Two Kings, Two Feasts

The Despot Herod held a feast,
and showed himself a tyrant beast,
gave to the dancer her vile wish
of righteous John’s head on a dish.

But, Jesus saddened, found a place
of quiet, but crowds still sought his face,
he had compassion on their need,
and gave them truth and bread to feed.

What contrast seen in these two kings,
the one abused the power fear brings,
the other as a Shepherd cared,
and healed and fed, salvation shared.

And he is still a Shepherd-King
who welcomes all to come to him.
He knows you through and through, he’ll lead,
and satisfy soul-hunger, feed.

Mark 6: 14-44 and Matthew 14:12-14

(Tune: LM can be sung to ‘Ye banks and braes’ Scottish Traditional melody, two verses to the tune)

Comeuppance

Hung on the gallows he built for another

H, by King X to honour was raised,
H, by King X was empowered and praised;
but H was so angry that M wouldn’t bow,
‘Vengeance on all of the Jews’ – his vow.

H had a sizable gallows made,
confidant that the King X he’d persuade
to let him hang M (as his wife was suggesting);
– that night, X was wakeful – instead of him resting,

he asked that the book of his reign they would bring –
they read how a plot on the life of the King
had been heard and reported by M, but that naught
had been done to show praise for assassins caught.

‘What shall be done for the one whom I ought
to honour’, the King asked, and H proudly thought
‘He must mean for me!’ and suggested he dress
that one in a robe, ride a royal king’s horse,

and lead him throughout all the city proclaiming
‘This man is honoured’ – H heard the king naming
M as the man who by H must be led
(not hung on his gallows, but favoured instead!).

When Esther made known the plot H had devised
to destroy all her people, X’s anger was roused,
H then fell upon her to plead for his life,
but X, when he thought H assaulting his wife,

grew even more angry – the gallows H made
was used for himself, and a lesson conveyed
that malice and pride, though they hate, will instead
one day bring their schemes down upon their own head!

based on the story of the book of Esther in the Bible (especially 2:19-8:17), when some of the Jews had been allowed to return to their land, but some were still in Persia.
X=Xerxes, M=Mordecai, H=Haman

He Pressed On, Though Knowing

He had to go to Calvary
to rescue me.
He travelled to Jerusalem
though knowing men
would there reject and crucify:
and he must die.

All we like sheep have gone astray,
he took away
the punishment deserved by sins,
and freedom brings –
as pierced by nails, he paid my fine:
and Life is mine.

He bore the penalty, and then
he lived again,
and met his friends as promised, they
told of his Way,
he will return soon, all shall see
his majesty.

Tune: 84 84 84 eg Wentworth by F C Maker, tune of ‘My God, I thank Thee, who hast made the earth so bright’

‘We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.’ Isaiah 53:8
‘From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things … that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.’
Matthew 16:21

“Get me out of here!”

cf Psalm 120

I’m in great trouble and distress,
I need your help, O Lord;
fake promises surround, depress,
and brazen lies are heard.

They say you are not, or don’t care,
no intervening Lord:
your grace and judgement you declare –
refreshing, truthful Word.

And I am prone to live out lies,
be devious, false, untrue
before your holy, seeing eyes –
please help me turn to you

in honesty repent and press
on with you in your Way,
away from all this emptiness,
in peace and truth, obey.

Tune: DCM

Myth-morphed history (re Gilgamesh epic)

In the Gilgamesh epic tale
(like many
global flood legends,
the world over) –

–  frightening the sending council of squabbling gods,
by its ferocity,
(struggling with itself
like a woman writhing in labour)
as it covered the earth;
– and they starved during the flood
while there were none around, able to
offer sacrifices to them (?!);
Utnapishtim was warned by the god
who made man, and told to build a boat
that was cube-like
(which would be ridiculously unstable!)
– how odd –,
and to take in all kinds of living creatures
and seal it with pitch, then enter with his family
and a few others.
When the flood receded,
the ark lodged on a mount,
and birds were sent out to test
the state of the receding waters,
(though in a less logical order than in the Bible account).

Genesis:
One God;
mankind had turned to wickedness and anarchy:
God spoke:
told Noah he must build an ark,
of measurements
now shown to make
a shape both large and stable,
amazingly optimal,

capable,
for the coming conditions,
and to house the range
of land animals, safely, securely.

God, stern, but merciful
warning, giving time
before the disaster,
but no-one outside Noah’s family
believed and asked for refuge.

Tale retold orally,
assimilated aurally,
mythicised verbally
for simplicity?
for dramatic effect?
but pointing back to the reality
that historically
actually,
factually
there was a great and global flood
at the time of Noah.

The Allegory of Aslan’s Sacrifice

As Aslan died instead
of Edmund, who’d betrayed,
so only Jesus could redeem
each one who’d disobeyed.

Only the King himself,
the perfect one alone,
who had no wrong thing ever done,
could take my place, atone.

The temple showed how God
is separate from sin,
and all that is not pure and good:
we could not come to him.

The curtain barred the way,
to the most holy place,
but when Christ died, it broke in two –
he reconciled by grace
.

His body broken meant
the barrier’s broken down,
so through his bearing punishment
we can approach God’s throne.

What awesome thing is this?
to now be welcomed in
to friendship with the Holy One,
the Sovereign God, our King!

tune: DSM