The Ballad of John Mann

And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. (‭Genesis‬ ‭15‬:‭11-12‬ NKJV)

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (‭II Corinthians‬ ‭3‬:‭18‬ NKJV)

—————-

John Mann
Well meaning and average
Hard working and normal
Accumulates much.

Accumulates wealth
Accumulates knowledge
Accumulates self respect
Accumulates an identity.

Confident in his knowledge, and
If you do good, you will get good
If you do bad, you will get beat
Reward comes from work, and risk
And self respect.

Mann is self motivated
Self educated
Self respected
Self sufficient
Self made.

Yet Mann
Self doubts
Self loathes
Self harms in his mind.

Mann is in an everlasting kingdom
Yet lives in a self destructing world
And lives a self depreciating life,
But with an everlasting God
Who has a multi-faceted and a many sided wisdom
Mixed with love from an everlasting power…

…the cocktail mixed by God.

God calls this cup, “glory”

Why ?.

He doesn’t always tell
But He always knows
It always works…

It works deep
Hard
Is an incisive scalpel ,
Yet most powerful,
Past finding out.

One night,
A black night,
No moon to reflect the sun’s light
A place where he has never been
A place where he has never seen
A place where no one else has known; they who criticize,
Where accumulated knowledge has no answer
Where accumulation of experience brings confusion,
Brings a great horror of darkness.

There is no one there
Except Mann and Jesus.

John Mann uses all his strength
And his accumulated wealth
His accumulated knowledge
His accumulated self respect
His accumulated identity
His self education
His self respect
His self sufficiency
His self made mental creations
To defend himself against this vulture.

But Mann gets exhausted in the fight
The exhaustion bring doubt to his doubts
Brings questions to his accumulated knowledge
He is misunderstood,
Self respect starts to dissolve
Identity is stripped away…

Mann feels naked.

His fig leaves of self sufficiency is not sufficient
He doesn’t respect his self respect
His education was in the mind; not in power
His identity was misplaced
His wealth of knowledge made him bankrupt.

God’s cocktail begins to work
For John Mann must now rest to survive
He must stop.

He screams , “let this cup, this cocktail pass…
Isn’t there a better way ?
An easier way
More convenient ?
That gives respect” ?.

In His sleep
He breathes
Rests
And realizes…

There is nothing left…
Only Jesus.

His Kingdom
His knowledge
His wealth
His sufficiency
His position
His rest
and more powerfully, His identity.

John Mann starts to see
He is not God’s counsellor, and
That the questions of God become more satisfying than the answers of the world.

This was a most expensive drink
It cost Mann everything;
Yet gave him everything.

This cup is now always full
Instead of always needing to be topped up.

When the vultures come, from the externals
He just sits and smiles,
Resting in work of the black night and the cup he drunk from
For now Mann’s source is not self
But that which has been imparted deep within,
Deep has connected with deep.

Mann is forever altered,
He doesn’t look the same
He doesn’t feel the same
He doesn’t think the same
He is not the same.

He walks with a limp
He sings with his heart, not his head
He talks with a new tongue
Poison no longer harms him.

He loves what he used to hate
He hates what he used to love,
Now his prayers start with thankfulness
Gentleness has smoothed the hard edges,
Through grace glasses he sees differently.

From the black night,
The uncomfortable cup,
The inconvenient cocktail of night and horror…
Is the stripping process…
Brilliant, clever, loving and eternal.

Always works
Always powerful
Always better in depth and richness.

Now Mann doesn’t need external virtue
For John Mann was stripped of himself
And now possesses another life in exchange,
Internal.

The day breaks
The night is far spent,
John Mann is now ready for the next time night comes,
With power.

—————–

And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. (‭Romans‬ ‭13‬:‭11-12‬ NKJV)

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (‭I Peter‬ ‭5‬:‭10-11‬ NKJV)

You can listen or download my reading of this poem here. (6.4mb. 6.57 mins)

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