memories engraved on the cliffside stones

i remember a thursday
standing starstruck by the glory of God,
the sparkle of seaspray smash-bash-crashing
on the cliff-side stones
and seabirds overhead soaring on eagle-wings.

you know not whence they come
you know not where they go,
but the mercy of God is teaching me
how to soar like them
and the grace of God reminds me

that though i stumble and fall
over the cliffs of craggy sin,
His strong right hand will catch me
and with meek (not weak!) servant fingers
He will wash the mistakes from my sin-stained feet

(«and not just my feet, but my whole being!»
shout i, peter, of the flinty forehead
and the stony heart, and blood boiling
like lipstick-red lava volcanically exploding
at the mention of His name).

i remember a thursday
leaning lovestruck into the wailing wind,
the breath of the Spirit groans and moans
over those cliff-side stones,
and two pairs of lips speak of God’s glorious grace.

God knows whence we have come
God alone where we shall go,
but grace has brought us here
into His presence
and His presence leads us on

teaching us to walk, step-by-step,
a wild-goat sure-footed on the cliffs
dancing over the seasprayed stones
dancing lest those stones cry out
rejoicing in the glory of our dancing God.

and we, the image and glory of God,
are held safe in the palm of His hand,
and i hold you tight under the swaying palms
for i will glory in you, O my woman!
and rejoicing we must dance.

i could never get the hang of thursdays:
palm-branches bowing in celebration
as the bridegroom enters His city in glory
and the kingdom of heaven
hanging thick in the Spirit-filled air.

whence did the moment come?
where has the time flown?
and too quickly the moment arrives
when we must quickly hurry down
from the hill-top presence of God

wandering down the path straight and narrow,
mind still wondering at the grace and the glory,
we return to the uncomprehending world
and in fear and trembling
try to work out what is happening:

are we the unprepared virgins?
have we come too late?
but the oil in our lamps was burning!
has the kingdom arrived or is it to come?
Jesus! — why do you always speak in parables?

i remember a thursday
gathered together for one last supper,
preparations had all been made
but none realised the misery that was to follow
(though, of course, He knew).

before we even broke bread together
one had departed into the darkness of night
and peter (as ever), speaking before thinking,
cannot for the tears of him understand
why things must be this way.

but glory be to Christ our Lord
for He is our reconciliation
and though He breaks our awkward silences
turning mother against child,
yet all will be reconciled.

and at last, unexpected,
in the dead of the night,
when the waiting is left by the bed-side,
like a thief in the night,
with the glory of God,
He will come for His beautiful bride.

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