Fire From Heaven

Posted by James Hahn on

Tuesday October 3rd

Luke 9:51-56

The hill of blood,
The place of the skull,
Doth beckon.
Thy face is set,
None can change,
Thee with sin shall reckon

Receive you not,
Nor shall you pass,
Through Gerizim gate.
They turn thee away,
And receive you not,
For Jerusalem they hate.

Thy men enraged,
With unholy zeal,
Set to command the fire.
Tis not Your will,
You rule with love,
And not the threat of pyre.

Thy gentle tongue,
Sets hearts aright,
As further on you travel.
Thy face is set,
On the place of skulls,
The grasp of sin to be unraveled.

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 and why.  I want you to enjoy my poems.  I want you to understand the poetry and fall in love with the art.  In November, 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 - Here Jesus is heading toward Calvary, Golgotha, also known as the place of the skull.  This is his mission, his calling, and nothing can change his plan.

2nd Stanza - The Jews and Samaritans were bitter enemies.  Samaritans were a sort of fallen-away Jewish people who had adopted the customs and parts of the religion of their captors during the Babylonian captivity.  Jews believed the only place to truly worship was Jerusalem while the Samaritans thought otherwise and had many cities of worship with Mount Gerizim being the holiest of all.  

3rd Stanza - James and John, indignant of the treatment they receive from the Samaritans, ask Jesus if they should call down fire from heaven to destroy the place.  They are zealous for the Lord but have not yet learned that the law of Jesus' kingdom is the law of love "bless those who persecute you."  Jesus has come to set the world on fire but it is with the fire of love.  Pyre is an older word for fire or the materials used for a fire often during the burning of a body as part of the funeral ceremony.  
4th Stanza - Jesus rebukes the disciples but we are not told what he says to James and John.  He leads by example.  In the same chapter he told them to "shake the dust from their feet" when they aren't accepted and so we can imagine he does so and moves on.  He has bigger things to deal with, namely sin, whose grasp on humanity he is going to destroy.

More poetry by James M. Hahn available in The Last Dragon and other Poems, available November 2017.

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* 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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