Christian poetry


PASSIONTIDE HALLELUJAH

(Parody of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah)

The disciples met to eat the Feast.
The Master showed Himself the least;
The Lamb leading the Paschal celebration.
He took the bread; he took the wine:
“My flesh is torn; this blood is mine:”
The Servant-King preparing His oblation.

(Chorus)

In the garden He prayed in pain,
“Not my will, Father, Yours must reign” –
The Suffering Servant incarnate just for this.
The night was bright with sudden flame,
With men and swords our Judas came:
Betrayed his loving Master with a kiss!

(Chorus)

The High Priest’s demand was plain and dire:
“Tell us, man, are you our Messiah?”
Jesus was forthright; he didn’t cower:
“It is exactly what you say,
And you will see on that final day
The Son of Man at the right hand of the Power!”

(Chorus)

Now Herod who ruled in Galilee
Was very keen this man to see,
Confusing magic with divinity.
But when the King would not oblige,
All Herod’s men hurled scornful jibes,
The real King enduring all with silent majesty.

(Chorus)

Then Pilate said, “Behold, I find
No evidence of any crime,
But I shall have him beaten up to satisfy.”
The crowd all shouted, “He must die!”
And Pilate said, “He’s guiltless – why?”
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify!”

(Chorus)

The night was cold. I’m sure you know
How icy winds of fear can blow.
I was seeking warmth, while He was standing trial.
“You followed Him: we all can see
You also come from Galilee.”
No weeping can undo my loud denials.

(Chorus)

Three crosses stood upon the hill,
Though years have passed, I see Him still:
Divine yet human nailed up for my salvation.
On the guiltless one my sin is laid,
And with His blood my debt is paid:
He gives up His last breath in consummation!

(Chorus)

Then in the Sunday morning’s gloom
Our women saw the empty tomb;
The Master spoke to Mary; it was no vision.
So John and I ran to the place
But all we saw was empty space,
The grave clothes bare: the Master He had risen!

(Chorus)

[For an instrumental version of the tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62JYtzi86M8]

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This is a parody of the famous Leonard Cohen song  Hallelujah. I dedicate it to all those whose Hallelujahs are cold or broken.

 
You know what lurks inside me, Lord
You know just why I feel a fraud
But through it all Your love is just as sure
My life is up and down, but when
I fall, You raise me up again
And all that I can do is pant: “My Saviour!”

Hallelujah
O my Saviour
Hallelujah
Jesus Saviour

My faith’s not strong, not doubtingproof
I fall too often, that’s the truth
The burden of my sin surely hides You
The world, the flesh: I fall apart
I stretch my hands out to Your heart
If I can only cling to You, my Saviour!

Hallelujah
O my Saviour
Hallelujah
Jesus Saviour

I know I’ve said this all before
I try again; I can’t do more
I surrender, I give up, I can’t stay true
You’d judge my life as such a farce
It’s certainly no victory march
As I stumble, and I fall before my Saviour

Hallelujah
Lift me, Saviour
Hallelujah
Jesus Saviour

From time to time it’s true, I find
Your words keep playing in my mind
But sometimes so faint: if I am far from You
Without Your voice, I’m so forlorn
But when I see the crown of thorns
I weep beneath the cross of Christ my Saviour

Hallelujah
Christ my Saviour
Hallelujah
Christ my Saviour

 

I know You came down from above
Your life, Your death: it all was love
You came to set us captives free in You
And on that cross Your blood You shed
Yet three days later from the dead
The Father raised You up: O Glorious Saviour!

Hallelujah
Glorious Saviour
Hallelujah
Jesus Saviour

So now from sin You set me free
Let Holy Spirit dwell in me
So I can live the way You want me to
And when the end of time has come
The battle fought, the victory song
Is glory to the Lamb, Christ my Saviour!

