ninety-nine reasons to stay

lost sheep

Leave everything for me,
Herds and havens, the heaven-scent of billowy-backed clouds,
And the sure, steady streams of meadows sweet, the hills crowned
With succession of sunlight, leaping from dew upon the ground.

Leave your home for me,
Those heady beams of cedar, wound about by ropes of pinpoint green,
The Lebanon, the Life, the Vale Unseen,
Temples of a staggering reality,
The fullest Fullness and final Finality…
Leave it, for me.

Leave your family,
Row upon row of the righteous, robed in raiment white as wool,
And obedient, not like this fool,
But willing, if only to the fault
That they’ll never get the killing,
Nor learn to live as salt.

Leave it all for me,
A fallen, failing buffoon, a wandering greedy ingrate,
Bawling and wailing at the mess I’ve made, lurching,
Blinded to my need except to know I’m hurting,
Fleeing from Your true embrace, time and time again,
Writhing in my slavery, and hating in my pain.

Seems that only You
Would leave ninety-nine reasons to stay
For the single little cotton-headed lamb that got away.

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:4‭-‬10 NIV

(Liturgical poetry during ordinary time after Pentecost is inspired by the parables of Luke.)

Words for the Church: Ordinary Time
difficult, divine
torrents of my making
mine to forgive
now does the earth
when blood
something fearsome
gold dust prayer
lamps alike
eat the song

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