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September 28, 2021

 

Exemplars

 

Babylon, six centuries before Christ        

a furnace, dead men beside its door

three men, no! four! together inside

the golden pillar stands forgotten

the musicians have all gone home

and on his throne, a king, amazed

his loyal stewards were preserved

 

yet we know of no complaint

 

still Babylon, still six centuries before

another man walks among the lions

his sleepless king tossing, turning

awaits the dawn and his hurried rush

hopeful God would save his favourite

the most loyal of his captive servants

and found the man alive and faithful

 

yet we know of no complaint

 

Philippi, some years after Damascus

an inner prison is filled with praise

two men, in stocks, at midnight sing

worshipping the One, glad to suffer

for the honor, the glory, of His name

earthquake, despair then salvation!

and release in accord with the law

 

yet we know of no complaint

 

Rome, a few years later, another cell

he writes of imprisonment for faith

with the same pen, in the same cell

he asks for prayer for his ministry

that those who keep him may see

the glorious beauty of his Saviour

in hope they themselves be saved

 

yet we know of no complaint

 

Rome, again, about the same time

another man, writing of suffering

reminds his brothers to be faithful

obedient to God, and, if suffering

to suffer for doing good, not evil

warning that suffering would be

asking that it be borne with honour

 

yet we know of no complaint

 

Jerusalem, in the time of Christ

dark morning on Golgothas hill

three men die, one man innocent

unjustly arrested, unfairly tried

unreasonably put to His death

even now, He shows only love

"Father, forgive, they don't know."

 

yet we know of no complaint

 

this world, today, amid a pandemic

love is cast aside for false liberty

rights held more closely than life

loyalty to one's king is abandoned

brethren are judged, condemned

in the mirror of self-righteousness

with anger the Gospel never knew

 

yet we know only complaint

 

how disappointed in us they must be

our exemplars, whose bold example

we tread underfoot as were rubbish

crying for our rights, our liberties

our Liberty is placed in dire danger

in pursuit of frail earthly freedoms

we risk the loss of our Saviours joy

 


Exemplars

A poem by Peter Rhebergen
Copyright 2021
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