Hallelujah
Glorious Saviour
Hallelujah
Jesus Saviour

Hallelujah
Christ my Saviour
Hallelujah
Jesus Saviour

Link for Israeli Defence Force singing it in Hebrew. However, they sing 5 stanzas; I have 6; and one of the versions has 7!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtAMrRtuF_4

Below is a link to another parody of this song, but Christmas-themed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1OzT2NZQ6I

This is a near parody of the Alice Cooper song: Poison

Your home on high
Your throne divine
You left it all
Came down to die

I hate my sin, but I just can’t stop
(Can’t stop)
I wanna bow down , and my conscience tells me it’s right
I wanna live right, and I want it so much
(So much)
I wanna love You, for Your death is infinite mercy
Your mercy breaking all these chains
Your Mercy
I don’t wanna stay the same

Your sac-rifice
Your blood, my life
One drop can heal
Your pain, I’m free

I hear You calling, and You promise new life
(New life)
I wanna follow ‘cause I hear You calling my name
I wanna follow and live under Your will
(Your will)
I wanna know You and Your heart of infinite mercy
Your mercy breaking all these chains
Your Mercy
I don’t wanna stay the same, mercy

One drop
(One drop)
Can heal
(Can heal)
Your death, I’m free

I want Your freedom; so come clean up my heart
(My heart)
I wanna praise You, and I never want it to stop
I want Your Spirit and I want it so much
(So much)
I wanna hold on to Your heart of infinite mercy
Your mercy cleansing all my sins
Your mercy
I want You to break these chains, mercy
(Mercy)

I want Your freedom; so come clean up my heart
(My heart)
I wanna praise You, and I never want it to stop
I want Your Spirit and I want it so much
(So much)
I wanna hold on to Your heart of infinite mercy
Your mercy cleansing all my sins
Your mercy
I want You to break these chains, mercy

Cleansing deep inside my soul, mercy
(Mercy)
Thank You that You break these chains
(Thank You)
(Thank You)
Thank You that You break these chains

 

References quoted below are from NET. Clicking the link takes you to the NIV.

Phil 2:8
He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!
To view this excerpt in context, click the following link:
http://biblehub.com/niv/philippians/2.htm

Jude 1:21
maintain1 yourselves in the love of God, while anticipating the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that brings eternal life.
To view this excerpt in context, click the following link:
http://biblehub.com/niv/jude/1.htm

1 Pet 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
To view this excerpt in context, click the following link:
http://biblehub.com/niv/1_peter/1.htm

Eph 2:5-7
But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved! and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus
To view this excerpt in context, click the following link:
http://biblehub.com/niv/ephesians/2.htm

Rom 3:23
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
To view this excerpt in context, click the following link:
http://biblehub.com/niv/romans/3.htm

Rom 6:4
Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life.
To view this excerpt in context, click the following link:
http://biblehub.com/niv/romans/6.htm

Rom 7:6
But now we have been released from the law, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code.
To view this excerpt in context, click the following link:
http://biblehub.com/niv/romans/7.htm

Rom 7:14
For we know that the law is spiritual – but I am unspiritual, sold into slavery to sin. 15 For I don’t understand what I am doing. For I do not do what I want – instead, I do what I hate.
To view this excerpt in context, click the following link:
http://biblehub.com/niv/romans/7.htm

John 3:16
For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life
To read this verse in context click the following link:
http://biblehub.com/niv/john/3.htm

Rev 7:14
Then he said to me, “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb!
To read this verse in context click the following link:
http://biblehub.com/niv/revelation/7.htm

[In the last while I a number of people close to me or loved ones have died. So obviously I have been reflecting on death and funerals and what they should be. Helping plan my late Mom’s funeral last year and planning a short eulogy for it forced me to start thinking. Mom was absolutely ready to go and displayed no fear, but trust. So what do I think?]

When I’m dead, not gone,
Spare me the conventional euphemisms:
“He didn’t make it”: Make what?
“Eternal sleep”: What a nightmare!
No-one just “passes away” before a firing squad
Or on a cross.

When I’m dead, not gone,
Spare me those comforting inaccuracies:
I shall not become an angel:
They are created beings;
I shall not be a star in the heavens:
They are matter, governed by the laws of physics.

When I’m dead, not gone,
Spare me those invalid philosophies:
Endless eastern recycling;
Anglo-Saxon or atheist oblivion;
A materialist’s nothing.

When I’m dead, not gone,
Spare me tears: I won’t be needing them,
But shed them for my family and friends
Who’ve loved me and will be missing me.

When I’m dead, not gone,
Spare me pity: I won’t deserve it.
There’ll be no more suffering, pain, despondency or disease;
I’ll be like a little kid running into his Dad’s arms.

