Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Intro To Easter Reflections: Following Jesus

I have a wonderfully ancient book of poetry that I picked up for a few bucks in October 2003. I found it in the basement bookstore of a Christian coffee shop in Allendale, New Jersey called Holy Grounds. The copyright on this book is 1895. There is an inscription in the front dated 1983, the year I was born. It reads, "To Betty- My dearest sister in the Lord.- God filled the, the earth with beauty the day he created you. My love be with you in Christ Jesus. Barbara". It's pages are brown and tattered and the binding threatens to undo itself each time it is breathed upon.

Still, this is the 2nd most treasured book I own. If my house were ever to catch fire, I would have this tucked under my arm, along with my Bible, as I tossed my children through a window to safety. Yes, it's that dear to me. My wedding albums, my family recipes, everything else would be left behind. But not this book. (It used to reside in my safe until I realized that it never gets read when it's in there.) What could it possibly be, you ask?

Heart-Song, (2nd Edition), by Robert Marshall Offord. 

I began creating a list of books that have been very influential in my life last night. This book got pulled off the highest shelf on my tallest bookcase. I leafed through it this morning savoring the beauty of the words this man lovingly penned about our Savior and was filled to bursting, once again, with overwhelming joy and excitement at the wonder of the Gospel!

Since Easter is almost here, and many of these poems are so beautifully splendid and appropriate (not  necessarily only for the Easter season, for it is always good to meditate on that wondrous thing Christ accomplished on the cross), I am compelled to share them with you. 


Following Jesus

Man of Sorrows, mighty God,
Thou the path of life hast trod, 
And each step we take, we meet
Imprints of Thy sacred feet.

Sad indeed Thy lot in life;
Cruel foes and ceaseless strife,
Pain and persecution Thine,
Man of Sorrows, Lord divine.

When did soul such burden bear
As once wrung from Thee the prayer,
"Father, if it so may be,
Let this cup now pass from Me"?

Yet we hear Thee in Thy grief,
Borne to yield our souls relief,
Saying, O thou burdened One,
"Not My will, but Thine be done"!

Thine for us the cursed cross, 
For our gain such direful loss,
From what burden shall we shrink?
Or what cup refuse to drink?

Welcome aught our Father sends,
Since with all such grace He lends!
Welcome e'en the chast'ning rod
In the loving hands of God.

-Robert Marshall Offord

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