Through the Needle’s Eye

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,

knelt down before him, and asked him,

“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?

No one is good but God alone.

You know the commandments: You shall not kill;

you shall not commit adultery;

you shall not steal;

you shall not bear false witness;

you shall not defraud;

honor your father and your mother.”

He replied and said to him,

“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,

“You are lacking in one thing.

Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor

and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

At that statement, his face fell,

and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,

“How hard it is for those who have wealth

to enter the Kingdom of God!”

The disciples were amazed at his words.

So Jesus again said to them in reply,

“Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God!

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle

than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”

They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,

 “Then who can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said,

“For men it is impossible, but not for God.

All things are possible for God.”

Mark 10:17-27
Keeping your commandments,
following your word,
yet I still am lacking,
longing in my thirst.
Tell me then, good Teacher,
what I still must do.
In my heav'nward reaching,
how do I reach you?

Sell what still I covet?
Give away my wealth?
Easier to cast off,
oh, my very self.
What am I without it?
Nothing but a name,
all my faults unshrouded,
open to my shame.

Yet you call me forward
where I dare not go.
Shall I die a coward,
buried in my gold?
Call me still, O Savior;
call, and come to me.
Show me by your gazes
what I still could be.

One thing still is needed,
one thing I must do:
Lead me through the needle
I must still go through.
Not by my own power—
that will ne'er suffice.
Come, Lord, in my hour:
Take me through the eye.
A church portal relief in Dortmund referencing Jesus’s use of “camel through the eye of a needle” aphorism. By Mathias Bigge – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2783562
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When I Cannot See the Morning

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd,

Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,

sat by the roadside begging.

On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,

he began to cry out and say,

“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”

And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. 

But he kept calling out all the more,

“Son of David, have pity on me.”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called the blind man, saying to him,

“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”

He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. 

Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” 

The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” 

Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” 

Immediately he received his sight

and followed him on the way.

Mark 10: 46-52
When I cannot see the morning,
night extinguishes my flame,
as you pass me on your journey,
give me faith to call your name.

When the joyous crowd acclaims you,
drowning out my feeble cry,
give me still the voice to claim you
while you yet are passing by.

Let me call you by your father:
Son of David, pity me!
In our flesh we are as brothers:
Mercy, Lord; I want to see!

When your silence echoes in me,
give me faith that calls the more.
Rich derision though it win me,
I will shout 'til I am hoarse:

Son of David, oh, have mercy
on a son of man and mud!
Fill me 'til your name comes bursting
from the wrack of flesh and blood.

This shall be my burning vision,
light within my deepest night.
This must be my hope and mission
'til at last you give me sight.
De genezing van de blinde te Jericho door de Meester van de Inzameling van het Manna, circa 1470. By Master of the Gathering of the Manna – catharijneverhalen.nl, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30045442

At Your Right Hand

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him,

“Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 

He replied, “What do you wish me to do for you?” 

They answered him, “Grant that in your glory

we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.” 

Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. 

Can you drink the cup that I drink

or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 

Mark 10:35-45
I cannot drink the cup you drink
or in your river be baptized
where in its current I would sink,
and how then could I ever rise?

I cannot sit at your right hand
or rule in glory at your side.
My seat must ever empty stand
while in the shadows still I hide.

But for the ones who dwell in shade
you came to bring the light of dawn;
into the kingdom you have made
you call me yet to journey on

where you hold possibilities
beyond the limits of my grasp.
All my impossibilities
are nothing in your mercy's clasp,

and all my weakness is as naught
where camels pass through needles' eyes:
The cup you pour shall drown my drought,
and from your river I shall rise.

Then draw me on into your light
to stand beside your royal throne
or take my seat, not by my might,
but only by your strength alone.
Mosaic in the Baptistry of San Giovanni of Florence, ca. 1300, by the Florentine Master By Florentinischer Meister um 1300 – The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=150949

Good Teacher

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,

knelt down before him, and asked him,

“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? 

No one is good but God alone.

You know the commandments: You shall not kill;

you shall not commit adultery;

you shall not steal;

you shall not bear false witness;

you shall not defraud;

honor your father and your mother.” 

He replied and said to him,

“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,

“You are lacking in one thing.

Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor

and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 

At that statement his face fell,

and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Mark 10:17-27
Good teacher, I have kept the law,
been faithful from my youth:
Shall I then enter heaven's doors
and dwell in endless truth?

Or is there something lacking yet,
some law left unfulfilled,
some measure that I have not met
in all that God has willed?

I honor all my kith and kin;
unstintingly I tithe,
but shall I ever enter in
and have eternal life?

I see no loathing in your eyes,
no judgment on your part—
No, but I feel the answ'ring fires
that kindle in my heart.

Have I been missing, all these years,
what God would have me do?
I met the standard of my fears,
but never yet met you.

Then call me on to something else—
my strength cannot avail—
and draw me closer to yourself,
though all my steps may fail.

And though I stumble on the way
as I had not before,
yet, Teacher, call me still, I pray
to seek you ever more.
If you want to be perfect (Christ and the rich young man). 2010. Canvas, oil. 85 x 120. By Andrey Mironov – Own work http://artmiro.ru/photo/religija_zhanrovaja_kartina/esli_khochesh_byt_sovershennym_kh_m_2010/4-0-728, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33820221