The Arm of the Lord

An Easter Poem by Rich Bowpitt

“The Lord will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God”
- Isaiah 52:10

The Arm of the Lord laid bare, a promise in prayer, a nation’s bold shout, generations cry out, anticipation that God would break out…then doubt. Time running out?

Israel divided, barely surviving, hope-deprived, waiting for the Lord to arrive. Waiting for his arm to be revealed, for the land to be healed, foes forced to kneel. Waiting, eyes peeled, yet his arm’s still concealed. And beyond that one nation, all of creation cries out, desperation to see restoration.

When will God declare ‘Enough’? Does He care enough? Isn’t our prayer enough for Him to act?

And how will we know when He shows here below? What will we see when he answers our plea? Who would He be?

Would He be…

Would the Arm of the Lord be a righteous right hand raised to slay and maim, a warrior come to conquer and kill, crushed foes fallen at his feet? Fist thrust up, blood-curdling cry filling the night, killing all in sight, instilling fright, fulfilling in the fight his right to rule? The arm of the Lord in anger toward Roman hordes?

Would the Arm of the Lord be a King’s coronation, would he save with a wave, bedecked in royal robes and a noble pose? A sight sought by keen crowds, carefully crafted carriage carrying the King along the capital’s cobbles, breath-baited to behold the one long foretold, professing blessings on those pressing in. The Arm of the Lord by all people adored, clothed in riches none could afford?

Would the Arm of the Lord be an author’s pose, preparing prose, poised to pronounce peace and power? A teacher who speaks and keeps captive his class, enraptures even enemies, expounds an entity of clarity and brevity, that tells truths of identity, unlocks mysteries of history, crafts a recipe for prosperity, shares heavenly realities? The Arm of the Lord, raised to record a work not to be ignored?

Would the Arm of the Lord be an outstretched palm, bringing enlightened calm, reciting psalms, a guru whose worldview is long-overdue, a mystical how-to, passing through reality’s realm. A spiritual sage breaking normality’s cage, ushering a philosophical age; the foundation of the mind’s liberation a vocation of meditation and concentration, escaping frustration for a sensation of divine elevation to an eternal destination; everlasting salvation. The Arm of the Lord shunning Earth’s rewards to plumb depths unexplored?

Waiting, eyes peeled, yet his arm’s still concealed.

Would He hold…

Would he hold cold steel, deal death, defeat darkness, record hordes of enemies floored with a swing of His sword?

Would he hold a scepter of gold, rule bejewelled in lavish luxury; pristine palace and costly crown confirming his call?

Would he hold a scroll, unrolled to unfold truths old and untold?

Would he hold a stance, enter a trance, remould the whole soul with the goal of getting us to God?

Waiting, eyes peeled, yet his arm’s still concealed.

When will God declare ‘Enough’? Does He care enough? Isn’t our prayer enough for Him to act? Centuries of silence settle.

Would He die…

Then, at long last, He’s here. Angels announce the inauguration of restoration, that first noel they tell of Emmanuel come to dwell. Supporters swell to see him raise hell, His teaching compelling, this demon expelling, sickness repelling, darkness dispelling, storm quelling saviour…betrayed. Bound. Brought before biased bosses, condemned by cowardly crowds.

Crucified.

Unprotected by armies, rejected by rulers, disrespected by experts, neglected by friends, hands that spanned the expanse of space, held in place as splintered nails impale his frail form. Saviour forlorn and women mourn, but what’s this?Deep darkness dawns, the dead are reborn, the curtain is torn!

Could it be? Isaiah’s prayer brought to bear?

His people restored by the arm of the Lord, with no sword, scepter, scroll or stance, just His bare arms bearing our harm, our cruelty carved on his palms, our selfishness sketched on his flesh, our sin on his skin, our shame maims him…but now buried with him, borne in him, broken by him…and we’re welcomed in. The liberator, long-awaited, God incarnated, Eve’s seed bleeds to free me, his “enough” shown in love.

This Jesus, he conquers as he’s crushed, he’s enthroned as he’s disowned, undoes lies as he dies, makes a way as he’s laid in the grave, grace displayed, takes our place, erases our disgrace, chases us that we might embrace, face-to-face, and rises again to proclaim restoration, not just for one nation, but all of creation.

This, his invitation: The arm of the Lord, hands scored, stretched toward you, today.