Faith Acrostics

These acrostics reflect on aspects of Christian faith and belief, from a rather personal perspective. There’s nothing systematic about them – just aspects that I have pondered. The first one doesn’t rhyme, but curiously it has proved amongst the most popular.

 

Objects of God’s Love – God’s love is unconditional. Is ours?

Songs of Praise – more than just a good sing!

Rainbow – a colourful reminder of God’s promises

Remembrance – an acrostic written for Remembrance Sunday, but also as a more general reflection on the importance of remembrance in the Bible

Creation – an acrostic written for the World Day of Prayer a few years back, when the theme was ‘All God’s Creation is Very Good’

Widow’s Mite – the poor have a central importance in the Christian faith: Jesus chose marginal people to take their place in history

Angels – whatever view we have on angels, there’s an awful lot of them in the Bible

Shepherd – Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?

Cornerstone – The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.

Wild Goose – In the Celtic church the wild goose – An Geadh-Glas – was a synonym for the Holy Spirit. Not only did the wild goose move in ways which (at that time) were a mystery, it also ‘disturbed and disrupted’.

Body of Christ – we are the body of Christ. If one part suffers, we all suffer.

Anchor – We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast and sure while the billows roll

A Strong Tower – “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10). Written when our church tower was needing urgent (and expensive) repairs.

Fruits of the Spirit – sometimes we confuse the fruits and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, so here’s one on fruits (Galatians 5:22-23)…

Gifts of the Spirit – and here’s one on the gifts (mainly set out in 1 Corinthians 12)

Grace – our ability to bear fruit and exercise spiritual gifts flows from God’s grace

Righteousness – a difficult topic, but I believe that having righteousness reckoned to us is a pivotal idea

 

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Objects of God’s Love

Orrible ’ooligans
Bad boys wiv bovver boots
Junkies, users, boozers
Ells Angel ’eadcases
Chancers, shirkers
Trailer trash
Sex workers

Ooray ’Enrys
Feral youth

Gamblers, wide boys
Outcasts, outsiders
Dossers, down-and-outs
Smackheads, layabouts

Losers, loners, winos
Oddballs, weirdos
Vagrants, hoboes
Everyone, in fact

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Songs of Praise

Soprano, alto, tenor, bass
Offer thanks to the God of Grace
New hymns, old hymns, anthems raise
Gospel songs and ancient lays –
Sing a sacrifice of praise.

Organs, praise bands, harmonise;
Fanfares echo to the skies!

Powers of darkness: feel despair,
Recoil as worship fills the air! –
Aware that Heaven’s victorious King
Inhabits the very words we sing.
So saints on earth lift up your voice,
Even the hills and trees rejoice!

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Rainbow

Recalling an eternal promise, a covenant sign
Arched over the earth, God’s valentine
Ineffable light made visible in refraction
Noah discerned that it meant ‘God in action’
Being ever alongside us, the Ancient of Days
Occupying our hearts, inhabiting praise
Wavelengths of God illuming our ways.

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Remembrance

Recall, O Israel, your deliverance
Escaping Pharaoh’s army, brought safe to shore;
Moses’ song of triumph, Miriam’s victory dance.
Each day a fiery pillar going before
Multitudes wandering in Sinai’s expanse,
Becoming a special people under a perfect law.
Remember’ cries the psalmist, ‘and cast a glance
At how God saved us in times of peace and war’.
Nations delivered from direst circumstance,
Captive souls plucked from Sheol’s jaw,
El Shaddai, God of victory, God of the second chance.

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Creation

Cosmos called out of infinite dark,
Restless void roused by wisdom’s spark
Emergent shapes formed in deepest night
A piercing voice summoned primal light
The sun and moon obeyed its command
Infinite life teemed through water and land
On ground that was once mere dust, Adam stood.
Now, for a time, all was very good.

 

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Widow’s Mite

Why do we remember her, this solitary figure?
Is it because we see her as part of something bigger?
Destitute and stooped, at the margins of society,
Overshadowed by powerbrokers’ fake shows of piety,
Waiting on God, she unburdened her cares,
She had no need of fine robes or long prayers.

Many are the honours the rich receive on earth –
In cash and property we calculate their worth.
The marginalised, the displaced, the humble, the least,
End up being invited to Heaven’s feast.

 

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Angels

Announcing glad tidings to God’s chosen heirs
Never ceasing their praises, Heaven’s glories are theirs
Guarding us, ministering, hearing our prayers
Emissaries of God in our worldly affairs
Leading us through life’s darkest thoroughfares
Sometimes we entertain them unawares.

