The One Thing

In a very low place
With very little light
A man was found
By God with might

Who dared descend
And garments rend
Seeing his child
With none to defend

And did that man
Escape that place?
Owing to strength
In human race?

No, indeed
And long it took
For me to read
That oldest book

“Destroy the walls!”
The angel calls
“Carry him off
To glorious halls!”

In fact I did so little a thing
The smallest bell
The smallest ring

I wish I had some better way
To tell you all
About that day

And yet I’m left
With naught but words
Which slip my grasp
Like darting birds

‘Twas in that place
Upon that day
Received at last
By very clay

The artist gave
The final gift
And so he bridged
The final rift

And all at once
Like crack of dawn
A light broke in
The chains were gone

Unloud, unproud—the splintered night!
A little babe with untold might

And so the man
With long-dead eye
Surrendered there
Beneath the sky

And from that moment
Was never found
The other man
Who walked that ground

Nothing was felt
Something had clicked
No doubt at all
That he had been picked

He left it behind
The smog of it all
Shuddering hell
To see his gall

To say he could win
At moment so low
Pummeled and battered
By cold wind’s blow

‘Twas this very thing
Undoing that death
That life should be found
In pause at last breath

Sin tried to win
By killing the man
But never could guess it
As part of the plan

Now each little sin
Once confusing my heart
Now helps me to see
And to play my true part

Completely disarmed
With spirit contrite
I throw out my arms
And I give up the fight

In gesture the same
He does what I can’t
And from thence comes
That endless chant

“Holy, holy, holy, Lord!”
Into the depths of my soul it bored
And in that lowly heightened place
Salvation won for human race

I need no guide
Continually lost
Until I died

A guide shows man
What he should do
And leaves that man
To cut and hew

His way across the battlefield
While enemies refuse to yield
But saviors sow what they don’t reap
Carrying their little sheep

The one thing for me:
Stand perfectly still
Receiving the one
Who hangs on the hill

My thoughts come short!
There’s nothing to say
All things connected
That fateful day

Each word I speak
Can be taken of me
Or taken of him
Who hangs on the tree

One is a sinner
Nothing at all
The other a God
In whom we find all

One is a king
The other a slave
One gets life
The other? the grave

One loses himself
The other finds
One looses all
The other one binds

We should not be surprised
That two become one
When three persons live
In the heart of the Son

I suppose in that moment
In valley of sin
That which saved me
From terrible din

Not something I found
Or something I see
It was he who found
Because he sees me

This, the great secret!
That victory is won
Surrendering the fight
“Lord, let it be done!”

“O, God I can’t do it!
I can’t beat my vice
It’s too strong for me
I lose once, I lose twice”

Then came my God
He showed me his face…
Happy fault to fail
In describing God’s grace!