Years ago when my family was visiting the home of an elderly couple in Massachusetts, the lady handed me a small pot and told me that it had been excavated from Hebron in Israel and was dated from the time when David had his capitol city there before it was moved to Jerusalem. I didn't want to hold it because it was obviously something of great value. But, it was hard to get my head around the thought that this little piece of pottery was something so old and had been in use when Kind David was a young king. This poem reminds me a little of that. In a small way, I can relate to Mrs. Nicholson's experience.
The Indwelling Christ
It was an ancient copper plate which stirred me so,
Made in Jerusalem two thousand years ago.
I trembled strangely as I held it in my hands,
And thought of how my Lord lived in those far-off lands;
And then I wondered, breathless, if perhaps He ate
When at the home of friends, from off this self-same plate!
And at the very thought my hands drew back, for such
My hushed and holy awe, it seemed my lightest touch
Profaned . . . And yet there is a mystery so deep
That often in the night hours, when I ponder sleep
Forsakes my eyelids, time is lost and space is gone.
My spirit and my flesh, mysterious two-in-one,
Forever bound together! This my flesh has been
At sundry times, in sundry ways, at once my bane
And my delight, my cross, my joy. And yet, the door
Is locked and bolted, and the soul grows lonely, for
The body is a prison where the spirit lives
Alone through all of life, and only death’s hand gives
Release to it at last and sets that spirit free.
Yet to the child of God — ah, here the mystery! —
Comes One who knocks and enters. Nevermore alone,
The spirit has a sweet Companion now!
O blessed One,
Though pain has twisted me, and care has lined my brow,
This flesh of mine is Thy most holy temple now,
And when I touch my hand I touch Thy dwelling place!
May I so live that those who look upon my face
May find Thy radiance shining there, that they may see
Not my poor flesh, but Thee, my Lord, but only Thee!
- Martha Snell Nicholson
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: