“There but for the grace of God.”
What vain oath, or what wicked spell,
Canted when confronted by the odd
could better our presumption tame and tell?
For when we see the hungry or the poor,
the teeming wretched refuse of the Earth,
do we suppose that we are something more,
and not the hapless protégés of birth?
That God is gracious, I am ever sure,
and boundless are the reaches of that grace.
Yet all the ills of Earth do yet endure,
and many are the sorrows of our race.
So better seem the prosperous and healthy,
so damnable the sick of mind and soul,
so meritous the righteous and the wealthy,
so sad the broken, so at peace the whole.
Yet broken, blessed, and given unto dying
is every person on the pilgrim way,
And every sinner’s soul is ever crying,
and every dog and demon has a day.
The grace, then, of our God is hardly magic.
Though wondrous, it is not a wonderment.
We are not pagan people, comi-tragic,
seeking boons and blessing thunder-sent.
Do not be so confused as to consider
that fortune is a ray of grace’s light,
for every saint endures a trial bitter,
and every tyrant sleeps in peace by night.
Do not forget- yea, do not be mistaken—
for homelessness is all our native state,
and lest your faith by worldly ills be shaken,
be mindful of the life for which you wait.
Strawdogs we, and servants made to be,
and only God’s own grace has drawn us higher—
Not in our station, nor in ways we see:
Salvation and The World do not conspire.
So weep and pray for those in cold despair,
And do what all you can to ease their lot.
And when one day you find you’ve fallen there,
do not let grace’s reason be forgot.
I trust, O God, your Wisdom to fulfill
All needs I have, yet beg for blessings too.
But if you take all else, take first my will,
That I may know that all I need is You.