Saturday, February 24, 2007

Teach Us 

And I saw, and behold, a pale horse, and its rider's name was Death,
and Hades followed him;
and they were given power over a fourth of the earth,
to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence
and by wild beasts of the earth.

Revelations 6:8 RSV

Bombs that rock the crowded streets
fuel of hate that feeds the beast,
red of maw and black of heart
that longs to tear your soul apart,
Pale the horse that finds us here,
wrapped in anger, wrapped in fear.
Teach us, Lord the way to go
When we face this bloody foe,
To break the chains of hate and blight
To bring with us your own pure light
To still the crying in the night.

When anger blinds the heart of man
And hardness strides across the land,
Fields unplowed and hunger stalks
while Satan laughs at endless talks
how hard to find the ways of peace
to let the endless fighting cease.
Pale the horse that finds us here,
wrapped in anger, wrapped in fear.
Teach us, Lord, the way to see,
To be the tool of your mercy,
Fill us with your truth and might
That we might always choose the right
That stills the crying in the night.

The pale horse rides across the land
Death by gun and fire and hand,
Cain's dark madness sweeping wide
Brothers killed for greed and pride
Done for country, God and gold
The story is so very old.
Pale the horse that finds us here,
wrapped in anger, wrapped in fear.
Teach us Lord, to be your tool
Though others think we are the fool,
Walking with you in your light
Through sword and fire and angry fight
To still the crying in the night.

Susan E. Stone, 2007

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Friday, February 23, 2007

The Betrothal 

See the Bridegroom coming,
Coming with shouts and noise,
Soldiers marching in fine array,
Heading to His betrothal.

See the Bridegroom standing,
Standing there before the crowd,
Dressed in the finery of love
Heading to His betrothal.

His garland is a bloody crown
of twisted thorn thrust on his head,
Finery than the lillies of spring,
Arrayed for His betrothal,

His robe a bloodstained rag of red,
Mockery of royal garb,
Richer than any silk woven,
Fine clothes for His betrothal.

His body anointed with his own blood,
A perfume from Heaven for his bride
And spittle from the mocking men
Rich unguent for His betrothal.

His betrothal gift boxed all in wood,
A cross of heavy weight and pain,
Embossed with nails for feet and hands,
Precious treasure for His betrothal.

All for love he gives these things,
All for love to win his bride,
All for love to woo her heart,
Giving all for His betrothal.

Susan E. Stone, 2007

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

One Sad But Holy Day 

But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ
- Galatians 6:14 RSV

The world does not understand this, Lord,
why I should want to bring to mind that sad but holy day,
when You became the curse for us,
when You carried that horrendous burden
far heavier than the wood of Your cross,
the sin of the world on Your sinless, torn and battered back.
Such is the scandal of God in the eyes of the world,
That out of disgrace and misery and pain,
Hope is born.

How heavy the weight of the unrighteousness of others on You,
the Son of righteousness,
hatred and the selfish lack of love piled high on You,
You who are all love,
all that darkness
on the shoulders of You who are always the Light,
as You brought the redemption that a loving God offered --
by Your stripes we are healed.

O Lord, let me think of the crowd that gathered in front of the Roman judge,
pressing close and noisy that Friday morning,
thinking they were upholding the honor of the Father,
but caught up by the world who would not see You for who you are,
and know my sins were there as they screamed for Your blood.
Let me think of the whip and know that my sins were there,
driving the lead tipped leather to cut Your skin,
as You took the punishment that I deserved.
Let me remember how that my sinful hand joined the executioner hammering the nails
through all the times I have chosen to do wrong,
not counting the cost that you so willingly bore to the depths of death.

The world does not understand,
does not want to understand,
chooses not to believe this foolishness of God,
the one thing truly to glory in,
a cursed death that is a marvelous victory,
yet for us who love You,
the scandal of the cross is our one hope and salvation.

Let me never take for granted what You have wrought,
and contemplating that day with remorse and with gladness,
remember with a thankful heart how much I am loved,
now and forever.


Susan E. Stone, 2007


Midnight (a song) 

The midnight seems so dark, and dawn so far away.
The sounds of war are loud, with no safe place to stay,
Except in Your heart, Lord, the one safe place I know -
O keep me close to You, Lord, O do not let me go.

The midnight seems so dark, voices cry out in the night
exploding into to anger - I hear the bloody fight.
No peace without love, no peace outside Your heart -
O keep me close to you, Lord, O do not let us part.

The midnight seems so dark, with a blood smell in the air,
the bitter iron of hatred, lust and sorrow there.
Like war drums the sound of feet marching in the night.
O keep me close to you, Lord, O bring me to your light!

The midnight seems so dark - You know those shadows too.
In grief you prayed alone as our sins laid hard on You.
You felt the whip's hard biting, you took their cross of thorn -
To keep me close to you, Lord, you accepted all their scorn.

The midnight seems so dark, but You gave the way to life.
Your cross the midnight beacon that cuts dark like a knife.
You gave us your all to bring us through the night
To keep us close to you, Lord, safe in Your loving sight.

