A message for those who are frightened, worried, and wondering what on earth God is doing.
When hope has been pared back
until it is the thinnest of twig
and the powers, vile and uncaring
have captured almost everything that is good
or of beauty;
when sweetness cloys and overwhelms,
and relief may no longer be found;
when justice has become elusive,
truth, a refugee,
and compassion, never particularly popular,
has become decidedly unfashionable;
when fellowship fails,
loneliness wails, and prayer
is met with silence;
it is at times such as these
that these pictures dance with life.
The new Jerusalem with the Lamb
shining his glorious light upon the nations;
the river of the water of life,
springing from God’s throne
and flowing crystal clear through the city;
the tree of life with its healing leaves;
and the worship,
ah, the worship!
They say that when the angel
messenger from God
disturbs the water in the pool
the healing comes.
The odds are long for a cripple;
for nearly forty years I waited,
coming daily more from habit than hope.
Flawed comrades, we sprawled,
We swapped yarns; pushing time
around our plates like an double serving
of an unwelcome vegetable.
We waited for a swirl or ripple;
the word to start the race.
Salvation: the prize for the fortunate few
who make the splash
ahead of their companions.
In many despairing interludes
I would ponder the cruel lottery
that God plays with the wretched.
The pool was a long shot,
but we knew no other game;
my place was among the desperate,
waiting my turn to throw the dice.
Struggling alone, I sometimes got wet,
but never healed.
On that Sabbath day,
when the Galilean showed up,
asking his questions
and breaking the rules,
he troubled more than a pool of water.
There he was, offering odds
to cheer the heart of any mug punter.
I looked up, hardly daring to believe,
did my sums, knew I couldn’t lose;