Angel Ministers

Does the way seem long and lonely?
Does the silence whisper fear,
as if enemies were watching,
and no loving eye were near?
On each side are unseen friends;
every step an angel tends.

Angel-legions all about thee,
death and danger to repel;
angels o’er thee and before thee,
what are all the hosts of hell?
Perils thicken, tempests chafe,
fiends assail thee; thou art safe.

Angel-guards, how near and gracious;
angel-shields, how broad and bright;
angel-eyes, how quick and tender;
angel-hands, how full of might!
What a wondrous company,
pilgrim, waiteth upon thee!

Not the thousand times ten thousand
of man’s proudest war array,
not the steel of bannered squadrons
could thee shield so well as they,
sent from heaven as ministers
of the kingdom’s blessèd heirs.

Hopeless oft may seem the ventures
of the pilgrim-march below;
never will thy guards desert thee,
never fear to face thy foe;
caring for thee day and night,
in the journey or the fight.

Gabriel, Michael – who I know not –
may be leader of the host;
named or unnamed, they will keep thee,
fearing, fainting, danger-tossed;
wounded oft and battle-worn,
thou canst never be o’erborne.

Yet ’tis not angelic legions,
with their skill, and care, and might,
that can guard thee from the perils
of the darkness or the light.
‘Tis the King of angels who
can conduct thee safely through.

Lean on him to whom the legions
of the angelic host belong,
Captain of the heavenly army,
true and faithful, wise and strong.
Hands may slacken, eyes grow dim;
only, only lean on him.

Horatius Bonar, Until the Day Break: And Other Hymns and Poems Left Behind (pg. 6-8).

“Jesus Held by Wood”

Delivered and delivering.

Jesus held by the wood.

Witnesses on either side.

Mary stood waiting,

quietly gazing,

with great feeling,

on her Son.

The sky dark above.

As at the beginning,

so at the end.

Jesus held by the wood,

delivered and delivering.

Jesus held by the wood.

The scene of Christmas and of Calvary.

Of the cradle and the cross.

Mark Dever, The Christmas Thingamabob (Leyland, England: 10Publishing, 2013), 26.

A Guest of God

Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
                              Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
                             From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
                             If I lacked any thing.

 

A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
                             Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
                             I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
                             Who made the eyes but I?

 

Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
                             Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
                             My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
                             So I did sit and eat.

 

George Herbert, “Love (III)” in The Best Poems of the English Language (pg. 188).