This is essentially one poem broken down into two parts. A Song for Stephen has been bouncing around in my head for nearly a year now. It really began with the persecution of our brothers and sisters in Christ at the hands of ISIS. However, I wasn’t given the liberty to right it down, because I felt strongly that something was missing. Eventually I realized that God doesn’t just liberate the oppressed, He also gives grace to the oppressors. All of us were once sinners, and none of us are beyond saving. Even as we pray for our brothers and sisters in the middle east, we should also be praying that God will call out Sauls from among ISIS to walk in His service.
A Song for Stephen
Where now is this God of yours,
Whom you will not renounce?
Here you stand alone,
And none can snatch you from our hands.
Even now will you not turn,
And reject this Christ you claim?
If you do so – even now,
Then you may yet live.
Here now we stand in the face of fear,
Refusing to back down,
The stones begin to fly,
Carrying us home on their backs,
Do you see this injustice on the earth Oh God?
Do you hear the anguished prayers of your people?
They heap our bones in piles,
As a witness against themselves upon the earth.
In the face of such horror and suffering,
We turn our faces away,
The pain of our brothers grieves us,
And words elude us.
How can you let this happen?
You who are love and grace.
Will you not give an answer,
To those whose fist is raised against you?
Arise Oh Christ,
And rescue your bride!
Raise your eyes up to the heavens.
Do you not see?
He who sat down at the right hand of the Father,
Has stood up as a witness.
He sees and hears,
His arm is not short to save,
But He is making ready for another day.
Until then let grace abound.
In the throne room of the most high,
There lies a pile of broken bones,
And an alter stands above,
The bones cry out for justice,
And their prayers burn as incense.
The day is coming when a coal will be pulled from that burning flame,
And hurled to the earth in answer.
Christ will return on a white horse,
And carry off His bride.
So now in this middle time,
While suffering prevails but grace abounds,
Let the broken bones pour forth a savings song,
Whose words shall catch fire in the night of wrong.
The fire will burn in the very hearts,
Whose actions kindled it.
This church that was born of blood,
Will only grow as its blood is shed.
It is for your glory alone Christ,
You who are worthy of all honor and praise,
Shall receive the reward of your suffering.
The Prayer of Ananias
You Father who know all hearts,
Surely know this man.
Have I not prayed night after night,
And soaked my bed with tears?
Is this not he who has killed many of our brothers,
And pursued us relentlessly unto death?
Is he not here to kill even now?
Why send your beloved into the home of a murderer?
What good could possibly come of such a meeting?
Now my eyes have seen a wondrous marvel!
How strong a light to blind a man yet make him see,
And in darkening the eyes to open the heart.
See the warrior has been thrown from his horse,
And confronted by the blinding truth.
Convictions and beliefs all melt away in one encounter,
With you – the resurrected truth.
You have struck down the murderer in his tracks,
And raised up for yourself and ambassador.
How wondrous is your grace oh God!
You who rescue the persecuted and oppressed,
And who turn the persecutor and oppressor into a vessel of your grace.
How steadfast is your love,
That even those who fight against you can be purchased by your blood.
You redeem your enemies into sons,
And appoint them to rescue others,
No one is beyond the reach of your grace,
None are unable to be saved by you.
You show yourself strong in redeeming for yourself a people!
Brother Saul, open your eyes!