"Ode to Rose-Red Petra," by Eben


"Ode to Rose-Red Petra,"

Ballad of Paul and His Vision of Grace,

by Eben


There isn’t a man at the root of this ode,

Its springs well up where angels first abode.

A holy place now trammeled like the rest,

Was lit with fires where sparrows now nest.

A height like that makes shepherds prophets,

They sing the praises of God the Spirit lets.

Now dust and petrol fumes, wheels of carriages,

To view Edomite, Roman—the past’s miscarriages—-

Some post-modern tourist, he comes, disparages.



There’s something else that pricks the rock,

That bursts a river dammed as if by lock.

A man of Tarsus sought this cleft,

The hidden height the angels left.

He came on foot, a treasure sought;

The kind of gold no money bought.

He prayed until the heavens shook,

And out the rock sprang heaven’s brook,

And Pages where angels fear to look.



How could there be so deep a Love,

So vast a sea of Grace above—-

That the Son was sent to free doomed men,

To whom no door of life could ever open?

Yet He was the Door to give them ingress,

And He was the Lamb that made full redress!

And more than this, the seeker saw,

No Jew or Gentile, or binding law,

Could prevent man from gaining Isaac’s Awe.*



Indeed, you are rose-red, like’s Sharon’s own—-

Like drops of blood God’s Lamb has sown.

A man called Paul trod on your stones-—

And they became Gospel, that Christ atones!

While tourists trek up and then back down,

They miss the Treasure that faith once found.

Unless they open the finder’s book,

Which law and shackles have long forsook;

Freely flows the Life, fresh, from Petra’s nook!



Glorious Petra, I owe you all.

Let others sing of Rome or Jerusalem temple and wall.

But Rome slew Christ, and Jerusalem laid chains;

Mt. Moriah bowed to Hagar in hard labor and pains.

We all know the struggle ‘gainst Grace that was waged,

Till Paul saw in Abraham, a free soul uncaged.

For before the Law, not cursed, justified,

By simple trust he gained Christ who died.

Accounted righteous, with God such will ever abide.


*"Isaac's Awe" is a Name for God.

Psalm 78: 16