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On Confession

How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute impunity… Ps. 32:2a

Once chaos cracked the firmament,
Its offspring drowned the land.
Now sunlight strikes the atmosphere
Like blows of Father’s hand.

What grace is light? What grace is Law?
What grace is sacrifice
To those who, born of flesh, confuse
With sacrifice our vice?

From chariots, you led us hence
Through sea to holy hill.
But though enslaved to whip and brick,
By covenant you kill.

The sons of Israel await
At Sinai’s rise; we wake
In twilight, perpetrate again
Our poisoned womb’s mistake.

Let Moses exorcise the sons
By Levi’s sable sword,
For though we bear the name of God,
We serve another lord.

So chaos drowns the firmament
And justice scalds the sky,
And we, the citizens of Sin,
We die.
We only die.

Fathom Magazine was kind enough to publish this poem of mine last year. It’s about Israel and the golden calf—saved from the slaver but still enslaved to sin, and the one who has freed them now has the sword in mind, and rightfully so. Left to themselves, Israel won only death. The same is true for us.

How good is forgiveness?

Death is not an application as much as it is a withdrawal. “Wasted away,” David says. The summer sun enlivens the watered root; it tends to burn up the dry. And the once-pristine vessels of mankind now drip, word by word, into the thing that God is not. And even after God brings us in belief before the cross, we tip, and we drip on. Through our enduring sin, death still withers us.

How good is forgiveness?

Would that we were made level, that we might not spill the wellspring from our gaping throats. How good is forgiveness?

For Israel, for David, and for the followers of Jesus, God is forgiveness. And with only a word, he sets us as flat. And like the sea into a barrel, he tips himself, and he fills us. “Yes,” the one on the cross said. “Forgive them.”

How good is forgiveness? It’s the Gospel. It’s the Spirit in the Church. It’s God, chasing down his barrels, so that we might again and again drink of his love.

And in that enduring forgiveness—yes, we say. Please forgive us. And, of course, he does.