For Broken Things

to Josselyn

Glory be to God for broken things:
for a tunic of skin covering nakedness,
for a rainbow of a robe become torn and bloody,
for a veil hiding fading radiance,
for a harp hung on a willow by a river,
for a water pot forgotten near Jacob’s well,
for a net torn by its load of fish,
for a flask that released some fragrance,
for linen strips unbound from a body,
for a curtain torn in two.

Glory to God for all the scattered shards, bruised reeds,
for every sparrow’s feather that falls.
He gathers them, and in a heavenly alchemy,
a nail splinters wood,
a bitter cup is drunk to the dregs;
and those contrite who have
mixed His words with faith
are strangers no longer, are knit together
with the power of an indestructible life
to then reflect His beauty.

Glory to God for those ransacked souls
admitting their bankruptcy:
the madman gnashing the skin of his tomb,
the blind man shouting above the crowd,
the bad woman crashing the pious man’s party,
the proud ruler begging for his dying daughter,
the unclean one touching His hem as she bled,
the fisherman cursing as a rooster crowed,
the nailed thief’s poignant plea and
an exiled king, head covered, weeping on his barefoot ascent.

Oh Glory to Him for every wretched heart
set on pilgrimage;
for all those who fail, then fall on that Rock,
and come to Him in pieces.
O Glory to God for all the wastrels
coming to their senses, still stinking of pigpens!
He has called out these broken bits of earth,
they have become the living stones.
It is not many noble the Father has welcomed
to His gleaming home in Zion: Praise Him!

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5 Comments on “For Broken Things”

  1. ian vincent Says:

    That’s precious! Did you write that sister?

    “the power of an indestructible life”

  2. Karen Butler Says:

    Sorry for the delayed response, Ian! Many broken things to deal with, but with much thanksgiving! (And recently lots of good cooking!)

    You have a wonderful ear for the best line of all, my friend. It is directly from Hebrews 7:16, the ESV translation, it shocked me when I read it, and it so stands out, doesn’t it– “the power of an indestructible life.” Hallelujah, it is mine!

    You can read the ESV online here:http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/devotions/. It is the most beautiful and clear translation, I like it even better than the NKJV for its beautiful lyricism, and clarity of thought.

  3. ian vincent Says:

    Just read a few chapters of the ESV, it’s very good. It’s the first time i’ve come across this translation, thanks!

  4. Karen Butler Says:

    Thank you, Ian for your kind words about my poem. It is my favorite so far. It came out a very deep struggle; and was inspired by a post on PJ Miller’s site,http://pjmiller.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/earths-broken-things/#respond. But the best praise I’ve had is the tears from the one for whom it was written. She wept as she read it.


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