Sonnets to Enhance the Lectionary

Based on the Gospel Readings (Lent Year B)

by The Venerable Harold Macdonald


Ash Wednesday


My Heart is Ready

My heart is ready, Yes! My heart is ready!

like a desert I am parched. My soul of sand

soaks up the rain at once is dry again, and

the inner fount of life is rank and deadly.

In such abysmal straits, remind the self

that we are loved, for all our self-despair;

that Jesus Christ has sought us out, that care

will open up the inner streams of health.

Godís love is real and Godís affection never spent.

So, be watered, tended; be refreshed, this Lent.



Lent 1


The Time Is Now

No more the deluge washing hope away,

No more the cosmic punishment descends

No more the downward droop, the futureís bend

but open heavens, the eternal Day!

Creator Spirit bursts the covering sky

a gentle dove, yet power beyond the telling.

A love to glorify! All evil quelling;

all ills to heal, all good again is neigh.

The time is now; the gift is here this day!

Repent! Quick comes the Good News on its way!



Lent 2


The Path Less Traveled

Two paths denote the way ahead, the choice is stark

the one a prudent road, a cautious route;

the other, no easy place to put oneís foot

ascends the heights, arises from the dark -

like Abraham embarks at ninety nine -

a new adventure of obedience;

or Jesusí final cry, which heaven rends.

The hidden way, of ambiguity, a sign.

Outcome unclear until the course is done

All is revealed but not until youíve won.



Lent 3


The New temple

Change from one state to the next ísno piece of cake!

We cross our Passover, then seek return!

Bridges passed, we wish we had not burned.

We think ďItís only change for changeís sakeĒ!

Now the former temple is whipped clean;

being purified, prepared for its demise.

In Christís body, the temple will arise

his wounds, the windows; death, the altar screen.

Worship anew, (beyond the edifice),

the living God in every living one of us.



Lent 4


I, If I Be Lifted up

Jesus Christ displays what God has done: -

lifted up for us upon the cruel cross:

lifted up from death, erasing every loss:

lifted up to Godís right hand, triumphant Son.

In one event, three mighty truths occur:

our suffering shared, in death he is disgraced:

surpassing love, replenishes the waste:

and, Godís right hand, makes our salvation sure.

With him we died, we rose again, ascended

and, hid with Christ in God, our lifeís unended.



Lent 5


Tree of Glory

Tree of glory, where the Lord was crucified!

Your outstretched arms uphold him, God and man

embracing all that is, within its span

and He for all, in death, is glorified.

Tree of shame, epitome of human ill!

Our hatred, horror, boldly on display

cannot weaken love or win the day.

He dies, love lives, upon that distant hill.

At the hub of all that is, that was, and will be

Stands this blood-stained monument; this tree!



The Sunday of the Passion


Godís Humble Face

The ďeverydayĒ surrounds Him as His time arrives

a colt tied by a door, will serve sufficiently,

the plainest cloak will be his heraldry

yet ďHosannasĒ are the many peopleís cries.

Do you know a humbler king, a rule more meek?

So pathetic seems this mighty Lord!

Yet by cheering crowds He is adored,

a conqueror who turns the other cheek!

A cross with criminals, His final sign!

These mean forms alone express his truth divine.



Maundy Thursday


His Touch

He kneels, and servant-like, he takes my feet

to wash, and then to gently wipe them clean

and I am purified by his esteem.

Intimate, his hands my loneliness defeat.

I feel discomfort, my unease is much

accustomed to the dust and soil-ed end.

But He, from God, would have me as his friend!

No fantasy! Who could forget his touch?

Gently wash my heart and mind - the whole of me;

and forever, I your dearest friend, will be.


Maundy Thursday



Good Friday


The Death Of God

Again we listen to the tortured tale

of Jesusí final hours, his cruel death;

abandoned, one by one; we watch His final breath

the blood and water from his side impaled

His passion, read like this, ten million times

(once, for every victim of the holocaust)

when read, the more the sorrow, more the cost

as He again in love surrenders to our crimes.

This tale descends down to the lowest rung;

God dies; where lifeless on the tree Heís hung.



Holy Saturday


Guarding Against Life

They place a guard at Jesusí tomb, for fear

that life will somehow enter in and spoil

their deadly work, their presumptuous toil!

But God will not abandon, Whom God holds dear,

and soon the dead leaves rustle in the night

the Spirit-wind invigorates stale air;

tombs burst open, life is everywhere!

And Jesus Christ is risen in Godís might1

God abhors the vacuum that is death

will fill it soon with Loveís all-powerful breath.



Easter Day


Women of Good Sense

The women have the sense to be afraid

seized by amazement at Godís Easter act,

not insulated from the resurrection fact

from the awesome emptiness where Christ was laid.

He has been raised! They marvel at the news;

a fantasy beyond the mind to cope

beyond all possibility, all hope!

These new, supreme, unconquerable truths!

The grinding wheel of sin and death is broken

In Jesus Christ the living God has spoken.


Introductions to the Lenten Gospels - Harold Macdonald (MSWORD file)

Harold Macdonald's Lenten Poetry

Lenten Listing