When I’m dead, not gone,
Spare me the eulogies that ”celebrate my life”,
Because they cannot face my death.
If my deeds have helped others, that’s great and I’m glad.
For me they’ll be irrelevant and valueless, not a passport;
And anyway, it’s not about me.

Focus rather on what matters:
A wooden cross and an empty tomb.

Rom. 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.“
To read this passage in context, click: http://biblehub.com/niv/romans/3.htm

Rom 5:6 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
To read this passage in context, click: http://biblehub.com/niv/romans/5.htm

Rom 6:8 “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.”
To read this passage in context, click: http://biblehub.com/niv/romans/6.htm

You may find the following essay very comforting:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2013/05/two-kinds-of-funerals

A list of topics relating to death by John Piper
http://www.desiringgod.org/all-resources/by-topic/death-dying

http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/by-topic/death-dying

[Originally written on 29 August 2010, and posted sometime afterwards, based on The Cranberries’ song Zombie.  In view of the curent strife between Israel and Gaza (in which I believe no-one has clean hands), I’m posting it again.
Like countless others (especially those of us who have both Jewish and Muslim friends/colleagues) I have been praying for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. I heard this song while looking for something else. According to Wikipedia, “Zombie is a protest song by the Irish band The Cranberries from the 1994 album No Need to Argue. The song, which laments The Troubles in Northern Ireland and in particular the killing of two children [Jonathan Ball and Tim Parry], in an IRA bombing in Warrington England, was written by Dolores O’Riordan, singer of the band.” I find this a powerful song and have given it an additional, slightly adapted last stanza.]

Another heart dies slowly
Another loved one taken
And the violence shatters silence
Were You so mistaken?

And they’ll say: this is me; this is my history.
Domine, Domine, miserere!
With their planes and their bombs
And their missiles and their guns
For homeland and for Zion they are fighting

From Your heaven, from Your heaven
Look down, look down, look down,
Down, down, down. Lord have mercy!
Split the heavens!
Come down, come down, give peace
peace, peace, peace, oh

Another mother’s empty
Heart is now at breaking
And as violence answers violence
Who will stop the aching?

It’s the same old hate since before ‘48
In their hearts, it’s the hurts they are keeping
With their planes and their bombs
And their missiles and their guns.
From your heaven, from your heaven are You seeing?

From Your heaven, from Your heaven
Look down, look  down, look down,
Down, down, down. Lord have mercy!
Split the heavens!
Come down, come down, give peace
peace, peace, peace, oh, oh, oh …

As guns fall silent I can
Hear the families weeping
As the silence falls on violence
Life is slowly seeping
And it’s all so insane, as they all die in vain
Domine, domine, miserere!
……
…….
Holy God, Holy God, You are weeping!

To view the original Cranberry song:

► 5:16
www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ejga4kJUts

[This was written in the week leading up to Good Friday this year.]

From the Cross
a drop of blood falls,
spreads out, washes over
Jerusalem, Samaria, Asia Minor
Europe, Africa, the whole world.

Arms stretched out,
the Man, the Son, cries out
“Come and bathe; wash yourselves clean.”
The blood of the Lamb: in each drop
– an ocean of forgiveness and Life.

From Media and Elam
The sound of marching feet
Thousands march, close-ordered ranks –
There are no guns or tanks!
Where once there was unjust despair
Now voices rejoice and sing:
“Jesus! Jesus!” Persia marches for her King!

Banished fear! Gone despair!
Feel the joy that’s in the air!
The thousands march: to North, to West, to East,
Gone the serpent, gone the beast,
A new star rises in the East.
The bells to heaven ring:
“Jesus! Jesus! Persia marches for her King!

Acts 2:7 shows Medes, Elamites and Parthians were among those who heard the Gospel in Peter’s Pentecost sermon. These groups dwelt in the geographical area of Iran/Persia.
To read this in context click the following link: http://biblehub.com/niv/acts/2.htm

“Remember those in prison, as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Hebrews 13:3. To read this in context click the following link: http://biblehub.com/niv/hebrews/13.htm

An enduring TV image in my mind from the war between Iran and Iraq is the picture of thousands young Iranians marching off to war against Saddam Hussein. Thousands of these would have met their deaths in this war. Now I have a “vision” of a new Iran with millions of Christians “marching” for Jesus.

