January 18, 2021

Another Look: Sonnet for Lent V

Grave. Photo by Olly Clarke

Today’s Gospel: John 11:1-45

Sonnet for Lent V

if only you had been here with us then
when your close friend, our brother, passed away
i know you could have helped, have healed, have saved
his life and kept us from this hopeless day
instead we watched him slowly lose his breath
we bid him drink and cooled his fev’rish skin
abstained from sleep and feared to leave the room
lest darkness steal the last dim light within
but you, you were not here! you were not here
when your companion slowly slipped away
what now? you come, but why? what can you do?
what words of present comfort can you say?
a single tear falls softly from your eye —
i catch my breath; you move, you point, you cry…

• • •

Photo by Olly Clarke at Flickr. Creative Commons License


  1. Robert F says

    A beautiful sonnet, CM. Thank you posting it.

  2. Robert F says

    waiting patiently
    with the rosebush for its buds
    is no small matter

  3. Susan Dumbrell says

    Each Easter morning at dawn, weather permitting, I sit on the steps watch the sky as the sun warms it to blue with rose tints and the birds start to sing as if welcoming the holy day.

    I feel I am with Mary as she sees the ‘gardener’, then recognises her Lord, the risen Son of God who offers eternal to all who believe and call on His Name.

    I find this time in my rose garden (I have about 100 bushes) gives me a great sense of peace and I go to Church rejoicing.

    My faith is simple but I feel this is such a special time waiting for the full glory of Easter Day to burst forth.
    With sure and certain hope we wait for the day of resurrection. Those who we have loved and have died will rejoice again before the throne of God

    (Robert, another great haiku.)

  4. Ronald Avra says

    Definitely captures an aspect of the human experience

  5. I went to church this morning at the Episcopal Church in Cadillac where they have a spoken service first Sunday of the month. There was a report in the announcements after the service of a regional meeting with the bishop, and in passing they mentioned they had discussed the 500 year cycle of history that has affected the church and the world, last time being the Reformation. I was intrigued enough to attend a birthday potluck afterward and sat with the guy who made the report.

    Turns out they not only understand the Great Emergence happening all around us, but understand it may turn out to be the biggest change to the planet since Jesus walked the Earth, and they know who Phyllis Tickle is and how important her take on things is. I was astounded since these matters are usually unknown elsewhere, and either ignored here or scoffed at as a passing fad of no import, He also spoke of the Nicene Creed as being a turn off for young people and voiced the opinion that the church as we know it complete with building and theological confessions may end up serving older people until they die off, while whatever Spirit is doing takes place outside.

    Mind you, this is a church of mostly middle-class boomers, and probably not everyone in the church is this far along. I’ll bet I could visit a hundred more churches without running into this level of awareness and I am greatly heartened to know someone in Christendom is living in the 21st century. And they didn’t have the church decorated in funereal black for Lent. And the sun is shining. What’s not to like?

  6. Susan Dumbrell says

    Thank you Charles for sharing your experience this Sunday’s worship.
    I do not doubt the sincerity of the guy who wrote the report.
    I am sure he has done an great deal of study in its preparation.

    I have a fairly a ‘via media’ attitude to the beliefs and practices of the Church.
    I guess I am Old School. I hold to Scripture, Reason and Tradition holding my theology and worship practice together.
    My problem with instigating a more up-to-date expressions of the three items mentioned above is that the baby is often thrown out with the bathwater.
    Introducing Gen-whatever to the Gospel and worship in their flavour, smacks of the methods of the mega churches who are looking for immediate experience, charismatic speakers and bands with suspect wording songs. All ‘me’ centred excluding the firm foundations of the Church, particularly established with the Reformation onwards.

    I can look to the local new Churches in my area who seem to think in very limited terms in their theology and grabbing attention to those who want nothing but a social get together and ‘amazing’ experience each Sunday.
    There are basic tenets of Christian belief and biblical study and worship practice which needs to be promoted and explained to new believers.
    These establish a firm foundation on which continuing faith can grow.
    I repeat, these can form a life long commitment to a Christian faith.

    The Church I attend caters for all age groups, babes in arms, children and young people, to those on walker frames. It is following a fairly traditional path but highlighted with new thoughts and participation. I guess I have the best of all worlds.

    Three local Churches are having an interdenominational service next Sunday for Palm Sunday, followed by a potluck lunch. This would not have happened ten or twenty years ago. This is progress without destroying tradition.

    I wonder if in the future the young people who are drawn to ‘experience’ in worship in mega churches will be still attending the church or too busy taking kids to football or ballet etc and having nothing further to hold on to churchwise. Will they will look back or cast aside that part of their lives to just a phase they went through?

    I think there can be integration , as I am experiencing, without destroying the centuries of Christian tradition, biblical teaching and reason.

    • Susan, sounds like you indeed have the best of all worlds. You are most fortunate. The particular church I spoke of is firmly based on Scripture, Reason, and Tradition, and I would add Spirit. The people are not stodgy and the priest is forward looking, but young people do not regularly attend the services. They are not about to adopt entertainment features into their service in the attempt to attract younger people, and this does not seem to work very well in any case. For most young people, and increasingly people in general, church is just irrelevant. If you think about it, for most of his ministry Jesus operated outside the established church.

      The movement I was speaking of is not about styles or fashions. It is about huge turns of history such as the collapse of the Roman Empire, the split between Eastern and Western Christianity which continues to this day, and the Reformation which still has not been worked out in many minds. These events come along every 500 years or so and we are due for one now. Those with eyes to see can observe it building up as we speak. Most people are oblivious to this cycle and figure if it was real it would be reported in the mainstream media. That isn’t going to prevent it from happening anyway, altho how it happens remains to be seen. Most people are content to follow the Punch & Judy show provided for their entertainment.

      • Susan Dumbrell says

        Hi Charles.

        Blessings, Honour Glory and Power to all who love our Lord.

        Thank you for replying.
        I live far away from each other but I love the comments we all send and which enrich our relationship between ourselves and our Lord to Jesus Christ’ s Miracles, however how tiny they may be. They enrich our lives and tie us to our Lord in the Golden Thread.
        We are a loyal band of pilgrims, the path is ever onward as you showed me in the recent picture to our blog. For this as I have previously said, I give thanks.

        Maranatha, – come, Lord Jesus, come be know to us in the breaking of the bread and joyful fellowship with each other in your presence .

        We await your everlasting Eastertide.

Speak Your Mind