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He Ain’t Much of a King


(Christ carrying the cross by El Greco)



There was a child once hailed as King

By herald angels to hirelings

“God’s ancient promises are now at hand

Of joy and peace to the realms of man

And lo, His kingdom will have no end”

Yet if you saw His swaddled figure, laid

Within the manger meant for hay

‘He ain’t much for a king’, you well may say

.

This King’s tribute not in treasures lay

From vassal lords seeking favour to win

But as people scoffed, a woman in sin,

With her hair and tears washed His feet

Of such broken acts, He freely admits

“Those forgiven much, love much.” He says

.

The King’s procession was brought to a halt

By a blind beggar’s cry from the roadside

‘What an inconvenience’, others made light

Yet the King blessed the beggar’s faith with sight

A faith that leads us as our guide –

Following, giving praise to God

.

The King’s moment of coronation neared

Throngs who longed for His reign to appear

Lined the streets to sing, “Blessed be the coming King”

Yet none knew what His triumph would cost,

For He who rode astride a colt

.

There was a King who looked up, saw

Offerings to God, big and small

And points out the widow who gave her all

Two small coins, under fortunes, veil’d

Outweighs the rest by heaven’s scale

.

The King, when asked about the time to come

Shared not of an august enshrinement of His reign.

For monuments will shatter, violent hands lay

On His own. And pretenders clamber for

The throne; creation will rend, and loved ones

Betray, as fractures since the fall extend

Yet within those cracks, fresh life springs

‘Though all thinks You mad, as for Me they had’

‘You will speak right to might’, so says the King

‘Though You be in chains, Your words will have wings’

This King, as kings are, was enwrapped in plots

Man’s hate and envy sought to unravel Him

Yet onwards He stepped into this web of schemes

For behind it the power of sin, that leashes

All to their end, damned by the weight of their faults

Would finally sink its hooks deep in Him

‘Oh deep, deep, is dark of man’, He sighs

‘To drink it dry would cost my life’

But laying down His right as God’s begotten Son

He prays, ‘Not My will but Yours be done’

.

There was a King whose followers fled

In His hour of need, He stood alone

For all He sowed was blown as chaff

But still He sees – grains of hope with heft –

The fallen established as living stones

He stood cast off, condemned by man, and yet

He thought Himself seated at God’s right hand

.

There was a King, hailed as such

By His beating, spitting, mocking guards

Then nailed to the cross, and lifted high

The King now hangs, crucified

‘If you’re indeed God’s chosen one, come down’

Some sneered, ‘‘You ain’t much of a king, where You’re now’

The King, in ragged breaths still appealed

‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do’

.

This King, in His dying, was flanked by thieves

One, reviling, sought release from his fate

The other, to the bleeding King did cleave

The contrite plea is never too late, for

The King replies – “You’ll be with Me in paradise”

.

And while darkness reigned and the sun’s light failed

The path back to God was now unveiled

Though we thought He took the accursed lot

He entrusted His spirit back to God

The centurion seeing this crowning scene

Said, “Surely this was the righteous King”

.

He ain’t much of a king, by kingly worth

The king of herdsmen, beggars, knaves and thieves

Who prized two copper coins, who received

The whores and outcasts of the earth

The scandalous, credulous, foolish King

For what does He claim, to His name?

Not monuments built on the backs of man

But the broken, lost, the profane

The ruins of sinful man He sought

Pursuing them past the very end

To rebuild as the temple of God

.

The King is dead, and what of His reign?

His garments stripped, for lots were torn

He wears a crown, twisted with thorns

His arms are raised, not for accolades won

But spread out in love in the midst of scorn

Oh! What shame have we heaped on Him to bear

And what pains of man He willingly shared

He blood was shed to bring us peace

His wounds did purchase our ease

.

There is a King, seek not for Him within

Memorials that preserve the past; He’s not

Immortalised by man’s undertakings

With the grave as His concluding plot

For behold, Death’s no longer set in stone

He is risen, over all enthroned!

Marvel not at the grave clothes left behind

He clothes us now with power from on high

.

All hail the King – still the angels sing

For nev’r too much can be made of Him

The King of the city up above

Whose right makes might, whose light is love

The God who came as man to reclaim

Lost sinners to become saints

And seals on them His own name

Praises ring from all like a stricken bell

Hallelujah! He’s broken the pow’r of hell

Our redeeming King, how grand His plans

For He makes all things exceedingly well

And lo, His kingdom will have no end

.

Wander on men do, down roads far and away

And He still walks concealed in their midst

But truth’s not silent, catching thoughts that fray

And those who walk along learn how all truth meets

In Him, God’s word writ in full array

Their hearts still burn, with His words

They feast on His gladsome, poured out love

Their eyes may open, glimpsing what they’ve heard

The God who lays out the table and serves

They speak of Him knowing their words have wings

They wait for life to break like spring




‘The road to Emmaus’ Robert Zund

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