Here’s some background:

Religious and political persecution are rife in Iran, a “theocratic” state, with the real power in the hands of the Guardian Council (6 Islamic legal experts).Most Iranians are Shiites. The Armenian Christian church is tolerated: its services are not in the main Iranian language, Farsi. Recently many Farsi language churches have been closed down; so the majority of Iranians cannot access the Gospel. House churches are banned. “Threats to Iran’s security” is the usual “crime” Christians are charged with.
There have been several high profile cases of persecution (many more!):

June 9, 2013 Mohammad-Hadi (Mostafa) Bordbar, a Christian convert resident of Rasht, was tried by Judge Pir-Abbasi on the morning of in branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Mr. Bordbar had been arrested during Christmas holidays on December 27, 2012. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison for membership in a so-called “anti-security organization” [i.e. Christian church/housechurch] and an additional 5 years for gathering with intent to commit crimes against Iranian national security.
2013: Pastor Saeed Abedini  Sentenced to 8 years in Prison in Jan. 2013; born in Iran;  dual US/Iranian citizenship (US citizenship not recognised by Iran); married to Naghmeh, an Iranian-born US citizen; with 2 children; arrested while working on a government-approved orphanage; in Teheran’s notorious Evin prison, section 350; beaten severely; internal bleeding; denied medical treatment. Naghmeh has addressed UNO on his imprisonment. At least 30 people in Evin prison have since become Christians!
2012 October : Pastor Behnam Irani and 7 members of Church of Shiraz arrested.
2012: Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani released,  (initially sentenced to death; given 3 years for converting Muslims) after much international campaigning.
2012 January: a number of evangelical Christians arrested.
2011 December: Alireza Seyyedian -a follower of Jesus since 2006, arrested and sentenced to six years in December 2011. He is kept in the section 350 of Evin Prison.
2011 & 2010: 130+ Iranian Christians arrested just before Christmas. The Governor of Tehran  vowed to arrest more evangelical Christians.
2011: Rev. Leonard Keshishian, the pastor of the Assemblies of God, Isfahan, arrested
2010: Mehdi “Petros” Foroutan, a 27-year-old pastor in Iran, arrested and charged with crimes against national security and blasphemy against Islam (“standard” charges).
2010 December 26: Farshid Fathi arrested in a wave of arrests of believers in Tehran and other areas; sentenced to six years of imprisonment. Also in Evin Prison.

Useful links:

http://www.mohabatnews.com/ (especially Iran)

International Christian Concern (Website): http://www.persecution.org

International Christian Concern (Facebook Page): https://www.facebook.com/persecuted

Voice of the Martyrs: http://www.persecution.com/

Jihad Watch: http://www.jihadwatch.org/

Pastor Saeed Abedini (Iran) (Facebook Page): https://www.facebook.com/PrayForPastorSaeedAbedini AND https://www.facebook.com/StandingTogetherForHumanRightsInIran

http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/angela-merkel-calls-christianity-the-worlds-most-persecuted-faith 

Iran (a very comprehensive listing): http://www.farsinet.com/persecuted/

Prisoner Alert (a list of several Christians in various countries): http://www.prisoneralert.com

Gatestone Institute International Policy Council (World overview of persecution) http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

A mainstream press which has reported on persecution: http://www.washingtontimes.com   /news/2013/may/5/more-900-christians-killed-nigeria-last-year/

OneNewsNow  (AFN – a Christian news service): http://www.onenewsnow.com /persecution/2013/05/31/deadliest-place-to-be-a-christian-nigeria

http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews
/world/2013/April/Tanzania-Islamic-Persecutors-Target-Christian-Pastors/

Christian Solidarity Worldwide: http://dynamic.csw.org.uk/article.asp?t=press&id=1560

WHAT CAN WE DO?
Aquaint     ourselves with what’s going on
Come         before God in prayer
Tell         others (e.g. “Share” on Facebook, etc.)
Support –     in any other way possible (Prisoner Alert facilitates your writing letters to those in prison. NB Do NOT criticise their governments in your letter!). You can post your prayers on Praye for Pastor Abedini’s Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/PrayForPastorSaeedAbedini).

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