The Gift: A poem for Lent

(This poem, which I wrote during Lent in 1981, appears in my book, BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS – it is based on Numbers 21: 4-9, John 3: 13-15)

No one’s raised who did not fall
No one saves whom God did not send
No one stands whose knees won’t bend
No helper’s not been helped at all

While being raised we each shall die
The poison has an antidote
God may sleep in my storm-tossed boat
But when she rises, so shall I

Here where nothing grows which cannot bear the windy blast
And serpents live because they hug the ground
A person lives by eating what he’s found
And gazing at the victims of the missiles he’s cast

The one who knows heaven as well knows earth
The victim and convict of our crime
Will raise the veil of space and time
She plumbs the grave who fathoms birth

It finally made us face our spite
So lift God’s gift above the plain
With our blood its teeth and skin are stained
To remind us of our hope and plight

Website: JIMBURKLO.COM Weblog: MUSINGS Follow me on twitter: @jtburklo
See my GUIDE to my books, “musings”, and other writings
Associate Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California

About Jim Burklo

Rev. Jim Burklo is the Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. An ordained United Church of Christ pastor, he is the author of three books in print, OPEN CHRISTIANITY (2000), BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS (2008), and HITCH-HIKING TO ALASKA: THE WAY OF SOULFUL SERVICE (2013). See more about him at .

  • http://facebook Ruth Switzer

    Love this poem! I will share this for Sunday school devotions tomorrow