The Ashen Altar – A Poem for the Day of Atonement

Let me live in the fire of the Ashen Altar,
Living sacrifice accepted above,
Laying my life down that others may live;
Just like my Lord has done.

“Follow me,” he calls, “in Death is Life.
The Fire has Resurrection power.
Your life laid down shall rise again
And multiply heavenly deeds.”

The title, Upon the Ashen Altar,  refers to the pile of ashes outside the camp of Israel where the ashes from the Altar of Sacrifice were dumped.  On the Day of Atonement each year, the bullock and the goat of Atonement were burned, outside the camp, upon those ashes.
(see Leviticus 4:12 and Leviticus 16:27)

Hebrews 13:10-13
We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.   For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin [on the Day of Atonement], are burned outside the camp.   Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate.   Let us go forth therefore unto him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.

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A Hole for Heaven’s Light – Poem

A Hole for Heaven's Light

copyright Ector Ward, 2003, permission to use only if this URL is attached

A blackened web,
A close-knit shroud,
Encompasses the Earth
Of many words,
Ideas of men,
Enwoven tight and thick.
Though Heaven’s light
Does brightly burn
Still Earth in shadow lies.
A life laid down
A seed to die
Is planted in the crust
To grow on high
And burrow through
The shroud both tight and thick.
As leaves unfold
In warmth and light
The blackened web melts back.
-EW


The view in the painting is that of a sprout breaking through from under the soil to the sunlight.  It also depicts the resurrected life, from a life willingly laid down, burrowing through the “blackened web.”

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

1 John 3:16 

The Great Today – A Poem

I grasp for tomorrow,

Away, it whisks through my hands,

Slips through my fingers,

Dissipates in a breeze.

Yet I reach.

I nervously strain.

I gaze.

I peer.

Grabbing binoculars,

I look,

But it’s never there.

It’s with me.

I feel it.

I grasp.

Again, it’s not there.

Oh, it is, and I see it.

Gone again, into the air.

Tomorrow –

So big I can’t see Today.

And just yesterday I reached

For what now is today.

It is here

And I hold it,

But tomorrow is bigger

And I push this away.

What if this Today is the great Tomorrow I seek?

Today was tomorrow only yesterday.

Tomorrow will be Today tomorrow.

Won’t it?

Today I have Today

Held in my hand.

I can’t blow it away.

It is here.

Tomorrow again

Will be only Today,

And I’ll hold it.

It’s real.

Tomorrow never is.

What we hold is the Great Today.

The Land

This poem expresses the heart of youth that has been touched by the warm hand of the Father.  The vision is more of a feeling, a faith.  You reach for it.  You know it’s there, but you can’t make it happen.  So, you keep living and believing.  He will open the door.  ~EW

We were your children,
‘Though we barely knew you.
We were not their children;
They never knew us.
We cried and you heard.
Our eyes could grasp the vision
Too distant for those feebler of our elders,
Whose eyes the years of bitterness and strife had dimmed.

It was your vision, and we saw your Land.
It was your voice, and we heard your call.
We strove, we fought, we tried to enter in,
But somehow the door stayed shut,
Even though we knew we had the key.
That Key, Your Blood, Your Faith, Your Life,
Would not turn within its lock.
The door we could not open.
Only you can turn the key.

Don’t let our eyes become dimmed
With bitterness and grief.
Allow us, Lord,
To work that Land
In faith we still can see.