An open heaven arched over three just men
as radiant sun at noon smiled warmly down
on rural dean, a Baptist man and me –
just three of many men of God from town,
assembled on the vicarage lawn to pray.
The vicar’s Labrador lay on his side –
no sides-man or lay minister, although
sporting his dog collar … sound asleep.
‘Outside are dogs’, so he’s no canon – just
a canine – here at home on the vicarage lawn.
As introit to our launching into prayer,
a blackbird in the garden’s hawthorn tree
began to pour forth melodies of pure,
mellifluous sacred music in the air
of this our sanctuary, canopied by heaven
and paved by daisy patterned vicarage lawn.
Quite unaware that he was praising God,
just glad to be himself and to be free,
thankfully not trapped within a cage
to ‘put [said Blake] all heaven in a rage’,
with golden notes, by God inspired, now he
accompanied the praying of us three
from leafy choir stall by the vicarage lawn.
Hasten, Lord, the day the company
of your redeemed will flow in unity
of truth and of the Spirit, and complete
the harvest of the nations. Then your Bride will
with the Spirit passionately cry:
‘Even so, Lord Jesus, come again.’
That’s when creation’s groaning will give way
to perfect harmony of earth and heaven –
the foretaste we experienced that day
in May when praying on the vicarage lawn.
Hugh Thompson (23.05.1998)
[Bible references: line 9 = Revelation 22:5; line 29 = Revelation 22:17 and 20:0]