“My Heart is Turning” by Darius M. Ratcliff

The Kingdom of Heaven by Violet Oakley (1903)

MY HEART IS TURNING

 

My heart is turning back to May;

The world was then so young and gay:

The birds seemed laughing in the trees,

And flowers scented every breeze.

The peach tree blossoms all are gone,

And it is now September morn;

The days grow short, the nights are cold,

And nature seems so dead and old.

But autumn has its treasures too,

For autumn brings the harvest new,

The luscious fruit, the ripened grains:

In autumn man his food attains.

If earth were always May,

If blossoms never passed away;

We would not have the apples red,

Nor would we have our daily bread.

I will not mourn the time that’s past,

Nor wish that May could ever last;

For May itself was not complete,

Could not my needs entirely meet.

This is the day the Lord has made:

It matters not if flowers fade;

God gives rich blessings in their stead,

New joys are here, though some have fled.

Nor will I dread tomorrow’s dawn,

Nor think that good will then be gone;

For God will me tomorrow love,

And I’ll have blessings from above.

Eternal is God’s love for me,

And I shall never winter see;

My path is like the morning ray,

That brightens on till perfect day.

And I can smile at childhood’s days,

They had the charm of earthly Mays.

But I have treasures richer still

In place of childhood’s morning thrill.

My heart is set beyond the grave,

Beyond the Jordan’s mystic wave:

My life then be all complete,

For there the Prince of Life I’ll meet.

In place of blessings that have flown,

In place of fragments I have known;

I’ll then possess the perfect whole

That lasts while times eternal roll.

Should you who’ve had a later birth

Outlast my days upon this earth;

And should you think you’re called to mourn,

When I in silence hence am borne:

Think then of blessings I have gained,

And of the joys I have attained;

And think how long my race I’ve run;

That I have now the victory won.

This earthly life I must resign,

Or heaven never will be mine:

God’s best for man is never given,

Till death this earthly frame has riven.

You do not mourn the blossoms cast,

When you enjoy the fruit at last;

So why lament what’s left behind,

When you the consummation find?
Image above retrieved from:
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?833496

Image Title:  “The kingdom of heaven.”
Creator: Oakley, Violet, 1874- — Artist

Published Date: 1903

Original Source: From Century magazine.(New York : The Century Co., 1870-)

Source: Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection / Heaven and hell

“The Riddle” by Darius M. Ratcliff

The Light of the World  by William Holman Hunt (1827 – 1910)
John 8:12

THE RIDDLE

Birds of a feather flock together,

Thus has is always been:

Crows flock with crows, and wrens flock with wrens:-

Like, is the nearest of kin.

Christ is the head of a new-born race;

Children of light are they:

Earth knows them not, and the world loves not; –

Darkness cares not for the day.

Christ is the light, and Christ the way,

Christ the salvation of men:

Once let the dreamers turn to the light,

True is their fellowship then.

Pray for the eyes fast blinded by night;

Hope for the straying feet:

Patiently teach them by word and by deed;

Patiently mercy entreat.

Swift speeds the time, another today,

Birds now with us are flown:

Thanks to our God will fill our hearts is

Seeds for a harvest we’ve sown.

Image above retrieved from:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AHunt_Light_of_the_World.jpg
William Holman Hunt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“The Mother’s Meditations” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Madonna with the Bouquet of Lilies”

 

THE MOTHER”S MEDITATIONS

“Father we thank thee for this food:”

In childish voices low and sweet,

With heads low bowed and folded hands,

Together Allen and Sis repeat.

And now another tiny one

Has come our little home to share:

I thank God for these children dear

Now place within my earthly care.

Allen and Sis repeat their thanks

For our supply of daily food;

Shall I not lift my voice with theirs

And thank Thee for these children good?

And must I guide these little feet?

And must I show to them the way?

I’ll need, O Christ, thy help in this:

Teach me, O Lord, teach me to pray.

I want to be a child myself,

A child of God while here on earth:

I come to thee just as I am;

Grant me, O Lord, the second birth.

