Sunday, 11 December 2016


For this Sunday, a poem by John V Taylor, former Bishop of Winchester, from his “Christmas Sequence”. It is a wonderfully complex poem, which has a huge richness and meaning a resonance. One of my favourite lines is "since forgiveness also must be premature", which is the summation of the parable of the prodigal son, better described as that of the prodigal father.


Not yet the visitation in the night:
    children are marking time.
Not yet the promise of Messiah's might -
    O come, O come!

Not yet the birth. The crucible of her love,
    through the last month's frustrations
must nourish the unborn with essence of
    divine impatience.

The dream dies in plundered peasant eyes,
    and she will watch him grow
sick of the waiting game and set to seize
    the Not-yet now.

She it is will at last give him the cue,
    conspiring to arrange
that he, before his coming out is due,
    should take the plunge.

Now rumour of God's rule is in the air.
    He, knowing the Father near,
is rash enough to live as if it were
    already here.

Other such fools who follow from the first,
    though faithless and impure,
he welcomes, since forgiveness also must
    be premature.

He'll pay for it; and they will stop pretending.
    When make-believe has died,
then they will find the awaited Future standing
    at their side.

No comments: