The Holocaust Museum

I.
Oh God! The sea of shoes and shaven heads,
The smoking souls in dust and embers–
Flesh like mine and heart like yours,
How deep, how wide,
How dark, how still!

II.
Gnjilane has forgotten you,
And strangers walk the wounded streets
Grown harder than a heart should be,
But sleep, and sleep! for I remember
In myself what soul you were.
Your bones were broken like the limbs
Of good and evil, scattered dust
Before I ever heard you lived,
But now I know you, Vladan Popovic,
And name you as a sign.

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The Glory of God in His Goodness

And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.

And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.

And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
(Ex. 33:12-19)

When Moses asked to see the glory of God, God didn’t respond in earthquakes and thunderings, though He could have. He didn’t show Moses His glory in creation, though the Scriptures tell us that the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork. Neither did he display His glory in justice–that would have meant the annihilation of Moses and all of Israel together. God’s response to Moses is the hope of the believer: He manifests His glory in goodness.

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The Idea

I saw a tree alone,
Uncrowded on a hillside,
And it seemed the chance
Of earth, and wind, and weather.
But I know beneath
Are roots, beginnings
Of a seed, the fruit
Of one Idea, and so
The seedling grows forever,
Deeper into changeless dark,
And higher into stars.

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bin Laden Dead

So he is dead.
The day the towers fell
We cried for blood
And longed for death,
But not our own—
We wept for sacrifice
All through the burning sands.
And though I have no pleasure
In the blood of bulls,
Or goats, or murderers,
The thing was needful.
But my brothers, have a care
Lest we should sop unworthily
The broken flesh in blood,
Let the sons of men beware
The bitter dregs they drain.
This is no Holy Eucharist.



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Forgiveness

  A certain man had two sons.  The youngest said to his father, “Give me my inheritance.”  So the father divided his possessions between the sons and watched his younger son take the money, pack his things, and walk down the dusty road without looking back.

  The son travelled to a far country and wasted all that his father had given him; years of labor spent in a few short weeks.  When his money was gone, a famine swept across the land, and for the first time in his life, the son was hungry.  He became so hungry that he hired himself out to feed pigs.  He was hungry enough that he wanted the husks that the pigs were eating.  Eventually, he came to his senses and decided to go home.

  All through the long journey, he rehearsed what he would say and do.  He would go to his father, acknowledge his sin, and ask to be made a servant.  Surely after such an act of disrespect to his father, he would never again be a member of the family; but if he offered himself as a servant, at least he would have something to eat and a place to stay.

  A hundred miles away, the father watched and waited, staring down the long road.  Day after day the path was empty.  One day, a lone, mirage-like figure appeared in the distance, rippling with the heat.  At last, the prodigal was home!

  The father met him at the door with a cold stare. The son nervously dropped his eyes and recited what he had planned to say.  “Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against you; I am not worthy to be called your son. Please, make me one of your hired servants. ” He was suprised at his own sudden emotion.  Tears stung his eyes and he realized how much he had longed to be reunited with his father.

  Stiffly, the father moved to the side and nodded for him to enter the house.  Once inside, the father demanded a detailed account of the son’s whereabouts and spending on his journey.  He berated him for his foolishness and pride, but insisted that the son be reinstated into the household on a trial basis.  The son would be given responsibilities and tasks to fulfill, and based on his performance, the father might begin to place some trust in his youngest son, and consider restoring him to his former status.

Aren’t you glad forgiveness doesn’t work that way?  The true end to this story is one of the most striking, beautiful examples of true forgiveness.  The Bible says that the father saw the son when he was still a long way off and had compassion on him.  Instead of waiting to serve out the punishment he was entitled to give, the father ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 

  When we come to God with repentance, not only do we not receive the punishment we deserve, we are granted full, complete, total restoration of our relationship with him.  Although there may be consequences to our sin, we do not have to fear further reprimand from our father.  He has met us with outstretched arms, rejoicing, saying, “This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” 

The Prodigal, Ron DiCianni

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Wordsworth: Composed Upon Westminster Bridge

“Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!”
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William Blake: The Tiger

William Blake, "Ancient of Days"

“Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

 

 

William Blake, Illustration to The Book of Job

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?”

 

 

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