Poetry by Ryan Feed

Follow Me (An Easter Poem)

 

Follow Me (An Easter Poem) Sun end of bridge 4

by Ryan M. Roberts

Where Jesus walked, the disciples followed;
But not all the way.
“Where I go, you cannot. You will follow later,”
Was all that He would say.

At midday prayers Peter’s words rang out,
“No matter what or where or who;
You are mine, and I am yours,
I will die with you!”

Amongst friends, huddled ‘round the fire that night;
“Hosanna in the highest!” a bright memory.
Hopes are high, resolve is low,
The glow fades into Gethsemane.

Watching ends in darkness,
Prayers turn to sleep,
And Peter’s vow, though earnest,
Was more than he could keep.

He followed at distance, into the cold dark night;
Warming hands and feet by the fire of his foe.
When asked, “You’re with Jesus, yes?”
Three times his response was, “No.”

Then came the loss, despair and death.
A look, the whip, a crown, the hill,
A cross, the cry, a spear thrust forth;
The King of Kings to kill.

Three days passed, Peter sat alone;
With guilt and regret—his choice.
Now what? Now where? Now who? . . . He’s gone?!
Peter leapt at Mary’s voice.

He ran to the tomb, bent low, went inside,
Echoes, predictions and rags filled the space.
“Tear down this temple and in three days it will rise.”
Peter left, wonder full on his face.

There were sightings and sayings that, “He is alive!”
Stories no book could contain.
Ashamed, Peter watched the Christ from a far;
He should laud, but his failures remained.

Peter said to his friends, “Let’s fish,” and they went,
To row and to cast was no chore.
The fish, they were few, but the company good,
Then they heard a voice from the shore.

Jesus was there, by the fire, cooking fish.
He said, “Come friends, let’s eat.”
Peter pledged all his love—heart, mind and soul,
Jesus smiled and replied, “Feed my sheep.”

“Your efforts and failures, left you lost and in chains,
Through my wounds and my death you are free.
Where I went, you could not go on your own,
But now, in my power, Follow Me.”

 


enslaved but free

 

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

                                            Romans 6:22 (NIV)

 

Take me to you, imprison me, for I

Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,

Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

                                            - John Donne

 

 

Even in freedom,

we are slaves.

Addictions,

where good becomes bad

and bad becomes worse.

What’s left?

Regret, pain, loss,

the curse.

Chains, shackles, traps,

they bind.

It is death we reap,

in body, heart, and mind.

 

Rescue comes;

through cross, blood, grace, love,

a Slave, and

slavery too.

The benefit?

Holiness, help, life, hope,

for me and you.

A God and King,

whose enslaved are free.

No regrets!

Bind my hands, feet, mind and

heart;

Throw away the key.

 

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the life in our hours

 

The hours of our lives—they are a precious commodity.

We don’t want to lose a single one. 

So we say to ourselves and to others: DSCF2730

don’t smoke,

stay away from fried foods,

exercise regularly,

cut the sugar,

manage your stress,

get regular check ups,

avoid the lines at the DMV,

and, be careful!

We all want to live.  We want every hour of life we can get.

But why? So we can watch more Netflix? Football? and Fixer Upper?

Too much cotton candy leaves us sick and unsatisfied.

Time flies as the hours congeal into days.

Is it time spent or invested?

Do our minutes have meaning?

We give great attention to the hours of our life;

but what about the life in our hours?


paying attention

 

 

Attention is the beginning of devotion.

                -Mary Oliver, Upstream

 

Paying Attention                                                                                        by Ryan M. Roberts

I took a walk this morning.

At first glance, it was a rather drab venture.  

But then I took a closer look, and there it was;

Creation, beauty, grace.

 

(here are some photos to prove it - click on photo for better view)

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be swept away

DSC02689This is my endlessly recurrent temptation:  to go down to that Sea (I think St. John of the Cross called God a sea) and there neither dive nor swim nor float, but only dabble and splash, careful not to get out of my depth and holding on to the lifeline which connects me with my things temporal.

     —C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

 

Things temporal is the stuff of life and in that stuff I find safety, pleasure, purpose, identity and help. 

But it doesn’t last.  It is . . . temporal. 

So I strive for more.  And in that striving I allow little time for things eternal. I make no room for God. 

Yet I long for something deeper.  I look to the horizon of the great waters. I exult at its beauty and breadth and mystery—and I shudder too.

Did someone call my name? I step toward the depth and the exhilaration is quickly doused by a cold water concern for my temporal shoes.

They are wet and I am only in ankle deep. I responsibly step back to the eroding shore. It is temporal too.

I am still longing for something . . .

***

Please take five minutes and listen to “The River” by Steve Green. I encountered this song many years ago and its message greatly affected the trajectory of my life.  The lyrics are included below the video.

 

 

There's a river ever flowing
Widening, never slowing
And all who wade out in are swept away

When it ends, where it's going
Like the wind no way of knowing
Until we answer the call to risk it all and enter in

The river calls, we can't deny
A step of faith is our reply
We feel the spirit draw us in
The water's swift, we're forced to swim

We're out of control
And we go where he flows

There's a river ever flowing
Widening, never slowing
And all who wade out in are swept away

When it ends, where it's going
Like the wind no way of knowing
Until we answer the call to risk it all and enter in

Danger awaits at every turn
We choose a course, we live and learn
As we surrender to His will
We're at peace but we're seldom still

He is in control
And we go where he flows

There's a river ever flowing
Widening, never slowing
And all who wade out in are swept away

When it ends and where it's going
Like the wind no way of knowing
Until we answer the call to risk it all
Until we answer the call to risk it all

There's a river ever flowing
Widening, never slowing
And all who wade out in are swept away

When it ends and where it's going
Like the wind no way of knowing
Until we answer the call to risk it all
Until we answer the call to risk it all

It's widening, never slowing
Will we answer and risk it all?
There's a river ever flowing, ever flowing
Be swept away


today i saw a tree come down

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Today I saw a tree come down;

Actually, more than one.

Like gentle giants they lined, adorned and guarded the campus . . . some for more than eighty years.

As they grew, so did the community.

Their magnificent shade, strength, and beauty will be missed.

Oh the stories they could tell—one for every leaf borne from their branches

Some of those stories are of life, hope and love; 

Some are of pain, misunderstanding and death.

Even mighty trees don’t last, but the stories do.

Their magnificent shade, strength, and beauty will be missed.

Today I saw a tree come down;

Actually, more than one.

 

 

(photo courtesy of Amanda Marble)


The Old Tire

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              The Old Tire 

by Ryan M. Roberts

 

                     As one of four, I carried a car;

On business of utmost import.

 

From summit to shore, I traveled afar;

All the while my time growing short.

 

I rolled along, till my tread was all spent;

Tossed away—thin, worn and unfit.

 

On the side of the road, to the ditch I was sent;

To die lying still in the pit.

 

But life ebbed again at the hand of a boy;

A push and a roll was my test.

 

I found all joy, in the guise of a toy;

These miles are some of my best.