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After Matthew 26:52

Blood streaks splatter across moonbeams
like a pearl-string snatched from a virgin’s neck:
the ear of a guard, hacked off, falling down to dust
to thrust his soul into darkness, turned deaf
to Love’s words, yet still aware of Life’s pain;

Peter, named “The Rock,” the foundation for the Church,
looming over this victim, imposing his will
with a stained blade quivering keen in-hand
No one shall desecrate my Christ’s Kingdom;
I will determine who can touch my Lord!

But then Jesus speaks Put away your sword
stepping back from this would-be defender
to stand alongside the bleeding and damned,
resting hands on the wounded, restoring
the scarred (even though he is present to arrest).

Recalling this scripture, tears swell my eyes
for during a feud, a friend I hold dear, a fellow pastor
prays this war-cry when his faith feels threatened
May I break with close friends to hold true to my views
his tongue, a sacrificial knife, slashing my heart –

scourging me to find shelter in this verse,
trusting God will heal those hurt by his Church.

Photo by The Royal Danish Library on Unsplash

Nathaniel A. Schmidt

Nathaniel A. Schmidt is a chaplain in the Christian Reformed Church and holds degrees from Calvin Theological Seminary, Calvin University, and The University of Illinois, Springfield. His first collection of poems, An Evensong, is available from Wipf and Stock. He lives with his librarian wife, Lydia, and their daughter in Norton Shores, MI, meaning life is a perpetual story-time.

One Comment

  • marlene says:

    Thanks, Nathaniel. That poem is very moving and meaningful for today’s church. Great poem.