Without the fanfare of public recognition,
Without the limiting burden of obligation,
You persuaded me to expect more.

Taste and see, you said, –
And so I savoured the surprise of your estimation,
The fields of Bethlehem bringing mercy,
Cool water drawn for my thirst,
The kindness of a shared table set with bread and wine.

Having been wooed with grace
(and constrained by obedience),
I crept to your feet.
Would you bring me into your house?
Was my life, my heart, valuable enough to redeem?
The calm steadfastness of your love
did not leave me comfortless.
Here is a covering, safety in the shadow of your wing;
Here is tenderness
And the promise of home.

And yet.
And yet there is only the promise.
In the half-light of dawn, I wind my way home through threshed fields,
Carrying your gift of grain for my daily bread,
Your gift of a future to sustain me as all things are worked together,
Gifts to remind me that your love is not imagined.

All the long day, I wait.
For the promised wedding,
For the fulfillment of my redemption.

First, I wait in hope.
But as the afternoon draws on toward evening,
I grow weary of straining to hear your footsteps on the road,
To see your shadow pass by the window.
The silence lengthens.

So I wait for hope to come again,
Like a watchman waits for the morning.
Like a watchman waits for the morning.

How long, O Lord.


St. Peter's Fireside