33 Poems for Lent: I, II


On Christmas Day last year, a pastor and poet from Northern Ireland named Andrew Roycroft contributed a beautiful poem to this blog. For Lent this season, he has adopted the medieval practice of writing thirty-three poems, each thirty-three words long—one word for each year of Jesus’ life. Together, they form a constellation of commentary on the Gospel of John. We are so excited to share these poems with you each week, a few at a time, as a way of walking through Lent together.


“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…”
—John 1:14

Into the wordless gap
sounds the Word made flesh –
new logic
granting grounds
for hope –
all former words
will now deliver
their long pregnant promise
of a world, once spoken,
finally made fresh.


“These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.”
—John 1:28

His unstrapped sandals cast on Jordan’s shore,
Christ enters the stream
where before
all Israel
had plunged.
Emerging, shod
with good news,
he is ready to baptise
these lesser men
with heaven’s fire.

This is an image from The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the Gospels from the 9th century. This particular page is the first from John’s gospel: “In principio bid erat verbum” translates to “In the beginning was the Word.”


  1. Don n Ann Coulter

    Andrew this is amazing . Very thought provoking. Very talented . Very worshipful

  2. 2bElizabeth


    So lovely. I would love to buy a bound, book-version of these when they’re all done & published, if such a thing were to come to pass.

  3. Andrew Roycroft


    Thanks so much David, Miranda, and Andrew. I’m delighted that these poems have found a home here, and my prayer is that they might be a real blessing in the lead up to Easter.

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