Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lenten Prayer #42

As storms roll in heaps of threatening bands,
Gloomy darkness spreads out over the lands,
An aching wonder and the awe of dread,
No one beside Him as yet understands.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Lenten Prayer #41

The night of death You broke into morning,
Satan's mockery became his scorning,
The angels rejoicing, held high their hands,
Shouting praises to Thy name, adorning.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lenten Prayer #40

Let all the world call upon Thy strong name,
Let sinners come and be cleansed of their shame,
Tears of joy replace the tears of mourning,
Songs of praise ring to pronounce Thy great fame!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Lenten Prayer #39

Nearest to the heart Thou settest Thy mark,
Oe'r seas of death in Your bosom, our bark,
No sting, no pow'r oe'r, hath evil a claim,
Thy dawning light hath swallowéd the dark.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lenten Prayer #38

I struggle, O God, though Your Deed is done,
Your conquest oft seems unmade and undone,
And in me a filth lingers like the dark,
Of a world groaning in birth pangs begun.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lenten Prayer #37

Through a flood of blood creation reformed,
Blossomed in new life willingly conformed,
Into express image of Heaven's Son,
When graves cracked open and the heavens stormed.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lenten Prayer #36

The creation groans with great cries of pain,
The howling din sounds dissonant refrain,
The music of life languishes deformed,
'Til resounding of harmony again.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

That Soul of Nature's Becoming

What follows is a scene of nature sketched in prose.

A delicate breath moves through the wood; respiring leaves and limbs, enervated by night's numbing darkness, to turn their multiform faces East toward the dawn's singular visage, and removes the thick layers of mist, sweet slumber's pillows and sheets. A spring-fed brook percolates its morning draughts from which all the living creatures of the wood would receive their nourishment, a common cup for a common herd, compacting their bodies in sacred peace; still, until breaking their fast, they must fast break into the rhythmic rituals of the chase; predators and prey, dancing with the light of day in and through the canopies and canvasses of forest and glade. Osmosis of solar streams o'erflood the frozen ichors of grey-green giants whose limbs loom and legs weave the warp and woof of the wood. What to human eyes imperceptible occurs, stirs in a blink of Rip van Winkle sleep the whole concatenation of organic society's hustling and bustling; a heady swimming of tides o'erbrimming in the indefatigable, tedious rigamarole; that soul of nature's becoming.

Lenten Prayer #35

Sold off by the one who carried the purse,
His life for the world, did life reimburse,
The cost was His glory; glory His gain;
Paradox refrain, every note and verse.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lenten Prayer #34

Crushed within by the weight of human sin,
Spat upon, ridiculed by raucous din,
Christ received our shame, becoming a curse,
That in His death, life should arise again.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lenten Prayer #33

Our Fallen Lord at the desperate hour,
Left once fair faces of his people dour,
Then despair did grip fallen hearts of men,
And Satan cast a victory glower.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Lenten Prayer #32

All men of the world took share in the blame,
But only One Man could bear all the shame,
Dying and living once more by His pow'r,
That all might worship on hearing His Name.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lenten Prayer #31

The Stars of heaven shall fall down streaming,
As their wails of anguish cry out, screaming,
Fell demons fallen into molten flame,
Christ's Holy Light in all-brightness beaming.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lenten Prayer #30

Under curse, the world desires a cure,
From the filth of death to be remade pure,
When the Light, breaking through darkness, gleaming,
Transforming men's souls by Beauty's allure.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lenten Prayers #24 - #29

Let us in Thy dear presence always dwell,
That our hearts and our minds be always well,
Our desires be overflowing in Thee,
Our confidence growing, all fears to quell.

When eyes have not the strength by which to see,
Let our blindness become humility,
Guard, guide, wake, walk, overshadow with Thy wing,
To lead us, take us, into Thy glory.

May lisping tongues ever, professions, sing,
May meek off'rings ever, confessors, bring,
Unto this God-Man, Christ Jesus, the Lord,
Our savior, our brother, our conq'ring king.

Smitten by pestilence, famine, and sword,
Sundered as by fire, consumed by discord,
Wrenching and blenching, upturning our face,
To One in whom all are made one accord.

Slanderers and thieves do mock our disgrace,
Condemning our worship, sacking our space,
Loose our chains and bind our enemy's hand,
That Thy name may resound from place to place.

Number Thy people as You number sand,
Raise up Thy armies as a glorious band,
Stave off Thy wrath till the timing is sure,
Then set loose vengeance; by trumpet command.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lenten Prayer #23

From among all the nations Your people cull,
The hearts of kings and kingdoms push and pull,
Until the fullness of time and age swell,
And all Your enemies' schemes are made null.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lenten Prayer #22

When all sin Thou hast from us stripped and shorn,
And Light of Thy countenance shines as morn,
Then shall speaking and doing blossom full,
And praises sing out as blast of bright horn.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Technopoly Quotation

Like the Sorcerer's Apprentice, we are awash in information. And all the sorcerer has left us is a broom. Information has become a form of garbage, not only incapable of answering the most fundamental human questions but barely useful in providing coherent direction to the solution of even mundane problems. To say it still another way: The milieu in which Technopoly flourishes is one in which the tie between information and human purpose has been severed, i.e., information appears indiscriminately, directed at no one in particular, in enormous volume and at high speeds, and disconnected from theory, meaning, or purpose. 
All of this has called into being a new world. . . .It is an improbable world. It is a world in which the idea of human progress, as Bacon expressed it, has been replaced by the idea of technological progress. The aim is not to reduce ignorance, superstition, and suffering but to accommodate ourselves to the requirements of new technologies. We tell ourselves, of course, that such accommodations will lead to a better life, but that is only the rhetorical residue of a vanishing technocracy. We are a culture consuming itself with information, an many of us do not even wonder how to control the process. We proceed under the assumption that information is our friend, believing that cultures may suffer grievously from a lack of information, which, of course, they do. It is only now beginning to be understood that cultures may also suffer grievously from information glut, information without meaning, information without control mechanisms. (Postman, Technopoly 69-70)
The most striking thing about Postman's quote is not its perfection or infallible accuracy (it has some places where it could be nuanced or refracted more clearly in retrospect), but the fact that he wrote it in 1992!

