Lenten poem and prayer from South Africa

One of my favorite poets is Isobel deGruchy from South Africa. Following is a poem and a prayer for Lent. Her book reflecting on Julian of Norwich came out in December.

Was it Easy for You, Jesus?

We want to think it was easy for you,
easy to grow up in Nazareth,
easy to know what was right
and easy to do it:
easy to love others,
the lovely and the unlovely:
Yes, we know you were a human – fully,
but you were also God – fully.

Were you ever selfish with your toys?
Did you ever take the biggest cake off the plate?
Did you hit your little brother when he annoyed you?
Did you talk back to your mother in a smart-ass manner?

Did you disappear for hours on end,
making her sick with anxiety?
Oh yes, we know you did- for days in fact,
and then you had a slick answer ready.
But did you feel good after that?

Did it change the view
of what was right and wrong for you?
Was it easy to be obedient to your father after that
And when it came to the choice –
heavenly father over earthly,
how easy was that?

We want to think it was easy for you,
because then we have an excuse
for making such a mess-up
of our own choices,
because it is so hard.

We do not Know

John 13:17,   You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.
John  14:14,   If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

Lord, we do not know –
there are so many things we do not know –
so many “whys” and “what fors”
so many dark mysteries in our lives
where we are waiting for a light
to be switched on
so that we can see and understand.

We do not understand about death –
yes, we know we must all die,
but why the young?
Why do our sons die so young? Our daughters?
Why do husbands, wives, fathers, mothers die,
It seems before their time,
leaving the aching gap of what was
and the emptiness of what might have been?

We do not understand about evil,
how it is conquered, yet still wields such power.
We do not understand your promises;
you promised that if we ask
anything in your name, you will do it.

We ask for healing, for safekeeping
in your name;
yet, most often, you do not do it.

Lord, we do not know what you are doing.
All we can do is to walk on,
trusting that later we will understand.

Making All Things Well

Making All Things Well

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2 Responses to Lenten poem and prayer from South Africa

  1. Your poems and prayers are always so thought-provoking. Thank you!

    • Maren says:

      You are very welcome. I wanted to thank you as well for your significant quoting of Malkhaz’s sermon in the Mosque in your Interfaith essay. He was very moved. Do you ever write pieces that would be appropriate to this blog?

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