Note to My Readers: from mid-June to mid-August (6/18 - 8/20), I will be taking a summer break from posting new articles for my Thursday and Friday slots. This will only affect my Thursday series on the global growth of Christianity, and my Friday series, the "Theological Bestiary" of birds, both of which will resume in late August. During the summer, I'll be dusting off some of my best essays from the first few years of this blog (a decade ago), as well as my verse play "Thus Ends the World," and re-posting them in the Thursday and Friday slots. All other weekdays will continue to feature new material throughout the summer.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fire in My Bones

I'm on vacation for part of this week, so I'm going to post an old poem and add more to my poem about the Church of the East when I get back. Here's a poem I wrote in 2006, describing (in somewhat hyperbolic grandiosity) the sense of being a person called toward ministry, and of the expectation that God could do anything through a man who was wholly committed to him.


Fire in My Bones


He has made of me the whirlwind,
And the beggar in the streets—
The ragged, raging madman
Who calls men to believe.
Up from the wilderness,
From the desolate cave of endless wealth,
The discovery of all things new—
Up from the empty, violent waste
He sought me—now brimming with delight,
The fiery fullness of gentle valor.
Unyielding and cold I was plunged into the flames,
And now He draws me out again—
White with fire, red with heat,
And soft enough to pierce
A hardened world’s heart.
The hammer-blows reshape me now,
Smashing me, loving me,
Turning me in hands that are not mine,
But which bear my wounds for me.
A sword from the wilderness,
A hammer from the waste,
Here from this desert I return
To plant the flag in Ariel’s barren shrine.
The arrowed wings of falcon-flight
Bear me to the sky, and there I loose
My violent, joyous cry, and dive…
Plunging through the stormy zephyrs
Of my Master’s love
Until I break through the slate-gray
Ceiling of the sky
And see that beautiful, verdant land beneath me,
Crying for the unveiling of the sons of God.
It was He who taught me in the wasteland,
He who forged this bright and restless steel,
He who gave me wings to fly.
Like the burning phoenix, I am reborn,
With fire in my bones…
And the world will never be the same.
He gave me the wisdom that made me mad,
And taught me the laughter of the heavenly fool,
The endless tears of the ancient sage.
He has made of me the whirlwind,
And the beggar in the streets—
The ragged, raging madman
Who calls men to believe.
 

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