April is Poetry Month – Good Friday

Why is this called “Good” Friday when the most holy, righteous, perfect man who ever lived was cruelly killed?  It is “good” because he voluntarily gave His life so that you and I might live.  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour!

I have a poem and a hymn today to help us meditate on His sacrifice:

 

The Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot

East Coker, IV

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we fell
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam’s, curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.

The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses and the smoke is briars.

The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food;
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood–
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died;
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ, my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all. –Isaac Watts

 

 

The joy of the Lord is my strength

This morning as I was driving to church, I was listening to this song based on Nehemiah 8:10:

“Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

The joy of the Lord will be my strength
I will not falter, I will not faint
He is my Shepherd, I am not afraid
The joy of the Lord is my strength

The joy of the Lord
The joy of the Lord
The joy of the Lord is my strength

The joy of the Lord will be my strength
He will uphold me all of my days
I am surrounded by mercy and grace
And the joy of the Lord is my strength

The joy of the Lord
The joy of the Lord
The joy of the Lord is my strength

The joy of the Lord will be my strength
And I will not waiver, walking by faith
He will be strong to deliver me safe
And the joy of the Lord is my strength

The joy of the Lord
The joy of the Lord
The joy of the Lord is my strength

–Twila Paris

No matter what is occurring in our lives, whether the circumstances are good or difficult, whether there is sorrow or joy, pain or health, weakness or wholeness, the Lord Himself is our Joy and our Strength in the midst of every minute of each day.  That is something for which we can praise Him and be thankful.