Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Praise Him

Praise Him
for He has brought us
from low places
to the high.
He has embraced the sinner
cast out
by the righteous.

Praise Him
for He has sat at table
with the unacceptable.
He has touched
the untouchable
and forgiven
the unforgivable.

Praise Him
for He carries every cross
of every seed sown
by His Father.
His blood washes our garments
as fresh fallen snow.

Praise Him
for He is the Lamb,
nailed to an altar
of splintered wood,
by those He loves.

 copyright 2018 - Donald P James Jr 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Only Son

Christ Instructing Niccodemus - Crijn Hendricksz

He comes to Jesus under the cloak of darkness.  He is fearful, pulling his garment over his head.  He peers at the ground, hoping to be unseen, like the poor and unrighteous.  But he has wealth and he understands the scriptures.  Most in his sect would not support his desire to speak with the itinerant preacher.  They had heard some of the Rabbi's teachings and did not approve.  He did not want to feel the stares of ridicule or listen to their words of mockery.

So he waits until night and then slips into the street where the darkness will absorb him into its anonymity.

He has heard much about this Jesus.  His words hold authority.  He has captivated the lonely, the diseased, those who have never considered themselves worthy of hearing.  He speaks of God in a way alien to the scribes.  He shares the scriptures as if they are alive, and are not just symbols scratched onto papyrus.  Briefly, before approaching the house where Jesus is staying, the Pharisee  named Nicodemus, considers his own worth.

He enters the room and is greeted by warm smiles.  He wants to be taught by one his party considers unlearned.  The tone of Jesus' voice has drawn him.  Words of living scripture have touched his heart.  Nicodemus knows he would have come, even if there were no rumors of miracles.

"Rabbi, we know God is with you." The Pharisee speaks for himself and a few others, but most of his associates dwell in a world much darker.

And Jesus tells him he must be born again.

"How can this be," Nicodemus says aloud. "How can a man go back into his mother's womb?"

Jesus speaks of water and spirit.  He describes the journey taken by the wind.  Still the Pharisee is confused.

"You are a great teacher in Israel," Jesus says, "We speak only what we know, yet none of you are willing to accept the word.  If you do not believe the truths I tell you about this world, how will you believe the things I tell you about Heaven?"

He describes love.  A father who has sent his only son, to become a lamb, stretched out on an altar.  A father who will give up his son to be killed and in doing so wipe away every sin (past, present, future).  He speaks of eternal life, a concept dividing the holiest sects among the people.  Jesus says he is not to be a judge, keeping count of the stains on mankind.  No, he is to be its savior, paying the price of every stain, the lamb stretched out on the altar.

Nicodemus leaves, his mind confused.  He will ponder these words for a time, before letting the light cast out the darkness, before letting the spirit kneed the stringent teachings in his heart into flesh. 

For now he is still afraid.  He lowers his head so as not to let any passerby see his features and he wonders about one thought, 'That God could so love the world that he would give his only son".

copyright 2018 - Donald P James Jr


Friday, March 2, 2018


The Crucifixion, seen from the Cross, - James Tissot

I come before you with blemishes
I can never wipe away.
My sores have festered
and bled.

The pit yawns for my flesh.
The flames,
that I might be cast
into their dancing tongues.

I come before you stained.
I am at the table,
farthest from you,
waiting for the master's crumbs.

My wealth is spent
on vices.
My youth is corrupted
by temptation.

You, Oh Lord,
are the only hope I have.
Yours is the only promise
keeping me from the flames.
Your blood
on a rough cut beam of wood
cleans every blemish,
every scar,
if I but believe
and turn to Your embrace.

copyright 2018 - Donald P James Jr

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Lamb Before Pilate

And Pilate said,

"So Christ,
king of the Jews,
I've had you whipped
and humiliated.

My men have crowned you
with the mockery that pierces
your scalp.

You are a king of thorns.

Your people,
who celebrated you
a few days ago,
plead for your death.

they taste the sweetness
of the word.
They no longer shout Hosanna.

I have authority,
by the gods of Rome.
Your life
is in the palm of my hand.

Will you speak in your defense?"

And the lamb remained silent.

copyright 2002 - Donald P James Jr

Monday, February 19, 2018

If the Children Should Speak (A Question)

If the Children should speak,
what would they say,
to Pontius Pilate,
and Annas?

Would they understand
that the greatest good
ever given to mankind
through an act
of violence?

Would they understand
that God saw these betrayals,
this political warfare
before the judgement was cast?

Would it scar their innocence
to see the blood
of their Good Shepherd
spilled out
from a broken vessel?

If the children should speak,
would they stand alone
in the riotous crowd,
listening to sonnets
of fear,
or would they shout
refrains of love
into the face of mockery?

copyright 2018 - Donald P James Jr