Twenty-One Years Old

21 Years Old

Psalm 95


O come, let us sing to the Lord
because of joy!
Give thanks with joy
to Him whose name and power and joy
remain the firm foundation
for all of our salvation!

Above all the gods of the earth
Jehovah rules!
The sea he rules,
the peaks and depth of Earth he rules.
He holds them with His hand
Which formed the sea and land.


Come and let us worship, bowing down,
Come and wait before our Maker, kneeling down,
For He is our own God,
our gentle Shepherd God.
We come into his pasture to lie down

If you want to hear His voice today,
Harden not your heart, as in the testing day.
Then He denied them rest.
But there remains a rest
For those who hear and enter in today.

Before  A Sermon

My understanding of the way that God and humans meet was entirely limited to the medium of the scriptures. Everything I understood about God’s work in the soul an Orthodox Christian would understand – but among Orthodox these works of God flow through many media. I know now that Christianity is absolutely, categorically impossible without sacraments, and at this time I was squeezed because I  had one sacrament only – the holy scriptures. Everything in Protestant Christianity had to flow through this encounter – either through the medium of the preacher (who by reason of his intellectual training becomes the mediator or priest of the sacrament of the word) or through one’s own priesthood and personal reading of the Bible.

Ah, Lord!
Storm my last defense
Shear me of pretense
probe me with your sword.
If any foreign deed or thought
hides, infects, and burns in me
This your searing eyes can see
your word can search it out.
Let me hear your word.

Ah, Lord!
You have food indeed;
I am yours to feed.
Bless for me the board.
With open mind and hungry heart
At your table here I stand
While my eyes look to your hand
Provide me with my part:
Let me hear your word.

Ah, Lord!
Grant me joy most choice –
Make me hear your voice.
You are my adored;
Your gifts but make you all in all.
Life from death and second birth
all desire in Heaven or Earth
have found me in your call –
Let me hear your word.


A humorous look at what it feels like to be a girl waiting for “the right one” to come along.

Of all our Maker’s wondrous ways
I sometimes think it’s specially odd
that he’d in murky flesh encase
a soul formed in the shape of God.
This problem never worries Ann;
her flesh has a goddess look
or so she’s told by godling Dan
while I sit by and read a book.
Sometimes when I can’t forget
Dan and Ann and my awkward shape
the fancies of my mind beget
imagined hallways of escape:
If no one had a body then
I might be judged as fair as Ann!
Or if discernment lay with men
then so might I. Or if a man
as dull as I in face and form
could be content with one more such
we might between us stir a storm
of fire – nor mind the pimples much.

I have a heart in storage here,
responsive, kind, without reserve,
that could adore, if once called “Dear”
a man as demigods deserve.

Christ a True Redeemer

I had learned to conceive of salvation (here redemption) as something that encompassed all of life rather than being a decision in time dealing mainly with punishment for sin.  Christ’s words in the gospel were at last making their own impression upon me rather than the impression I had been taught to receive.

…and then it slipped my knuckled grasp
and shot down in that white abyss
where all things go that
Could Have Been
but Are Not.

My hand still held that clammy clasp
around the hole it left. How this –
this outcome! – how? Flat
I sagged then;
hope hissed out.

Then he came. And spoke, as before –
“who grasps destroys. But lose for me…”
The loss done, duty
was consent.

I writhed, and
sighed: not in regret; only for
pain. Then I spread my hand. And he,
as at some beauty,
gazed, and sent
with his hand,

a streak of something bright upward.
Heaven, which with sighs I gaze toward,
Cheers me with a new star. It glows
oddly familiar. What? – he knows.

Back to Juvenalia

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