Twice they wrapped His human form
And laid Him in His bed.
First when He was newly born,
Again when He was dead.
Some ragged strips to swaddle Him,
Some linen to embalm
The temple raised to offer up
Its brow, its side, its palm.
Twice the course of light and dark
Bent backward in the sky.
To view the God within the flesh,
The baby born to die.
His coming summoned angel-song
In darkness split with light;
His going shook the bloodied ground
In midday turned to night.
Twice He found no vacancy,
No welcome for His Grace.
The inn too full in Bethlehem,
Alike there was no place
In great Jerusalem. "Too full!"
Replied the empty hearts of men
Too blind to recognize their God,
Encrusted with their sin.
Too deaf to hear the God-Man
Who forgave them as He died.
Too hardened to receive the gift,
Too paralyzed with pride.
Twice they brought Him costly spice
And laid it at His feet.
First to pay Him homage,
And again to cede defeat.
Wise were those who bent the knee,
Their spices to unfold,
And foolish those who bound the knee
Believing spice could hold
The God within the linen bands,
The God within the tomb,
The God whom soldiers sentried
Lest His followers exhume.
Twice the temple veil was torn
And entry - once denied -
Swung open to the Father's throne,
The God-Man at His side.
His veil of flesh still testified
What nail and spear had done,
While in the earthly temple swung
Two veils in place of one.
And through its cleft, bewildered priests
Beheld what they had feared;
The way into the holy place,
At last lay wholly cleared.
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