For your reflection this Maundy Thursday:

To the Garden of Gethsemane

To the Garden of Gethsemane
Follow now the Lord and his disciples.
See him in the throes of agony
As the cords of death about him tangle.
Think upon this mystery:
The pain he feels, he feels for thee.

Here, as pow’rs of darkness him surround,
Hear his double prayer to God for mercy.
See him on his face fall to the ground,
Crying, “Take this cup of anguish from me!”
Watch his sweat drip down like blood,
First trickle of the coming flood.

Yet, though overwhelmed in his distress,
Still submits he to the purpose divine.
Hear him to his Father acquiesce,
Praying, “Let thy will be done and not mine.”
In response, God’s angel nears
And gives him strength to meet his fears.

Now the traitor springs and love profanes;
Comes by night to do his master’s mission.
This is now the hour when darkness reigns –
Now, when rightful king falls to sedition.
Hear the ancient serpent’s hiss!
Oh, see the strike beneath the kiss.

Maundy Thursday, 2011
Mathew Block


I’ve posted the words to this one online before, but this is the first recording I’ve uploaded.

Tonight is St. Agnes’ eve—the evening before St. Agnes’ day. “St. Agnes’ Eve” is also the name of a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson that I particularly enjoy, and which I set to music a few years back. Check out the song below:

St. Agnes’ Eve

Deep on the convent-roof the snows
Are sparkling to the moon:
My breath to heaven like vapour goes:
May my soul follow soon!
The shadows of the convent-towers
Slant down the snowy sward,
Still creeping with the creeping hours
That lead me to my Lord:
Make Thou my spirit pure and clear
As are the frosty skies,
Or this first snowdrop of the year
That in my bosom lies.

As these white robes are soil’d and dark,
To yonder shining ground;
As this pale taper’s earthly spark,
To yonder argent round;
So shows my soul before the Lamb,
My spirit before Thee;
So in mine earthly house I am,
To that I hope to be.
Break up the heavens, O Lord! and far,
Thro’ all yon starlight keen,
Draw me, thy bride, a glittering star,
In raiment white and clean.

He lifts me to the golden doors;
The flashes come and go;
All heaven bursts her starry floors,
And strows her lights below,
And deepens on and up! the gates
Roll back, and far within
For me the Heavenly Bridegroom waits,
To make me pure of sin.
The sabbaths of Eternity,
One sabbath deep and wide–
A light upon the shining sea–
The bridegroom with his bride!


As many of you are already aware, I recently did an interview for Issues Etc. on the subject of predestination (back on October 25, 2013). The invitation to speak came after an article I wrote for First Things entitled “Why Lutheran Predestination isn’t Calvinist Predestination.”

If you happened to miss it earlier, you can listen to the interview with Issues Etc. below:

2. The Biblical View of Predestination – Mathew Block, 10/25/13

blockMathew Block of the Lutheran Church-Canada


Today is Good Friday, the day God died for sinful humanity. It should be a day for prayer and meditation solely; but you know as well as I many people will barely notice. So it was also in John Donne’s day: people found themselves, as they have throughout history, driven along by pleasure or business rather than the needs of the soul. Indeed, John Donne himself spent part of Good Friday , 1613, travelling. And while so doing, he wrote this poem.

Listen to me give a reading of the poem, and follow along with the text below.

Good Friday, 1613, Riding Westward

Let man’s soul be a sphere, and then, in this,
The intelligence that moves, devotion is,
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motions, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey:
Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirled by it.

Hence is’t, that I am carried towards the west,
This day, when my soul’s form bends toward the east.
There I should see a sun by rising set,
And by that setting endless day beget;
But that Christ on this Cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.

Yet dare I’ almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for me.
Who sees God’s face, that is self life, must die;
What a death were it then to see God die?
It made his own lieutenant Nature shrink,
It made his footstool crack, and the sun wink.

Could I behold those hands, which span the poles
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes ?
Could I behold that endless height which is
Zenith to us and to’our antipodes,
Humbled below us? or that blood, which is
The seat of all our souls, if not of his,
Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn
By God for His apparel, ragged, and torn?

If on these things I durst not look, durst I
On his miserable mother cast mine eye,
Who was God’s partner here, and furnished thus
Half of that sacrifice, which ransomed us?

Though these things, as I ride, be from mine eye,
They are present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them; and thou look’st towards me,
O Saviour, as thou hang’st upon the tree;
I turn my back to thee but to receive
Corrections, till thy mercies bid Thee leave.

O think me worth thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rust, and my deformity,
Restore thine image, so much, by thy grace,
That thou mayst know me, and I’ll turn my face.