Show me you are God,
For I am in the pit
And within these seven walls
There is no place to sit.
Show me you are God,
For there is silence still.
All my friends have turned away
And wish me naught but ill.
Show me you are God,
For I am full of wounds
Wrought by your unseeing eye
Fixed upon my tomb.
I’m sorry I’m not a 100% Christian. I cannot eternally pretend that I am at my 100% and eternally praise God. I’d rather be honest and genuine here and make it clear when I absolutely cannot pursue God. Were we not made from dust? I’m just being honest here. Sometimes I argue and get utterly frustrated with Him — like this. I can almost here people brand me a heretic, but to hell with it. I’m just being honest here.
Who beat the brown upon my skin?
Who cleft my teeth and carved my grin?
Who pressed my eyes into my face?
Who stole from me each form of grace?
Who scored and cut my ugly jaw?
Who strung my voice with its caw?
Who struck my scalp with wilting hair?
Who smote me dark and never fair?
Then tell me not, for I am flawed
That “Ye were knit by hands of God.”
The Magi met the shepherds, whose tongues were lit with praise
Along the road beneath the star that split in many ways
“Whither rests this King whom Prophets did divine?
We have wandered many days to see this Lord sublime.
His are all the nations, people, and the lands
His alone the sceptre, won with wounded hands.
Men will call him ‘master’, ‘prince of peace, and life’
And among his flock and fold, ‘saviour from our strife’
Pray tell then joyful shepherds, where is this King we seek?
This King of whom the people say will bruise great Caesar’s cheek.”
The shepherds paused a moment before their mouths could stir
And eyed the gifts beneath their robes — the glint of gold, and myrrh
“Of this King, we know not, but if you seek the star
Further Westward you must go, but do not wander far
Past rolling hills of roses, crimson at the stem
You will find a stable bare, in little Bethlehem
No regal lord resides there, good and kindly strangers
Merely by the ox and ass — a babe upon the manger.”
Then with haste to lay their gifts those tired Wise Men three
Beheld the heir to Eden’s stain and dark Gethsemane.
(The Three Wise Men – Robert Cunningham. Source)
Whose wounds are these that I pressed down?
Whose temple bears this thorny crown?
Whose tears fall forth and stir this flood
Of sweat and sin, and my Lord’s blood?
Whose voice was that which trembling cried,
“Behold before me Death has died.”
Which then with final breath began
The restoration of all man?
Who was, who is – and is to be,
Whose name is writ in history;
The King, The Lion, Lord, and Lamb
The one who whispers, “Child, I am.”
– S.S. Bartlett
“Thy kingdom come,” the old man wept
As beneath the clouds he slept
Upon those streets of stone and steel
Where men before their wealth did kneel
“Thy kingdom come,” the lady sighed
Walking past the boys who cried
And raised their hands to shout a word
Which from her youthful days she’d heard.
“Thy kingdom come,” the mother shook
— Her son filed by without a look
To the rattle of some marching band
Spurring him to far-flung lands.
“Thy kingdom come,” the soldier prayed
As the turret spat and sprayed
And scores of lead soared overhead
To count his friends among the dead
“Thy kingdom come,” the surgeon heaved
Before the iron tool could cleave
The struggling boy upon the bed
All swathed in white and rushing red.
“Thy kingdom come,” the small one said,
Scrambling through those fields of dead
Where murderous men had only sown
Those crimson streams of ill renown
Hear us God, thy kingdom come,
Establish yours — Ours overrun.
Thy kingdom come, ours is lost —
And for what prize and at what cost?
Note : For many youth in my country violence, wickedness and war (especially war) have had some sort of a presence and impact in our lives. While war has not affected me directly I have seen its aftereffects ; beggars, blind men, amputees and orphans. This has no disturbed me, but allowed me to acknowledge the violence men have sown themselves and the discord with which we have overridden our lives. It is for this reason that I believe God’s divinity should transcend our ways and be applied in our lives
Cast your net and drag me nearer
Through the ocean’s trying tide,
Take this broken boat and steer her
To the course you’d have me bide.
I am stubborn, blind and beaten,
These rocks have torn my hull and keel
Take these oars my pride has eaten
And teach me Lord to weep and kneel.
Sweep my solemn breath and break it
Drown me in unending light
So should the way before grow graver,
I may dare this ocean’s might.
When the tempest turns towards me,
When the lightning tastes the tide
Hold me, God and split the waters
My admiral, and my guide
With you O God to be my captain
With you to seize this thrashing sea
What ocean’s tempest dare defy us?
Who dare be my enemy?
Image Source : Getty Images
“God bless you.” The Muslim lady said.
And I boiled no intense ire
For God sees naught, but rushing red
And not my father’s fire.
The Buddhist spoke. “ Peace my friend.”
And like brothers we did speak
And that wall we did not mend
But let it grow full weak.
