O Lord, the catechism teaches me
That not one man—no one of Adam’s sons—
Can keep a single precept of your Law
With that perfection of obedience
Which it deserves and, justly, you demand,
And that the best of those you’ve called and claimed
Has in this life made but the small first steps
Toward that boundless and wholehearted love—
And that by grace, “lest any man should boast.”
But I have seen my steps go wandering
Both far and wide, to any path but yours,
To my regret, my peril, and my shame;
At last repenting, I would turn again
My face towards your city soon to come.
I, blushing, have resolved to lay aside
Distractions and “attractive nuisances”
That, though good gifts from you, have weighed me down,
To spend my strength in service to your call
And in your kingdom’s work, and not mere trifles.

I wrote this in a time of reflection some time after hearing a sermon that drew from the Heidelberg Catechism’s teaching about the Tenth Commandment and the Decalogue as a whole.

As always, I earnestly welcome your (further) 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 (perhaps starting with those linked from one of the “archive ” installments, since the full archive is by now, at well over a hundred poems, somewhat daunting); I’d especially like to know, as part of my preparations for a collection, which poems you think are my best. You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.

This poem is also mirrored on my wiki.


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