Work with me, Lord, in these blessed days:

I know their number ‘ll be too few:

Help me to mold these little lives

So that they’ll be forever true.

I thank thee for thy holy church,

Redeemed by Christ to be His bride:

Now left on earth to do His work,

To teach, to love, to help, to guide.

This church is now thy gift to me,

To help to make these children thine:

May they through life the Savior know,

May they through Him have life divine.

I pray thee for my children Lord:

Too soon from me their feet will roam;

I pray thee Lord to keep those feet

And guide them to thy heavenly home.

Image above retrieved from:

http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?1577655

Image Title:  Madonna mit dem Lilienstrauss.

Alternate Title: The madonna with the bouquet of lilies.

Creator: Woelfle, Johann — Engraver

Additional Name(s): Dolci, Carlo, 1616-1686 — Artist

Medium: Lithographs

Source: Königl. Bayer. Pinakothek zu München und Gemälde-Gallerie zu Schleissheim. Mit seiner Majestät des Königs von Bayern allerhöchster Genehmigung in lithographierten Abbildungen, herausgegeben in der Kunst-Anstalt von Piloty & Loehle in München.

 

 

“I’ll Win the Crown, Beyond the Cross” by Darius M. Ratcliff


I’ll Win the Crown, Beyond the Cross

 

Now if the man who owns and tills the fields

Must work, or else his land no harvest yields;

And if the man who seeks to win a race,

Must train if he would even hope to place;

Can we e’er hope to win the greatest prize

If for that prize we do no exercise?

If for fool’s gold men toil and sweat,

Should we do less true wealth to get?

If for a car men pay the price,

Think you that less will here suffice?

No, I must strive if I would win,

I’ll do my part, right now begin.

It is my right to have my pay,

It is my right my hand to stay:

On rights of mine I’ll not insist,

If doing this, will aught assist.

I’ll keep my eye on real rewards;

For what care I for earthly hoards?

I’ll be as Jew, I’ll be as weak,

I’ll be all things, the lost to seek:

I’ll run the race, the prize attain,

I’ll fight this fight, the crown I’ll gain;

I’ll spare not self, I’ll fear no loss,

I’ll win the crown, beyond the cross.

Image above retrieved from:
http://www.theworkofgodschildren.org/collaboration/index.php?title=File:Cross_and_Crown_001.jpg

“The War is O’er” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Papauer I ‘Morpheus’. [Memorial Day Poppy] (1768-1786)

THE WAR IS O’ER

The guns are still, the war is o’er,

The boys come home from foreign shore;

As they now reach their journey’s end

They’re met by relative and friend:

Their medals won, their ribbons gay

Are marked with pride for many a day.

We think of those who lonely dwell,

And tears are shed for those who fell.

But now we note how selfish greed

Has fastened on our country’s need:

The gangster in the market black

Does scrupple not his land to sack:

Base men lead forth the strike parade

Till we a stricken land are made:

And gamblers follow in their wake,

And liquor men their booty take.

The world seems just a sorry mess

Where few care ought for righteousness;

The nations growl and lust for power,

And hasten not the peaceful hour;

The starving millions cry for bread;

Whole nations face a future dread:

Although a righteous few are left,

They seem well nigh of power bereft.

But what means all this wrack to us?

We’re told by Christ it should be thus.

This is the day the Lord has made:

We have the Son of God to aid:

Our lives in Christ can be as grand

As any lived in any land;

In meeting new the world’s deep need,

We can make great our heavenly meed.

We turn aside on this spring day

To honor those who’ve passed away.

(When our day too on earth is done,

What victory then shall we have won?)

We honor those who wrought to win

These labors we have entered in.

Although we seem both few and weak,

In us will Christ the victory see.
Image above:
Image ID: 1161429. Papauer I ‘Morpheus’. [Memorial Day Poppy] (1768-1786)
Retrieved from:
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?1161429

“The Riches of Christ” by Darius M. Ratcliff

Part of sedilia, St. John’s Church Osnabruck, Germany. (1868)

THE RICHES OF CHRIST

I offer you treasures more precious than gold,

More precious than treasures than banks on earth hold.

