A stone’s throw from an abandoned homestead foundation leans
an ancient cherry tree, bent by countless storms,
its northern half bare,
from the southern half
dangles clusters of sweet century old promises.
Once orchard lifeblood of this farm,
its fruit picked for farmers’ market
an early dawn hour’s wagon ride to town;
now broken down, forgotten
until this week of fruitful surrender.
Already, but not yet finished,
roots still reaching deep for one more season;
a faithful cycle blooming forth
with budding life from gnarled knots
to yield glorious from weary dying branches.
Hundreds of glistening amber globes of rosy sheen
cling clustered on crooked lichened limbs,
to be gathered up heaping into bowls of gold,
awaiting ecstatic burst of savored perfection,
fulfilling an old promise of sweet abandon.
What is the crying at Jordan?
Who hears, O God, the prophecy?
Dark is the season, dark
our hearts and shut to mystery.
Who then shall stir in this darkness
prepare for joy in the winter night?
Mortal in darkness we
lie down, blind-hearted, seeing no light.
Lord, give us grace to awake us,
to see the branch that begins to bloom;
in great humility
is hid all heaven in a little room.
Now comes the day of salvation,
in joy and terror the Word is born!
God gives himself into our lives;
Oh, let salvation dawn!
~Carol Christopher Drake
A beautiful version of this hymn can be found at http://www.last.fm/music/The+Miserable+Offenders/+tracks and click to listen to What is the Crying at Jordan”
The road that took Him from wooden manger to wooden cross is one we walk in joy and terror through His Word.
He is given to us; He gives Himself to bring joy to our miserable and dark existence; He dies for us; He rises to give us eternal hope of salvation; He calls us by name and we recognize Him.
This mystery is too much for too many unwilling to accept that such sacrifice is possible, His sacrifice and the many parts of His body who continue to be oppressed and persecuted every day. We are blind-hearted to the possibility that this Spirit that cannot be measured, touched, weighed or tracked can stir and overwhelm darkness. We prefer the safety of remaining tight in the bud, hid in the little room of our hearts rather than risk the joy and terror of full blossom and fruitfulness.
Lord, give us grace in our blindness, having given us Yourself. Prepare us for embracing your mystery. Prepare us for joy. Prepare us to bloom.