a poem: holy ground
christian poetry regent college

Since September, I have been auditing a class titled "The Christian Imagination" at the theological school my husband is currently attending in Vancouver.

One rainy November weekend, the class headed to nearby Galiano Island for a precious time of getting to know one another and appreciating each other's creative pursuits, which came in so many forms (from poetry and storytelling to music, painting, illustration and photography).

One of my classmates, Steven, shared a poem he had written for his church. It was the second time I had heard it being read, but the words were no less powerful. I love its flow, the expressive imagery, and the rhyming scheme... but most of all, I love how it illustrates God's great and wonderful and immeasurable love for us.

I invite you to savour these words slowly and let them percolate in your spirit. Be blessed, as I have been, by Steven's gift! 



by C. Steven Gomez


I. The Penitent


I climb the mountain, breathing heat,

Back drenched then dried as sweat chokes pores

With salt and drowns them like the sea;

My penance filled, the climb complete,

I dare to open temple doors

To stand with broken, bloody feet

Upon such holy ground as yours.


I come to find no rest or ease;

Your flaming eye into me bores

And leaves no piece inside me whole;

My mouth drops open, silent pleas

Drop dead and flutter to the floor;

I dig my scraped and bloody knees

Into this holy ground of yours.


The churn of guilt inside me rolls

And retches out to stain the floor,

So vile that ashes would taste sweet;

No words could all my sin extol;

How many here have come before,

Have hurled their torn and ragged souls

Onto this holy ground of yours?


II. The Invitation


What price you think is left unpaid?

Or what amount is left to owe,

That blood of yours poured out in trade

Could satisfy all grief and woe?

Before you, countless sought a sign,

Brought blood and bile to stain my floor;

The bloodstains poured out first were mine.


You can bring no offense in here,

For what old sins have you made new?

Come, stand and speak and do not fear,

And say in words and tell me true—

I, who made and am the Word—

Confess in words that I may know

What sin you think I have not heard.


For I am Truth and I set free;

I let the cleansing waters roll   

And drown in love as in the sea,        

And make the broken-bodied whole;

O weary one, O child of mine,  

Instead of ashes, feast on grace;

Come eat my bread and drink my wine,

Come live and know me face to face.




is a writer and occasional preacher living in Vancouver, BC, Canada. He is currently studying theology and the arts at Regent College in Vancouver.