A New Ark of the Covenant

Posted by James Hahn on

Luke 1:39-56

The new ark, house of gold,
With haste unto the hills.
To kinswoman, barren, now with child,
Holy Spirit filled.

Simple greeting brings the grace,
A new David dances unconcerned.
Elizabeth filled exclaims aloud,
Blessed be thy womb.

How can this be?
Why me this grace?
The mother of my Lord?
On such familiar face!

Too good to me,
Is the Lord above,
The fulfillment of the promise,
In one I dearly love.

Enmity, enmity,
Garden, serpent, Eve.
The crushing of his head,
Does now begin with thee.

Magnify the Lord,
Chosen handmaid, fair.
His mercy now and forever,
Is entrusted to thy care.

Author's Note:  I realize that not everyone appreciates poetry.  In speaking with friends and family, this disdain for poetry often arises from confusion or the inability to understand exactly what the poem is getting at.  I completely understand this situation.  I too struggle and find myself reading a poem or even a stanza over and over trying to catch the meaning.  I believe it's taboo for a poet to explain his or her work.  That, so the thought carries, should be done by scholars and students in the years to come.
I think that's a load of you know what.  I developed a love for poetry when I understood what the poet was saying.  I fell in love with Gerald Manley Hopkins after taking a class in college where I learned how to read his work and many others.  I was trained to see the words used, meter, style, and pace.  G.K. Chesterton's Ballad of the White Horse was a pleasure to read once I got into the story behind the lines.  Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, translated by J.R.R. Tolkien is still one of my all time favorites.  There is a simple beauty in poetry than cannot be found in traditional styles of writing.
Below you will find my explanation of what I have written above and why.  I want you to enjoy my poems.  I want you to understand the poetry and fall in love with the art.  Soon, God willing, I'll be publishing a book of poetry that follows this style.  The front of the book with be filled with my poetry.  Some of it with be about personal events I have experienced and some of it will be stories and lessons about life, love, and family.  Much of it is my interpretation of certain Scripture passages in a poetic form like what you just read.  In the back of the book, each poem will have some commentary that explains the words used, the context, and why it was written the way it was written.  My hope is that you, the reader, will be lifted up to another level of seeing, of understanding.  It is my hope that you too will fall in love with the poetic form and it's power.  Thanks for reading!  If you'd like to be the first to know when the book is available, send me an email and you'll be the first to know!
1st Stanza - According to St. Paul, in Hebrews 9:4, the Ark of the Covenant (created under God's direction by Moses) was covered entirely with gold and contained within it a container of manna, the staff or rod of Aaron, and the Tablets of the Ten Commandments.  The Church has always seen Mary as the New Ark of the Covenant.  Her perpetual virginity is the gold thus her title House of Gold.  Contained within her womb was Jesus, the True Bread from Heaven (manna), The Eternal High Priest (staff of Aaron), and The Living Word of God (tablets).  This is also reflected in the book of Revelation 11:19 - 12:2.  Mary goes with haste to serve Elizabeth who in her old age has conceived John the Baptist.
2nd Stanza - We read in 2nd Samuel, Chapter 6 how King David dances before the Ark of the Covenant.  Here we can imagine the infant John the Baptist (a new David) dancing in the womb (leaped for joy) of Elizabeth before the New Ark.
3rd Stanza - Here we find nearly the exact words of David upon the lips of Elizabeth when Mary, the New Ark, arrives at her door.  David - "How can the Ark of the Lord come to me?"  Elizabeth - "And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"  Interestingly, David decides that it is not yet time for the Ark to come to Jerusalem so the Ark of the Covenant stays in the hill country at the home of Obed-edom for three months.  The same amount of time we are told Mary stayed with Elizabeth.

5th Stanza - This stanza is an allusion to the reference of the early Church Fathers as Mary not only being the New Ark of the Covenant but also a New Eve.  In fact, many Church Fathers see God addressing Mary in the book of Genesis and not Eve.  Scripture refers to her not as Eve but "the woman".  Jesus refers to Mary as woman both at the beginning of His ministry at Cana (O woman, what is that to me and to thee) and the "end" of His ministry (Woman, behold your son, behold your mother.)  Again in Revelation the Ark is tied to a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet.  Here the moon representing the power of darkness and hearkening back to Genesis with the serpent being crushed by the feet of either the woman or her seed depending on the translation.
More poetry by James M. Hahn available in The Last Dragon and other Poems, available soon!

* Contains affiliate links.  No, that doesn't mean that the kids should leave the room.  Rather, it means that if you click on a link, and if you purchase something, I may get some financial remuneration for that click and buy.  All that means is that my kids will finally get to eat, just kidding but I may get something, just so you know...

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