The Diaconate

Long has our king been absent from these lands,
sailing east to see where the sun might rise,
his steed a delicate silver longship
whose prow is carved like a dove-on-the-wing:
leaving us as the stewards of his house,
a mighty mansion, a castle of many rooms,
where daily upon the gates ring the knocks
of the sick, the orphaned, and the widowed,
the abused, the dispossessed, and the downtrodden,
who seek to eat at our master’s table—
a spread of which is said a single taste
can give life to those who feast on its fruit.
To us is left the task of opening
the halls of our lord unto the needy,
of bandaging the wounded, of clothing the nude,
of whom there is never any shortage,
for in the absence of our majesty
usurpers have begun to clamor for the crown,
warring with each other as they groan to impose
their own sense of power upon the realm—
and there are those of our house, seduced by such ways,
who join in this fray to achieve the throne,
convinced we’ll never see the royal sail
crest the bright horizon to come back to our coast.
Still the charge never changes Love one another
and so to keep faith and maintain our hope
we read the annals of our sovereign’s deeds,
how he first showed such care to his people
before calling us to do the same in his name;
our lives answering to his anointed will
as we act in his stead so his subjects can thrive:
keeping his house ordered, awaiting his return.


Rev. Nathaniel A. Schmidt is an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church and serves as a hospice chaplain. He holds degrees from Calvin Theological Seminary, Calvin University, and the University of Illinois Springfield. His newest collection of poems, Transfiguring, is available from Wipf & Stock, as is his first collection, An Evensong. He lives with his librarian wife, Lydia, and their daughter in southwest Michigan, meaning life is a perpetual storytime.

Reformed Worship 151 © March 2024 Worship Ministries of the Christian Reformed Church. Used by permission.