The Lay of the Lord: Birth– “The Messenger”

[MOD: This is part 4 of Chris’ excellent poem. Read it in order: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3]

The Messenger

At the nearness of his king’s approach
the messenger grew impatient to precede,
lest for slackness he should be reprimanded.
So Elizabeth felt in old age
what she had never felt in the flower of youth:
the pangs of a child’s birth,
and as Mary watched in wonder
and Zechariah mutely agonized,
the voice of the one who would cry in the wilderness
first pierced the airs of the world with his wails.

On the eighth day, when the Lord would cut off from every man his sin,
and all the family gathered,
there arose a petty quarrel, as often in families such things go,
about the name of this blessed child.
His relatives thought that of his father should be honorably placed upon him
but Elizabeth, in obedience to the angel,
insisted on the name the Lord had chosen,
the name that spoke of promise and of favor:
John, for the grace of the Lord was soon to appear,
and Zechariah,
who through nine muted months suffered to believe,
now struggled to communicate his submission at last.
As his marks scratched the tablet his silence was broken
by words of obedience and praise,
declaring the Holy One true and faithful.

And the child grew strong,
stirred within to holy life
and tested by the wilderness for service,
until the hidden king was ready to appear.


~ by thebardling on December 9, 2009.

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