(to the tune of Noel Novelet (Midi tune:

Susan E. Stone, 2007

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Here I stand, Lord, naked beneath your loving eye
in a place where no pretense is allowed.
You know me for what I am,
each area I try to masquerade my weaknesses,
each nook in which I try to hide my sins,
each way I try to cling to what I, not You want of me.

Here I stand, Lord, tasting my tears
as the realization of what I do that separates us
is revealed, veil by veil, through your kind hand.
Forgive me of my hardness,
the lack of love I let mar the creature you would have me be.
Forgive me of my obstinance,
the willingness to forget that I am a creature, not the Creator,
the pretention to being in control,
the desire to build walls to separate me from Your will for me.

Here I stand, Lord, open my heart
and let me see with Your eyes the darkness in my life.
And through Your loving light,
let those blemishes be cleaned and healed,
until I see my fellow man the way you would have me see,
until I turn to you, my Life and my Hope,
first, last and always,
so that I may learn, through Your loving power,
to walk the way You want me,
for Your glory,
this day and always, Amen.

Susan E. Stone, 2007

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I Cry to Thee 

Out of my depths,
the darkness of my sin,
the darkness of being separated,
the darkness of doubt,
of choosing self over God,
the depths of my own hubris,
I cry to thee, O Lord -
Have mercy!

You, the last anchor I know,
the first truth that I learned,
the light I long for,
the truth I hunger for --
You, Lord,
You who I have slighted so often,
You who knows my every move,
You who knows,
You -
I cry to Thee -
Forgive me, O Lord, in your mercy.
O Lord, hear my prayer.

Lord, hear my voice,
You who hear all,
You who cry out in the garden for the weight of all our sin,
You who offer your wrists up to the executioner's nails,
You who offer your back to the scourge,
Your face to the mocking,
You who hear me crying out in the darkness
when I think it is only me,
But it is always, always two,
You and I.

In the bitterness of my tears,
Through my remorse, the haze of self-pity,
awaken my heart, O Lord,
forgive me my failings --
change me!

In the sorrow for my shortcomings,
I kneel here,
tasting the ashes of my pretensions in the light
where You show me my reality,
heal me!

In the darkness of my grieving,
shaking with the pain of loss,
when You let me know that I am but dust,
and You are life,
and You are reality,
and I am not master,
hold me, O my Lord.

Mold me,
Shape me,
and let me be
as You would have me to be,
transformed by Your love
a love big enough to give all
a love big enogh to drink the dregs of sorrow
a love big enough
to transform the whole world,
tear by tear
to bring that final joy.


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Meditation on Psalm 85:7-8 

Show us thy steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation. Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints, to those who turn to him in their hearts. Psalm 85:7-8 RSV

Let me hear what You will speak, O my Lord,
As I watch the smoke of war drift over the land,
As I watch the fire of wrath burn over the land,
Angry red in the midnight, the color of hate,
Speak to me, Lord, tell me it is not too late
For all those poor souls tripped up in the word --
the word that brings death.
Touch us today with your breath.
O Spirit of Holiness that brings life into dust.
So many hopes now the color of rust,
The color of dried blood on an old wooden cross
That offered life out of death, hope out of loss,
A love so intense it could burn away night,
Opening a path through hate's smoke, a straight line of sight
Into a steadfast tomorrow unmarred by Cain's blood,
Or Eve's choice -- rejected, unsought, splattered with mud,
Like You were the day You died.
How Your mother cried.
Touch us, O God, today with your breath,
As we near ever closer the valley of death
That one final night.
Bent with hell's unending anger at the world that you gave,
At the blood that you gave.
Hosanna, O save!
Help us share Your true light.

Susan E. Stone, 2007

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Monday, February 19, 2007

In the Valley of Tears 

In the vale we find ourselves, a place of shadow,
this place we live, this valley of tears,
the land where we stumble alone in the desert,
crying out in our loss and our hurt and our fears
how often we look for refuge, help and hope,
amid all the darkness of a sinful land,
bare, sere, and angry this place we live,
a burnt land of shard and rock and sand.

Whisper her name when the moment seems heavy,
Whisper her name when the darkness is deep,
Know that she hears and will be there to help you,
When the pain stabs your heart and your mind cannot sleep.
O pray for us now, Theotokos, our Mother,
O pray for us now in our grief and our tears,
Maria, O Mary, O Mother of Mercy,
Be with us now, and when our death nears.

Susan E. Stone, 2007

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Amid the rubble,
bomb shards of a broken life,
wreckage of a hate gone mad,
fire of a rejecting world,
still You walk, Lord,
seeking the lost,
comforting the injured,
helping the afflicted,
looking over the twisted hate
that uses you,
that rejects you,
makes you the scapegoat of so many things.

At a casual glance,
not much has changed since you walked the earth,
Cain still chooses to kill his brother,
Eve still reaches for the forbidden,
we build new towers of Babel daily.
And yet, the sparks you planted build into flickering flames,
lighting up the darkness.

Help us be those lights, Lord,
the lamps of Heaven's light piercing the darkness of sin,
the oil of peace in the land of hate,
the hand that pushes aside the rubble,
reaches out,
lifts up our brother, shaken to his core,
and helps him into the day.

We are but dust without your spirit.
Breathe in us, that we might live,
and living,
bring that life to others,
this day, and always,

Susan E. Stone, 2007

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