Day 320 (again): Pentecost: A Poem

Pentecost, by Jen Norton. Available on her website at https://jen-norton.pixels.com/

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)

It came like a rushing wind; like a fire-tipped mountain;
From above, like what tore the temple veil in two
We all felt it—knock-kneed, slack-jawed, and speechless
Speechless, that is, till we weren’t.

Then suddenly new words filled our mouths 
like the bread of angels
It was Babel gone backwards, the curse in reverse.

Israel scattered was Israel gathered once more.
In one voice, in many tongues, we proclaimed one message.

The fire fell, and tears and words and joy and fear and awe commingled,
The prophets looked on from their side of the veil and said, 
“This is what we saw. This is what we meant.”

When Icarus drew near the sun, 
He fell with melted, fatal wings.
The day the fire fell, the Son drew near to us—
And we all rose on wings like eagles,
To fly, unbounded, to the ends of the earth.

Day 365: Four Gardens (a poem from the Garden Tomb)

41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 
John 19:41

Through the Bible: Revelation 19-22

I wrote this poem in February, 2022, on the way back to the airport after a week in Israel. The day before, we had started the day at the Garden of Gethsemane, and ended the day at the Garden Tomb. Our pastor for the trip shared that John’s gospel is the only one that mentions that the tomb was in a garden. He helped me see that God’s great story begins and ends in a garden. We fell in Eden. We will be with God forever in the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 22:1-2). And what guarantees our entry into the new Garden after being driven from the old one are the two gardens we had visited the day before. .

Four Gardens

Once, in the cool of the day, God walked into a Garden; 

Where a serpent hissed, 
and man hid, 
and half eaten fruit lay fallen on the ground. 

Adam, where are You? said the Father. 
And the man was driven out of the Garden, 
head down, 
condemned.

Once, in the dead of night, Jesus walked into a Garden; 

Where Judas lurked, 
and disciples slept, 
and sweat like blood fell to the ground.

Father, where are you? cried  the Son. 
And Jesus was led out of the Garden, 
head down, 
resolved.

Once, at the dawn of the morning, Mary walked into a Garden; 

Where angels sat, 
and rocks were split, a
nd soldiers fell stunned on the ground.

Jesus, where are You? Said Mary. 
And the angel said, He is not here. He is risen. 
And Mary ran from the Garden, 
Head spinning, 
believing.

Soon, at the last trumpet, I’ll stand at the gate of a Garden;

Where water of Life bubbles, 
the Tree of Life blooms, 
and paving stones  like gold lie shimmering on the ground. 

“There you are!” cries the Son
“Here You are,” weeps His child
And I am led into the Garden, 
Head high, 
redeemed.

Day 301: Ten Lepers Left (Luke 17:11-19)

0001620_ten-lepers
Ten Lepers, by James Christensen

15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19)

Through the Bible: Luke 16-17

I wrote this poem several years ago, but updated it and used it in a sermon I preached.. A few folks have asked for it, so here it is. It is based on the story of the ten lepers Jesus healed in Luke 17:11-19.

Ten lepers walked the city streets,
and stopped to hear the preacher preach

So close to death, all pride was stripped,
Nothing to lose; so those with lips
Called, “Jesus, help us out a bit?”

“Go, show yourselves unto the. priests,”
He said, they scattered, west to east
Their skin, with cleansing fire burned
Ten lepers left, but one returned.

One day, just to pass the time,
I thought about the other nine.
What did they do? Where did they run?
No idea, but just for fun,
Let’s imagine, one by one:

First, there’s Leper Number One
Who took off in an all out run.
Her feet, now free from open sores
Ran like they’d never run before.

Poor old leper number Two
Had no idea what he should do.
So he, so scarred from being shunned
Went home, locked up, and saw no one.

Then there’s leper Number Three
For whom sickness became security
For years, defined by leprosy
Till it became identity
Healed, became a bitter man
And wished he could get sick again.

That accounts for three who were healed that day
Ten lepers left, no lepers stayed.

The fourth one wasn’t very clever,
And made no changes whatsoever.
In tattered clothes, can still be seen
Through perfect lips, still shouts “Unclean.”


Five and six found love along the way.
Ran off, got married that same day.

So that makes six accounted for
One returned, that leaves three more.

And of those three, there were the two
That wrote “Life from a Leper’s Point of View.”
They gained great fame in lecture halls,
Signed copies of their books in malls.
And on the Oprah Winfrey Show,
Oprah said, “We want to know,
To what do you attribute health?”
“From within,” they said. “We healed ourselves.”

Nine believed prosperity
Should replace his leprosy
With brand new car, and boat, and house
He’s out there living his best life now.

Ten lepers took their separate tracks
Ten lepers left, but one came back.

Came back and fell at Jesus’ feet,
Stayed back to feel His touch so sweet;
To thank Him for the gift he gave,

Ten lepers cured, one leper saved.

One more thought, and then we're through:
Ten lepers left.
Which one are you?

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