season is that it is our opportunity every year to herald the truth that God has come, that He is coming, and that He reigns supreme! Transcendent and immanent, He is God alone, and He has taken human form to set us free.

But I also love the sense of anticipation that the Advent season brings to the heart of the Christian. More than any other liturgical season, it emphasizes the constant longing that is our lot as pilgrims and strangers on this earth. We live in the “already but not yet” time. We are redeemed but have not fully been brought into all that it means to be redeemed. Yet the presence of the Trinity provides the meaning and purpose, the beginning and end, the Alpha and Omega not just to our personal lives but to all of human existence. For although He has broken into human history, He lives above it; otherwise, He could not save us. Blessed be His name!


This is a new work, written today, 3 December 2011. I started thinking about this concept about three weeks ago as I began to prepare for Advent, which in itself is a time of preparation. It occurred to me that in ancient history, each nation would claim that its god was supreme. But in all cases, the god was blissfully exempt from all harm (that’s why it was such an affront for God to tump over Dagon and cause the statue to appear to be worshiping the Ark and then to have pieces broken off!). Our God, who is Love, transferred all danger to His only Son, so that we might be saved. What other god would do that? That’s right, there IS no other god!

A blessed Advent to you, as we wait patiently for the coming of the King of all kings and Lord of all lords.


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