The riches of earth delude and ensnare;

Man loves them though Christ has bade him to beware:

The riches of Christ delight and refine;

They shine in full splendor when life we resign.

In the day when the worldling awakens to his loss,

When diamonds and riches and gold are just dross;

Then the ones who have labored for riches above,

Will attain them forever in a home of pure love.

If today then seem dim like the gold of a dream,

While the treasures of earth so glitteringly beam;

A tomorrow is coming on wings swift and sure:-

How then will it see? Which then will endure?

I bid you awake, to awaken today:

Lay hold of these riches, lay hold, don’t delay:

I bid you despise, to despise earthly gain:

To hold it as cheap, as a dangerous bane.

If I could but tell all the values to you,

Of the prize held aloft for mortals to view:

How it dwarfs human minds and still beckons on;

How the angels for this would mortal life don:

How it saves from earth’s darkness, the darkness of night.

And in place gives the kingdom, the kingdom of light:

How it makes the heart sing with joys evermore,

How it lasts through eternity, a billion years more:

How it means for us home, a home of pure love,

A home of rich  fellowship with saints saved above:

How it makes us God’s children, — to the world always odd, —

And we’re to be filled with the fullness of God.

When the Christ comes again, appearing in glory,

Then we shall be like Him. This is the story.

Image above:
Image ID: 819337. Part of sedilia, St. John’s Church Osnabruck, Germany. (1868)
Retrieved from:
http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?819337
Original Source:
“The study book of medieval architecture and art : a series of working drawings of the principal monuments of the Middle Ages.”

“Worship Talks” by Darius M. Ratcliff

The Good Shepherd
Matthew 18: 11-13; Luke 15: 3-5

WORSHIP TALKS

Ninety nine sheep, all safe in the fold;

One was out on the hills away:

Dark was the night, and the wind was cold,

Ye he sought the sheep that went astray.

Many are the men who know not the Lord;

White men, and black men, yellow, and brown:

Never have heard the Gospel word,

Christ our Savior to earth came down.

Who will go with the shepherd of men,

Out in the night and the bitter cold?

Go with the shepherd as he goes again,

Bringing the sheep to the heavenly fold?

Here am I, Lord, send me, send me;

I’ll turn my back on the world and its joys:

I’ll seek the sheep wherever they be,

Counting all else as worthless as joys.

Going with Jesus out through the night,

Losing my life for the Gospel’s sake.

Tears turn to gladness, darkness to light,

Soon in its glory will morning break.

Image above retrieved from:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bernhard_Plockhorst_-_Good_Shephard.jpg
“The Good Shepherd” by Bernhard Plockhorst (1825–1907)

“The Garden of the Lord” by Darius M. Ratcliff


THE GARDEN OF THE LORD

It is the garden of the Lord,

And God Himself walks there:

The flowers bloom the year around,

And perfume all the air.

The trees are bright with gleaming birds,

The air with music rings:

Small creatures of the garden world

Pass by on brilliant wings.

And animals of ponderous size,

With sinews built for strength:

And animals of slender grace

Roam all its breadth and length.

But all obey the spell of love,

They know not to destroy:

They grace the garden everywhere,

And heighten all its joy.

And there  is one of nobler mien,

Who lives as master there;

For him the garden planted was,

He is of God an heir.

He daily walks among the trees,

And cultivated the flowers:

He loves each bird and animal;

He loves the groves and bowers.

He walks with God and talks with God;

God is his closest friend;

He ever seeks God’s will to do,

They meet at each day’s end.

Yet man is lonely day by day;

There is a need at heart,

That neither bird nor beast can meet;

He lives alone, apart.

His God then gives another self,

His life with him to share;

And she is of him for him made,

His image she does bear.

And she now with flowing hair,

With laughing, smiling face:

And she now comes with loving ways,

With form of charming grace.

