“No need”: A poem for Pentecost

No need, O Lord, for flame to fall again;
The fire still smolders in your church’s hearth.
But stir us up to blaze for you anew
And spread your gospel’s truth and holy light,
As beacon leaps to beacon, across the land.

And in the darkness of our age’s night,
O Lord, open our eyes to see anew
The Guide you set before us and within us.

No need, O Lord, to stoop to breathe again
The breath of life; your church is not yet dead—
But wake us up—if need be bring us low
To learn humility amid the dust
From whence we came—to speak your Word abroad.

But, Lord, send forth your Spirit’s mighty wind
To rid your living temple of the grime
That hides your glory shining forth from it.

Yet till that final day your Son descends
With fire to bring all hidden things to light,
To take at last his scepter and his throne,
And prove the worth of every deed of men—
No need, O Lord, for flame to fall again.

I wrote this poem this week, thinking about the event that this season remembers and celebrates: the coming of the Spirit. The ideas that went into the poem were informed, as always, by an eclectic variety of sources, but as usual I try not to draw too heavily, too directly, or too obviously on any of them.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, suggestions, questions, critique, or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. (In other words, if you liked this poem, or you didn’t like it, or it made you think of something, or … please leave a comment to let me know.) If you liked this, you can follow this blog, which includes one of my poems every Friday, or read other poems I’ve written here on my blog (starting with yesterday’s archive installment, since the full archive is by now, at well over a hundred poems, somewhat daunting); I’d especially like to know which poems you think are my best. You may also share it with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also archived on my wiki.


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