This Post was originally published almost exactly a year ago as part of a sermon on Romans 10. Given the theme of Advent, here is a refresher.
The following is an allegorical poem written to illustrate a sermon based on Romans 10:5-13. Click Here to listen to the entire message.
(c) 2013 By Michael Rauwolf
A troubled man, I sat one day
And pondered life in all its ways
A guilty conscience; filled with strife
Can one obtain that which is life?
And so I set out on a quest
To seek and find my righteousness
To answer all life’s mysteries
A quest for glory that all might see
I’d storm the heavens and make demands
“Show me the way! Unveil your commands!”
So I embarked courageously
Through valleys low, and deepest seas
I ascended hills, and mountains bare
Through winds and snows beyond compare
Through toil and pain, I labored on
‘till every ounce of strength was gone
And then at last I stood before
My destination: Heaven’s doors
I knocked and made my presence known
“Come forth and let all truth be shown”
They’d have to honor my request
They’d see my courage, they’d be impressed
And when at last the doors gave way
To light and warmth, brighter than day
A man appeared and met me there
His face was calm, but I had to stare
For the look he gave I did not foresee
Compassion, sadness, and empathy
“I know the reason for your quest
But I cannot grant you this request.
The thing you seek to do was done
On your behalf; the battle won
You did not have to climb so high
For a savior came down and filled the skies
With heaven’s praises to heed the call
For peace on earth and goodwill towards all
The answer was near to you all along
Like words on lips, the heart’s truest song
It is not by striving, that you should achieve.
Receive Him by faith, confess and believe.
So now, dear friend, won’t you relent?
Rest from your journey – I see you are spent.
For I must also warn you, as you catch your breath
The quest you are on ends only in death.”
The man finished speaking and there was a pause
I needed to think – to ponder my cause
My thoughts were a tempest, a war in my heart.
Had it all been for nothing? Clear back from the start?
On one hand I sensed a tugging inside
To relinquish ambition; to lay down my pride
This should be good news – a mere matter of trust
But it required my ego be trampled to dust.
After traveling so far, would it not be weakness
To receive as a gift, a new righteousness?
My visions of personal fame and glory
Were crumbling to pieces all around me
But then a solution struck like a bell
A plan so perfect, I very nearly fell
My harrowing journey would not be in vain
I would continue, and uphold my name
So clever, so cunning, so perfectly wise
I knew I had outsmarted this man from the skies
For what better way to secure glory
Than to kill, once for all, the last enemy?
For the stranger had warned that my fate would be grim
If I ventured on without listening to him
“Unless,” thought I, “one could take out the threat.”
And with that I’d decided: I would destroy death
So I thanked the man and I went on my way
With a renewed sense of vision – a grand new foray
Downward descending through ice and through snow
From piercing the skies, to valleys below
Into the shadowy caverns of gloom
I delved ever deeper through dungeons of doom
With my enemy, Hades, fixed in my brain
Further and further from sun and from rain
When dark was so dark I could no longer bear
At last I arrived at death’s murky lair
The gates of his throne room stood before me
I thought: “This is it, my hour of glory.”
I drew out my sword and I barged through the door…
And stopped dead in my tracks at what lay before
My enemy, death, was nowhere to be found
Instead there were people all scattered around
They sat with glum faces staring down at the floor
Unmoving, like no one had burst through the door
One man looked up from his countenance of gloom
Said: “here comes another, better make room.”
I took a step forward, “I don’t understand,
Where is my enemy? Let him take his stand!”
The man rolled his eyes, and then shook his head
He drew in a long, deep breath, and he said:
“I hate to have to knock you off your high horse
For we’ve all felt the same disappointment of course
You thought you’d gain life just by conquering the grave
For is that not why you ventured into this cave?
The thing you are trying to accomplish is done
Death is defeated, the battle is won.
For a savior came down and was nailed to a tree
But he arose on the third day victoriously
He ascended and sits at the right hand of God
And He reigns with authority through His Kingdom abroad
Now anyone can baptize right into his death
And he gives them his life, His Spirit, His breath.
There is now no distinction: For all can be saved
Whether Jewish or Gentile, well-off or depraved.
And death cannot touch them, the long night is gone
Its power now fading away with the dawn.
So put down your Sword, and with it your dreams
Your ambitions have all been in vain, it seems
You are welcome to stay, for we can’t show our face.
If we return to our homes, we’d be a disgrace”
As I listened I felt it all slipping away
Visions of greatness, renown, and acclaim
If salvation had always been near all along
Then I’d have to return, and admit I was wrong
If the savior’s victory could be claimed by all
Then what good was My quest? What good at all?
Again my thoughts were contending inside
For this turn of events had injured my pride
Would I lay it all down and receive the free gift?
Or be filled with resentment, and maintain the rift?
I sat down and sulked as I stared at the floor
And I pondered these things overtime evermore
And I sat in that gloom and I sit there today
Just maybe I’ll think of a solution someday