St. John Chapter Three Revisited
Nic’s my name, and likely you have somewhere heard of me.
I’m quite well known around this town, and often you will see
My fellow scholars arguing in friendly tones with me
About the finer points of law - what should and shouldn’t be -
Just what’s required from all of us, the least that we must do
To keep unspotted from the world, remaining pure and true
To every precept of the text which, followed with precision,
Sets us on a higher plain by every right decision
Than all the masses, all the rest of common humankind
Who follow after other gods or never bring to mind
The slightest care for righteousness and holiness at all,
Who have no inclination to begin to hear the call
Of God’s own voice as Moses did on Sinai’s holy height.
Those wretched ones are Satan’s sons of darkness, not of light.
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Well, I’ve heard about a teacher, and most surely you have too,
A self-proclaimed messiah, some, perhaps, have said to you.
I really don’t know who he is. I haven’t met him yet.
But I intend to seek him out, and when I do I bet
He’ll take the time to listen to whatever I may say -
He may need some enlightenment from me – oh, yes he may!
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Another day has come and gone. Today’s the day of rest,
The seventh day, the Sabbath day. I’ve always found it best
To worship in the synagogue from early morn ‘til eve.
The house of God’s where I belong on Sabbath, I believe.
But that is not where I have been, except for a couple of hours.
Most of all this day I’ve spent with trees and rocks and flowers,
Around me in this garden where I came to meditate
And pray and think and pray some more, until the hour’s now late.
I came here to this very spot beneath a shimmering moon
Two nights ago to see someone I couldn’t see at noon -
This teacher man of whom I spoke when last I spoke with you.
The things he said to me that night – they seemed to pierce me through.
And that’s why I’ve been here today – although it seemed quite odd
To me to spend my day outside communing with my God,
And not back in the synagogue discussing with the others
The law and its requirements with all my righteous brothers.
No, I instead decided that I’d rather be alone
Apart from all that chatter. Here my seat would be a stone.
The ceiling up above would be the blue and endless sky.
I must confess that pray I did, and meditate and cry.
You see, the teacher, he who met me here two nights ago,
Spoke words to me like none I’d ever heard before, although
I’d thought that I was well informed, an expert in the truth,
For had I not been studying since younger than my youth,
And had I not committed to my memory a vast
Amount of all the scriptures that were written in the past
By Moses and prophets and the Psalms of David too?
Yes, I could quote so many texts by memory to you.
But certain things he said to me, they caught me quite off guard.
In fact a lot of what he said to me was rather hard
To understand at first, such words as I’d not heard before.
And yet I sensed deep down inside that there was much, much more
Of depth I could not yet perceive in what this man was saying.
And this has been, today, for me, the subject of my praying.
He seemed to indicate to me that something more was needed
To enter God’s true kingdom, for I felt as though he pleaded
For me to comprehend this truth: I had to be reborn.
At first this seemed ridiculous. At first a tinge of scorn
I felt to think that he should speak to me in such a way
With words which seemed to make no sense, such words which seemed to say
That I was not quite good enough. Did he not know I am
An expert in the written word, a son of Abraham,
A ruler in the council and a teacher or the law?
The holy scriptures did I not regard with fervent awe?
And yet he still persisted that rebirth was just the start
Of the Spirit’s transformation of a person’s inner heart.
How could I, I reasoned, need to somehow be reborn?
My thoughts became bewildered, for it seemed that I was torn
Between the firm convictions I had had since early youth,
Because of my inheritance and adherence to the truth,
That nothing stood between my soul and Heaven’s rich reward,
For I was one of those who was a chosen of the Lord,
And I had always done what’s right while shunning all that’s wrong.
In step with all the prophets I’d been marching right along
The straight and narrow pathway which would end at Heaven’s gate.
Yes, this was my intention and was surely, too, my fate.
Yes, torn was I between all this and what this teacher said
Which caused a whole new set of thoughts to startle me instead.
Could I have been mistaken, that as good as I had been,
I really truly did, in fact, need now be born again?
Could it be I’d been deceived, or simply had been blind?
Had this essential truth, somehow, just never come to mind?
And what about what he declared that God should give his son,
That anyone believing in what Love Divine had done,
And by that simple act of faith should perish nevermore,
But had the promise of a life to last for evermore?
Although I didn’t comprehend the depth, the breadth, the scope,
Of all this teacher said to me, he left me with a hope
That if I sought before all things the righteousness of God
(And not my own, for I, in fact, was really, truly flawed)
If I should seek His kingdom first as just a little child,
Born again by Heavens grace and mercy reconciled,
I then would be on solid ground with a promise in my heart.
That, said he, was just the place, the only place to start.
And so I’ve spent this Sabbath day in prayer all sincere.
I’ve prayed for this experience. I’ve felt His presence here.
I’m sure there’s much I’ve yet to learn with so much room to grow,
But there’s one thing that I, for one, am now so glad to know.
And that is that he spoke the truth I’ve needed all along,
And now my heart is singing clear a new a glorious song.
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If you’ve not met this teacher man, then do as I have done.
I sought him out and listened well. It’s He who is God’s Son!
If you desire to know the truth that He can speak to you,
Go find Him now; He’s not far off. I know that this is true.
And let His Holy Spirit be the one who causes death
To your old self and instantly breath into you new breath,
Filling you with life as you have never known before -
Born by God’s own Spirit who’ll indwell you evermore.