This is in honor of a long-time friend of mine, and sometime colleague in the holy ministry, who is currently fighting cancer. In part, it was also prompted by another minister's observation about a text that doesn't get preached on very often. I didn't do myself any favors by imposing such a difficult rhyme scheme on myself. After writing it, I had enough trouble finding a tune to fit its metrical pattern that I decided to write an original tune, titled BLAKE, on the spur of the moment and with no pretense toward inspiration.
Work through all things, and occupy all places:
Help, when our flesh is frail and lies in thrall
To evil things that swarm our inward spaces.
Surround us with Your word's ne'er-broken wall;
Restore our hearts through daily minted graces.
Bind what we suffer to Your upward call,
That should we die or live, we'll sing Your praises.
Use our ordeal to teach us of the fall,
Sin's cancer growing in all tribes and races;
Bid us repent, as You admonished Saul,
"It's hard for you to kick against the traces."
By our own cross, show us one yet more tall,
That dwarfs our sin, and our disease embraces.
Let Jesus' hand our sickness overhaul,
The touch that filth with cleanliness replaces.
Our spirits fail; our throats close on this gall;
Our ears rebel against consoling phrases.
Still, blend baptismal water with this squall;
Feed us with Christ, whose death the lifeless raises.
Our darkest hour clothe in Your spotless pall;
Our cold bed lighten with a hope that blazes,
Till we be gathered to Your banquet hall,
Where no eye weeps, nor any fear amazes.