T H O R N

Grievous & Gracious Gift!
Given to
One who saw celestial view
To thwart all pride
All wayward boast
And point Paul to
What mattered most
The grace of Christ…

Sorrowful Souvenir!
Much, much more
Than the grief or scars themselves he bore
That trial that one
Must constant bear
And carry with him
Everywhere
The cross of Christ…

Alm of Affliction!
Given when
The unutterable by mortal men
Was heard by Paul
Who, despite torment
Grew satisfied
And well-content
With the power of Christ…

Angel of Satan!
Messenger of
An apostle’s affliction allowed by love
Constant Companion
Divine Distress
That produces
The trust and nobleness
We see in the character of Christ…

______________________________________________________________________

“I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago, was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise… and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

— 2 Corinthians 12:2-10
______________________________________________________________________

R E E D

Servant Divine! Who inspired such delight
Who, quiet went about his way to bless
Who was just and brought justice in the night
Who meekly stood with us in our transgress
Who gained the Master’s Spirit for the fight
Who loved us and who shared our dispossess

What Love Divine! Picks up the useless reed
Regards the bruised and broken for God’s end
Does not break but binds, heals to serve a need
The reed becomes a rod that may not bend
And in His hand, now fit for any deed
Blossoms, bears fruit for Him who calls us, “Friend.”

Oh Spark Divine! That flickers oh so faint
Yet crosses swords with lightless foes within
The dimming soul made dark by ill-restraint
No stranger to its tempters or its sin
Breathe gently Lord despite the wretched taint
Enflame the faintly burning wick again!

Now…

To Him who gently tends us lest the Dawn
Break to find that last spark of God has gone!

…we give thanks.

____________________________________________________________

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law.”

–Isaiah 42:1–4
____________________________________________________________