Sinful Saint (a poem)

I’ve heard you —
full of spirit, right with God —
In reverence and deep humility
Say, “I am just a sinful child
Made clean by God’s good love.”

I’ve heard you whisper hope to hurt
and help to those in need.
I’ve seen you shine
and shape the world
with faith.

But life is long
and comfort short
and sharp the Tempter’s sting.
So time to time you’ll trip and fall,
or turn and walk away.
Time to time you’ll come to earth
and leave Heaven behind.
Time to time you’ll gutter
let your flame almost go out.
And then you tremble, full of fear so far from God.

But I am not afraid.
I’m not ashamed, I’m not surprised.
From time to time you fall, as do we all.
But nothing you could do —
no angry word, no selfish choice, no foolish indiscretion —
There’s nothing in your power to make untrue
The words you knew with confidence before.
From time to time, from day to day,
No matter where along your way
The best and worst you’ll ever say
Is “I am just a sinful child
Made clean by God’s good love.”

Don’t be surprised. Don’t be ashamed.
Don’t ever be afraid.
Your God forgives, and that is why you call him Lord.

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