Her voice now ripples into songs,

And now in whispers sweet:

And clothed in beauty meek she stands,

A mate for Adam meet.

And he now takes her by the hand,

And she becomes his bride:

And they now face the world as one,

To journey side by side.

And he now takes her by the hand

And they  together roam:

The garden no more lonely is,

For Eve has made it home.

The flowers gleam with the lovelier hues

Than ever seen before:

The birds now sing far sweeter songs,

And far more gaily soar.

For man has found the dearest thing,

That graces earth below:

And man enjoys companionship

As he goes to and fro.

Image above retrieved from:

http://public-domain-images.blogspot.com/2010/06/creation-of-adam-by-michelangelo.html

Photo: The Creation of Adam (1508-1512), fresco painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo (1475-1564), it illustrates the Biblical story from the Book of Genesis in which God breathes life into Adam, the first man.

“Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself” by Darius M. Ratcliff, November 8, 1945

Matthew 22: 37 – 40; Mark 12: 30 – 34; Luke 10: 27 – 28

LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF

Great’s the world in which we live;

Filled with many people too.

God has made them every one,

As He’s made both you and me.

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Next to loving God above,

Which our foremost duty is,

Must we all our neighbors love.

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Neighbors may be large or small;

Neighbors may be rich or poor:-

Love them then, and love them all.

“Love they neighbor as thyself.”

What is some are awful, bad;

Seeming nought but worthless trash:

Love them or you’ll wish you had.

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Neighbors were not all born white.

Many races God has made.

All are equal in His sight.

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Enemies there are who hate.

To our enemies and all

Must our love be constant, great.

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

God on whom your hope is set,

God has spoken once for all.

Better not His words forget.

Image above retrieved from:

http://www.theworkofgodschildren.org/collaboration/index.php?title=File:Two_Greatest_Commandments_001.jpg

 

“The Victory” by Darius M. Ratcliff, March 3, 1945

THE VICTORY

 

I have heard the roar of lions,

Heard the eagle’s screaming call;

I have heard the sounding waters

Of Niagara’s mighty fall;

Heard the deep voice of the ocean,

Heard its waves on boulders clash;

I have heard the roar of tempest,

Heard the thunders roll and crash:

But I want to hear the trumpet

Of the angel of the Lord;

Bidding men to cease all striving,

Fling away the spear and sword;

And I want to hear the tumult

When this earth shall pass away;

And the Lord brings in the new earth

Where we’ll live in endless day.

I have heard the boom of cannon

Crashing out in dead of night,

And I’ve heard a din infernal

When the guns let go with might;

I have heard a thousand bombers

Dropping thunders high o’erhead,

Till the night was mad and ghastly,

And the earth was lurid red:

Then I’ll see the sign of Jesus,

Coming with transcendent power,

And all earth will know the meaning

Of the coming judgment hour:

Then I’ll see the chosen gathered

While the godless flee in vain.

All the wrongs of earth then righted: –

Then at last a righteous reign.

I have seen the bloom of spring

Heard the May vibrant with song

I have felt midsummer’s warmth

When the days were sweet and long

I have known autumnal glories,

Seen the trees with reds aglow;

Seen the azures of the skies,

Seen the whiteness of the snow:

But I want to see the beauties

Of that earth that God will make

For the chosen ones of Christ,

Saved and loved for Jesus’ sake.

If this earth has now such grandeurs

For a brief and passing hour,

What will be the nameless wonders

When God works with all His power?

I have chosen Christ as Savior

Made Him Lord and Master too.

I have found in Him salvation,

Found a friend and helper true.

He has blessed my earthly journey;

With His grace has blessed my way;

I have found more than I dreamed of,

Found the joy and peace of DAY:

But I long for fuller raptures

Which the Lord’s prepared for me,

When I’m raised with Christ in glory,

When the Lord himself I’ll see;

Yes, I long for joys immortal

When the night has passes and done

And I long to meet the others

When the victory is won.

Image above retrieved from:

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/668807