Poem for a Dark Day

They breached the laws of men
Took Him to trial by night
They told Him to defend
He gave to them no fight

A poem for a dark day

Took the flesh off of His back
Whips and glass and bones and nails
Healed our wounds in the attack
Filled He the air with wails

Some poetry on this dark day

The cross He bore of wood
It’s weight crushed He to bear
Yet something greater stood
At the Father’s wrath He stared

A verse for this dark day

Raised upon that cursed hill
Heaves He a heavy sigh
The Almighty’s perfect will
This begotten Son must die

A bit of lyric on a dark day

Crushed Him for our trespasses
He enduring matchless pain
God’s just judgment passes
The Lamb for sinners slain

A poem for this darkest day

And yet soon, the dawn shall rise

****

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The Children

I was listening to a sermon by John Piper entitled “The Baby in My Womb Leaped for Joy” which he gave on Sanctity of Life Sunday back in 2009. He penned a poem and recited it at the end of his message. I hope it affects you deeply as it affected me. You can watch or listen to the sermon here. Advance it ahead to 32:00 and you will hear John speak the poem. I highly recommend hearing it over simply reading it.

The Children

Do you hear the children crying?
I can hear them every day,
Crying, sighing, dying, flying
Somewhere safe where they can play.

Somewhere safe from all the dangers,
Somewhere safe from crack and AIDS,
Safe from lust and lurking strangers,
Safe from war and bombing raids.

Somewhere safe from malnutrition,
Safe from daddy’s damning voice,
Safe from mommy’s cool ambition,
Safe from deadly goddess, Choice.

Do you hear the children crying?
I can hear them every day,
Crying, sighing, dying, flying
Somewhere safe where they can play.

* * * *

Do you see the children meeting?
I can see them in the sky,
Meeting, eating, meeting, greeting
Jesus with the answer why.

Why the milk no longer nourished,
Why the water made them sick,
Why the crops no longer flourished,
Why the belly got so thick.

Why they never knew the reason
Friends had vanished out of sight,
Why some suffered for a season,
Others never saw the light.

Do you see the children meeting?
I can see them in the sky,
Meeting, eating, meeting, greeting
Jesus with the answer why.

* * * *

Do you hear the children singing?
I can hear them high above,
Singing, springing, ringing, bringing
Glory to the God of love.

Glory for the gift of living,
Glory for the end of pain,
Glory for the gift of giving,
Glory for eternal gain.

Glory from the ones forsaken,
Glory from the lost and lone,
Glory when the infants waken,
Orphans on the Father’s throne

Do you hear the children singing?
I can hear them high above,
Singing, springing, ringing, bringing
Glory to the God of love.

* * * *

Do you see the children coming?
I can see them on the clouds,
Coming, strumming, drumming, humming
Songs with heaven’s happy crowds.

Songs with lots of happy clapping,
Songs that set the heart on fire,
Songs that make your foot start tapping,
Songs that make a merry choir.

Songs so loud the mountains tremble,
Songs so pure the canyons ring,
When the children all assemble
Millions, millions, round the King.

Do you see the children coming?
I can see them on the clouds,
Coming, strumming, drumming, humming
Songs with heaven’s happy crowds.

* * * *

Do you see the children waiting?
I can see them all aglow
Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting,
Who of us will rise and go?

Will we turn and fly to meet them
Will we venture something new?
I intend to rise and greet them.
Come and go with me, would you?

Payback

Luke 14:12-14
12He said also to the man who had invited him, ‘When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.'”

One of the things most societies value is revenge. We may not like to use the word “revenge” but it’s true. When someone commits a wrong they need to be paid back for what they’ve done (see the movie Payback for example). What goes around comes around, right? Conversely, if you do good things then you will receive good things in return. It’s a nice, simple, equitable system that the cosmos has provided us with.

Unfortunately, you can’t apply that model to reality. People suffer unjustly all the time. 27 million women and children are in slavery due to human trafficking – are they just getting what they deserve? 163 million orphans wander the world’s streets or find themselves in orphanages – did they earn that? You can’t look at the world’s issues through the lens of karma, you’ll be contradicted over and over again.

So, what does Luke 14:12-14, quoted above, have to do with payback? Jesus crushes the idea that you get what you deserve. Let’s look at the two types of people in this passage to draw out this truth:

1. The people doing the blessing. Jesus is telling his rich audience to bless others with their wealth. Even more than that, He’s telling them to go out of their way to be a blessing to the disabled who can do them no good in return. He’s not just telling them to help out the people that happen across their path; He’s telling them to find the sufferers who are in need of help!

2. The people receiving the blessing. This other category is made up of people who are absolutely penniless as well as physically incapable of caring for themselves. They will wither and die unless someone comes to them and shows them mercy.

Now let’s consider: do you think that this passage is predominantly about Jesus giving His audience an ethic? As in, you need to act like this in order to be “repaid at the resurrection of the just.” OR do you think Jesus is predominantly trying to communicate a dynamic of the gospel? Both are true, but I asked which one was predominant.

The only way you can live out the ethic described here is if Jesus already lived it out for you. The good news is not that you need to give to poor people in order for God to accept you. The good news is that even though you were poor, Jesus made the biggest sacrifice in the cosmos so that you could be seated in the heavenly places in Him! And now that He has wrapped you in His grace, you can show that kind of love to the world. You are free to give to those who cannot repay you.

Here is the main point I want us to see in Luke 14:12-14:

Gospel-motivated love is characterized by joyful sacrifice for those who have no way to pay back.

Jesus is forcing us to look at the kind of love that He has shown to us. And by getting us to grab a hold of that love, He knows what kind of life we will live. So let us together look to Jesus, “the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).

May you be so overjoyed by all Christ has done that giving to those who cannot repay only serves to increase your joy!

For His glory and fame,
Dustin

Healthy Idolatry

Idolatry is something we hear about with some regularity in church, yet it still works its way into our lives in many insidious ways. It’s a constant struggle because we are creatures who must live for something. We have a great need for worth and value so we set the trajectory of our lives on achieving a position, a person, a status, or a possession. This thing has our allegiance, we desire it above all else. We’re sure that when we have it our black and white life will be filled with color. What is the thing which you long for most? The answer to that question reveals your particular idol.

Every idol is unhealthy. This thing which we’ve ascribed ultimate value to is incapable of giving us the satisfaction for which we long. The one sad truth about idols is this – they always disappoint. Therefore, our souls are crushed when our idols inevitably fail to meet our expectations.

There is, however, one healthy idol. Please, with all of your energy and all of your might, idolize Jesus Christ. Be absolutely mesmerized, transfixed, and obsessed with the Lord. “Taste and see that the Lord is good!” He is the idol you were created to idolize.

As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.
-Psalm 17:15

May you pursue the Savior until the only idol you desire is Christ!

For His glory and fame,
Dustin

New Blog

Hey there!

Well, for various reasons I decided to switch over to WordPress from Blogger. So this is where I’ll be blogging now.

I hope you enjoy what I share. As always, my prayer is that by visiting here you may find “ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus!”

For His glory and fame,
Dustin Smetona