I feel it most when I watch the burning flames
of fire climb the stubborn branches, up
the pines while golden beams illuminate
the sky – a bitter union, flame and sun.
I feel it at Messiah’s birth, when hope
is strong, but death is biting at the heels,
with memory of Stephen’s martyrdom
the following day. We’re praising monuments –
the pride of civilization, built on backs
of the slaves we beat and curse and then forget.
What is this paradox of good and strife?
We glory in the beauty, but ache in birth -
ing pains – the curses of this wretched fate
called life, from which we long for sweet relief.
We’re told salvation came when Romans ruled
and crucifixion was the way to die –
but where is the life He promised? Whispers spread
of corpses dead from bombings, lack of food,
and image-bearers forced to sell themselves
to feed their babes. The very dirt cries out
for justice – Life isn’t found here, not among
the destitute, the broken cavities
“But he shall come again in glory,”
the creed reminds our sunken spirits as
we join in paradox the evils of
this earth and hopes in heaven’s kind repair.
Our victory is here, invisible –
just waiting to be seized by the One who calls
creation “mine.” Our destitution lingers
as we wait for glory, life, and the beauty
of a sun unsullied by flame’s massacre.
(I feel it most when I watch the burning flames.)