Friday, April 28, 2017

Misery and Mercy

In the process of working on a book I came across one of the most captivating statements made by Saint Augustine. He was commenting on the encounter Jesus had with the Scribes and Pharisees in which they tried to trap him with Old Testament teaching. A woman caught in the act of adultery was brought before Jesus, where was the man, and they quoted the passage that condemned her to be stoned. As Jesus laid open their deceptive hearts and guilty lives they left him and the woman alone.

In a way that only Jesus could and can do, all condemnation was renounced and he gave her freedom and a challenge. His mercy set her spirit free and his justice warned her of the consequences of actions. The two left alone, the guilty and the guiltless, the sinner and the sinless, the lawbreaker and the advocate. Alone before God, as we all will be at some point in time. Back to Augustine. He writes, "the two were left alone: Misery and Mercy."

Doesn't that thought just thrill your heart? Picture with me the most vivid example of human misery. A soul ensnared and chained by actions and depravity, lost in despair and ruined by repetitive failings. Mercy enters the room and it flames with light. A head hung low with eyes focused on dirt is lifted heavenward. The scars and bruises of life are covered in the healing oil of Mercy. Mercy, the very act of God in which the pain and guilt of sin is removed and the deepest understanding of new life and forgiveness is revealed.

Facing my Creator I will stand, "The two were left alone: misery and Mercy."

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Palms and Pain

Palms waved, a King to see,
Multitudes eager to bend their knee.

Joyous, expectant, loud their cry,
Christ, meek, mild, on a foal passes by.

Cloaks and palms they lay on the ground,
In a week, not a friend to be found.

He didn't arrive, earthly king to be,
Spurned, they would hang Him on a tree.

His kingdom, not visible to their eye,
Veiled and hidden, till after He would die.

Innocent, Pure, His life He laid aside,
In dying, bringing multitudes to abide.

Lifeless body laid in a borrowed tomb,
Mankind's monument to despair and gloom.

On the third day a woman came to see,
To prepare her Lord's body, broken on that tree.

Vacant, empty tomb is what she did find,
Questions, despair on her mind.

Turning around, she finds her Lord,
Wanting to clutch Him, her Jesus adored.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Sophisticated Man

He is a sophisticated man. Every morning his mirror smiles at him. His white hair and beard are perfectly coiffed. Each hair is examined, snipped, combed, and smiled upon.

He is a sophisticated man. His library is the envy of friends. The patina on the one hundred fifty year old wood is an intoxicant to the eye. Soft light is cast by Tiffany lamps and solid brass wall sconces. His books line one wall. He looks upon them often and when he does he smiles. His smile reacts as his eyes fall upon his first editions of Hawthorne and Webster. The great works of literature speak softly to visitors that here lives a sophisticated man.

He is a sophisticated man. His leather chair is one of the finest. Hand crafted and covered in Romanza Leather it is exquisite in every detail, the seen and experienced. The brass buttons at the top of each arm bear the marks of his fingers over long years. The trained eye can see the faint color change in the leather where his elbows have rested as he enjoyed his pipe and brandy.

He is a sophisticated man. To the left of his chair, his Gillow’s Pembroke Table is within easy reach. His pipe and pouch rest within an Ebony bowl, placed exactly at the far left end of the table, though still in reach. The decanter of Courvoisier brandy rest upon his 16th century silver server. The snifter sits next to the decanter, with her opening covered with appropriate sized linen.

He is a sophisticated man. But, every morning his mirror is deceived. The visage of the perfectly groomed man fails to reveal his uninhabited soul. During the day he rests within the safety and luxury of the finest leather on his chair. His lips have enjoyed his fine brandy. The scent of expensive pipe tobacco lingers long into the night. He dozes off in his self quarantined cell.

He is a sophisticated man. He reaches into the drawer of his table and rests his manicured fingers on the cold stainless steel.

He Was a Sophisticated Man.