At every altar for God I asked
But found each still and bare
But when I stood there with my kin
I found God standing there.
I have made reference to Robert Frost’s Mending Wall.
Unlike its name suggests, “Sri Lanka” hides little beauty in its history. So bloody and volatile is its past that one might argue that all that is left of this “resplendent isle” we call home is a marred landscape choked by the toxicity of violence. The civil conflict Sri Lanka endured for three decades is bitter gall to swallow and something most Sri Lankans would sooner strive to forget, yet to this day the continued manipulation and malpractice of Sri Lankan society’s volatility predicts a future with a dark foreboding. The lack, rather complete neglect for reconciliation threatens to curdle and corrupt Sri Lanka’s youth and once again cast the island into a viscous cycle of war and bitter animosity over petty differences in religious and ethnic spectrums.
The term “I am Sri Lanka” is an exaggerated claim that has all the air and heat of a cliché and deflating balloon. The term “I am” speaks to a majority, and implies that one group presides over the other. It is this post-war approach to portray unity to the world that has ironically crippled the future and promise of a near independent nation. This lie sold to the youth of the country, that one is and not that we are threatens the existence for a blossoming peace. To quote John Donne (aptly) “No man is an island.” and Sri Lankan youth ought to remember that whether Burgher, Malay, Tamil or Sinhalese not a single man or race can be self sufficient with the absence of his fellow countrymen. The lie that is “I am Sri Lanka” ought to be rewritten and rethought before it twists a darker picture than it implies among the youth. “We are Sri Lanka” must take precedence over both majority and minority.
Furthermore it must be brought to light that the youth have not been bred by peace or promises of flowery futures, but rather the insecurity and ideologies of their fathers and thus have inherited the same bitter resentment that can lob the country into instability once again. However these tensions are dormant, only infecting the subconscious, and the failure of those who administer and tutor the youth is in taking inadequate steps to eradicate such seeds of disunity planted by successive governments on both sides of the fence.
Despite the endeavours by the country’s administration to heal this deep gash in the veins of a multi ethnic community, the erecting of monuments only goes so far in hiding the wound. While it is commendable that highways and roads now bridge far-flung provinces the misunderstanding that concrete and cement can fill the cracks within Sri Lankan society must not be taken too seriously. Mass displays of non-existent wealth such as the spending of some Rs.3Bn to host the Commonwealth Summit are unnecessary. This coupled with the fact the some Rs.280Bn is spent on the country’s militarisation against a long defeated enemy is a questionable allocation of resources. Instead of the mass parades and public tamashas initiatives must be taken to nip the weeds of ultra-nationalist movements that seek to bring one ethnicity or one religion above all others. It is this form of neo-terrorism that the country’s youth must strive to exterminate. Unlike the riots of 1983, ’77 and ’58 when the youth had little power to salt the soil of the Civil War the current generation of youth is well equipped; possessing an array of weapons in their arsenal for “peaceful warfare” online and on air. The Internet promises a multitude of platforms for assaulting such groups that extol disharmony. Anything from Facebook and Blog Posts to Scumbag Steve Memes are lethal and effective in crippling those who seek to break the peace and promise this country has to offer. Applying such measures will choke the seeds of Anti-Western, Anti-Muslim and Anti-Christian ideologies sown in the minds of the misled public and pave a way for a truly independent nation.
Diversity is a double-edged sword, one which with we can wage war over petty differences or one which promotes an economy and society of variety and value. It is in which way the youth wields the sword that will determine whether it is “I” or “We” who are Sri Lanka.
Canst thou near fathom the fret,
The dimensions of the deep?
-As the Great Cartographer set
his map while you were still asleep.
Canst thou fathom the wisdom?
The fire in his eyes-
As he seized the cosmos
And lit the starry skies?
He simply struck his palms.
And spun the web of time,
Clasped the elemental charms
and crafted yours and mine.
Awoken, now we ponder
Doubt his works to see.
Still we gape and wonder
On how they came to be.
Image not owned.
O holy night, We praise thee for thy birth
Sleep thou now quietly baby-king of earth
Thou babe of bliss come from holy skies,
With the coming morrow thou shalt arise.
Thou shalt walk on water, turn it all to wine
Cast out the evil, chase them all to swine
Thou babe of bliss, yet born so low and base
With the coming morrow, thou shalt bruise Caesar’s face
Thou shalt preach and heal and make the darkness light
Yet comes the morrow, and for now goodnight.
Sleep thou gentle babe of bliss
Smile thy smile of glee
For those you love shall kiss thee
And nail thee to the tree.
My faith in God has made me realise that society celebrates Jesus’ birth more than it celebrates the completion of his life’s mission. I was inspired by a particular carol that to carries a similar message, thus I must not be credited for the idea or tone of the poem. The name of the carol escapes me now.
Tidings- S.S.B., Sri Lanka