The Brazen Serpent by Tintoretto
We feel its weight.
Insecurity, negative thinking,
Fear of failure:
Patterns we observed in our parents
That the Enemy of our souls
Tries to imprint on us.
The things our parents said we could never do,
Our enemies said we would never do,
Mean summations of our character,
Things we no longer consciously remember
Has our Enemy fashioned into steel-tipped spears
Piercing our spirits.
Oh, how prematurely
we defined ourselves.
And so was our destiny shaped
by the malignant words
of the envious and ignorant.
We knew no other power source, you see,
Nothing that could shatter the curse.
The times we succumbed to sin
Have left hairline fractures in our psyche.
Can we really keep explosive secrets,
Control our temper,
Finish huge projects? we wonder.
We fear we cannot break bad habits,
When, of course, we can
If we hide in you,
Connected to your eternal springs.
* * *
Can quite literally be one,
from those who would rather we were dead,
The evil mother-in-law, say…
Her prayer for death
Will never be heard by the Lord of the Universe,
But there are evil beings in the cosmos,
Who hear those “prayers,”
I feel this chill
across the seas,
and hide in him who is stronger than I,
My strong tower.
* * *
I think of a dream long-deferred.
What’s going on with that?
Is someone cursing me? Said person? Others?
What am I going to do about it: that is the question.
I am going to hide in Jesus.
Drink his sap, his eternal waters,
Live with his energy powerfully in me.
* * *
Has no power over me
For I can plug into the mains.
For on a hill far away,
rough wood abrading his lacerated back,
His head pieced and bleeding
His lungs gasping for air,
His hands and feet nail-pierced,
Raising himself to gasp for air,
a man writhes,
Absorbing the toxins,
Of the evil said to us
The evil done to us
The evil we have done.
He absorbs the curse.
He chooses to become the curse
In my place.
* * *
Moses put a bronze serpent on a pole
And whoever looked at it was healed.
Our Jesus writhed in pain,
His form contorted as a serpent’s,
And all who look upon him,
Who are washed in his blood,
From the malicious old serpent,
The enemy of mankind.
* * *
The healing flood of his blood
Snaps the curse over us.
He bore it.
He broke it.
It is washed away by his blood.
The evil said to us,
Prophesied for us,
Wished for us,
Feared by us,
Those gates of bronze, those bars of iron
By the blood of Jesus.
We live connected to his power
Which so powerfully works in us.
* * *
Where am I safe from the curse?
For you absorbed the curse.
You became a curse.
When I hide in you,
My spirit is safe
From the actions of evil men…
You became a curse
So I could inherit blessing
I hide in you,
And absorb life from you, and
I am safe in you.
* * *
And the veil of the temple is rent,
And we step into the most holy place,
Of the open heaven,
Where his power and glory flows to us
And behold, our lips are touched with fire
And we hear a voice say,
“Your guilt is taken away
And your sin atoned for.”
We are filled with a new thing,
The Holy Spirit,
Become a different person
A Spirit-filled creation
The old has gone, the new has come.
Minute by minute,
He gives us the power to be different.
We are released into a new story.
How will it end?
I do not know.
But He is writing it,
And He is a very good writer, indeed.