 

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Shepherd

Sheep are wayward creatures, always wandering astray
Humankind is much the same, it’s in our DNA;
Ever envying, ever hankering after greener
Pastures – discontent is part of our demeanour.
Hirelings cannot save us, they’ll quickly run amok
Every time a ravening wolf threatens the flock.
Remember Jesus is The Gate, for both Gentile and Jew:
Didn’t he leave the ninety-nine, just to search for you?

 

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Cornerstone

Come all of you who set your trust
On treasure corrupted by moth and rust,
Reckoning your value by what you possess,
Needing ever more stuff as your key to success.
Examine yourself, ask what you are worth,
Riches don’t lie in the mines of the earth.
Sands may shift, but one defence holds tight –
The lamb of God, the world’s one true light
Our rock of ages, our secure foundation
Name above all names from the dawn of creation
Emmanuel, the firm hope of every nation.

 

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Wild Goose

Whither does the Holy Spirit blow?
It listeth wherever God pleases.
Loosen your moorings and let yourself go,
Dare trim your sail to Heaven’s breezes.

Give up control, risk setting a course
Over unknown seas, tracking wild geese –
Or else stay safe in port and gaze in remorse.
Spirit-led lives know both tempest and peace
Ever venturing, ever returning to source.

 

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Body of Christ

Bones, flesh, lifeblood, sinews combine,
Organs, hormones obey God’s design,
Dispute no more about which part is best.
Young, give freely of ideals and zest

Old, your experience and wisdom share
Feast upon testimonies seasoned with prayer.

Consider you are wonderfully and fearfully made
Healed in the heart now sin’s price has been paid
Rise above doctrine, banish division
Inspire each member to strive for one vision
Suffer together, together rejoice
Tongues of prophecy tell out as one voice.

 

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Anchor

Adrift, aimless, without compass or chart,
No balm for the soul, no hope in the heart.
Christ alone guarantees us safe haven,
His Father, alone, has on his hands graven
Our names – a steadfast, firm, secure,
Redemptive love bringing us safe ashore.

 

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A Strong Tower 

Architects tell us our tower needs repair

Sandstone erodes, grout crumbles, timbers wear
Time takes its toll on brickwork and mortar
Rafters and beams suffer ingress of water.
Once our tower was weatherproof, undecayed;
Now it needs restoration, its structure made
Good once more to withstand the salt-wind’s scour.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower
Offering the righteous a sure salvation
Within an impregnable fortification.
Earth’s proud towers always need to be restored
Rock solid hope rests on the name of the Lord.

 

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Fruits of the Spirit

Followers of Jesus
Respond with love, spread joy.
United
In the Spirit
They foster peace,
Show patience, and don’t annoy.

Others’ burdens bearing
Freely, gladly sharing

They act with kindness
Hold fast to all goodness
Exemplify faithfulness.

Saints act with gentleness and
Practise self-control; they endure
Insults and injuries with
Rejoicing. To be sure,
If you abide in the Spirit,
Then you are free from the law.

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Gifts of the Spirit

God’s Holy Spirit intercedes,
Imparting talents to us in different measure
For the common good and particular needs.
To some, wisdom is a special treasure;
Still others are given knowledge to convey.

Others, in times of trouble, are a strong tower –
Faith, deep and sure, they display.

Then, there are those whose power
Heals the broken body, the heart that’s riven.
Even more, some have the ability to perform

Signs and miracles; whilst some are given
Prophetic powers to counsel and warn.
Ineffable words are spoken by some, through
Rapturous tongues from angels above.
Interpreting those tongues is for others to do –
Though greater than any talent, is the gift of love.

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Grace

Grafted in the vine, we become Yahweh’s kin
Ransomed by unmerited love, God’s spirit comes in
Absolved from guilt, we are cleansed within
Clemency, not judgement, breaks the grip of sin
Enveloped in God’s mercy, a new life can begin.

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Righteousness

Reckon you’re good enough? Think again!
Inside each of us dwells the mark of Cain.
God reckons righteousness to us, cancels our sin,
Helps us to conquer our struggles within.
Trying to earn salvation, being worldly wise
Ends with us being righteous in our own eyes.
Offer our bodies, then as a living sacrifice,
Unclean vessels washed pure at great price
Speak ill of no-one, let your faith shine
No longer wild olives but grafts in God’s vine:
Every worldly gain, we now count as loss,
Status and pride, we consider them dross,
Surrendering all at the foot of the cross.

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