October 22, 2020

Holy Week 2015: Long Barren (Christina Rossetti)


Thou who didst hang upon a barren tree,
My God, for me;
Though I till now be barren, now at length,
Lord, give me strength
To bring forth fruit to Thee.

Thou who didst bear for me the crown of thorn,
Spitting and scorn;
Though I till now have put forth thorns, yet now
Strengthen me Thou
That better fruit be borne.

Thou Rose of Sharon, Cedar of broad roots
Vine of sweet fruits,
Thou Lily of the vale with fadeless leaf,
Of thousands Chief
Feed Thou my feeble roots.

• Christina Rossetti
21 February 1865


  1. Thank you Jesus.

  2. Christiane says

    “. . . You are the Life of us all, the Salvation of us all, the Hope of us all, the Healing of us all, and the Resurrection of us all.”

    (an acclamation found in the liturgy of the Coptic Christian Church)

  3. I like how you iMonk folks sometimes let someone else’s words speak for you. Love this short poem. A lot said in few words. Lovely.

  4. The pictured cross looks very gritty. Harsh. Fitting.

  5. Beautiful and lyrical. Thank you, Chaplain Mike.

  6. OldProphet says

    I don’t read poetry. I don’t care about art. I’m a Philistine, I now. But I read thus poem and I was moved by it. God gave His best for me, and I’ve never gotten over the splendor and wonder of His sacrifice for me. Move over Paul, you’re a boy scout compared to me. Praises be to His name!

    • If you were a real Philistine, you wouldn’t like that old time rock n’ roll.

      • OldProphet says

        “don’t take me to a disco, you ‘ll never ever get me out on the floor. Today’s music ain’t got the same soul! Give that old time rock ‘n roll!

  7. Robert F says

    you could call him a scarecrow,
    & who would doubt it?

    a broken figure
    raised up against the sky,
    a rag filled with hay & sticks

    the weight of everything
    pressed down on
    the crown of his skull

    & the birds of malice
    circling, waiting
    for a moment
    of stillness

    a whole world of darkness
    fixed in breathless anticipation
    since the beginning
    since the beginning

    but only love
    dares to approach

  8. I went to two “Good” Friday services today. Also read an article at Christianity Today on Robert Schuller, who died recently. One statement in the article stood out for me, Schuller’s opinion that “the church would not survive unless it superseded the guilt-ridden, sin-obsessed religion of the Reformers.” That is something I have been thinking on all week as I have been urged repeatedly to dwell, obsess on my deplorable sinful state and desperate need for deliverance, tho the Reformers certainly didn’t invent this. I would guess the mention of Schuller in these hallowed halls would most likely bring out the scathing opprobrium usually reserved for Joel Osteen. I kinda agree with Schuller, who I was surprised to learn was a Calvinist. He seems to occupy a different part of the spectrum than Christina Rossetti. I’m looking forward to Sunday when the tune changes, the bright flowers and Christ candle come back, tho for me the tune changed nearly two thousand years ago.