Acts 7

Acts 7

Stephen Addresses the Council

The high priest then asked Stephen, “Are these charges
against you near as weighty as full barges?”
The answer Stephen gave ran solemnly
& went, “Dear mighty ones, pay heed to me!
Our God in all his glory once appeared
to Abraham, a forebear often feared,
who then was very Mosopotamian
& soon would be a settler in Haran.
God told him, ‘Leave your native lands & kin,
& thrive henceforth in worlds I’ll place you in!’
So, Abraham departed soon from where
Chaldeans dwelt, then reached his home quite fair,
Haran itself, in which he dwelt & dwelt
till his dear father’s death he sorely felt;
then God propitiously brought Abraham
to where you now draw breath & sense no sham;
yet, God provided no inheritance –
or such quite paltry – as ‘full sustenance’;
&, yet, the promising God gave included
some phrases very sweetly hewn & mooded
whose purport was in favor of a time
that selfsame land would prove so very prime
both Abraham & all his progenies
would own it outright & find perfect ease.
Though Abraham as yet was offspringless,
God’s news implied much future fertileness
whereby inhabiting some foreign land
was part of how his ‘family tree’ seemed planned.
In slavery & for near four hundred years
his bloodline might partake of how fate sneers;
yet, God spoke, too, of thorough retributions
compelling despots into diminutions
& shoving, thus, enslavers into forms
of worship in Jerusalem’s main storms.
God also then gave Abraham strict rules
on circumcision -- no mere game of fools,
but such a ritual as deeply proved
of use when Isaac, his first son, had moved
past birth one week & breathed enough fresh air
to seem alive in modes beyond compare;
&, later on, when Isaac’s power fathered
a son named ‘Jacob,’ & when Jacob bothered
to be that patriarch of Israel
whose motions all seemed sure to murder hell
(& fostered twelve more patriarchs), the act
of circumcision thrived & never lacked.
Some jealousies of patriarchs grew strong
against one ‘Joseph,’ part of their own throng,
till slavery was his fate & he quite faced
such bondage as leaves any heart disgraced.
In Egypt, where that slavery was & grew
intensified, the life of Joseph knew
enough divine reversals to allow
his seeming to rule much of Nature’s prow.
God rescued him so well from sundry griefs
he seemed as if enrobed in fresh beliefs;
the Pharaoh -- Egypt’s king -- soon let him be
a governor with major potency
inclusive of both overseeing all
the land itself & keeping far from small
the ways the palace stayed in operation;
yet, onto Canaan & the Jewish nation
a famine came & caused such misery
our ancestors endured near foodlessly.
When Jacob gathered Egypt still had grain,
he sent his sons (our ancestors) with main
instructions for the purchasing of some,
in hopes of helping future moments hum.
While on their second journey, Joseph showed
his full identity as ‘news he owed,’
then let the Pharoah meet those very brothers
long twinlike towards him in sheer terms of druthers;
&, also, he requested his dear father,
plus Jacob -- plus his other kin -- soon bother
to trudge to Egypt; &, indeed, the sum
of new arrivals rather far from glum
& numbering near eighty bought fresh style
to Egypt’s cultural resplendent smile.
Once Jacob perished there, as time crept by,
our total ancestry seemed doomed to die,
& many corpses Shechemward were carried
& absolutely specially got buried –
that is, were nicely placed within a tomb
old Abraham had bought as ‘one fine room
familial’ from Hamor’s several sons.
About when God seemed sure toward certain ones
of strong observers to fulfill the oath
He’d given Abraham, the utter growth
in Egypt of our people shone quite clear;
yet, by & by, some different king woke fear
by taking power & sloughing Joseph’s fame,
as if to relegate rich truth toward shame;
this Pharoah so exploited what we were
our old traditions couldn’t quite recur,
& parents faced the grim necessity
of watching babies perish suddenly.
The boy named ‘Moses’ in those days was born
& was a child whose beauty reaped scant scorn;
his parents kept him home three months, then dealt
his total upkeep to a source they felt
might rear him well -- the current Pharoah’s daughter,
who helped him thrive on more than bread plus water.
In fact , as Moses grew his ways received
an influence that subtly interweaved
so fully all of Egypt’s varied lores
his speech & action mimicked mighty roars.
