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.
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.
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
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.