Showing posts with label Jesus Christ. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jesus Christ. Show all posts

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Letting Judas Down

We all did. We all came from
Galilee and he from some place
down south near the City of Moab.

We didn’t mean to shut him out,
but we understood each other –
all being Galileans as Jesus was,
so when Judas didn’t get what we said
and when he called Jesus “Teacher”
instead of “Lord,” we just figured
he had a different way of talking.

To let him know we trusted him,
we put him in charge of finances –
never connecting that job to what
Jesus said about choosing between
serving God or serving money.

I guess he chose money – a lousy
thirty silver coins in exchange
for identifying Jesus as The One
we followed – The Life exchanged
for death at the price of a slave.

Later, we heard Judas felt bad
about what he’d done, but even
the priests wouldn’t absolve him
or take the money back. When he
realized Jesus wouldn’t be crowned
with anything but thorns, he hated
himself too much to live. He forgot
that Jesus– knowing what would
happen, still called him “Friend.”

Some friend, I say, but then we all
betrayed the Lord although we knew
He was more than a Rabbi, more than
a teacher, more than anyone’s slave.

by Mary Harwell Sayler


Monday, July 13, 2015

Living in Eternity

The Escape
by Mary Harwell Sayler

Day after day I think of death
descending on us
like that fish hawk on the pond,
the dark wings
towering through each window
of our house and settling
on the sofa
where we like to rest.

Some call death
an osprey, kindly and benign
with its sweet brown and white
seersucker breast and tail,
but they forget
the downward hook of the beak,
the prickly spicules on the feet,
the claws that claw through the
thickest cushions, letting nothing,
get away but

love and spirit.

©2015, ©2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. “The Escape” first saw print in the Journey’s End anthology then was included in the poetry book, Living in the Nature Poem, published by Hiraeth Press.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

What has Jesus ever done for you?

For You,

I turned water into wine, purified in the veins
of My own body. I climbed mountains, healed
crowds of hunger, warmed a leper’s skin. For
you I chastised leaders, halted stones, wrote on
the ground each word contained in Love.

I overturned unfair prices and low wages, tabled
discussions about who’s first or last, and enjoyed
the most unlikely company.

Before My execution, I tamed a donkey, became
your beast of burden, then bled from every pore.

Once for all, I buried death, and, when I arose,
some saw Me. Some heard Me as I broke through
the veil, cloaking time and eternity, and, yes,
for you, I’d do it all again. Amen.

© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved; please do not use without my permission. “For You” closes the book of Bible-based poems, Outside Eden, published in 2014 by Kelsay Books.

Outside Eden, paperback

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jonah, John, and Jesus

When my previously published poem about Jonah came to mind this morning, I protested! Something about Jonah just evokes protests, but my objections seemed founded and grounded in biblical history – like, what on earth does Jonah have to do with Jesus, especially this time of year?

With Advent around the calendar corner, the only connection I saw between Jonah and Jesus was a 5-letter name starting with “J.” But despite my protest, I pulled up the poetry file on my computer to give the poem a chance to explain itself.

Here's what came - and overcame my objections:

In all of Bible history, Jonah was the very first missionary sent by God to preach to a people who lived in darkness.

Since it took a whale of a situation (pun intended) to coax Jonah to bring a great light, he clearly went against his own will to save a people he did not want to save!

Jesus did just the opposite.

Jesus obeyed His Heavenly Father.

Jesus went willingly to save people.

In between, God prepared another missionary – Jesus’ cousin, John – to prepare the Way for the Lord.

This call to repentance John the Baptist received also echoes Jonah’s word from God and prepares us to look deeply into ourselves and prepare ourselves for the coming adventure of Advent, the coming of our Lord.


I had a right to be angry!
God gave me no choice. He said, "Go
to Nineveh. Tell them to repent."

So I went –
in the opposite direction.

I boarded a ship, but a storm came, making the crew unfair game for destruction. I couldn't let them drown for me, so I sacrificed myself into the sea where a huge whale gulped me down. For three whole days I had time to think about the direction of my life.

At last the beast beached me near Nineveh, and I supposed I should be grateful, but why? My skin had bleached, and my eyes had not a single lash. My hair had dissolved as I had resolved my past!

It would be pure pleasure to tell Nineveh it was going to hell! So I did. The trouble was, they believed me! They repented. And God let them live!

"Why God?" I asked, but He had questions of His own:

Do you do well to be angry?

What did my anger matter to God? It was mine, wasn't it? I had a right to it. After all, I'd been ordered to a place I did not wish to go. I'd been swallowed by a fish, had to swallow my pride, almost died, and been rescued only to rescue my enemy – a people who had life and hair and skin, while I was breathless, bald, in sin.

What did I have left but anger?

So I fed it.

Waiting in the sun, watching those Ninevehites on the run,
it made me ill to see God's change of will.
I would have fainted, faded,
if it hadn't been for a plant's shading.
But the next day, a worm ate it!
And I wanted that worm to die,
Nineveh to die,
me to die,
but only the plant did, so I grew hot.

Do you do well to be angry?

"Listen, God, " I said. "My plant is dead. And I do very well to be angry. Maybe I rebelled against Your will, but still, I did what You asked – a thankless task. Now I want to be alone. Let anger comfort me."

"Jonah," God said," you're just mad about that plant's untimely death. You don't give a prayer for your own life or Nineveh's nor a care for their innocent cows. I tell you now, I made you and them, not on a whim. So stop being angry that nothing went your way.



by Mary Harwell Sayler © 2012, all rights reserved.

Originally published in my 1998 chapbook, Saints Alive, Now & Then, this poem is used with my permission and repentance. Thanks be to God!