When he was forty, Moses went to visit
in Israel (an area exquisite)
his sundry relatives, who were fine folk
unlikely, he believed, to face one stroke
of sheer ignominy or misery
or ever to inspire depravity;
yet, seemingly quite harshly an Egyptian
in front of Moses had some huge conniption
& nearly slew an Israelite whose ways
included nothing that should wake dismays;
then, as irately as seemed sensible
did Moses do a deed so dutiful
he came to that sad victim’s full defense
by dealing said Egyptian griefs immense
that killed him brutally & utterly –
an action Moses guessed might wake some glee
amidst his fellow Jews, whom he assumed
would guess God sent him for an end that loomed
of rescuing a populace too hurt;
yet, somehow, he was treated like mere dirt,
& when, one mere day later, he observed
a fight between two Israelites, then swerved
directly toward some fine neutrality
(as if to foster peace eternally),
& asked those harsh combatants, ‘Say, as brothers,
why are you exercising such strange druthers?’,
the central perpetrator shoved him hard
& spoke to him as if he were no nard
but some gross poison. ‘Who,’ that fighter said,
‘appointed you to steep us in deep dread –
to rule us, & to judge us, so entirely
we might see life as fashioned only direly?
Will you kill me as yesterday you slew
that brash Egyptian as his passion grew?’
Once having been thus taunted, Moses soon
reshaped his heart’s main actions, to a tune
that made him leave Jerusalem & live
in Midian, the land restorative
where both his sons were born & seemed to thrive.
Some forty years thereafter, quite alive,
& in a desert near Mount Sinai, came
to Moses’ view no harbinger of shame
but, rather, some bright angel in the form
of burning shrubbery -- an angel warm
beyond belief -- , as though to dazzle how
each moment shaped a sense of Here & Now.
No sooner had that vision taken hold
than Moses felt a thrill quite manifold,
& as he tried to gain some closer look
the Lord’s almighty voice seemed like a hook
& shouted: ‘I’m the God your ancestors
all worshiped – yes, the God those rollickers
great Isaac, Jacob, &, yes, Abraham
depended on for bidding dreams uncram.’
On hearing that, great Moses shook with terror,
as if suggesting life might be an error,
then turned away from taking added glances,
& soon the Lord continued verbal dances
by saying, simply, ‘Do remove your sandals,
since sacred ground is what your footing handles!
I’ve surely witnessed woes among all folk
who worship me in Egypt, & the joke
as they lament is that I’m sending you
back into Egypt now, to prove so true
on my behalf you rescue all of them
& re-establish my main diadem.’
Thus, God sent back the very man His herd
had once rejected with that stinging word,
‘Who made you ruler over us, & judge,
as if in an eternal kind of grudge?’
Through that same angel who appeared to him
as flaming vegetation, God’s full vim
sent Moses as their ruler & their savior,
inherently a force with fine behavior;
&, using many wonders plus rich signs,
he led them out of Egypt on some lines
of trekking that included passing through
the whole Red Sea, & through some wilderness,
for forty years of seeming errorless.
That selfsame Moses speaking for himself
addressed Israelies, as from some high shelf,
with words like these: ‘Soon God will quite provide
a Prophet much like me to be your guide
& from your midst permit you to feel blessed
& able to enjoy how breath brings rest’;
yes, Moses with our ancestors lent zests
whose rich proportions seemed to pass all tests
when God’s most chosen people huddled hard
& in some wilderness appeared unscarred
as by Mount Sinai that same angel said
words Moses took as countering much dread --
some phrases whose adeptness ought to give us
large forms of strength that surely might outlive us.
Our ancestors, however, failed to take
how Moses spoke as anything but fake
& while rejecting him produced a wish
to go straight back to Egypt, where the swish
of new events as they told Aaron might
permit of deities completely right
for helping us, since that brave Moses fellow
apparently had proved too strangely mellow;
the newer worshiping included shapes
resembling golden cattle from whose napes
large invitations evidently came
toward seeming to extend amazing fame.
Those monstrous statues were so idolized
a sense grew rife of infant cows quite prized
& worthy of rich sacrificial rites
that let bright noons seem hewn from pitchblack nights.
