Here you’ll find acrostics about the main seasons of the church calendar, as well as a specific section of Easter meditations.
After the old-style prophets had long gone,
Desert-dwelling, locust-eating, hair-clad John
Vented his venom on viperous visitors,
Excoriated extortioners, faced down inquisitors:
Now was the time to flee from the fire,
To bear fruit of repentance for the promised Messiah.
Cold, fragile and aching, this carpenter’s wife
Held her defenceless newborn fearfully;
Responsible now for his every pulse of life,
Isolated from kinswomen, intuitively and tearfully
She somehow kept him warm and fed,
Tried settling him in a makeshift bed:
Motherhood was harsh on this young slip, barely wed.
And then, bearing awestruck certainties, sent to reassure,
Shepherds came rattling at the stable door.
Christmas extra! – Bethlehem
Business booms for innkeepers – this census of population
Emperor Augustus ordered has got the whole nation
Travelling, each family to their native city.
Hotels are crammed, inns full, there’s little pity
Lost on two stragglers, the girl pregnant, needing a bed.
Eventually there’s a hovel where she can rest her head;
Hoping for warmth, they find a chill stable instead.
Each huddles the other; they’d almost caught their death.
Mary gasps in labour – and angels hold their breath.
Expectantly the magi journeyed from distant
Palaces – compelled by an insistent
Instinct that westwards heaven was touching earth
Poignantly, daringly, in a costly birth.
Herod was a wily fox, this much they knew
And so they worshipped, cautioned and withdrew.
Not for this most royal family a life of ease:
Yesterday fêted, tomorrow refugees.
Epiphany – another take
Eastern magi crossed hills and deserts to seek a king
Princes in their own realms, they brought a royal offering
In distant Judaea they knew God would reveal his face,
Prophecy and star now combined to fix time and place.
Herod sought a death – to him, God’s new thing posed a threat,
Although the magi sought a revelation and became wiser yet.
Not all who see the Christ-child receive him in their heart:
Young or old, seek wisely – choose his gift of a fresh start.
Love led Him to inhabit that wilderness of thirst
Empowered by the Spirit as Satan did his worst.
Now is the time to reaffirm our accord
To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord.
Even though the cross had staunched His breath,
And the tomb had set its seal on brutal death,
Sins of men yet stung in wounds still fresh,
The word no longer dwelt with us as flesh –
Even these could not prolong that darkest night.
Resurrected life kindled the world alight.
Praying persistently must have been the trigger
Expecting something big, they got something bigger
Nine in the morning, winds roared, fires blazed
The disciples babbled as men who were crazed
Each heard his own language and stood amazed
Convicted by Peter’s sermon, their minds were awoken
Over three thousand found their proud hearts broken
Spirit of truth, conviction and fire
Testified that Jesus really was the Messiah.
…a Pentecost extra
Tongues of Fire
Twelve apostles prayed from an early hour
On Pentecost to await promised holy power
Nine in the morning they began to babble,
Galileans sounding like a drunken rabble.
Utterly amazed, a crowd of bystanders heard
Ecstatic tongues; many thought them absurd
Some, though, understood every word.
Out of the Heavens, as Joel had foretold
Flames of Spirit fired young and old.
“Fellow Jews”, Peter proclaimed, “be assured,
In these last days God’s power will be outpoured”.
Repentant, three thousand were baptised that day
Entering a new life under the Spirit’s sway.
The Lord God, Jehovah Jireh, Almighty One
Revealed himself fully through Jesus, the son,
Image of the invisible God, firstborn of creation,
Name above all names; and for our confirmation
Indwells as the Holy Spirit, our truth, our inspiration.
Three personae bearing witness to one another
Yet indivisible, our Father, Comforter, Brother.
During Eastertide 2019, I blogged the following set of meditative acrostics:
It may be good to give up something for Lent, but perhaps it’s even better to reaffirm and do something positive…
Let’s not go around with long Lenten faces –
Engage positively with pilgrims these forty shared days.
No negatives, no sackcloth, just Spirit-filled places –
Tell the Tempter you’re tired of his mean, joyless ways.
Palm Sunday reflection.
People pack the streets to hail their Messiah
Adversaries keep their distance, out of the way,
Lying in the wings they plot and conspire,
Mobs are fickle, not too difficult to sway.
Scattered with palms, the way is strewed,
Upon the colt of an ass, Jesus prays yet grieves.
Now Israel divides, leaders collude,
Daringly, Joseph of Arimathea believes.
A judgement awaits you, you vipers’ brood,
You who turned the temple into a den of thieves.
Reflection for Maundy Thursday, when Jesus gave his disciples a mandate (“Mandatum”) – to love each other and share bread and wine.
Meeting for Passover one final time,
A sacrifice awaiting a traitor’s crime,
Upstairs, far from the madding crowd,
Night wrapped you tight in its ink black shroud.
Dipping your matzah in the blood red wine
You became quick branches in the Saviour’s vine.
Take, eat of my body, drink of my blood
He commanded. How little you understood;
Uneasily, you let him wash your feet.
Remembrance, from now, would be bittersweet –
Suffering in joy, receiving in giving,
Death to self as a new way of living.
A final command, ever old and ever new –
You were to love one another as He had loved you.
Reflection for Good Friday.
Golgotha was a wretched place that day.
One passer-by had helped Him bear the cross,
Others had succoured Him on the way,
Despairing that their victory had turned to loss.
Flogged, mocked, spat upon, betrayed
Rejected, stripped, despised, disowned thrice –
In between thieves he hung. One, unafraid,
Deprecated Him for His futile sacrifice,
And the other, penitent, with whom Jesus prayed –
“You shall be with me this day in Paradise”.
And not long after, the Emmaus Road…
Every Sabbath they’d heard the age-old story
Many times the rabbi had read from Isaiah
Maybe this year, with great pomp and furore
Armies would arise, led by the Messiah.
Unwary, on the road, they encountered dirty glory
Suddenly the travellers’ hearts were set afire.
Religious routine rarely reaps reward,
Only through relationship can our walk begin
And when you first felt the presence of the risen Lord
Didn’t your heart strangely burn within?
And finally a reflection on Thomas’s disbelief that Jesus had risen
Didymus, the twin, was not in the room
On the Sunday of the empty tomb.
Unless he witnessed flank and limb
Believing wasn’t an option for him.
Then the Lord returned, dispelling doubt:
In front of all, He pointed out
Nailmarks and the spear’s
Gash, recalling God-forsaken tears.
Thomas rarely grasped things first time round –
His doubt was real, his faith profound.
Overwhelmed, humbled he confessed
“My Lord and My God” – and then was blessed.
And the twin became a saint of steel:
Sincere doubts can make faith more real.