For Max Olsen (1930-2020)**
Thou, Lord, who groaned in agony
When darkness ruled Gethsemane
And daylight mocked on Calvary,
Whose perfect gift has ransomed me,
O turn my wand’ring heart!
Thou, Lord, who spilt thy blood for me
To answer justice’ stern demands,
That sin might keep no claim on me,
Whose grace is graven on thy hands,
O shrive* my selfish heart!
Thou, Lord, who bore all things for all,
To succor us in grief and pain,
To temper judgment, knowing all,
Whose mercy drenches us like rain,
O soothe my aching heart!
Thou, Lord, whose pow’r doth sanctify
The soul who seeks thee through the night
And mercy loves, and truth, and peace;
Who fits us for the endless Light;
O cleanse my hands and heart!
Thou, Lord, who filled the empty tomb
And third-day rose in glory rife,
Full vanquished sorrow, banished gloom,
Gave death to death and life to life,
O calm my mournful heart!
Thou, Lord, who grants me breath and life,
And calls me forth from sin and woe,
And bids me now reflect thy light
And teach and love and serve thine own,
O fill my eager heart!
Thou, Lord, who keeps alone the gate,
When I have sought and praised thee long
And blessed the souls who share my days,
Exalted thee in deed and song,
O claim my broken heart!
My joyful, grateful, broken heart.
*Shrive: to hear confession, assign penance, and grant absolution.
**Max Olsen, my kind, intelligent friend and neighbor of ten years, passed away in April 2020. His humble Christianity helped to inspire a rare, modest effort by this non-poet to write devotional poetry.
From the Author
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