The orgiastic tendency of that
begot religion both grotesque & flat,
till God Himself soon had to turn away,
disgusted at much homage men would pay.
His concept likely was to let flesh serve
mere astral gleamings with an utmost verve.
In one prophetic book some lines appear
whose rich significance is rather clear
& proffers (as from God himself) the query,
‘Was your behavior, Israel, quite cheery
when unto me you brought those offerings
in forty years of feeling sundry stings
while in a wilderness in which large motions
seemed certain to play havoc with devotions?
In fact, of course, you tilted toward strange gods
& built a shrine to Molech, thus at odds
with much besides how Rephan’s turning starry
suggests no substance absolutely tarry
when images you worshipped sometimes seemed
in favor of large futures sadly dreamed;
&, thus, I soon will exile all of you
so vastly Babylon may quite review
the perfidy you often tend to show
the parts of me opposed to pain & woe.’
Our forebears hefted through much wilderness
the Tabernacle far from splendorless
that had been built in keeping with how well
God’s actions lent to Moses strengths pell-mell.
When Joshua years later led in battle
our ancestors as if they were mere cattle,
& in that process subjugated nations
deific power had freed from execrations
while being so vexatious as to send
large parts of life toward fates that could not blend,
the Tabernacle was included with
how novelty performed as monolith
in every corner of new territory
in which fresh glory told yet one more story;
& there that icon stayed till David reigned
in styles unlikely to appear disdained.
Some kindness God showed David bade that king
build an enduring Temple whose main thing
would be the potent worship Jacob felt
each time toward God’s great mightiness he knelt.
King Solomon, however, was the man
who really built it, though, of course, no span
of human action toward God’s endless power
could be a very purposeful endower
which truly might admit rich likelihoods
in favor of deific ‘oughts’ or ‘shoulds’
as unephemeral -- compared to how
in heaven itself each word may be a vow.
Much prophecy insisted, after all
(as if with strength befitting no mere squall),
‘As heaven is my everlasting throne
(& earth my rocklike footstool) I intone:
Could you construct one temple half as splendid
as how this mereness helps me seem defended?
Could you, with all your skill, create a place
wherein my resting might enhance all grace --
since I of course remain the potency
whose hands gave heaven & earth Eternity?’
You stubborn entities whose heathen ways
force true perception to be one gross daze
seem far from eager to behave so well
you might not always mirror utter hell!
Must you forever flout all sanctity
&, as your forebears did, breed misery?
Your every ancestor, & you yourselves,
apparently persist on sagging shelves;
name any prophet you don’t persecute,
you murderers of people so astute
they kept respeaking of the Righteous One,
that very great Messiah worlds would shun,
though through His being fleshly on the earth
few promises could augur forms of dearth.
Not only did you strip Him of all breath,
but you completely reveled in His death
as if unwillingness toward God’s commands
might not feel horrid to all angels’ hands.’”
Thus, by the roundness of rich accusation
did Stephen’s talk compel a quasi-nation
of gathered Jewish elders to produce
rage thick enough to deem him of no use
beyond soon causing anger to grow grander
&, thus, to bring fresh deepenings of dander;
however, Stephen (full of godliness)
gazed heavenward with vision errorless
& saw God’s glory, & glimpsed Jesus standing
at God’s right hand with features quite commanding.
Reporting to those elders, Stephen said,
“Behold, I tell you now, without much dread,
the Son of Man from heavenly situations
is sending Earth God’s godliest oblations!”
The Jewish leaders then seemed utterly
unwilling to find much but blasphemy
in such rich talking, & they fell to shouting,
as if they had invented perfect doubting.
They rushed at Stephen & performed the act
of dragging him in modes that scarcely lacked
vast brutalness, till quickly, with no pity,
large stoning of him hatched outside the city.
While stoning him his haters doffed their coats
& stacked them at the feet of Saul, Time notes
as then appearing virile & so young
much admiration of him could be sung.
While he was being crushed thus Stephen prayed,
“Lord Jesus, since my soul stays undecayed,
please gladly take it!” And, with that, he fell
to his mere knees, then added, “Lord, let hell
not visit those who wallowed in the sin
of murder!” (Thus, his being was done in.)


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