Michael Sacasas offers a very brief, but helpful summary of Postman's definitions of technocracy and technopoly for those in need of some context.

Lenten Prayer #21

Into the broken world Thy people send,
Into winds of a storm to brace and bend,
Rooted in Thy Love we cannot be torn,
From Thee, no enemy power can rend.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Lenten Prayer #20

From Thy light the darkest evil does fly,
By Thy power the staunchest foes comply,
By Thy love an enemy is turned friend,
The once dead, now living, learn how to die.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Lenten Prayer #19

O God-Incarnate bind Thyself to me,
Grafted in Thy Body by Thy decree,
You have chosen and in my choosing I,
Reveal to the world Thy grace and mercy.

The Bloods of Righteous Men

And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
In the process of time Cain and Abel brought an offering to Yahweh. The offering was probably not an offering for sin, but rather a thank offering, since it involved the first fruits of each man's labors under the sun. Yahweh accepts the offering of Abel, thereby acknowledging Abel's righteousness in giving the gift. On the other hand, Cain's offering is rejected because of an undisclosed unrighteousness. Like Abel and Cain, Jesus Christ and the Self-Righteous Jews bring their offering to God, the fruits of their labor. Jesus Christ offers his humble obedience to the Father's commands, and the Pharisees offer their man-made piety.

When Cain has his offering rejected he becomes envious of Abel and resentful toward Yahweh. If he cannot find acceptance in Yahweh's eyes, then he will destroy the object of God's pleasure so that He would have no other choice but Cain to show His favor toward. Rather than acknowledging God's choice and following his brother's example, Cain strikes Abel down. Like Cain, the Self-Righteous Jews envy Jesus Christ and cannot abide the glory he receives from the people, nor the power he wields over sin, the effects of the curse, and the enemies of God. Rather than submit themselves to God's choice and follow Christ's example, the Self-Righteous Jews strike Jesus down.

After Cain kills Abel, the blood of this righteous man cover the earth and cries out to God for redress.  The blood of Abel brings Cain's sin into the light, and in that light God pronounces His judgment upon Cain. Cain receives a harsh sentence, he must live with his sin, and he must do so as a wanderer without a land, without the family of God. Like Nineveh Cain receives a reprieve, but the line of Cain will eventually be destroyed in the Flood of judgment and cleansing the covers the whole earth. Like Abel, Jesus Christ's blood spills forth and covers the earth. Like Abel, the blood of Christ cries out to God for redress. Like the blood of Abel, Christ's blood brings the sins of the Self-Righteous Jews and the complicit Gentiles into the light, and in that light God pronounces His judgment upon these sons of Cain.

But unlike the blood of Abel, whose righteousness could only grant a reprieve, the blood of Christ speaks a better word--a word of full release. Though the whole of men stand like Cain guilty of the murder of the Better Brother, it is not a Flood of judgment that God unleashes upon the earth, rains from heaven and geysers from under the earth. Rather, God unleashes the Flood of righteous Blood and Water that came down from Heaven, descended into the earth, sprang up from the grave with the souls of the dead and ascended into Highest Heaven to Reign, sprinkling from His throne the blood that removes the stain of sin and turns the exiled wanderers and orphans into landed sons of God.

The blood of the righteous martyrs speaks, but it cannot speak in its own power on behalf of the world. It is only the blood of God Incarnate that has the power to destroy the power of death and bring the dead into resurrected life. So much better is the blood that Jesus speaks that should all the blood of all the righteous men of all the ages were to speak on behalf of mercy, it could only offer the reprieve of time. Only the blood of eternal God-become-Man could offer an eternal reprieve to those created to be Man-become-Image of God, but who fell into their own corruption and unmaking.

May we all learn the lesson of Abel, that there can be no righteous bloods, no power of fallen man that can make anew the unmade nature of Man. Only by the blood of the Second Adam, whose incorruption corruption swallowed into its bosom and was itself consumed, unmade, and remade in incorruptible righteousness.

Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lenten Prayer #18

Let both soul and body be set apart,
Until that day when the soul does depart,
Pure and holy, chastened until chaste be,
That Thee in me inhabit ev'ry part.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Lenten Prayer #17

Radiant light streaming from Thy face so fair,
Beckons praise from my poor lips without spare,
Tune my lips, O Lord, yea, moreso my heart,
That this praising of you be done with care.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Lenten Prayer #16

Although 'tis known, the end of this story,
Labors and losses cause us to worry,
Cause us grief, pain, and a creeping despair,
O Lord gird us against dismal flurry!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Lenten Prayer #15

O Lamb who covers in Thy spotless fleece,
Cause all the world's self-righteousness to cease,
'Neath the wave of immaculate glory,
Poured forth from Thy everlasting increase.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Lenten Prayer #14

In this broken realm of sin-woe and din,
Where self-righteous cov'rings are ripped open,
None can say, "All may look to me for peace,"
Thy broken body and blood cry out then!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Lenten Prayer #13

Forget O Lord our incessant cursing,
For the sake of Your Son, His life coursing;
Covering, removing, destroying sin,
Draw us o'er the impassible crossing.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Lenten Prayer #12

Almighty God pierce through present darkness,
All wayward sons bring under Thy harness,
Heal the wounds caused by our cursèd mouthings,
Speak Words of Life to vivify deadness.