“What was it to Your heaven?”

February 20, 2011

Struck tonight when reading this poem by Richard Crashaw. I love the contrast he makes between us and God, and the imagery used to do so:

“If I were lost in misery,
What was it to your heaven and thee?
What was it to your precious blood,
If my foul heart call’d for a flood?
What if my faithless soul and I
        Would needs fall in
       With guilt and sin?
What did the Lamb that he should die?
What did the Lamb that he should need,
When the wolf sins, himself to bleed?

  If my base lust
Bargain’d with death and well-beseeming dust,
             Why should the white
           Lamb’s bosom write
     The purple name
         Of my sin’s shame?

Why should his unstain’d breast make good
My blushes with his own heart-blood?

O my Savior! make me see
How dearly you have paid for me;

That lost again, my life may prove
As then in death, so now in love.”

Sometimes I have to wonder with him – why did God do such a thing? Especially in light of having read Romans 5 recently: “one will scarcely die for a righteous person” (7), but “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (8). Perhaps that passage was on Crashaw’s mind as he wrote this poem. Regardless, it is good to wonder and stand in amazement that Christ would die for us while still sinners. That God would look upon our misery in his grace and goodness. That seems a great mystery to me… but a mystery I am eternally grateful for.

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