How long?

Why delay O God?

When pain beyond purpose

Comes repeatedly through histories annals

Three stories told:

Unfinished incarnation

Death undefeated, sin not yet overcome,

Future vindication,

when tears dispelled and eternity come –

Human agency:

Pentecost’s revolution – a kingdom heralded now

but what of the first incarnation, was it so inept?

And in the second, if all is waited for, why was Christ’s blood spent?

Red flowered Somme crushed day-dreams of millennium power

What is the merit of waiting for that hour

When justice flows?

Yet in eschaton’s triumph something is lost

as something is gained

So Parousia is delayed

In this momentary staying, (by divine clock at least),

centuries of human time unfold

good springs forth in faith filled souls and

a repentant bride is prepared perfect for God’s son

the wedding planned


creation was a


on the


of the

triune One.

On that day

Heaven heals creation, all darkness restored

But in this momentary time new beginnings are valued high

Courageous moments abound

As Srewtape feared

In tear filled valleys good rises

That otherwise might never been seen

Diamonds devised in dark depths

Stretch out hands of healing forgiveness to oppressors

Overcome the odds and construct the best of humanity

Through brave, self-less history making, marked by a grace

That can only otherwise be seen

In heaven’s lamb

His story unfolding confused to view

Like tapestries’ threads

Seen from behind the frame

Inexplicable for us, but no accidental design

Yet was every thread of that handiwork

As intended by the Craftsman’s hand?

Did thread, of their own account, turn

Too often in their own direction?

Diving back to the rear of the canvas

Hiding their heads from engagement with beastly foes

Ducking the challenge of the crucified

To imitate his path?

What is faithful living now to be?
what justifies a delayed perusia

When so much suffering accumulates

In Sudan, and Somalia

Is a balance of Kingly behaviour enough to

In some divine scales,

Make sense of divine decisions to stay his hand of power?

When on one side of those scales lies

Birkenau and its Cyclone B?

Evil’s absent weight outdone by you who

Through faith, hope and love, trusting in

the tale of the past, hoping for

the future and living now

for an agenda not our own

divinely dismiss the demagogue’s desire to

displace gratitude with gratification

dialogue with destruction

humility with entitlement

understanding with bitterness

compassion with cruelty

patience with blame

grace with greed

saving gems each prized on heaven’s tableau floor.

(Sam Wells lecture: 11.1.17 – outside Auschwitz)

This series of post are poetry written at Auschwitz-Berkenau during a rescreen-shot-2017-01-12-at-12-03-02treat 75 years after gas was first used in the ‘final solution’ to exterminate the Jews.
The group was led by some remarkable people, including a German RC priest, Fr Manfred who had remained there for 25+ years since writing his phD on the holocaust.
Bible reflections were given by Sam Wells and Pete Wilcox, and when poetry owes its origins to their lectures they are credited as such.