“Lord of Pursuing Zeal” – A Poem for Christmas

At The Upper Room, Mike and I have developed a tradition of writing poems as sermons for special holiday services. I composed this for last night’s Christmas Eve service of “Lessons, Symbols, and Carols” (a service based on the King’s College traditional Lessons and Carols service, with the addition of visual art for each lesson). I felt I needed to write in form in order to tie the themes of the various Scripture readings together, so the poem is a sestina.

Lord of Pursuing Zeal

We who walk in darkness now see dawn’s light
Accomplished through the Lord Almighty’s zeal
“How?” says the Lord of Hosts. Not by your might,
by my Spirit: No word from God will fail.
So angels place David’s crown on the head
of Jesus, born that we may never die!

Our parents knew who ate the fruit must die
Yet in their curse they glimpsed the hopeful light:
Eve’s offspring – He would crush the serpent’s head.
So Eve became a witness to God’s zeal
His burning love compels Him without fail:
He comes to break Satan’s delusive might!

Delusion it could seem, that the Lord might
call an only son, whom he loved, to die –
without The Lamb, all sacrifice does fail –
the burnt offering, whose fire was the light
of Abraham’s anguished obedient zeal.
But Isaac lives, heralding Christ his Head!

Christ comes in peace, anointing on His head,
to end the ravages of warring might,
Heralds of peace, shout loudly now with zeal:
“Nations, fear the Lord, born that war may die!”
All nations shall be blessed in peaceful light
and all bloodied weapons of war shall fail.

The angel said, “No word of God will fail!”
and in reverent joy crowned the Virgin’s head.
In her the Incarnate, Eternal Light
adorned a temple through submission’s might.
The Son is born, that we may never die.
Give thanks for Mary’s obedient zeal!

All praise now the Lord of pursuing zeal!
Eat the Bread Who causes hunger to fail,
And drink of the Vine’s fruit and never die.
With the saints sing praise to the Church’s Head
who peacefully rules in unconquered might.
Darkness shall never overcome the light!

Flame that will not die, He shines loving zeal
the pursuing Light Who will never fail,
Bright Church’s Head, Christ the Lord of Might!


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