September 25, 2020

Jesus Teaches about Light and Law

City on the Hill, Ten Eyck

By Chaplain Mike

Today’s Gospel: Matthew 5:13-20

“You are the light of the world…

…I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.”

when one day israel stood
before a storm-lit mount in dread
o’erwhelmed by fulgent truth’s demands
they shook and sent just one
to enter the cloud in their stead

chosen to reflect heav’n’s light
yet distant, far from ark and glory
alight, but through priest and blood and tent
lit by candles, curtain shadows dimmed
the meaning of their story

’til on another mount came darkest day
the sun, eclipsed, then vanished
and this world’s light went black
when evil rose and doused love’s flame
and all our hope was banished

nor did we know that this deep night
fulfilled law’s stipulation
that priest and blood and forms should end
and curtains rent reveal the rising sun
at dawn of new creation

now on the mount you say we shine
yet not with nature’s light
mere moons, reflecting glow
of ris’n sun’s glorious rays
dispersing depths of night

through phases, too, we go —
now new, as though no sun remains
and waxing, waning constantly
’til one day bright and full for aye
when night no more obtains


  1. Mike,

    I love the fact that you are writing poetry and putting it online.

    I love this, especially the contrast of the two mountains. The last two stanzas are wonderful. I’m not sure the 2/5 rhyme pattern works well. Oh, and please don’t tel me the post title is the poem title.

    I would love to see you post some of your old songs. Not just the lyrics, either. Surely you have some audio files (if not, I will borrow your cassette and make some for you).

    In fact, I am calling you out on this: Imonk readers, did you know that your beloved Chaplain Mike put out an album (okay, tape) of songs a few decades ago? Wonderful songs, too. In fact, I haven’t heard ” ‘Ere Long” or “Order my Life” in over twenty years, but I still sing them as worship sometimes. Fact is, THE MAN’S BEEN HOLDING OUT ON YOU!

    Well, enough, I say. To paraphrase the napster creed, “music wants to be free(ly available). Who’s with me on this?

    • P.S., his singing voice is (or at least used to be) better than most you would hear on the radio. My wife and I attended a church led by Mike and his wife many years ago (can it really be 20 years, Mike?), and we always wished Mike and Gail did special music every week. Unfortunately, once a month was the best we got.

    • Dan, you are kind.

      One note: the titles for the posts follow the church year and the gospel passage from the lectionary for each Sunday. The poems are untitled and the heading serves only to summarize the main point of the gospel passage.

      My goal is to write a poem for each Sunday of the church year, so that readers can contemplate their way through the liturgical cycle.

      (BTW, any publishers out there who think there might be a market for this, perhaps in a devotional book with the scriptures and classic art, I’d love to talk!)

    • I see my influence in starting a protest for Mike-music is equal to my influence in leading a church…

      I will take solace in the thoughts that no-one reads the comments on the poetry, and stick to my position that our lives would be enriched if Mike were two upload some of his songs.