‘I love you’ says God
‘yeah… right…’ say I
‘I love you’ says God
‘you’re kidding…’ say I
‘I love you’ says God
‘you reckon?…’ say I
‘I love you’ says God
‘How much?’ say I
‘This much’ says God
As with arms open wide
He is lifted on high,
Sighs as I sigh,
Cries as I cry,
Dies as I die
And in the silence
‘I love you –
See? It’s no lie’
As He calls me to
There he is – hanging there,
crying words of deep despair
“my God, why have you gone?”
What lay behind that cry of pain?
He’d lived and loved, he’d healed and prayed.
He’d sought to do his Father’s will,
to serve God all his life until the bitter end – and then,
At hour of deepest, darkest need
This man had stilled the raging storm,
fed thousands with a young boy’s snack.
He’d raised a dead man from the tomb –
when lashes tore him front and back
why did he not speak a word
The voice that whispered in his ear
That day in wilderness, so clear –
“just claim your birthright, Son of God
take the short-cut, Son of God
ignore your Father’s will”
Surely that voice rang out again
as now his body, wracked with pain,
hung bleeding, dying on the cross.
He heard the man beside him say
“why don’t you just walk away?
Prove that you’re the Son of God –
or was it all a lie?”
The sense of unity he’d known
with God his Father – “we are one”
was, in his hour of deepest need,
He could have simply walked away
but chose to stay.
And this is why I love this man –
this God who chose, despite the pain,
the agony – chose to remain
When all is dark, when faith is gone,
when pain controls each thought
when hope is done, when light goes out
when any sense of God is nought
then look I upon the cross
The gallows speaks
What does it say?
It says “Remember!
Remember that day!
Remember the one
who hung on the end of the noose
Yet with tortured breath
said ‘Father, forgive’
as encroaching death
cut short the life of one who lived
to help and heal, to cleanse, forgive.
For death could do its worst
and still this man had only words to heal
the damage that we did to him.
Remember him – and know for sure
that God cannot be forced to hate,
destroy, condemn, declare our fate
as we destroyed that man.
God can, will love, forgive, resist
all evil. Always. He just keeps on
loving, healing, setting free
any who come on bended knee
admitting that they were the one
who sent that man, sent God’s own son
to hang by neck ‘til breath was gone.
Remember how he loves you.”
And so we dare to live the way
that we saw on that fateful day
when God’s son hung and swung and still
Said ‘Father, forgive’.
And so we will ourselves,
when offered hate,
As we remember.
Away in a manger
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little lord Jesus lay down his sweet head.
Surrounded by cattle who low in dismay
At sight of the baby asleep on the hay.
The hay in the manger is theirs to feed on
Whenever their hunger alerts them to need.
But now there’s a baby there, right in the way –
Peacefully lying asleep on their hay.
The cattle knew not why a baby there lay
They knew not that thirty-three years on, He’d say
“Take, eat – for my body is given for you
Eat, and remember why this I now do.
Take, drink – for my blood is outpoured for the world –
The Kingdom of God is now being unfurled.”
And two thousand years on, in wine and in bread,
Still we remember the words that He said.
We take, eat and drink – our night turned to day
By the baby who lay there asleep on the hay.
What goes around comes around.
Child in the manger
Sleeping so soundly
Not knowing the danger
From Herod’s police
Pursuing him roundly
see him as threat
Yet still he sleeps calmly
As he grows older
At mother’s knee
Learns of his Father
Now enters manhood
Clearly we see
As crowds now gather
Here’s a man speaking
Touches the leper
Gives sight to the blind
Hope to the hopeless
To those who are needy,
Who come for his aid.
Forgiving the guilty,
Says “don’t be afraid”
Authorities now feeling
their power is challenged
As he meets the need
For love, for forgiveness,
For healing, release
From fears that disable –
To all he brings peace
Around him disciples
are blind to the signs
of the times.
Though walking beside him,
Alone now he strides on
to certain destruction
for other men’s crimes
He hangs on a cross now
In great agony
Centurion looks up
At man on the tree
This foreign invader
Is first one to see
“surely oh surely
this can only be
The Son of God”.
‘Cos unlike the usual kinds that hang close to death
This one, far from cursing, with his dying breath
Says “Father, forgive”.
Nothing if not consistent.
Disciples are gathered in fear in the dark
Fearing they’ll be the next one.
Women determined to care for their Lord
Head off at the rise of the sun
Expecting a closed tomb, to their deep dismay
the tomb is now open, the stone rolled away.
weeping and wailing, expressing their grief
the voice of an angel now offers relief:
“He’s not here – he’s risen! now run, tell the rest”
But Mary remains, sobs still racking her breast.
Still not understanding, she asks of the man
She thought to be gardener “Please tell, if you can,
Oh where have they taken him? where lies he now?”
He speaks but one word
She sees him at last
Now forty days later, on mountain-top high
The man who now lived though they’d all seen him die
Leaves them once more, he’ll not be seen again –
But first sets in motion unstoppable chain
“You’ve heard me teach,
Seen me reach out to all
Now one last commandment
I give you – I call
you to take on the mantle
And that is how God’s Kingdom rule
is even now, through me and you,
by power of Spirit shared with all.
She loved him more than words could tell
Her heart was overflowing
She poured her love out o’er his head
In form of precious perfumed oil
Bought after many years of toil
Worth a fortune, so they said…
Why waste it on his head?
They said the money spent was waste,
The oil should have been sold in haste
To feed the poor – not this disgraceful
Wasteful generous anointing
Of this one man’s head.
“The poor” he said “are always there.
Just this once, her loving care
Of my needs for the future day
When dead and cold in tomb I’ll lay
Is right and proper”. So He said.
I wonder – when the dread day came
When hung he on the cross in pain
Bearing all the sin and shame
Of humankind – did thought remain
Of act of kindness, act of love?
Of oil pouring out above
His head, now crowned with thorns?
Before that cross, that bleeding brow
We kneel now, and we wonder how
We too can show our love right now
For him who died and rose again
And reigns on high – yet still the pain
Continues here on earth.
Babies die with nought to eat,
Refugees with bleeding feet
Trudge wearily along the street
Even in this land of ours,
Peaceful, rich in hope
Homeless have no place to go
Hungry children whimper low
Christmas morn for them is bleak,
No gifts unless there’s less to eat.
So that is how we show our love
For Him who came down from above
To save us all from sin and shame.
Loving others – that’s the same
As loving Him – he said as much
As day by day he healed by touch
And word and deed.
So we now feed
Out of love
For in so doing we feed Him.
A sideways look at the pain and privilege of loving and being loved.
The Great Commandment
The first time was unexpected
I thought it was a one-off
But now …
One after another the burdens come
Jostling, fighting for attention.
Each heavier than the last
Everywhere I turn
I bring it all to
Offer it all to
Give it back,
Offer it to me to
Carry for a
A compliment, I’m told
A sign of
A reward for a job well done
Or at least for a job
To bear the
Not privilege as the world would understand it
No Nobel prize here!
No public praise
No, the glory goes to others and
To the ultimate
Privilege far greater than any the world could bestow
Privilege beyond measure
Privilege of sharing in the
Hard, heavy work of
Privilege of entering
Moment by moment
Deeper into the
Mystery of the
Experiencing from within the
Of the love of
Christ who said
“I love you”
Who opened His arms wide and said
“I love you this much” as He
Who rose to new life
Christ who raises us to new life
Christ who loves with
Who said “go, love others like that”
Living in the ocean of His love
We also are
And this is